Rwandans pick up $165,000 for innovative enterprisesKwizera’s enterprise, WARwanda, manages water points across Rwanda, so that users are always guaranteed safe water.
A social enterprise company, Water Access Rwanda (WARwanda) and creative shoe-maker, Uzuri K&Y were among the winners in the inaugural Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation with a total of one million dollars up for grabs.
WARwanda founder, Christelle Kwizera, was handed a $100,000 cheque while Kevine Kagirimpundu, the co-founder of Uzuri K&Y, walked away with $65,000 at the Accra prize-giving gala early this week.
The top three finalists were Nigeria’s Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO of LifeBank who won $250,000 and Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and CEO of Nawah-Scientific, winning $150,000.
“The Africa Netpreneur Prize will give me the resources to grow LifeBank and expand our presence in Nigeria and throughout the rest of Africa. I look forward to continuing my journey to solve problems and make a significant impact on the future of Africa,” Giwa-Tubosun said.
Kwizera’s came in third for their enterprise that manages water points across Rwanda, so that users are always guaranteed safe water.
Uzuri K&Y specializes in hand-made shoes based on uniquely Rwandan designs and colour schemes. The brand received international exposure when former Miss France and fashion designer, Sonia Rolland modeled for them.
Ma, a multi-billionaire several times over, rose to fame after baby-sitting Alibaba into a multinational leader in e-commerce, internet and technology. By the end of December 2018, Alibaba had a market capitalisation of $352 billion.
“Each of these entrepreneurs looked at big challenges facing their communities, and saw them as opportunities. It is my strong belief that entrepreneur heroes, like these finalists, will change the world – creating companies that drive inclusive growth and opportunity for the continent,” he said.
Other finalists, who received $65,000 each were Waleed Abd El Rahman, CEO Mumm (Egypt); Ayodeji Arikawe, co-founder Thrive Agric (Nigeria); Mahmud Johnson, founder and CEO J-Plum (Liberia); Dr. Tosan J. Mogbeyiteren, founder Black Swan (Nigeria); Chibuzo Opara, co-founder, DrugStoc (Nigeria); Moulaye Taboure, co-founder and CEO Afrikrea,(Cote D’Ivoire).
Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group said, “What really struck me about the finalists was that they each addressed specific African problems with a specific African solution in a fresh way, leveraging technology that wasn’t available previously. If this is an indication of the future of entrepreneurship on the continent, then Africa’s future looks bright.”