CATEGORY SEVEN: AFRICA’S BEACON OF HOPE AWARDS FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY REDUCTION- TO RECOGNIZE TOP-TEN AFRICANS WHO GIVE THEIR TIME AND RESOURCES TOWARDS BUILDING YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS, POVERTY REDUCTION AND SOCIETY TRANSFORMING INITIATIVES IN AFRICA.

They Awardees are:

Mark Shuttleworth, is a South African investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist who has a driving force that pulls him toward giving out his resources to help bring innovations to limelight. He is a man of risk who can sacrifice a whole lot to impact lives and has made an estimated donation of $45 million to charity causes that are geared towards building a transformed society.

After selling his company, Thawte, an online security firm, for about $575 million in 2002, he gave away more than $25 million for development and distribution of free-open source software through his Ubuntu Foundation. He also launched the Shuttleworth Foundation to help fund aspiring and active change makers in the society and donated $20 million through the Shuttleworth Foundation to assist creative and purpose driving individuals in South Africa actualize their dreams.

The foundation’s most recent published annual report indicates that in 2013, it granted $4 million which was distributed to recipients (called “fellows”) in the United States, the Isle of Man, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The average funding amount per fellow was $362,053. The areas of focus for most program applicants were education, technology, social development, entrepreneurship, and healthcare.

Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu (born 22 March 1963) is a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp Group and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. Elumelu holds the Nigerian national honours, the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR). He was recognised as one of "Africa's 20 Most Powerful People in 2012" by Forbes magazine.

Following his retirement from UBA in 2010, Elumelu founded Heirs Holdings, which invests in the financial services, energy, real estate and hospitality, agribusiness and healthcare sectors. In 2011, Heirs Holdings acquired a controlling interest in the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), a publicly quoted conglomerate that has business interests in the agribusiness, energy, and hospitality sectors. Elumelu was subsequently appointed chairman of the corporation.

In 2010, Chief Tony Elumelu established the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an Africa-based and African-funded philanthropic organisation dedicated to the promotion of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship, and enhancing the competitiveness of the private sector across Africa. The Tony Elumelu Foundation, deploys its resources to generate solutions to challenges that inhibit the growth of the African private sector. Through its commitment to catalytic philanthropy, the Foundation seeks to achieve its mission by enhancing the capacity of African businesses, supporting and driving policies that promote competitiveness, deploying financial capital through impact investments, and educating public and private sector actors through rigorous research.

There is also the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme which gives startup enterprise toolkit. The start-ups will be assigned a TEF mentor who will dedicate time and share their business experiences, listen to their mentee’s goals and expectations and provide guidance and support throughout the programme. They will keep the startups on track to complete their business plans and to help them build a business with a solid foundation.

Tony Elumelu Foundation hosts an annual entrepreneurship Forum to showcase the African startups to a global audience of entrepreneurs, incubators, businesses, corporations, government, investors, academia and foundations. It will be a time of engagement, networking, learning and inspiration for start-ups as they conclude their TEF tenure, and a chance to hear from world renowned executives, scholars and entrepreneurs.

Eric Kinoti is a Kenyan entrepreneur born in Mombasa on 8 March 1984. Eric is the Founder and CEO of Shade systems EA. Ltd, a multimillion-dollar enterprise that has a presence in over 6 countries. He is also on the boards of several prominent East African companies and has won several awards and recognition in East Africa and internationally for his entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavours. He is the Kenyan youth patron in the Kenyan chambers of commerce and received recognition as a youth entrepreneur from Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Eric Kinoti has appeared in Forbes 40 Under 40 Most Promising African Entrepreneurs twice, and was also named in Forbes 30 Under 30 Most Promising African Entrepreneurs In 2014. In the same year, he received the SOMA Awards-2014 Most Influential SME Personality.

Eric Kinoti immersed himself into entrepreneurism completely in 2007. W a capital of just KSh 20,000 (about $200), he started buying milk from Kinoo and Kiambu and supplying the city hotels both in Nairobi and Mombasa. After a saving of Ksh 60,000 (US$600), he borrowed almost KSh 2 million (US$20,000) from a Shylock in 2009, to set up Shade Systems where he ended up paying back the money with a million shillings (US$10,000) as the interest. He claims that was the worst decision he has ever made.

