Africa’s Brightest Young Entrepreneurs Get Their Chance to Shine

Pat Mahlangu

“This awards program is about giving these young trailblazers their flowers while they’re still building their empires…”

The youth entrepreneurship movement sweeping across Africa is about to get a major spotlight. Nominations are opening on April 17th for the 3rd annual Top 16 Youth Owned-Brands Awards, and this year’s edition is going continental.

For the first time, the prestigious program recognizing excellence in youth-led businesses and brands will feature a “Top Pan African Brands” category. It’s an open invitation for daring young founders and creators from every corner of Africa to step into the limelight.

In an exclusive interview with SA POSITIVE NEWS Pat Mahlangu, founder of the Top 16 Youth Owned-Brands Awards revealed the intention for the awards.

“We want to shatter perceptions and show the world the incredible entrepreneurial spirit driving Africa’s young innovators”.

“Their brands and companies are key drivers of economic growth and positive change.”

Mahlangu emphasized the deeper meaning behind this Pan-African embrace: “The youth of 1976 waged a political struggle for freedom. Today’s young Africans face an economic battle – but they aren’t sitting idle. They’re building businesses, creating jobs, and rewriting their futures with unbridled passion.”

The Top 16 awards were born from Mahlangu’s dual love of marketing and empowering young talent. What began as a humble online platform is now a major annual event series celebrating entrepreneurs aged 40 and under.

“It really does take a village to help nurture a child into building their own sustainable business and lasting legacy,” Mahlangu states. “I was fortunate to have that support system, and now my driving force is paying that forward by creating opportunities for other young visionaries.”

Along with the new continental category, the 2024 Top 16 Youth Owned-Brands Awards has refined its lineup, merging some past categories based on learnings. But core verticals like travel/tourism, education, apparel, and health/wellness remain.

As April 17th’s nominations launch nears, the excitement is palpable.

“We can’t wait to see the incredible applicants representing Africa’s entrepreneurial future. Their stories and brands will undoubtedly inspire people of all ages across the globe.”

“This awards program is about giving these young trailblazers their flowers while they’re still building their empires. They deserve mainstream recognition that can elevate their journeys to even greater heights”, said Mahlangu.

The time is now for Africa’s young business wonderkids and startup disruptors to receive their hard-earned accolades on the world stage. An unforgettable celebration of ambition, hustle, and transformative vision awaits.

By Sinenzolo Mondi – Nduku