The founder of Gifted Mom, Cameroonian Alain Nteff emerged winner of the $25,000 grand prize Anzisha Prize Award followed closely by South Africa’s Schoolbag manufacturer Thato Kgatlhanye as the first runner up with $15,000 cash prizes and followed by 17 year-old Ivory Coast farmer Gabriel Kombassere who received $12,500 in cash.
Nteff founded the Gifted Mom project, an e-content platform for pregnant women in underserved areas, to help them have safe pregnancies and combat the lack of access and knowledge that has led to high mother and infant deaths in Cameroon.
Gifted Mom works with health providers and medical students to create profiles for pregnant women to send automated alerts that help them track antenatal care. Since starting his project, more than 200 medical students have been trained, 1200 pregnant women impacted resulting in a 20% increase in antenatal attendance rate for pregnant women in 15 rural communities.
The first runner’s up Thato Kgathlanye, aged 21 co-founded Repurpose Schoolbags that designs schoolbags made from up-cycled plastic shopping bags integrated with solar technology. Mini solar panels are encased in the bags, charging up during the day and transforming into light for learners to study after dark. She runs a factory in Rustenburg, South Africa where she employs 8 women, has impacted the lives of over 120 children and taken major strides in reducing her carbon footprint through recycling over 10 000 plastic bags.
Gabriel Kombassere (17) founded Ribla Neda, an association seeking to eradicate starvation in his region. His principle being: we may be students but we can help our parents. Having grown up farming from the age of 8, he invested in what came naturally by asking his uncle for a piece of land and started to grow maize and cassava. He employees 4 students and has 30 members in his organisation. Annually, he produces over 20 bags of maize and a cargo of cassava.
The 4th annual 2014 Anzisha Finalists were honored at a prestigious ceremony on Tuesday, September 23 2014 at the Focus Rooms in Sunninghill, Johannesburg.
“Every year it gets harder to choose a winner,” commented Josh Adler, Director for the Centre of Entrepreneurship at African Leadership Academy. “All of our finalists this year are shining examples of youth entrepreneurship – examples we hope will inspire teenagers across the continent to start and grow similar ventures.”
Now in its fourth year, the Anzisha Prize received 339 applications this year from 32 countries for Africa’s premier youth entrepreneurship award. The Anzisha Prize is a partnership between African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation.
Other winners included 18 year-old Tom Osborn from Kenya who received a special $10,000 energy prize award from Donors Circle for Africa, for his eco-fuel venture, Greenchar. Greenchar, a clean energy project that produces charcoal briquettes and distributes clean cook-stoves throughout Kenya. It was started to fight deforestation and the health problems that result from smoke inhalation from charcoal. Greenchar coals are carbonized producing long-lasting, high-energy content, smokeless coals, made from revitalized agricultural forests. Tom was recently named an Echoing Green fellow.