The prestigious JA Africa Company of the Year Competition (COY), Africa’s largest high school entrepreneurship competition, is set to return for the 13th edition. Kigali, Rwanda, will take center stage for this highly anticipated event, scheduled to take place from the 6th to 8th December, themed “Breaking Barriers.”
COY is the culminating event for JA’s highly acclaimed entrepreneurship development program, the JA Company Program, which empowers high school students to identify needs or solve problems in their community and equips them with practical skills required to conceptualize, capitalize on, and manage their own business ventures. Annually, over 30,000 students from 16 countries in Africa participate in the JA Company Program, resulting in the creation of more than 1,000 companies.
More than 500 business volunteers and mentors provide real-world experience to student-led start-ups. Teams compete nationally for an opportunity to represent their countries at the JA Africa COY competition.
Forty JA student entrepreneurs will journey to Kigali to represent their countries, where they will face the challenging task of impressing a panel of international business professionals serving as judges. They will represent Cote d’Ivoire, Eswatini, Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the host country, Rwanda.
These young entrepreneurs will compete for the prestigious title of Company of the Year, along with signature awards from sponsors and the opportunity to compete on a global stage against JA teams from five other regions for the De La Vega Global Entrepreneurship Prize. This global competition offers a $15,000 cash prize and global educational opportunities.
JA Africa’s CEO, Simi Nwogugu, said, “The stakes are particularly high this year as last year’s COY winners, Hekima Inc. from Zimbabwe, went on to win the De La Vega Global Entrepreneurship Award, becoming the first African team to achieve this feat. I am confident that we will unearth another global leader at this year’s competition. Nonetheless, I believe that these students are going to be the innovators and leaders who will drive us toward the Africa we want. My hearty gratitude goes to FedEx, Citi Foundation, PMIEF, Johnson & Johnson, Delta Air Lines, and NASCON Allied Industries for their unwavering support for this competition.”