Hekima Inc., a software development company started by JA students from Maranatha Christian High School in Zimbabwe have emerged grand prize winners at the 2022 JA Africa Company of the Year Competition (COY). On a mission to make education accessible to all, Hekima Inc. created Study Buddie, an app designed to help students develop better study habits. They took home a trophy, cash prizes totaling $2,000, several other awards and a ticket to compete globally against COY winners from five other continents at JA Worldwide’s Ralph De la Vega Global Entrepreneurship competition for $15,000, educational opportunities, and more. This was announced at the Awards Ceremony of the Competition held at Eko Hotels & Suites in Lagos, Nigeria.
Second and third place winners were Green Apex from Nigeria, who made reusable and biodegradable sanitary pads, and Time Out Company from Eswatini, which produced a power monitor called Smart Switch which works hand in hand with a mobile app to help conserve electricity consumption in households respectively. In addition to these finalist awards, deserving teams received awards by Headline Sponsors: FedEx, Citi Foundation and PMIEF; Platinum Sponsors: Bloomberg, Johnson & Johnson, Delta Air Lines and FirstBank Nigeria; and Gold Sponsors: Tomorrow Foundation, Nascon Allied Industries, GB Foods and Rise.
“We have really been blown away by the level of innovation this year,” said Simi Nwogugu, CEO, JA Africa. “We gave the students a challenge to develop businesses with solutions to the world’s greatest threats and they rose to the challenge spectacularly. I am so proud of all the teams competing this week and wish Hekima Inc. the very best in winning the global competition. I am deeply grateful to the judges who had the difficult job of selecting winners and to all our sponsors who made it possible for each team to go home with at least one prize.”
Other prizes won during the Awards ceremony include:
FedEx Global Possibilities Award – Green Apex (Nigeria)
Citi Foundation Client Focus Award – Time Out (Eswatini)
PMIEF Project Management Award – Hekima Inc. (Zimbabwe)
Changemaker Award from Bloomberg – Kibega (Tanzania)
Johnson & Johnson Innovation Award – Green Apex (Nigeria)
Delta Air Lines Social Impact Award – City Multi Stars (Uganda)
FirstBank FutureFirst Award for Finance – Green Apex (Nigeria)
Tomorrow Foundation Future Tech Award – Hekima Inc. (Zimbabwe)
Nascon Entrepreneurial Excellence Award – Aquatech (Kenya)
GB Foods Rising Leaders Award – Koko Georgies (Tanzania), Millicent Kusi-Adjei (Ghana) and Shadreck Gift Sakala (Zambia)
The Rise Award – Hekima Inc. (Zimbabwe)
Public Choice Award – Green Apex (Nigeria)
Marking the 12th Edition, COY, Africa’s largest high school entrepreneurship competition, brought together nine winning teams from Eswatini, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe for an intense three-day business pitch competition. The young entrepreneurs brought their A-game, impressing the judges with their business solutions to the challenges being faced within their schools and communities.
Uche Pedro, the Founder and CEO of entertainment and lifestyle media tech brand, Bella Naija, was the Keynote Speaker at the Awards Ceremony. Addressing the students, she said, “I have been privy and witnessed rapid innovations over the last decade. Innovations that have been leveraged to build successful companies. As we look at what my generation has done, I can say with utmost confidence, looking at the COY finalists, that we have changemakers that are going to change the world.”
Mr. Charles Olumuyiwa Moyela, JA Africa’s Board Chair, in his remarks said, “Our dream is to have JA in all the 54 countries in Africa and that tells you the gap we have to fill. We need to do more. My hope is that by this time next year, JA Africa will expand to five to six more countries and the next five to ten years, expand to more than half the continent.”
The JA Africa Company of the Year competition is JA Africa’s annual celebration of the achievements of young entrepreneurs in the region. Students who participate in the competition have received entrepreneurship training while in school through the JA Company Program which enables young people to understand the role of business in the global economy by allowing them to organize and operate an actual business enterprise.
For more information, visit: www.ja-africa.org/coy2022