Female African entrepreneurs are on some real fire this year.
In Ghana, we have women leading some of the major brands we have come to know and love.
Meanwhile, over in the UK, we have female African entrepreneurs, kicking the butts of their male colleagues and impressing Prince Andrew, the Duke of York with their social enterprises.
Muzalema Mwanza, the founder of Safe Motherhood Alliance, a Zambia-based social enterprise that develops simple, low-cost disposable baby delivery kits has been announced as the winner of Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0. The announcement was made at Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0, hosted by The Duke of York at St James’s Palace, London, on Thursday 7 March.
The kits developed by Safe Motherhood Alliance contain tools for midwives in Zambia delivering babies in under-resourced clinics or at home births. Each kit includes basic items like a scalpel, sanitary pads, a hygienic sheet and cotton swabs, a list often given to prospective mothers to provide themselves when they arrive at hospitals to give birth. Inspired by Mwanza’s own experience of giving birth to her first child, Safe Motherhood Alliance now produce thousands of kits each month, selling them through twenty clinics directly to prospective mothers and midwives in an effort to reduce infections among newborns.
Chelmis Thiong’o, from Kenya, came second with Sign-IO, a smart-glove that tracks and translates sign language movements into speech in real time. The team behind Sign-IO were also selected as winners of the public vote, the Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0 People’s Choice Award. Third place was presented to Anne Rweyora from Uganda with Smart Havens Africa, a social enterprise which aims to end housing poverty through the development of sustainable, eco-friendly affordable housing for women.
Pitch@Palace Africa is a collaboration between the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation and Pitch@Palace, an initiative founded by The Duke of York in 2014 as a platform to amplify and accelerate the work of entrepreneurs. The event saw engineering entrepreneurs shortlisted for the 2019 Africa Prize pitch their innovations directly to an influential audience from the worlds of entrepreneurship, technology, media and investment.
The winner of Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0 will go on to take part in Pitch@Palace Global 4.0 at St James’s Palace on 11 December 2019. Pitch@Palace Global 4.0 will bring together entrepreneurs from all Pitch@Palace events that take place throughout the year.
The entrepreneurs who took part in Pitch@Palace Africa 3.0 are currently part way through an intensive programme of training and mentorship delivered by the Academy. Each year, all shortlisted entrepreneurs receive eight months of bespoke business mentoring, training, and networking opportunities, to enable them to turn their prototypes into profitable businesses with genuine economic and social impact.
In June 2019, the Africa Prize finalists will present their pitches at an event held in Kampala, Uganda, with the winner receiving £25,000 and three runners-up each, awarded £10,000.