The African Entrepreneurship Award, a $1million prize sponsored by BMCE Bank of Africa for African entrepreneurs with for-profit business ideas that create jobs and improve lives, has just announced the finalists for the 2017 awards. At the start of 2017, 5,349 entrepreneurs from all 54 countries in Africa, and 45 in the diaspora, applied for the Award. Now, one month before the winners are announced, a panel of mentors has selected 41 finalists from 19 African countries, and 39% are women entrepreneurs (15 in total).
Each of the finalists have been invited to go to Morocco for the Presidential Round in December where they will spend three days working with Boot Camp Coaches who will help them perfect their pitch and fine tune their financials and executive summaries. All the entrepreneurs will then pitch to the Jury members who will ultimately decide and announce on 12 December the winners who will get a share of the $1million in prize money.
Background to the Award
To apply, entrepreneurs had to be at least 18 years old, be an African citizen, and have a technology dimension to their business idea. Africans living in the diaspora who wish to launch a business back home in Africa were also welcome to apply. Entrepreneurs were welcome to apply with a business idea at any stage: seed, prototype, or startup. Previous winners have used their award winnings to launch a business, build a prototype, or scale their idea.
The Award is broken into three categories: Education, Environment, and Uncharted. Entrepreneurs select up to two categories based on the sector they see their idea best fitting. Uncharted encompasses all ideas that offer a new or innovative solution in a previously existing sector. The entire award application journey is undertaken online. Entrepreneurs apply on the African Entrepreneurship Award website and answer a series of questions about their business idea and the need in their region. Once they apply in Round 1, entrepreneurs are mentored by one of 200 experienced African mentors from their region in Africa. Mentors give basic feedback to help improve their idea. High scoring entrepreneurs pass to Round 2, where another round of mentors give feedback on the scalability of their idea. Then, in Round 3, high scoring entrepreneurs answer more questions about their idea’s sustainability, and then await their chance to become a Finalist!
Meet the 15 women entrepreneur finalists from across the African continent.
Kyria Guillao, founder of Massi Solution in Comoros
Massi Solution’s container homes built and designed from eco-friendly materials provide inexpensive, alternative housing options. Massi Solution reduces landfill waste and increases buying power for new home owners.
Fanta Kaoutar Camara, founder of iSccruit in Guinea
An online travel agency awakens a country's sleeping tourism sector and injects life into an industry. iSccruit combines technology and on the ground services to increase profits in Guinea.
Pola Haba, founder of Entreprise de Collecte et de Traitement des Ordures (ECTO) in Guinea
Waste Management meets mobile money and technology creating clean cities. ECTO creates waste collection jobs and prevents the spread of disease with the addition of technology and education.
Leslie Ossete, founder of BuuPass Kenya Limited in Kenya
Online and offline bus and train booking creates digitization and convenience. BuuPass replaces inefficiency with reliability and accountability for Kenya's voluminous public transport system.
Angela Nzioki, founder of Pluspeople Kenya Ltd in Kenya
Cloud-based accounting helps business owners manage all their affairs, not just their books. Pluspeople Kenya LTD digitizes and simplifies previously complex HR procedures for SMEs.
Joyce Beck, founder of RentEasy Company in Kenya
Real-time rental property management eliminates paperwork and de-stresses tenants and landlords. RentEasy Company eliminates the paper trails traditionally associated with rental contracts in East Africa.
Fatoumata Kebe, founder of Connected Eco in Kenya
Irrigation kits, powered by solar, provide targeted water to crops in arid climates. Connected Eco decreases the water waste of traditional irrigation, improving crop yields and the livelihood of farmers.
Meryam El Ouafi, founder of Green Engineering Mission in Morocco
Moistube Irrigation Technology eliminates water waste and ensures plants receive optimal moisture. Green Engineering Mission introduces the technology to North Africa, providing farmers with irrigation alternatives.
Ifebuche Madu, founder of Afrikstabel clothing line in Nigeria
African-inspired clothing infused with indigenous prints and textiles brings a local flavor to modern wear. Afrikstabel clothing creates a platform for designers to sell their products in a growing market.
Folashade Amusa, founder of Vicfold Recyclers in Nigeria
Convenient collection services and redeemable household points convert waste into buying power for families. Vicfold Recyclers collect trash and clean communities, with lucrative incentives.
Christelle Kwizera, founder of VOMA Groundwater Solar Kiosks in Rwanda
Simple technology and community engagement provides purified water to those without reliable water. VOMA Kiosks eliminate time-consuming methods of water collection, and provide alternative income.
Nneile Nkholise, founder of Likoebe Innovations in South Africa
Language acquisition with a gaming twist helps English language learners tackle new vocabulary with confidence and fun. Likoebe Innovations believe games enhance student learning.
Louise Williamson, founder of Sustainability Professionals in South Africa
Fuel-efficient mashesha ("fast-cooking") stoves cut fuel in half, and generate hot flames. Sustainability Professionals manufacture medium and large sizes to meet the needs of schools and large families.
Brigitha Faustin, founder of OBRI Tanzania in Tanzania
Edible sunflower oil reduces postharvest waste, increases profits for farmers, and brings a healthy alternative to consumers. OBRI Tanzania's local production emphasizes value, quality, and profit.
Zouhour Debbabi, founder of Science Tech Tour in Tunisia
Animation, camps, hands-on workshops and exhibitions bring STEM education to students and increase scientific literacy. Science Tech Tour tackles the problem of scientific literacy in Africa.
For entrepreneurs wishing to apply for the 2018 awards, visit the website for announcement of the launch date https://africanentrepreneurshipaward.com