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What where you doing at 15? What about at 19? Or 22? If you are one of these 12 entrepreneurs, the answer is: changing the world. Each of them was chosen as part of the 2013 annual Anzisha Prize, an event that supports social and business entrepreneurs between 15 and 22 years old. Each year, 12 finalists are chosen to share in US$75 000 of grant funding to invest in their businesses or projects. Out of 333 applications from 22 countries, 12 finalists were chosen.
These entrepreneurs will blow your mind, with businesses from renewable energy to education platforms, micro-financing and health care. These 12 entrepreneurs are set to make a serious impact in Africa’s entrepreneurial landscape.
Khaled Shady, 21 — Egypt
Project Title: Mubser
A university student majoring in computer engineering, Khaled Shady wants to help the blind navigate their world. Shady has developed a device to this effect called Mubser. Mubser is a wearable belt fully equipped with Bluetooth and Microsoft Kinect, that guides the individual to navigate safely around objects and obstacles using a system of vibration motors.
David Morfaw, 19 — Cameroon
Project Title: Poult-Vault Inc.
Playing in the agriculture space, David Morfaw is the founder of Poult-Vault Inc., a company he believes can usher in a new era for his community financially. He believes the poultry he provides can give necessary nutrients to people in the community that may be underserved in that capacity. His business plan maximizes each opportunity, whether it is selling immature chicks after 3-weeks, or keeping them until they are grown after 9-weeks, or selling layers and their eggs, or even providing the waste produced to local farmers for fertile manure.
Barclay Paul Okari, 21 — Kenya
Industry: Consumer Products
Project Title: Impact Africa
Okari’s company Impact Africa is aimed at providing inexpensive, reusable, washable sanitary towels for women. He saw that the prices on these towels were simply too expensive for families strapped for cash resources so he and his team developed a product that could help thousands of women, while still turning a profit. His reusable sanitary towels save a large percentage of families’ budgets and make the lives of many of customers more enjoyable in the process.
Gonjetso Chinyama, 21 — Malawi
Industry: Consumer Services
Project Title: Pakwathu
Chinyama, a student at the University of Malawi, is the founder of Malawi’s first online real estate portal, Pakwathu. Pakwathu enables people to find property throughout the country and sift through a plethora of properties based on location, price, and other variables.
Temitayo Olufuwa, 21 — Nigeria
Industry: Consumer Services
Project Title: Jobs in Nigeria
Playing in the much contested jobs space, Olufuwa feels he has it right. His company Jobs in Nigeria is a web-based system that allows users to effortlessly search, find, and apply for new jobs on desktop or mobile devices — Android, BlackBerry and Nokia. According to Olufuwa his portal crawls other job sites to provide users with a one stop experience. Started in 2012 the site currently has more then 80 000 registered users with around 150 000 total app downloads.
Joie Laurent Sangwa, 19 — Rwanda
Project Title: Domestic Biogas Use Promotion Project
A social entrepreneur Sangwa saw that energy production was harmful to the environment in many capacities and sought renewable, cheap alternatives. She and her team found human waste to be a good source of energy and developed a process to turn human waste, often seen as a hygiene and sanitation problem, to a an energy solution. This ingenuity and innovation has allowed for families to utilize resources that are often left to rot away and instead use them as a cheap alternative energy that saves families a great percentage of their annual budgets. Sangwa currently runs her business as a non-profit to help families in regions that the national power providers can’t reach.
Donald Bambara, 19 — Senegal
Industry: Waste and Energy
Project Title: Green Act
This project installs various measures to separate trash from recyclable materials on campus. But Bambara’s quest to clean up his campus, and campuses around him doesn’t end there as he funds cleaning services on campuses and tries to educate students and young people in Senegal about the impacts of current waste management practices and future possibilities for recycling. Bambara is making a name for himself in the waste management community and should have campuses all over Senegal cleaner in no time.
Neftaly Malatji, 22 — South Africa
Industry: Youth Development
Project Title: Diepsloot Youth Project
Malatji started his company at age of 14, using cash he had saved from his part-time job. The Diepsloot Youth Projects (DYP) aim to make an impact in the poverty-stricken Diepsloot area. Diepsloot Youth Projects focuses on income generating programs that enable young people to engage in business opportunities. It has created employment for 16 young people. Malatji has already made a huge impact on youth in Diepsloot and it just the beginning.
Kolawole Olajide, 21 — South Africa
Project Title: Funda
One of five founders of education platform Funda, Olajide is hoping to disrupt the the way people learn. Funda is an online learning management system that brings together necessary educational resources to make the lives of teachers, students, and parents a bit easier. This system has been wildly successful ad has begun to spread through South Africa to different Universities.
Domitila Silayo, 21 — Tanzania
Industry: Consumer Products
Project Title: Jatropha Soap
Noticing the problem of skin disease in her community, Silayo set out to find an inexpensive solution. Her research lead her to produce a soap made from the jatropha plant that could heal a variety of skin problems including ringworm and dandruff. Jatropha soap has gone on to help thousands of people in Tanzania fight off skin problems, while still turning a healthy profit for Silayo and her team. Silayo hopes to expand her business into a fully fledged beauty line using the same jatropha properties.
Best Aiyorworth, 19 — Uganda
Industry: Microfinance & Education
Project Title: Girls Power Micro Lending Organization
Ayiorworth is an advocate for education in her home district in northern Uganda after dropping out of school because her family couldn’t afford it. She started an organization with a twist on common education programs called the Girl Power Micro-credit Organization, which focuses on women in the community with a trickle down mentality. The thinking behind GIPOMO is if more women are brought into business society with micro-finance loans, then they will, in turn, focus on young girls’ educations and revolutionize girls’ education in Uganda. The micro-finance prong of her organization is well thought out to minimize her own risk and maximize the potential of each woman that she invests.
Titus Mawano, 22– Uganda
Industry: Information Technology
Project Title: Ffene
Mawano’s business Ffene is a business management platform for SMEs in Africa who are struggling to stay organized and might be behind on the tech wave. Whether it is accounting, inventory management, or data keeping, Ffene says its the one stop shop for SME organization on the computer and mobile devices including feature phones.