USADF Empowering 50 Young African Entrepreneurs with $1,250,000 to Invest in their Social Ventures

Meet the 2016 USADF Business Plan Winners for YALI! These winners represent 22 countries and sectors ranging from agriculture and health to finance and tech. 

Meet the 2016 USADF Business Plan Winners for YALI! These winners represent 22 countries and sectors ranging from agriculture and health to finance and tech. 


The U.S. African Development Foundation is providing the next generation of young African leaders with a $1.25M grant program of seed capital to start or expand their social enterprises.

2016 USADF YALI Entrepreneurship Grant Winners and Judges

Washington, D.C.—August 2, 2016— Entrepreneurs from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), will be returning home with $1,250,000 in seed capital awarded by the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF). This year’s 50 winners from over twenty countries will be using these funds to launch or grow their business ventures to tackle social problems. These young leaders are already creating jobs, solving social issues with business solutions, and impacting thousands of Africans in their communities. On Monday, August 1, the 2016 YALI Entrepreneurship winners were officially announced at an awards dinner hosted by USADF, and held at Halcyon House in Washington, D.C.

Shortly before the 2016 YALI Summit on August 1-3, the grants winners were notified they had just won up to $25,000 in seed capital. Carolyne Ekyarisiima, founder of Apps and Girls, said, “I’m excited to partner with USADF who are investing in the future of Tanzanian girls.”

Another YALI Fellow, Miriam Odabe of Esteem Rice and Mill in Nigeria, said, “I’m exceptionally glad to be given this opportunity by USADF to be able to transform the agricultural sector of Nigeria and enhance self-sustainability in my country.”

The YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship is empowering exceptional young people, ages 25-35, who are already leaders in their fields. For the class of 2016, 1,000 African leaders were competitively selected from over 50,000 applicants to receive advanced training at top U.S. academic institutions. The program is providing the opportunity for this next generation of leaders in civil society, business and government to come to the United States to develop their professional and leadership skills. The USADF YALI Entrepreneurship Grants are a tangible part of continuing this catalytic program in Africa through mentoring, training, networking and professional placements.  

This $1,250,000 in grant funding is part of USADF’s $7.5 million commitment over three years to fund young African entrepreneurs’ who are launching and expanding their businesses and social ventures across Sub-Saharan Africa.

 List of 2016 USADF YALI Entrepreneurship Grant Winners

Power And Influence

+ EVANS ODUHO Navitas Global Water, South Sudan

+ GEORGE BAKKA Angels Initiative, Uganda

+ JAMES TARNUE JR iCount Liberia, Liberia

+ KABIR OLAJIDE Adunni Water Factory, Nigeria

+ LATJOR CHUOL YAL Africa - Potable Water, South Sudan

+ MINASE FAYE Warka Payments, Ethiopia

+ MIXON FALUWEKI Padoko Electronics Bike Lights, Malawi

+ MORWESI RAMONYAI Borena Watt a Woman Coop, South Africa

+ PAUL NKUMBULA Mabo Village Energy Exchange, Zambia

+ PETER NYAMAI XP Water Tank, Kenya

+ STEPHENNETTE TAYLOR New World Finance, Liberia

+ WES OWITI Cherehani Initiative, Kenya


Good Food

+ BERNARD ODURO Omanbapa Agripreneurship, Ghana

+ LINCOLN PEEDAH Neat Meat Guinea Fowls, Ghana

+ MIRIAM ODABE Esteem Rice and Mill, Nigeria

+ NOBUKHOSI NDLOVU Nutrie Foods, Zimbabwe

+ NOEL SOME Agriss, Burkina Faso

+ ORIANE BADA Green Garden Farm, Benin

+ OURA BOURAIMA Gardens of Hope, Benin

+ STANLEY ALPHONCE SmartFit Meal Cards, Tanzania

+ TSIFERANA RAZAFIMANDIMBY Cassava Bread Factory, Madagascar

+ VIOLET ACUMO Fresh N Peeled, Uganda

+ YESSE OLJANGE Avomeru Group, Tanzania


Healthy Communities

+ ADJO DEDE ASARE Alfie Designs, Ghana

+ ALLEGRIA NTUMBA Eco-Propre, Congo, Democratic Republic of the (DRC)

+ AUXIRIA MWANZA African Hive Camping + Tours, Zambia

+ BRENDA KATWESIGYE Wazi Vision, Uganda


+ EBUNOLUWA FARINDE Oge-Ibile, Nigeria

+ FLORENCE TOFFA Mobile Web Ghana, Ghana

+ HELLEN MUNIS Nuya’s Essence, Tanzania

+ HONORÉ ESSOH Bouyou Animated TV Series, Cote d’Ivoire

+ KAMRU AMIN GasoPharm, Uganda



+ MESAY LICHE New Preschool, Ethiopia

+ TAFANGY RAKOTONDRAIBE Aeromedical Health Center, Madagascar

+ TIDIANE BALL Melisant - Doctix, Mali



+ ABOUBACAR TOURE Wutiko, Senegal

+ ANGE IRANKUNDA Earth’s Swagg, Burundi

+ CAROLYNE EKYARISIIMA Apps and Girls, Tanzania

+ DYSMUS KISILU Solar Freeze, Kenya

+ EMILE UWEZOWAMUNGU Innova Group, Burundi

+ GEORGES KOUMBASSA Addition Group, Guinea

+ KUDZAI SAKAJERO Umba Create Hub, Zimbabwe

+ NAZEEM JUNGGEE 1950 Design & Print, Mauritius

+ NURU MURO, Tanzania

+ SIMON MALUGU Power Token Incubators, Tanzania

+ TAITA NGETICH Illuminum Greenhouses, Kenya

+ TSHIAMO DICHABE Thari Hydroponics, South Africa


The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is supporting young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.  This public-private partnership is empowering young people (ages 18-35) through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking opportunities in the U.S. and Africa. 

Since 2014, USADF has directly supported 95 YALI entrepreneurs, providing them with over $2.0M of grant funding to launch and expand their businesses across Africa.  These businessmen and women are working across sectors, from health and education, to IT and agribusiness to sell goods and services, create jobs, train youth, and increase incomes.  As winners of our business plan competitions, they have been eligible for Entrepreneurship Grants of $10K to $25K each.

In August, USADF will announce the outcome of the 2016 YALI Entrepreneurship Grants Program, which will be awarding up to $1.25M to up to 50 YALI Mandela Washington Fellows who are pursuing business and entrepreneurship.

In September, USADF will open a new grants competition,  which will be open to delegates who have completed training with the YALI Regional Leadership Center – East Africa.  Eligible entrepreneurs will be contacted directly by USADF at that time. 

Past Fellows

Selected from nearly 50,000 applications in 2014 and nearly 30,000 in 2015, the Mandela Washington Fellows represent the extraordinary promise of an emerging generation of entrepreneurs, activists, and public officials. USADF has awarded $1.9M in grant funding to 75 entrepreneurs selected from the 2014 and 2015 classes of YALI Mandela Washington Fellows, President Obama’s flagship program to train, encourage, and connect exceptional young African leaders in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.  The winners of USADF’s business plan competitions are each putting their grants of up to $25K to use in their social and business ventures -- by creating jobs, increasing incomes, and tackling challenges in their communities and countries.

Meet some of our 2015 YALI Entrepreneurs:


  • 2015 YALI Entrepreneurs Fact Sheet here
  • 2014 YALI Entrepreneurs Fact Sheet here
  • 2014 YALI Grant Winner Videos here