MONROVIA, Montserrado – A young Liberian female entrepreneur, Satta Wahab, has been listed as a finalist for the 2017 Anzisha Price.
Africa’s premier award for young entrepreneurs recognizes those who have developed and implemented innovative solutions to social challenges or started successful businesses within their communities. Each year, 15 finalists from across Africa win a spot in a lifelong fellowship to accelerate their path to entrepreneurship success.
The founder and CEO of Naz Naturals, Wahab is among this year’s cohort of young African entrepreneurs who emerged as finalists from a field of more than 800 applicants for the seventh iteration of the award.
At Naz Naturals, the 21-year-old entrepreneur produces organic shea butter-based hair care products. The company focuses especially on encouraging its users to embrace the natural beauty of textured hair and forego western standards of beauty which lean towards permed and chemically altered hair.
Launched in 2016 with US$50, Wahab said her business is now worth at least US$10,000. She hopes to see her products being exported out of the country soon.
Wahab told The Bush Chicken in an interview that she hopes her participation in the program would serve as a motivation for many other young Liberians who want to impact society through their work and innovative ideas.
She is also aiming for the first-place prize, which will grant her US$25,000 to grow her business to include products such as shampoos, conditioners, and other hair care products.
Wahab also plans to expand a mentorship program that her organization has initiated to motivate other young women to contribute meaningfully to the society.
She said at least 10 percent of profits generated from product sales is used to support the mentorship program.
She encouraged her peers to see her as a motivation to defeat perceptions that young women are not capable of making greater impact in society.
Supported by the African Leadership Academy in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, the Anzisha Prize celebrates and cultivates the next generation of young African entrepreneurial leaders who are creating job opportunities, solving local development problems and driving economies.
Selected from 14 countries, nearly half of all candidates are young women, representing sectors as diverse as clean energy, agriculture, waste recycling, and youth empowerment. Wahab is the first Liberian to participate in the competition.
Fellows will benefit from an all-expenses paid trip to South Africa to be a part of a ten-day entrepreneurship workshop and conference at the African Leadership Academy campus on the outskirts of Johannesburg.
The grand prize winners, selected from these finalists, will share prizes worth US$100,000. The fellowship continues thereafter, with business consulting services offered to help the young entrepreneurs unlock growth potential in their ventures. They will also be connected to a global network of leaders, along with access to global speaking opportunities.
Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah