Nov 12, 2012, 9:22 AM
Unique Solutions, one of the leading ICT companies in the Gambia has emerged as one of the winners at the just concluded Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship held in Nairobi, Kenya receiving a prize of $50,000.00.
In receiving the award, the CEO of Unique Solutions, Papa Yusupha Njie said “I Thank Allah the almighty for his continued guidance and benevolence. A big thank you also to my great family and the same goes to the board, management and staff of Unique Solutions. I am deeply honored and humbled for being named winners at the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship. All finalists were winners and stood out in their own way as a testament to what is good about Africa. These awards clearly demonstrate that there is indeed business excellence in Africa. It does not matter the size of your country, population, gender, politics, infrastructure or otherwise; entrepreneurship still thrives in these most difficult of circumstances. The home of Entrepreneurship is indeed in Africa. I dedicate this award to spirit of the Gambian people in helping me standout and be counted in this great continent of ours. Long live the Gambia!”
The grand prize of $100,000.00 went to SECURICO, a security services firm from Zimbabwe that provides guarding services and electronic security solutions. It was also the first security company in Zimbabwe to be ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) certified. SECURICO has more than 3,400 employees, 900 of which are women, making it the largest employer of women in the private sector.
A record 3,300 companies from 48 African countries submitted entries to compete for the Grand Prize of US $100,000, and six additional prizes of US $50,000 each, including the new Coca-Cola Award for an Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur, granted to Victoria Seeds, an agribusiness based in Kampala, Uganda. The Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship recognizes 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.
Four other finalists were recognized and each awarded a prize of US $50,000:
Chocolate City Group, Abuja, Nigeria
Expand Technologies., Phoenix, Mauritius
Pepperoni Foods, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
soleRebels, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Philip Vassiliou, Managing Director of Legatum, commented, “Legatum firmly believes that entrepreneurship is the most effective mechanism for distributing scarce resources around an economy. Entrepreneurs have the ability to see an opportunity and build a business around it, and the profit these businesses generate is evidence that needs are being met in the optimal way.” He added “We are pleased to recognise all of our 2011 Award finalists for the vital contributions they have made in promoting prosperity across the continent.”
The ten finalists underscore the diversity of entrepreneurs in the competition, representing eight countries including Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The top ten, which includes three woman-owned businesses, work in a range of industries, from software to entertainment to agribusiness.
“The winners of the 2011 Africa Awards represent a diversity of backgrounds, industries, and geographies, but they also share a common determination in building and scaling a successful company,” said Matt Bannick, Managing Partner of Omidyar Network. “We congratulate each of the winners, and welcome them to the Awards’ growing network of business leaders who are fostering innovation, job creation, and positive social impact from within Africa.”
To determine the winners, finalists gathered in Nairobi to present to a prominent jury of African business leaders and investors. The panel was chaired by Malik Fal, Managing Director of Endeavor. The jury also included some of Africa’s most prominent entrepreneurs and investors, including Kamal Budhabhatti, CEO of Craft Silicon and Grand Prize Winner of the 2010 Africa Awards; James Manyika, Director of the McKinsey Global Institute; Ayisi Makatiani, the CEO of Fanisi Capital; and Tokunboh Ishmael, co-founder and Managing Director of Alitheia Capital. The winners were evaluated on profitability; return on investment and growth; long-term business strategy; leadership, culture and values; investment in employees; innovation to address market needs; and contribution to the community.