A highlight of African Leadership Academy’s recently held graduation ceremony was the announcement of the inaugural recipients of the Allan Gray Awards for Excellence, for two categories: Entrepreneurial Thinking and Entrepreneurial Achievement.
Allan Gray is Southern Africa’s largest independent investment firm, managing R323.7 billion (approximately US$40.4 billion) in investor assets as at 31 December 2011. The Allan Gray Awards for Excellence (in the form of unit trusts), present a new partnership between ALA and Allan Gray. Graduating students from ALA were invited to submit essays on one or both of the following topics:
- What steps would you personally take to achieve prosperity in your country in 20 years’ time? Please be sure to be specific about your role in creating prosperity.” (Entrepreneurial Thinking)
- Describe how your student enterprise at ALA has demonstrated extraordinary achievement. Reflect on your own role in enabling this success.” (Entrepreneurial Achievement)
Mr. Thando Mhlambiso, Director, Allan Gray and Fred Swaniker, Founder and CEO, ALA, presented the six awards at the graduation ceremony, comprising two Gold Prizes of R15,000 in Allan Gray unit trusts and four Silver Prizes worth R5,000 in unit trusts, given to six students out of more than forty-eight compelling applications. Additional criteria examined included a high standard of academic excellence throughout the students’ tenure at ALA.
Kenza Bouhaj from Morocco won the Gold Prize for Entrepreneurial Thinking, for her essay on setting up “Help (me) Build Myself (HBM),” a business focused on community-driven sustainable development in Morocco. Nadine Zoro from CÃ´te d’Ivoire and Daniel Mahatlane from South Africa won the silver prizes, Nadine for her plan to develop a “Made in CÃ´te d’Ivoire” food-processing organization, and Daniel for his ideas on creating a financial literacy and asset management company in South Africa.
Rima Tahini from Sierra Leone won the Gold Prize for Entrepreneurial Achievement for showcasing how she turned around TEN50, the on-campus hair salon. Olaotan Awoyomi from Nigeria and Steve Bob Oluoch from Kenya each won silver prizes for Entrepreneurial Achievement, respectively outlining their roles in the student-run catering business, Red Velvet and the on-campus banking facility, GigaVault.
Going forward, The Allan Gray Prizes for Excellence will be administered at ALA on an annual basis.