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Today sees the launch of a new mini-documentary and case study series about very young African entrepreneurs designed to enable high-school and university educators to engage students meaningfully about entrepreneurship as a career path.

#ItStartsWithYou sheds light on eight very young Africans whose passions, commitments and grit showcase what it means to embark on an entrepreneurial journey at a young age.

The documentaries reveal new role models for other youth who might be considering entrepreneurship.

Through the series, the Anzisha Prize is intentional in highlighting the importance of support from parents, educators, investors and policymakers if young people are to make successful transitions to entrepreneurship – as well as sharing key moments that are instrumental in each entrepreneur’s story.

Through free-to-download case studies that accompany each documentary, educators will have a chance to delve deeper into each story and build lesson plans that encourage their students to see entrepreneurship as a career they can pursue.

The case studies will serve as a curriculum tool for educators who want to build entrepreneurial education into their schools and classrooms.

“We know that entrepreneurship is key to scaling up opportunities for millions of young people. But how do we nurture young entrepreneurs? Role models and active mentorship are both critically important. When young people see themselves reflected in the business world as leaders and owners, they intuitively understand that entrepreneurship is an option that is open to them and valued by others. And they may be inspired to pursue it. But they also need training, counselling and mentorship that cultivates the practical skills, disciplines, and mindsets that are universally necessary to take a good idea and turn it into a viable enterprise.” Peter Materu, Chief Program Officer, Mastercard Foundation says.

“We are very excited to see the impact that the Anzisha young entrepreneurs have made. This documentary series, like the Anzisha Prize, combines the two powerful forces of inspiring example and practical instruction. It is our hope that many more will be inspired to test out their own entrepreneurial ideas.”

Over the last decade, the Anzisha Prize – a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation – has celebrated and supported young African entrepreneurs, championing the belief that youth unemployment can be combated by encouraging young people to start a business and hire their peers.

Deputy Director of the Anzisha Prize, Melissa Mbazo, says that while deciding on the most inspirational and realistic stories to tell, they realised that it was important to inspire behavioural change.

“We believe that educators play an integral role in whether or not young people pursue entrepreneurship. We wanted educators to feel empowered to teach entrepreneurship in a dynamic way. Through It Starts With You we hope students feel inspired as they see themselves reflected in the stories of entrepreneurs who are only a few years older.”

After sending out surveys to young entrepreneurs and asking them what key decisions they had made, ten main constructs were discovered from the research that can be found at Anzisha.org/ISWYresearch.

Key insights that stood out:

  • Entrepreneurship education is critical in preparing young Africans to transition into entrepreneurship as a career
  • Starting young allows very young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses over a longer period of time and consistently scale to fit market demand
  • Very young entrepreneurs have successfully accessed financing by choosing to invest in relationships with their supporters
  • Support from parents and guardians is pivotal to the success of very young entrepreneurs

The documentaries spotlight entrepreneurs from seven African countries including Uganda, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, and Nigeria.

One such story is of Belinda Munemo, a Zimbabwean who studied entrepreneurial leadership in her late teens at African Leadership Academy. She went on to build Reekworth Junior School, an institution that shapes and inspires young minds from the age of 2 years old.

Fadwa Moussaif, a Moroccan entrepreneur who founded IDYR Design to uplift local artisans, received tremendous support and trust from her parents who assisted with negotiations, thereby assuring suppliers of her competence.

To learn more about the #ItStartsWithYou entrepreneurs visit Anzisha.org/itstartswithyou and if you would like to join for the first #ItStartsWithYou watch party, sign up here (https://bit.ly/31vePSa)!

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