Barclays sponsors the second annual Company of the Year Competition, organised by youth charity Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide.
The event kicks off today in Accra, Ghana and celebrates the success of young entrepreneurs from across Africa, including Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Students aged between 15 and 19 will showcase the companies they have created over the 2010-11 academic year, as part of the JA Company Program.
They will demonstrate their business skills, ingenuity and capacity for innovation in front of a panel of independent judges, highlighting how they have successfully developed and marketed a product or service to realise a profit for their shareholders.
Three awards up for grabs
The main award is the Africa JA Company of the Year title.
Students competing for the award will present to a panel of judges representing companies and organisations such as United Airlines, the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT and Google Ghana.
The judges will compare the student-run companies’ annual report, business presentations and trade booth display.
The second accolade – the Barclays Innovation Award – rewards the student company with the best new business idea.
Participants will compete for the accolade by presenting in front of another panel of judges, comprising Rachael Barber, Director, Barclays Global Community Investment, and senior leaders from Barclays Ghana.
Will Derban, Head of Community Relations, Barclays Africa, said: “Finding innovative solutions to local business issues is critical to business success and we hope that promoting innovation, through our Innovation Award, will encourage more young African entrepreneurs.”
The third award is the FedEx Access Award, presented to the student company with the best business plan designed to grow the business, create jobs and improve the environment.
Benjamin Dabrah, Managing Director, Barclays Ghana, said: “The development of our youth is vital to Africa’s growth.
“In our support to these awards, we are encouraging young people to realise their full potential.”
Sean C. Rush, President and CEO of JA Worldwide, added: “The 2011 African JA Company of the Year Competition provides sub-Saharan youth with important opportunities to learn and demonstrate the teamwork, leadership and innovative thinking that will help them drive success in the business world.
“Along with our sponsors FedEx and Barclays, Barclays Citizenship strategy is committed to driving economic growth and job creation across the region by giving young people the necessary skills and opportunities to help Africa thrive.”
The winners will be announced this weekend.
Barclays sponsorship of the JA Company of the Year Competition is part of a programme supporting young people in Africa to develop their enterprise and employability skills.