Uganda’s John Samuel Ewotu, CEO of Wot Art, a company started through the Junior Achievement Company Program, traveled to Accra, Ghana to receive the grand prize on behalf of his company. The prize was the 2019 Out of School Company of the Year Grand Prize as well as the Facebook Digital Media Marketing Award, which comes with a cash award and Facebook Ads Credit. Wot Art produces footwear, jewelry, backpacks, bow and neckties, and customized apparel made from Ankara (African print) fabric.
Every year, JA Africa invites JA alumni and other young entrepreneurs across Africa to participate in the JA Africa Out of School Youth (OOSY) competition. The competition, which is a collaboration between JA Africa and Facebook, aims to encourage youth entrepreneurship in Africa by giving young people the chance to showcase their entrepreneurial acumen and win capital to grow their businesses. The competition also enhances the knowledge and skills of competitors in using digital platforms to market their products and services by offering them free courses through Facebook’s Blueprint platform.
In this second year of the OOSY competition, 14 young African entrepreneurs from six African countries submitted entries. Competitors were required to complete a business profile, a 2-minute video advertisement, and build a strong Facebook business page. The submissions were reviewed by a volunteer panel of judges which included Marie-Louise Favre (Consultant at Oliver Wyman), Phil Oduor (Policy Programs Manager at Facebook), Uyoyo Edosio (Senior Education, Innovation and Skills Development Expert at the African Development Bank), and Zeliya Tamboura (Deputy Communications Manager at IAMGOLD Corporation).
Wot Art received its award at the 2019 Company of the Year Competition held in Accra, Ghana from December 4th-6th. The prize was presented by Ebele Okobi, Public Policy Director for Africa, Middle East & Turkey at Facebook and JA Africa Board Member. John is an alumnus of JA and is currently a student at the prestigious African Leadership Academy in South Africa.
Second place went to Pollucare Cleaners, an environment conservation startup, based out of Mombasa, Kenya, that is working to advance SDG 11.6, which is to reduce the adverse environmental impact of cities, including air quality, municipal and other waste management. The company provides door-to-door garbage collection services to households and businesses, and also runs public awareness campaigns on environmental conservation.
Young Africans increasingly depend on entrepreneurship for job creation, given the reality that economies on the continent are not creating as many jobs as the countries are graduating children from school. Research also indicates that young entrepreneurs are most likely to hire their peers. Junior Achievement and Facebook believe in investing in these young entrepreneurs as engines of closing the wide unemployment gap. Junior Achievement Africa is a non-profit organization which prepares youth for the world of work through entrepreneurship education, workforce readiness and financial literacy training.