JA Africa Celebrates One Decade of Company of the Year Program as Kingdom of eSwatini Convenes Africa-wide Virtual Competition

Accra, Ghana – JA Africa will convene Africa’s brightest high school entrepreneurs for its 10th Africa Regional Company of the Year (COY) Competition. This year, the competition is going virtual and will be broadcast live from March 25 – 27, 2021. The competition theme, “Lead to Succeed”, is inspired by the need for young people to understand that in order to lead others, they must first lead themselves; that is, demonstrate personal leadership.  Forty-four students representing 11 countries will compete for the grand prize of Company of the Year as well as branded awards. The teams will represent Côte d’Ivoire, Eswatini, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The COY competition recognizes the achievements of JA Company Program students who have, in the past year, started and run their own businesses from capitalization to liquidation. This year’s competitors have had to overcome the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to win their various National COY competitions and qualify to represent their countries at the JA Africa COY competition. The competing teams will pitch business ideas to judges while demonstrating their understanding of business and ability to articulate why their businesses performed as they did. In addition to the three finalist awards, students will also compete for several branded awards presented by the funders of the competition.

Even though a key element of the COY competition, which is the opportunity for the students to travel to a foreign country, is missing this year, the host country, eSwatini remains committed to provide a virtual experience doused with Eswatini’s rich culture. 

Adding to the excitement of this year’s competition, the Acting Prime Minister of the Kingdom of eSwatini, His Excellency Themba Masuku, and, CEO of Zoox and first black woman to head a billion dollar self-driving car company, Aicha Evans, will deliver special messages to our students and the many young people that will tune in to watch the competition. Also speaking at this year’s event are Asheesh Advani, CEO of JA Worldwide; Mr. Charles Olumuyiwa Moyela, JA Africa Board Chair; and Mrs. Nokukhanya Gamedze, Board Chair of JA Eswatini.

This year’s competition is supported by FedEx, Citi Foundation, Mastercard, Tomorrow Foundation, PMI Educational Foundation and LAWtrust, who through their support, demonstrate a commitment to empowering young Africans to own their economic future through entrepreneurship education. JA Africa’s programs expose young Africans to the world of global business and ultimately inspires them to explore entrepreneurship, not just for self-employment but job creation for others as well.

Visit www.ja-africa.org/coy2020 for more information and the competition agenda.


FedEx Corp: 

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenue of $79 billion, the company offers integrated business solutions through operating companies competing collectively, operating collaboratively and innovating digitally under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 570,000 team members to remain focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. FedEx is committed to connecting people and possibilities around the world responsibly and resourcefully, with a goal to achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2040. To learn more, please visit about.fedex.com.

Citi Foundation:
Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. Citi invests in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill its mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. www.citifoundation.com/citi/foundation 

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart, and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments, and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

Tomorrow Foundation:

Tomorrow Foundation supports African development. They harness technology and bring the most useful techniques and technologies affordably to all Africans to improve their living standards and boost the economies of African countries. 

PMI Education Fund:

PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF) is a 501(c)(3) supporting organization of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s leading not-for-profit professional membership association for those who consider project, program, or portfolio management their profession. Founded in 1990, PMIEF cultivates long-term relationships with nonprofits across the globe to help them integrate project management in their youth programs and to build their own project management capacity. The foundation achieves its mission to “enable youth to realize their potential and transform lives through project management” and its vision for “inspiring youth to achieve their goals, making dreams a reality” by investing in high-quality organizations that exemplify a commitment to preparing young people for 21st century success and an appreciation for both the societal application and value of project management. Visit the PMIEF Partner page on PMIEF.org for more information. 


LAWtrust is Africa’s leading trust centre, security integrator and security solutions developer and also the company responsible for South Africa’s new national smart ID cards. With more than 20 years’ experience, LAWtrust’s CEO Christi Maherry lives and breathes everything related to tech, entrepreneurship, leadership as well as youth- and female-empowerment. Christi is a Board member of Junior Achievement Africa.

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