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Unique Solutions among 10 finalists in 2011 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship

Nov 9, 2011, 11:19 AM

Unique Solutions, a business providing innovative ICT services, has been named as one of the ten finalists for the 2011 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship.

This was announced by Legatum, a private international investment group, and Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm.

Founded by Papa Yusupha Njie, Chief Executive Officer, in 2000, Unique Solutions is now a licensed internet service provider which has built a broadband infrastructure to link Gambian banks and their branches.

A record 3,300 companies from 48 African countries submitted entries to compete for the Grand Prize of US $100,000 and six other prizes of US $50,000 each, including the Coca-Cola Prize for an Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur, on December 8th in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship recognises and rewards business leaders who embody the entrepreneurial spirit and qualities required to succeed in business, and who are the inspirational role models for the next generation of African entrepreneurs.

The diversity of African entrepreneurs in this year’s competition is underscored by the representation of eight countries amongst the finalists, with three of the ten companies being woman-owned businesses, a statement from the organizers of the awards said.

“The Africa Awards celebrates business excellence within Africa, helping to build a strong network of African entrepreneurs, and our 10 finalists demonstrate the breadth and depth of entrepreneurial talent across the continent today,” said Alan McCormick, Managing Director of Legatum.

He added that such diversity shows that Africa’s outstanding business leaders are not constrained by geography, gender or ambition.

The finalists will make formal presentations to an international jury of business leaders chaired by Malik Fal, Managing Director of Endeavor. The jury will also include some of Africa’s most prominent entrepreneurs and investors, amongst whom are Kamal Budhabhatti, Grand Prize Winner of the 2010 Africa Awards; James Manyika, Director of the McKinsey Global Institute; and Ayisi Makitiani, the CEO of Fanisi Capital.

“Omidyar Network and Legatum share the belief that entrepreneurship is a driving force for positive social impact in Africa,” said Matt Bannick, Managing Partner of Omidyar Network.

“The caliber, talent and diversity of the final ten reflect the tremendous potential for business leaders to innovate, inspire, and create change from within the continent.”

The finalists will be judged based on company profitability, return on investment and growth; long-term business strategy; leadership, culture and values; investment in their employees; innovation to address market needs; and contribution to the community.

The Gala Awards ceremony will conclude by honouring the ten finalists and winners in the presence of an international audience of leading business people, investors, policymakers, and entrepreneurs.

A high-profile one-day conference for entrepreneurs and investors will precede the Africa Awards Gala Banquet.

The finalists of the 2011 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship are: soleRebels, Ethiopia, Unique Solutions, Gambia, InvesteQ, Kenya, Expand Technology, Mauritius, Chocolate City Group, Nigeria, FASMicro, Nigeria, Pepperoni Foods, Nigeria, Cellular Systems International, Senegal, Victoria Seeds, Uganda and Securico, Zimbabwe.