Sahara Group is committed to empowering young Africans to lead lives of impact and profit through social entrepreneurship through its corporate social responsibility vehicle, Sahara Foundation.
In 2020, the Sahara Foundation launched the Sahara Impact Fund (SIF) Fellowship Program, through a strategic partnership with the Ford Foundation, LEAP Africa and Impact Investment Foundation to support the generation of innovative solutions that will increase access to finance. energy and promote sustainable environments in the sub-regions. Saharan Africa. This commitment aims to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs in a way that results in measurable social impact.
This year’s SIF Fellowship program began with a call for applications in May 2022 from young African social innovators with business ideas and ventures capable of maximizing profits while bringing about positive social change to society and society. environment. A total of one hundred ninety-six (196) applications were received from the following 17 countries: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa , South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.
Out of the total number of registrations, twenty-one (21) successful candidates have been selected to join this year’s SIF scholarship program. The twenty-one finalists are drawn from ten (10) African countries, namely Tanzania, Nigeria, South Sudan, Kenya, Zambia, Cameroon, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi and Gambia.
Fellows completed a three-month course module led by LEAP Africa and Impact Amplifier facilitators from July to September 2022. This nine-week intervention which combined virtual learning and classroom experiences exposed Fellows to the following topics: investment readiness overview, target market analysis, competitive landscape and value proposition, marketing and sales plans, financial models for sustainable growth, investor education, governance and ethics, audits and risk management, as well as dedicated coaching and mentoring for all Fellows.
The program that helped equip fellows with the knowledge, skills, and proven methodologies they need to strengthen their business models and scale profitably, resulted in the recognition of outstanding SIF Fellows at the awards ceremony and the LEAP Africa Social Innovators Program (SIPA). This event which took place on Thursday, September 8e2022, at Eko Hotel & Suites on the theme “Rewaken, Redesign and Re-emerge: Africa Beyond Potential” aims to support the growth of innovative youth-led social enterprises in Africa.
Recognized SIF Fellows this year include Aminu Moses Rex, Oluwamayowa Salu, Ayilara Assurance Oluchi, Olawale Thompson and Michael Osumune from Nigeria. Also, Thuch Madhier from South Sudan, Siwelwa Lazarous from Zambia, Albert Moghomaye from Cameroon, Ligare Allan Muliru from Kenya and Lamin Ceesay from Gambia.
These eleven (11) outstanding scholars are also in consideration to receive the Sahara Impact Fund Seed Grant of $5,000 each. This financial investment has been put in place to help fellows facilitate the growth of their business and boost revenue generation.
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Fellows who received their awards in front of an audience of development actors, including senior executives from the Sahara Group and the Sahara Foundation, also used the event to engage with a network of investors, partners, customers and potential customers.
Speaking at the event, Sahara Foundation Executive Director Pearl Uzokwe spoke about the gap the program fills. She said Sahara’s commitment to empowering African social innovators and changemakers is deeply rooted in its business DNA as a successful born entrepreneurial idea. She urged the fellows to take the knowledge and skills acquired during the program and continue to apply them to their business ventures with the aim of generating profit but also transforming Africa in inspiring ways.
Uzokwe, who thanked LEAP Africa, Impact Investment and the Ford Foundation for their partnership on the program, congratulated all deserving fellows and wished them well as they continue to positively influence the narrative of Africa.
The Sahara Foundation since its inception has impacted over 2,000,000 lives and diverse communities through its sites in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. With the young population accounting for over 50% of our grantees, we remain committed to driving innovation and inspiring growth across Africa through our youth. This is so because we believe that the potential of our youth population is key to Africa’s sustainable development. And a sustainable Africa is one where all generations (today and tomorrow) thrive adequately.