Sahara Foundation, the personal and corporate social responsibility vehicle for Sahara Group, in collaboration with LEAP Africa, Ford Foundation, and Impact Investors Foundation celebrated its 2021-2022 Sahara Impact Fund (SIF) Fellows whose businesses are set to promote sustainable development across Africa. The Fellows were honoured at the LEAP Africa Social Innovators Programme & Awards (SIPA) ceremony which held on Thursday, 8 September 2022, at Eko Hotels & Suites, Lagos, Nigeria. This year’s SIPA event themed ‘’Reawaken, Redesign and Re-emerge: Africa Beyond Potential’, drew speakers and panelists from across Africa, Europe, and North America to discuss challenges that impede Africa’s growth and development with a keen focus on social entrepreneurship while providing novel strategies to enable the much-desired transformation.
Speaking at the event, Pearl Uzokwe, Executive Director at Sahara Foundation, lauded the Fellows for their efforts in creating innovations that promote social impact. “We are excited to be part of this transformative partnership that is committed to bringing sustainable change to the African continent. We are also proud of our Fellows who have risen above the structural limitations and social barriers to solve societal problems. I urge you to put your training to good use, think beyond the profit and focus on doing good and doing well”, Uzokwe said.
Present at the event to receive their awards, were 11 SIF Fellows from across 7 African countries. They include Aminu Moses Rex, Michael Osumune, Olawale Thompson, Aliyara Assurance Oluchi, and Oluwamayowa Salu, from Nigeria. Also awarded were James Thuch Madhier from South Sudan; Ligare Allan Muliru from Kenya; Siwelwa Lazarous from Zambia; Lamin Ceesay from The Gambia; Gadi Banda from Malawi; and Albert Moghomaye from Cameroon.
Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, Founder, LEAP Africa, commended the partners for supporting the initiative and reiterated the need for impact investments for social entrepreneurs to scale sustainably. She said, “We recognise that youth leadership and inclusion are critical to wealth creation and development across the continent’’. Nwuneli commended the African youths for leveraging their entrepreneurial abilities and innovation to solve Africa’s social problems, adding, “LEAP Africa will continue to raise and empower a movement of young African social entrepreneurs and enterprises capable of transforming Africa into the Africa of our dreams.”
Sahara Foundation, through the Sahara Impact Fund (SIF), leverages the LEAP Africa’s Social Innovators Programme to bridge the gap in social innovation and social entrepreneurship, and foster relations amongst African innovators. It serves as a platform to equip young entrepreneurs with the requisite skills, knowledge and network that enables them to scale their enterprises sustainably and, in turn, impact the society bringing about positive social change through their business ventures. The three-month Fellowship programme which combines virtual learning and in-class experiences, through its ‘governance unusual curriculum’ challenges the Fellows to be the measure ‘’for doing the right thing’’ against all odds. This inspiring mindset has the potential to turn them into impactful business leaders with the potential to influence a positive cultural paradigm shift and promote a movement of people who willingly and consistently choose to do the right thing.
The programme which helped equip Fellows with the knowledge, skills, and proven methodologies they require to improve their business models and scale profitably, ended with the recognition of outstanding SIF Fellows at the LEAP Africa Social Innovators Programme & Award Ceremony (SIPA). The Sahara Impact Fund connects social innovators to a network of potential investors, partners, clients, and customers as Sahara Foundation continues to build the next generation of leaders to accelerate Africa’s growth. With a focus on “increasing access to energy” and “building sustainable environments”, Sahara Group, through the Sahara Foundation is committed to impacting lives and building sustainable societies in Africa