Melissa Bime is the second woman to win the Anzisha Prize award since 2013 when Best Ayiorworth emerged as the first female winner. Melissa Bime, a 22-year-old healthcare entrepreneur, founded INFIUSS, an online blood bank and digital supply chain platform in Cameroon that ensures patient in hospitals get lifesaving blood when and where they need it.
The Anzisha Prize is a $75,000 youth entrepreneurship competition for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 22 who developed and implemented businesses or projects that have positively impacted their communities in some way. They pitch their venture to a panel after which the panel selects the winner.
All Anzisha prize contestants join a pool of more than 85 Anzisha Fellows and a network of support that includes access to mentors, experts, and networking. Each returns home with a US$2,500.
Melissa who emerged the winner in the 8th annual Anisha prize award was selected among 20 finalists during a ceremony that was live streamed to over 3,000 viewers.
Melissa while giving her acceptance speech reiterated that with entrepreneurs, Africa’s future is bright. “Today, I stand here to represent every young girl out there that just has her dreams,” “I stand here to represent this amazing group of entrepreneurs that I am a part of. With these people, the future of Africa is very bright. We are going to change this continent.”
The first runner-up at the event, Alhaji Siraj Bah an 18-year-old will receive 15,000 USD. Alhaji founded Rugsal Trading in Sierra Leone, a company that produces handcrafted paper bags as well as briquettes for cooking fuel. He hopes that the funds will boost the impact his business is already having and will enable him to hire more youth from his community.
Joan Nalubega, 21, was the second-runner up. She is the co-founder of Uganics, which produces mosquito-repellent soap to combat malaria in Uganda. With the US$12,500 she receives as her award, she will conduct a certification study for the company’s products and prepare Uganics for export to neighbouring countries which will help to widen her impact in the fight against malaria.
Keynote speaker at the event Sim Shagaya, a renowned entrepreneur, spoke about the challenges faced by the continent but was confident that young entrepreneurs are best placed to solve them.
“We are proud of all 20 finalists and are excited to see two young and dynamic women taking home top prizes,” said Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, Mastercard Foundation. “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,” he added.
The Anzisha Prize is an award delivered by African Leadership Academy alongside MasterCard foundation. It is given to increase the number of jobs generative entrepreneurs in Africa significantly.