For the 13th consecutive year, JA Africa organized the Company of the Year Competition, bringing together 10 teams of budding entrepreneurs to Kigali, Rwanda, for three days of entrepreneurship competition. Held from December 6-8, 2023, the competition brought together 40 of Africa’s brightest teen entrepreneurs, representing Cote d’Ivoire, Eswatini, Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the host country, Rwanda. These student teams showcased a diverse array of products and services, addressing some of Africa’s most pressing issues such as climate change, food conservation, sustainability, technology, and mental health. Their presentations reflected a commitment to diverse and socially inclusive businesses, capturing the spirit of our continent. The challenge encouraged innovative businesses to align with the theme “Breaking Barriers,” emphasizing the focus on overcoming challenges, pushing boundaries, and defying limitations in the pursuit of excellence.
The grand prize at stake was the opportunity to represent the African region at the Ralph de la Vega Global Entrepreneurship Competition. This global event brings together COY winners from the six regions where JA Worldwide operates, offering a chance to compete for awards, $15,000, educational opportunities, and more.
The event commenced with a remarkable start, featuring powerful speeches, insightful panel discussions under the theme ‘Boundless,’ and a showcase of rich African culture.
Day two, labeled competition day, witnessed this year’s competitors taking the stage to pitch their business achievements. They also exhibited their products at the trade fair and underwent interviews by finalist award judges in closed boardroom sessions. The students concluded a fully packed day with seminars on Global Possibilities and Project Management facilitated by FedEx and PMIEF, respectively.
On day three, students had the opportunity for some sightseeing, starting with a campus tour and Innovation Seminar at the African Leadership University, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson. They continued to Fazenda Sengha for fun activities, including zip-lining and archery. The event culminated in an award ceremony where the COY 2023 champions were crowned, and various signature awards were bestowed upon the best-performing teams.