Mastercard Foundation and African Leadership Academy have opened applications for the 2021 Anzisha Prize Fellowship Program. The program is open to young African entrepreneurs between 5 and 22 from across Africa.
Other than joining the program, selected entrepreneurs also stand a chance to win a shared prize of US$100,000.
Last year the Anzisha Prize celebrated 10 years of supporting Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs. To date, the 142 business owners in the program have created more than 2500 jobs.
“The world of work has drastically changed as we experience a global pandemic. Young entrepreneurs have remained steadfast and have supported their communities through difficulties. We’re thrilled to celebrate the next 20 young business owners who are, no doubt, paramount to job creation on the continent,” said Melissa Mbazo-Ekpenyong, Deputy Director of the Anzisha Prize.
Young entrepreneurs are among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 crisis. An international Survey from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) states that nearly 90% of young entrepreneurs report a negative impact on their business, including reduced customer demand, supply chain disruptions, and distribution disruptions. Despite this, many young entrepreneurs are still creating opportunities and jobs for their communities.
While some entrepreneurs were forced to change their business models, the pandemic highlighted the need for some services to be increased.
“To drive economic recovery on the continent, we have to tap into every available resource. That includes young entrepreneurs, including young women entrepreneurs. Doing so takes intentionality. The Anzisha Prizes’ commitment to identifying and supporting very young entrepreneurs has only become more important in the wake of the pandemic. And the creativity, agility, and resourcefulness of young people has only become more valuable,” says Daniel Hailu, Regional Head, Eastern and Southern Africa, Mastercard Foundation.
During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, women-led businesses on the continent are more susceptible to closure than those led by men. To boost support of female entrepreneurs, the program is encouraging young women to apply to access various offerings of the fellowship and become role models for other young women who want to pursue entrepreneurship.
As the future of work is altered by a global pandemic, job creation by young entrepreneurs remains an important solution for youth unemployment. Supporting and investing in young entrepreneurs is smart business for an economically strong future.
Click here to apply https://anzishaprize.org/nominate/