Winner of the African Innovation Prize "Enterprise Sierra Leone" Scheme announced, sponsored by De La Rue

AT THE END OF A SUCCESSFUL WEEK OF ENTREPRENEURIAL EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS, MABEL FATU, A BESPOKE DESIGNER BAG COMPANY THAT USES ONLY NATURAL AFRICAN MATERIALS AND RESOURCES HAS BEEN AWARDED AFRICAN INNOVATION PRIZE’S “ENTERPRISE SIERRA LEONE 2013”. THE WINNER RECEIVES 13 MILLION LEONES (LE) FOR DEVELOPING THIS WINNING BUSINESS IDEA AS PART OF THE BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION. THE EVENT WAS SPONSORED BY DE LA RUE AND ORGANISED IN COLLABORATION WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF SIERRA LEONE.

Freetown: 16 September 2013

The African Innovation Prize (AIP) is a charitable organisation aiming to inspire entrepreneurship and provide grass roots funding for potential new initiatives. Following a successful piloted scheme in 2012, AIP ran a week long interactive training session and workshop themed for young budding entrepreneurs from universities across Sierra Leone from the 2nd to the 6th September 2013.

“Enterprise Sierra Leone 2013” involved a busy schedule of training and workshops with local business leaders sharing their experiences and providing advice and frameworks for the students and entrepreneurs to consider when starting a business.

The winner, Miss Sunah Keili, was announced on Friday 6th September, with a prize of Le 13 million awarded as start up funds for her innovative business idea. The awards ceremony which took place in the Sierra Leone Library Board and was attended by a number of VIPs including Marbey Sartie from the UNDP Youth Employment and Empowerment Programme and Lola Aforo, the Public Relations Officer and Director of CAPS USL. Business Plan Award was presented by Tony Mullen, Key Accounts Director of the De La Rue Solutions business unit.

Sunah’s business idea entitled “Mabel Fatu” focuses on the development of a bespoke designer bag company using all natural African materials and resources. The standard of all entries was extremely high but the “Mabel Fatu” idea was felt to also be extremely innovative and represented strong entrepreneurship skills.

Sierra Leone is a long standing customer of De La Rue, a company that has worked in partnership with the country for more than fifty years and delivered a number of projects including Banknotes, National Identity Cards, Immigration Visas and also the nation’s Passport.

Tony Mullen commented “ De La Rue is proud to support the African Innovation Prize programme and Enterprise Sierra Leone 2013, helping to develop young entrepreneurial talent in a country where we have a long established relationship built over many years. It is an honour to be working in Sierra Leone and we are delighted to be able to show a continued clear commitment to the country, its progress and future development.”

ABOUT African Innovation Prize

The African Innovation Prize (AIP) is a UK based registered non-profit organization founded by Cambridge University Graduates in 2010 to spur student innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa, through university based business planning competitions. We aim to encourage students to DREAM, DESIGN, and DEDICATE themselves to their business ideas by providing a world-class business plan competition, supported by focused training tailored for students. We develop connections between students and the local enterprise community through seeding entrepreneurship clubs within universities, and brokering mentorship between students and local business leaders.

ABOUT Enterprise Sierra Leone

With the support of De La Rue, the African Innovation Prize (AIP) piloted its entrepreneurship programme in Sierra Leone in 2012. Building on this success, 2013 has seen the African Innovation Prize repeat the business plan competition that is at its core, and introduce the inaugural Enterprise Sierra Leone 2013; a five day interactive training workshop for budding young entrepreneurs from across Sierra Leone.

Enterprise Sierra Leone 2013 provides students the opportunity to develop business ideas in a safe environment surrounded by peers with similar interests. The week itself consists of training sessions given by local business leaders and entrepreneurship champions from Sierra Leone, sharing their experiences and providing advice and guidance on key aspects of developing business ideas. Enterprise Sierra Leone 2013 culminates with the 2013 AIP Business Plan competition Award Ceremony where one winner is awarded 13,000,000 Leones to help start-up their business idea.

ABOUT De La Rue plc

As the world’s largest integrated commercial banknote printer, De La Rue is a trusted partner of governments, central banks, issuing authorities and commercial organisations around the world.

The Group has in recent years been involved in the design or production of over 150 national currencies. De La Rue also produces a wide range of security documents including passports, driving licences, authentication labels and tax stamps. In addition, the Group manufactures sophisticated, high speed cash sorting and inspection equipment. De La Rue also offers a range of specialist services and software solutions including government identity schemes, product authentication systems and cash management processing solutions. De La Rue employs approximately 4,000 people worldwide and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For further information:

Rob Hutchison
Group Director of Communications, De La Rue
Tel: +44 (0) 1256 605018
Email: [email protected]

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