Today, Kinoti sits atop five powerful companies in Kenya and has been on Kenya's government delegation to several international economic meetings. Apart from Shade systems (EA) ltd,Eric Kinoti is also a founder and director of Alma Tents Ltd, Bag Base Kenya Ltd and SafiSana Home Services Ltd. Having gone through hard times and a lot of challenges, Kinoti's now has the desire to motivate and mentor young entrepreneurs and start-ups to break through. He has been organizing workshops for young entrepreneurs across Africa named Entrepreneurs' Boot Camp with speakers from all parts of Africa.

Prince Arthur Eze is a Nigerian business man reputed to be one of the wealthiest men in Africa. He is the Chairman and CEO of Atlas Oronto Petroleum, an oil and gas firm with operations in Nigeria and several other African countries, including Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, Ivory Coast, Chad, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. He founded the company in 1991.

The renowned businessman who hails from the eastern part of Nigeria, donated 1 billion naira ($6.4 million) to flood relief efforts at the launching of the presidential committee in 2012.

Prince Arthur Eze also doled out the sum of $1m to support the on-going crackdown on criminals in Anambra State. Making the donation in his palatial home of Ukpo in Dunukofia Kingdom of Anambra State, Prince Eze explained that the gesture was intended to encourage Governor Obiano’s efforts to make Anambra State a habitable and business-friendly environment for all. He also pledged the sum of one billion naira to support the state government’s agricultural programme to engage more youths. The famous philanthropist has also at different fora, donated large amounts towards the development of higher education and other society transforming initiatives.

Ashish J. Thakkar (Arabic: أشيش تاكر) is a fourth generation Indian entrepreneur in Uganda. He is the founder of Mara Group and Mara Foundation, and he is a co-founder of Atlas Mara. The Mara Foundation is a non-profit company that mentors and supports young African entrepreneurs. He also he launched the Mara Mentor In 2009 in 2009 through the Mara Foundation. Mara Mentor is a mobile application that connects young entrepreneurs with business professionals, was launched.

Ashish Thakkar was born in the United Kingdom, but he moved to East Africa as a teenager before founding Mara Group at the age of 15. Mara Group is a Pan-African multi-sector business services company. It operates in the technology, financial services, manufacturing, real estate & agriculture industries and is now active in 24 countries and employs more than 11,000 people. Mara Group is headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Thakkar is a member of the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders, and was featured on Fortune Magazine's list of the top "40 Under 40" in 2013. He was awarded the Base Leadership Award at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards event. and Esquire Magazine names Ashish Thakkar Middle East Man of the Year in 2016. In 2015, Thakkar was appointed Chair of the United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council.

Thakkar began his business by importing computer parts including keyboards, mouses, and desktops from weekly trips to Dubai. After he had received a $5,000 loan to start his company, he opened the small IT business in a shopping mall across the street from his father's shop in Kampala. Over the next ten years, Thakkar expanded Mara Group into manufacturing, real estate, agriculture and IT services. Thakkar later relocated the company headquarters to Dubai, but kept business in Africa.

"Swaleh Nguru" Sherman (Arabic: عوض صالح شرمان‎‎; born October 4, 1932) is a Kenyan business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He is of Yemeni descent and started out from humble beginnings as a fish monger selling Kingfish "Nguru". Awadh is recognized by the Government of Kenya and the United Nations for his philanthropic efforts in protecting and helping Somali refugees, and for his conservational efforts around Kenya. He is a leading conservationist in Kenya protecting over 100,000 hectares of forest and wildlife. His most notable conservancy is in Kipini, Nairobi Ranch and the Swaleh Nguru Camp which he donated to the UNHCR to settle and provide for refugees.

Awadh’s father, Saleh Sherman, was a taxi driver, and Awadh would from time to time help out his father with his work. This led to Awadh's love for cars. At an early age, he set up a bicycle repair shop in Tudor, which later became Swaleh Nguru Garage, repairing and selling second hand vehicles. He later, invested heavily into real estate, construction and ranching. At one point, he owned a third of Mombasa Island, mainly the town of Majengo. He later subdivided the land into sub-plots and sold them.

Awadh is the founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kilindini Warehouses and AGRO Processors, which are some of the major corporations in his conglomerate. He owns one of the largest sisal plantations in Kenya at Taru, making him the main sisal producer and exporter. He also owns several large real estates in Kenya.

