Meet Sam Kodo, a young man from Togo with a knack for building IT gadgets. With personal computers still being a luxury in Togo, he sought to build an alternative. How? At 8 years old, he started designing robots. Later on, he started a company producing micro-computers that can be plugged to any screen. He now has 6 employees and has already sold 45 computers in Togo, but it doesn’t stop there. Sam has plans to hire more people, diversify his product range to include earphones and to expand to Northern Togo and to other neighbouring countries.
Surprisingly, at his time of selection for the Anzisha Prize, Sam was only 22 years old. And there are numerous others like him. Anzisha means ‘to start’ in Swahili, an appropriate name for the organisation that aims to award young entrepreneurs who have developed and implemented innovative solutions to social challenges or started successful businesses within their communities. Started in 2011, 12 lucky finalists from across Africa win, annually, an all-expenses paid trip to South Africa to be a part of a week-long entrepreneurship workshop and conference at the African Leadership Academy campus on the outskirts of Johannesburg. The grand prize winners, selected from these finalists, will share prizes worth $75,000 USD.
It doesn’t end at winning the prize though. The Anzisha Fellows are given support for life by the African Leadership Academy, a major sponsor of the Anzisha Prize initiative. Thereafter, mentorship, consulting and community gatherings become part of the fellow experience in the years that follow.
The Anzisha effect, as they call it, exists to encourage other young Africans to follow in the footsteps of the Anzisha Fellows and lead Africa to a better future by creating jobs, solving problems and driving the economy.
The Anzisha Prize is a large family which is growing every day with more partners, mentors and young entrepreneurs aged between 15 and 22 at application time joining the organisation every year. However, the winners are given support even when they go beyond this age limit.
- You must be between the ages of 15 and 22 years old.
- Your business or project must be up and running. The Anzisha Prize is not for great ideas or business plans – you must have already started, and be able to prove it!
- Your business, invention or social project can be in any field or industry (science and technology, civil society, arts and culture, sports, etc.). Any kind of venture is welcome to apply.
- Groups or teams can apply (for example, maybe you have 2 or 3 co-founders who started your business or project together), however you must choose one person to apply for the prize, on behalf of the group. This individual must be one of the founding members.
The deadline for the 2015 application is 15th April. If interested, visit their website www.anzishaprize .org and follow instructions.
Photo credits: www.anzishaprize.org and Internet