Nairobi, December 6th, 2010 – Legatum, a privately owned international investment group and Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm, today announced that Craft Silicon Ltd. has won the US $100,000 grand prize of the 2010 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship. Based in Nairobi, Craft Silicon provides software solutions for core banking, microfinance, and electronic and mobile payments in four continents. The company is a strong example of the vital role of entrepreneurship in creating economic growth, prosperity, and opportunity in Africa.
“I am honored to join an outstanding group of entrepreneurs that have been recognized and supported by the Africa Awards,” said Kamal Budhabhatti, CEO of Craft Silicon. “I hope that my experiences, and those of my fellow finalists, can help to inspire a new generation of African entrepreneurs to take risks and persevere to build their own business.”
Five other finalists were recognized and each awarded a prize of US $50,000:
- Mellech Engineering & Construction Ltd., Nairobi, Kenya
- Planbuild Technical Services Ltd., Kampala, Uganda
- Sigma Electric PLC, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
- Tutuka Software (Pty) Ltd., Rivonia, South Africa
- Wilkins Engineering Ltd., Accra, Ghana
Alan McCormick, Managing Director of Legatum, commented, “With more than 2,700 entries from 15 different countries, this year’s Awards showcases a talented, dynamic group of entrepreneurs that distinguished themselves in an incredibly competitive field. We are pleased to recognize Craft Silicon, and all of our 2010 Award winners, for the vital contributions they have made in promoting prosperity across the continent.”
To determine the winners, finalists gathered in Nairobi to present to a prominent jury of African business leaders and investors. The panel was chaired by Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, CEO of Superflux International and winner of the 2008 Africa Awards, who presented the grand prize. The jury also included Dr. Manu Chandaria, Chairman of Comcraft Group; Dr. James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Bank; Mr. Kibuga Kariithi, Director of Afrika Investment Bank; Mr. Cyrille Nkontchou, Founder and CEO of LiquidAfrica; and Mr. Steve Beck, Co-Founder & CEO, SpringHill Equity Partners.
The competition, which was launched in July 2010, received a record number of 2,700 applications from 15 African countries: Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
“Omidyar Network and Legatum share the belief that African entrepreneurs are creating positive social impact across the continent by generating jobs, fostering innovation and fueling economic growth,” said Matt Bannick, Managing Partner of Omidyar Network. “We congratulate each of the winners for the expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity they have demonstrated in building and scaling a great company.”
Legatum is a privately owned international investment group whose primary focus is commercial investment, and which also applies its investor’s expertise to a long standing involvement in the sustainable development of communities around the globe. For more information please visit Legatum’s website at www.legatum.com.
About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $383 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, property rights, consumer internet, mobile and government transparency. To learn more about Omidyar Network, please visit www.omidyar.com.