30 teams composed of 71 budding African social entrepreneurs will tomorrow, Thursday, compete in a Social Venture Challenge.
The challenge is part of the Baobab Summit organised by the Mastercard Foundation in collaboration with The Resolution Project and it brings together scholars from across Africa and beyond.
At the summit, the 30 teams will pitch their projects to a panel of judges and the winning teams will earn a fellowship, which includes capital, mentorship, and access to a network of young global change-makers to pursue their projects.
According to Mastercard Foundation, the continent’s youth are brimming with talent, ideas, energy, and a deep desire to have a positive impact on their communities.
However, few have the tools, resources, capital and access to mentorship to bring those ideas to life.
This year, a total of 272 applications were received for the competition, with 30 teams moving forward to the semi-final competition.
According to Shona Bezanson, the Associate Director for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme, all the scholars are pursuing impactful projects in different African countries, including Malawi, Gambia, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Lebanon, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
The challenge was launched in 2016 and in its first two years, 34 scholars working on 17 social ventures have received fellowships with seed funding, mentorship and the opportunity to pursue their aspirations and increase their appetite for leadership.
“Winning social ventures are addressing a wide range of challenges scholars observed first-hand in their communities, including food security, access to sanitation, and young women’s access to reproductive health education,” Bezanson noted.
According to Bezanson, this year they expect to award over ten teams, with each in walking away with up to US$5,000 (about Rwf4.3 million) seed capital to activate their projects.
Annet Mukamurenzi and her team won a past challenge. She is a scholar from EARTH University and a founding member of the Rwanda Youth Initiative for Agricultural Transformation (RYIAT).
“The fellowship does not only represent the success of our team, but of vulnerable rural Rwandan farmers, who farm for survival. With this seed fund, business guidance and mentorship, RYIAT Rwanda was able to start training these farmers,” she said.
The grand finale of the competition will take place on Saturday.