AFIF 2017’s focus is to promote access to finance and strengthen entrepreneurship in Africa. To achieve this, EMRC is launching the annual “AFIF Entrepreneurship Award”, calling all African-based entrepreneurs to participate in this renowned award, which will be followed by international partners, leading African businesses and international media.
This year’s award, as previous years, will be sponsored by Rabobank Foundation and the winner, an existing African small-medium business, will receive a US$10.000,00 cash prize, yearlong media promotion support in and out of Africa, free participation in the AFIF 2017, including the pre-conference Training.
“The AFIF Entrepreneurship AWARD aims to spotlight leading innovation private sector projects happening today in Africa. This is the moment when entrepreneurs can showcase their remarkable achievements, where partners and participants get to know about outstanding projects which are pushing boundaries in their community and country and where other entrepreneurs can be inspired and receive much-needed know-how,” says Inês Bastos, Senior Project Manager at EMRC and head of AFIF 2017. Applications must be sent to EMRC via sa@EMRC.be by December 19th, 2016.
In parallel with past winners, the current holder of the Award, Lazaro Mwakipesile, head of Raphael Group (Tanzania), has seen a vast change since participating in the competition. “I am now internationally known. Since AFIF 2015, I have travelled abroad four times for presentation and defending of proposals. Furthermore, I expect to travel to USA this December 2016 for a meeting at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” he explains.
Simply participating in the Award can have important repercussions. Wachira Kariuki, CEO of Classic Foods, who was named runner up in 2015, has also experienced positive change since attending and presenting his business to the international audience. “During AFIF 2015, I met the team from Rabobank who have since provided funding to Classic Foods. Rabo Rural Fund gave Classic Foods a US$1 Million as part of matching grant for soya bean project in Kenya and Uganda that have partnered with UKAID (DFID) as well as matching grant for a new camel milk factory we are constructing in Northern Kenya which is arid area. We couldn’t have asked for more, and this is all thanks to having gone to AFIF 2015 and participated in the Entrepreneurship Award,” he adds.
An unforgettable moment which receives considerable international press coverage, the Award has been won by a unique group of African entrepreneurs which include: Magloire N’Dakon (2014) awarded the prize for his innovative project, Extended Finance, in Ivory Coast; Marie-Claire Matamba (2013) head of Agrimat Gabon; Anastácio Roque representing CESACOPA (2012) from Angola, Suzanne Belemtougri (2011) head of Sophavet and hailing from Burkina Faso as well as Derek Kwesiga (2009) head of Derekorp from Uganda.
This year’s Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) will focus on “Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Growth” and will be held for the first time in the vibrant city of Nairobi, Kenya, hosted by the Strathmore University, taking place from 15th – 16th February 2017.
AFIF 2017 will gather over 300 delegates from all over Africa, Europe, America and Middle East. EMRC will organise a pre-conference training on “A Road-map for Entrepreneurship Growth” (13th -14th February 2017). The training is addressed exclusively to AFIF 2017 participants and will be divided in two linguistic groups (English and French).
As Wachira Kariuki concludes, “My advice to participants especially the entrepreneurs is to make use of the opportunity to make the right contacts and learn from participants. The training session for the entrepreneurs is critical for fund raising. Sharing ideas and experiences with other business people is key to success.”