Legatum-Africa-AwardsLegatum, a private international investment group and Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm, recently announced the selection of 10 companies as finalists of the 2011 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship .A record three Nigerian companies have been named to the top ten, including First Atlantic Semiconductors and Microelectronics , a technology company based in Owerri; Chocolate City , a media enterprise based in Abuja; and Pepperoni Foods .a food services company based in Port Harcourt.

A record 3,300 companies from 48African 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 8thin Nairobi. 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.

“The Africa Awards celebrate 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. “Such diversity shows that Africa’s outstanding business leaders are not constrained by geography, gender or ambition.”

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

–       Securico, Zimbabwe

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. Convergence Africa will be headlined by globally-renowned champions of entrepreneurship Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group; Tony O. Elumelu MFR, former Group CEO of United Bank for Africa, and Chairman of Heirs Holdings Group; and Fred Swaniker, Founder of the African Leadership Academy. Convergence Africa will take place on December 8th at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi.  Tickets and information for both the conference and the Gala Banquet are available at www.ConvergenceAfrica.com .

The official sponsors of Convergence Africa and the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship are Legatum, Omidyar Network, the Coca-Cola Company, and Kenya Airways.

We wish the finalists especially the technology company- FASMicro limited the best!

Read about FASMicro Limited here

Kenneth Omeruo
Omeruo Ndukaku Kenneth is an Innovation Management expert,the CEO of Emerging Media,a new media company.He is a member of ISPIM - International Society for Professional Innovation Management and the US-Africa chamber of Commerce.He is the Founder of TechTrends Nigeria Blog,Nigeria Innovation Summit and the African Innovation Academy.Kenneth is a highly sought-after Internet Marketing Consultant who has through his seminars, articles, training and consulting, helped many organizations, Individuals, Businesses maximize the Internet for business purposes.Kenneth has also being featured as a guest on the TV show TODAY ON STV Nigeria and on Bloomberg Africa TV.He is the author of the best –selling Internet Book: How To Create Unlimited Internet Wealth. He is a syndicated columnist with the following Newspapers in Nigeria: Daily Independent, Financial Standard, PUNCH, BusinessDay, and Sun.Kenneth organises the EduNet Conference for Universities in Nigeria. Kenneth is a member of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria( ISPON ) Roundtable For Capacity Development in Nigeria,member pre-selection committee for Nigeria at the UN World Summit Awards,a Panelist for Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria(YouWIN)-a Federal government initiative created by the ministry of finance,supported by ministries of Communications Technology,Youth Development,Worldbank and DFID. A 2013 Judge at the Google Cloud Developers Challenge for Sub Saharan Africa.He has been a contributing editor of Nigeria Communications Week,Africa Telecom and IT Business Magazine,ICT Today magazine,M2 magazine.Kenneth has been invited to the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Forum, Oracle Open World Conference USA, Oracle Cloud World Dubai, and GITEX Dubai. He now lives in New York with his family and presently working on an Open Innovation project for Nigeria. You can contact Kenneth through email: (kenneth (at)techtrendsng.com) Facebook:www.facebook.com/Kenneth.omeruo On Twitter:www.twitter.com/kennethomeruo Skpe:Kenneth.Omeruo

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