October 30, 2018—A Ugandan entrepreneur has emerged second runner-up for the Anzisha Prize that rewards innovation and is organised by the African Leadership Academy in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.
Twenty one year old, Joan Nalubega (pictured), is the co-founder of Uganics, which produces mosquito-repellent soap to combat malaria. She said recently, “It has taken a lot of time to get the final product. We have tried and failed a lot of times, but in December 2017 we achieved success with the final product and in April of 2018 it was certified.”
Koffi Assouan, Program Manager at Mastercard Foundation said, “We are proud of all 20 finalists and are excited to see two young and dynamic women taking home top prizes,” said “Their contributions will continue to impact their countries and they are role models for other young women across the continent. They are demonstrating how to turn obstacles into opportunities that create value and jobs for others.”
The $12,500, (nearly UGX50 million) prize money given to Nalubega, will now enable her to conduct a certification study for the company’s products and prepare Uganics for export to neighboring countries. She said this will help to widen her impact in the fight against malaria in the region.
Malaria accounts for almost 20 pc of hospital deaths in Uganda. After attending a social entrepreneurship training, Joan was inspired to create a venture that would tackle the disease that she had constantly battled with in her younger years.
Uganics, aims to combat malaria by producing anti-malaria products: a long lasting mosquito repellent soap for children and families. The mosquito repellent effects of the soap lasts up to six hours following a bath, and clothes and linen washed with the soap have the same effect.
Melissa Bime who is 22 and from Cameroon won the $25,000 Grand Prize at the 8th annual Anzisha Prize awards gala. She is the founder of INFIUSS, an online blood bank and digital supply chain platform that ensures patients in 23 hospitals in Cameroon have life-saving blood when and where they need it. She is only the second woman to win the grand prize since Best Ayiorworth took it home in 2013.
The first runner up, 18-year-old Alhaji Siraj Bah will receive US$15,000 in prize money. He is the founder of Rugsal Trading in Sierra Leone, a company that produces handcrafted paper bags as well as briquettes for cooking fuel.
The 20 finalists spent 10 days in a business accelerator camp strengthening their business fundamentals before presenting their ventures to a panel of judges that included Ntuthuko Shezi, Bita Diamomande, Saran Kaba Jones, and Polo Leteka. They join a pool of more than 85 Anzisha Fellows and a network of support that includes access to mentors, experts, and networking.
Applications for the next cycle of the Anzisha Prize will open on 15 February in 2019.