More than 2,000 vie for ‘Legatum’ prize money

MORE than 2,000 entries, a number that has exceeded previous years by 40 percent have submitted entries to compete for the Legatum Grand Prize of $ 100,000 and five other prizes of $ 50,000 each.

MORE than 2,000 entries, a number that has exceeded previous years by 40 percent have submitted entries to compete for the Legatum Grand Prize of $ 100,000 and five other prizes of $ 50,000 each.

According to organisers of this Legatum awards, a competition literally referred to as the ‘2010 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship’ that promote commerce as a driving force in Africa’s economic growth, application to the competition remains open until August 31, 2010.

This July Legatum, a privately owned international investment group, in conjunction with Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm, launched the the Africa Awards with a focus on celebrating the standards of business excellence within Africa and building a strong network of African entrepreneurs as a source of learning and shared best practices.

Speaking about the Awards, Alan McCormick, Managing Director of Legatum, commented, “This year’s Africa Awards has far surpassed our expectations and sends the message again that Africa is open for business.  We know that entrepreneurs play a vital role in the development of any economy and through the Africa Awards, Legatum is able to identify and support the leaders of remarkable companies and the contribution they are making to promoting prosperity across the continent.”

Entrepreneurs from 15 countries are participating in the 2010 awards and submissions are being accepted from Botswana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.

A total of $350,000 will be awarded to the winners, with the funds directed towards growth and strategic reinvestment within the respective companies.

The competition is open to all profitable businesses that have been in existence for a minimum of three years and have annual revenues between $2 and $25 million. With the August 31st deadline for applications fast approaching, interested companies are encouraged to visit the Africa Awards website soon to ensure their submissions are included.

A statement released on Friday says that finalists will be invited to make formal presentations to an international jury of business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors in Ghana early this December.

The jury will be chaired by Tokunbo Talabi of Superflux International, the Grand Prize Winner of the 2008 Africa Awards. The 2010 winners wil be announced at a gala ceremony, attended by an invitation-only audience of Africa’s business leaders, policymakers and investors.

Matt Bannick, Managing Director of Omidyar Network, concluded, “Omidyar Network and Legatum share the conviction that entrepreneurs are vital to creating new opportunities in Africa.

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