Two Ugandan innovators Joan Nalubega and Samson Kisseka are among the 20 finalists in the 2018 Anzisha Prize awards.
Nalubega, 21, is the founder of Uganics, which aims to combat malaria by producing a mosquito repellent while Kisseka, 22, is the founder of Hello Mushrooms, a co-operative that collaborates with farmers to grow and sell mushrooms.
Now in its 8th year, the Anzisha Prize program attracts young entrepreneurs from across Africa.
Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa led in the number of entrants, sending two each while other countries sent one.
They are Nigeria, Rwanda, Togo, Madagascar, Morocco, Angola, Cameroon, Zambia, Egypt, Benin, Libya, and Sierra Leone.
According to an official statement, the 20 finalists will be flown to Johannesburg for a 10-day entrepreneurship boot camp where they will receive intensive training from the African Leadership Academy’s Entrepreneurial Leadership faculty.
Officials say the twenty will share the US$100,000 (about Shs376 million) cash prize.
The grand prize winner, according to officials, will receive US$25,000 (about Shs96 million).
“The remainder of the prize money will be shared among the rest of the finalists. Additionally, each finalist is enrolled in a Fellowship program that will provide over $7,500 in additional support and services,” officials said in a statement.
The Anisha Prize program was founded to reward entrepreneurs who have developed and implemented innovative solutions to social challenges or started successful businesses within their communities.
Over 600 applicants from 13 countries had initially joined the competition before they were sieved to remain with twenty.
The 2018 Anzisha Prize awards are sponsored by the Mastercard Foundation and the African Leadership Academy (ALA).
2018 Anzisha Prize awards schedule
According to officials, for the first time, this year, the pitch competition will be live streamed across the continent.
“Online audiences will have the opportunity to tune into the pitch competition and rally behind the entrepreneurs who inspire them most, possibly motivating them to begin their own entrepreneurial journey,” reads an official communique.
“The pitching event will be hosted by Cameroonian Tonje Bakang, a tech entrepreneur who created Africa’s Netflix, Afrostream and a long-time supporter of young entrepreneurs.”
The winners will be announced at a gala evening on October 23, which will include a keynote address from Sim Shagaya, a Nigerian entrepreneur who is the founder and former CEO of Konga.com, one of West Africa’s largest electronic commerce websites.