The Anzisha Effect: Powering Support for Africa’s Youngest Entrepreneurs

May 30th, 2018

‘If you think about it, around 2030, most people on the continent will be young. Very young.
If the same age group is not empowered to create jobs for themselves and their peers, unemployment will reach catastrophic levels – at which point the social consequences are unimaginably difficult to solve for.
So, why not start now?’

There has been so much interest since we launched The Anzisha Effect, a portal for teachers and parents of very young entrepreneurs, that we asked Editor Sihle Magubane to detail the rationale and motivation behind this powerful new community portal.



Anzisha Prize is just one aspect of the Anzisha Program, which also incorporates Anzisha Fellows. Now, there’s the Anzisha Effect – What is it, and how does it extend from and relate to the Anzisha Prize and Program?

Sihle:  The Anzisha Prize seeks to significantly increase the number of job generative, very young entrepreneurs. The program at large runs a range of activities to achieve this aim. Anzisha Effect forms part of our collaboration efforts with key enablers of youth enterprise. These include parents, educators and policy makers who all play a key role in creating an enabling environment for our dreams to come true. The Anzisha “Effect” in this case, is when these players are able to support these very young entrepreneurs in every way possible.

Why the need for this Magazine? How did you identify it, and what do you hope to achieve with it?

Sihle: The Anzisha Prize has, over the past eight years, identified and developed hundreds of budding businesses headed by African youth. We have many success stories – but we have also built up a wealth of insights and evidence relating to environmental, social and geographical factors impacting on their efforts.

The Magazine is a curation of these expert insights and is, In essence, more than just a magazine; it’s a community. As an African institution, we value collaboration and sharing – and Effect is just that. It’s a place both for people who want to get access to insights and resources, and also those who have insights and resources to share with peers across Africa.

Who is it aimed at?

Sihle: Anyone and everyone who has an immediate impact on Africa’s very young entrepreneurs: Effect is aimed at educators at both secondary and tertiary levels; parents of very young entrepreneurs and policy makers. Parents and teachers are aided in how to support, guide and nurture these intrepid young individuals; investors too, can benefit from Anzisha’s full resources, with advice and assistance in determining how to deploy capital to young entrepreneurs.

Unemployment in Africa is reaching a critical juncture, and statistics show that by 2030, over half of new workers entering the global labor force will come from Africa. Why focus on such investing in such young entrepreneurs, particularly and not the general population as a whole?

Sihle: If you think about it, around 2030, most people on the continent will be young. Very young. If the same age group is not empowered to create jobs for themselves and their peers, unemployment will reach catastrophic levels – at which point the social consequences are unimaginably difficult to solve for. So, why not start now? Start now, learning how to support entrepreneurs of this age group, start now, empowering parents with the resources and insights they need to better support their entrepreneurial children, start building policies that work and education models that encourage productive entrepreneurial activity.

How does society at large and the continent as a while benefit from the contributions that young entrepreneurs make?

Sihle:  The economic case for encouraging entrepreneurship is clear: creating jobs. However, it goes beyond that – social justice, equality and the fundamental human right to freedom of exploration and self-actualization all hinge on our ability to create realistic options that work for young people.

Any other insights the benefits of supporting young entrepreneurs within a larger ecosystem and/or the critical importance of this support with the context of the Future of Work within Africa?

Sihle: At ALA’s Decennial Symposium in February, Josh Adler, ALA’s Vice President of Global Programs, held a session on The Case For Investing in Very Young Entrepreneurs, in which he noted that young entrepreneurs tend to employ their peers. So for every entrepreneur that you develop, you’re actually creating at least 10 times more employment opportunities. This positive knock-on effect has major implications for the increasing challenge of rising youth unemployment globally, and in Africa in particular.

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Did you know? The Anzisha Prize program is one of ALA's biggest investments toward making an impact on the challenges facing Africa in 6 000 days!

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Explore More:

This is an article from our Anzisha Prize Blog, which shares the stories of very young entrepreneurs and everything that the Anzisha team is doing to support them. Visit the Anzisha blog here.


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