The overall winner will be announced at the ninth annual Anzisha Prize Forum in October in Johannesburg, South Africa.
2019 ANZISHA PRIZE
Two young Ugandan women have made it to the shortlist for the 2019 Anzisha Prize, which recognizes Africa's youngest entrepreneurs with inspiring business ideas.
Saudah Birungi and Catherine Nalukwago, both aged 22, are among 20 young finalists shortlisted for the coveted prize that will see one grand winner walk away with $25,000 (about sh92m).
The overall winner will be announced at the ninth annual Anzisha Prize Forum on October 22 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Saudah co-founded Tusafishe, which is an enterprise that constructs water filters using locally available materials for students in rural schools and in their homes to provide them with safe drinking water
Nalukwago is the co-founder of Vertical and Micro Gardening, an enterprise that has developed a product called The Vertical Farm, which makes urban farming a viable micro-enterprise for low-income households
Meanwhile, the top 20 will gather in Johannesburg for a 12-day accelerator boot camp where they will be coached by local and global experts in preparation for the independent judging panel who will decide the winner
The boot camp marks the start of the entrepreneurs' Anzisha Prize Fellowship, where they each will access coaching support, market access services, and further funding opportunities.
The Anzisha Prize is an African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation partnership, which identifies, supports and celebrates young African entrepreneurs between the ages of 15-22.
It recongises young people with ideas, ventures and businesses, that harness the power to redefine and reimagine Africa's growth trajectory.
Young entrepreneurs who apply stand a chance to win a share of the $100,000 prize pool, network with global leaders and mentorship support from renowned experts.
While the grand prize winner will take home $25,000, the first runner-up will receive $15,000 and the second runner-up $12,500.
According to an advisory, over 500 applications were received, including those from submissions from remote and fragile communities.
From Somalia to Chad, applicants showcased their business acumen with enterprises that provide solutions to some of the continent's biggest problems, the prize organisers revealed in a statement.
"This year, we're particularly excited about the new format. We've created a tailored experience that will allow people to explore the Anzisha movement in all its entirety," said Melissa Mbazo, Anzisha Program Manager.
"From start to finish, the day will look at shaping the future of entrepreneurship on the continent and young entrepreneurs will be at the helm, steering the conversations."
While the candidates are from various sectors, agricultural businesses submitted the highest number of applications this year.
For the very first time, finalists from The Gambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia have been chosen as part of the 2019 cohort.
"Africa's greatest asset is its young people and the Anzisha Prize, now in its ninth year, is a testament to their passion and creativity," said Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, Mastercard Foundation.
"Their commitment to the continent is reflected in the very nature of the businesses they choose, often focused on social good and on improving the lives of those around them."
One of the past winners is Andrew Mupuya, a Ugandan who won the Anzisha grand prize of $30,000 (about sh110m) in 2012 for nurturing a business idea he hatched when he was just 16.
Mupuya, who started out with seed capital of sh36,000, has built a lucrative business from selling paper bags to retail shops, supermarkets, hospitals and major local flour manufacturers.
The prize is open to very young African entrepreneurs who have founded or co-founded a running business in any sector on the continent.