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Women Entrepreneurs Aim to Improve their Communities in Africa

Three Entrepreneurs from Ghana, Cameroon and Rwanda are applicants to the The Anzisha Prize. The prize aims to support young, African entrepreneurs who have created innovative change in their communities by addressing social issues or starting successful small businesses.

Twelve of the finalists win a free, week-long trip to South Africa to participate in entrepreneurship workshops and conferences at the African Leadership Academy campus near Johannesburg. The grand prize winners are then selected from the top twelve and receive $75,000 dollar prizes that will give their small businesses a jump-start as well as publicity.

Three young African women whose ideas are making a difference

The search for 2015’s top young African entrepreneurs is underway as the Anzisha Prize team works through close to 500 applications for the continent’s premier youth entrepreneurship award.But despite a record-number of entries, applications from young women remain much lower than those from men. In fact only 27% of submissions were from women.

While female entrepreneurship on the continent is strong – many of these women are forced into the practice out of necessity, rather than opportunity. This means that they might be self-employed by selling fruit on the side of the road, but the opportunity for them to grow beyond the informal stage may never present itself.

Mabel Suglo, 21, Ghana Manufacturing shoes from discarded tires

Ghanaian social entrepreneur Mabel Suglo is passionate about alleviating poverty. She is the co-founder of the Eco-Shoes Project, an initiative that helps artisans with disabilities make marketable shoes from used tires and recycled cloth. Started in 2013, the project employs five people.

“There are millions of discarded car tire stockpiles and waste materials in Ghana which pose an environmental and health hazard,” Suglo said. “Eco-Shoes rescues some of the millions of tires and other material waste creating an environmental nuisance, to make fashionable and comfortable shoes.”