Mosunmola Abudu, usually known as Mo Abudu, is a Nigerian talk show host, TV producer, media personality, human resources management consultant, entrepreneur and a philanthropist. She has been described by Forbes as "Africa's Most Successful Woman"

Abudu started off her career in the UK as a recruitment consultant in 1987. She went on to work for the Starform Group, managing the Corporate Credit Management Exhibition from 1990 to 1992. In 1993 she joined Arthur Andersen for Esso Exploration & Production Nigeria Limited (now ExxonMobil) to head their Human Resources and Training unit. She left in 2000 to establish a privately owned specialist human resources development company known as Vic Lawrence & Associates Limited (popularly known as VLA). While running VLA, Abudu developed an executive training centre at the Protea Hotel, Oakwood Park, Lagos]

Abudu is the Executive Producer & host of a TV talk show, ‘Moments with Mo’ which is the first syndicated daily talk show on African regional television. She is also the founder of The Inspire Africa Foundation, a human investment arm of Inspire Africa Ltd. It is registered as a non-profit organisation focused on raising funds to implement society-transforming initiatives. In January 2009, the Inspire Africa Foundation alongside Moments with Mo, the Lagos State Government and UNICEF held a telethon and a charity benefit concert with the theme "Rock with a Conscience". Donations from the concert have gone towards the protection of street children.

The Foundation has opened a charity store branded "The Designers Outlet for Charity", which opened on 5 December 2009 in Lagos. The foundation is also developing a children's shelter called "The Harbour".

In recognition of her work in diverse fields especially the media, and her service to humanity, she has been honoured with many laurels. These include recognition by Forbes Media as the first African woman to launch a Pan-Africa TV channel; and Entrepreneur of the Year award by Women Werk in New York, among others.

Jack Rich Tein is a Nigerian business entrepreneur and investor who had been in business for 16 years as a provider of oil engineering services. He is also a renowned philanthropist who channels his philanthropic works through his foundation, the Jack Rich -Tein Study Foundation. The foundation shares the dream that Nigeria shall become a prosperous country where every child will grow up with the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. Their mission is to provide access to education to financially disadvantaged but academically sound students in rural areas.

Jack is also the chairman of Belema oil Producing Limited and J+G Global Gas & Oilfield Ltd, the companies which directly funds the Jack Rich -Tein Study Foundation scholarships.

The foundation’s efforts primarily focus on supporting programs and projects that promote the education of students from indigent families and offer scholarships from secondary schools to universities to any student (s) that meets the selection criteria. The scholarship programme sponsors Nigerian students to study both in Nigeria and in foreign universities.

His foundation also give help to people in need, give financial support to widows and the physically challenged to enable them empower themselves and transform their society.

Ms. Sharon Wapnick is chairman at Octodec Investments Ltd. and Senior Partner at Tugendhaft Wapnick Banchetti & Partners. She is on the board of directors at City Property Administration Pty Ltd and IPS Investments Pty Ltd. Ms. Wapnick was previously employed as Non-Executive Chairman by Premium Properties Ltd.

Sharon is the daughter of the billionaire, Alec Wapnick, who started the property management company- City Property in 1968, Sharon Wapnick inherited her wealth from her father. She is one of the largest individual shareholders in Octodec Investments and Premium Properties, both property loan stock companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Her company, Octodec, owns Killarney Mall, with children and a teacher from the Thembelenkosini Care Givers in Senaoane in Soweto. Shoppers generously donated new and used stationery in bins located around the mall. These donations went to the Thembelenkosini Care Givers in Senaoane, Soweto.

Thembelenkosini is a registered non-profit organisation and their mission is to physically, emotionally, creatively and intellectually enhance the lives of children in the community of Senaoane. Many of these children are orphaned and, to them, Thembelenkosini is not just a care facility, they rely on them for food, love and education to get through the school year.

Igho Charles Sanomi II (born 17 May 1975) is a Nigerian businessman, trained geologist, public speaker and philanthropist. He has business interests and a career path that has taken him across various economic sectors like telecommunications, shipping, aviation, oil, engineering, construction and real estate investments in Nigeria and beyond. He also sits either as chairman, Co-chairman or Member of board of directors of various companies, which he either founded or co-founded.

In a bid to merge all his business activities, Igho Sanomi founded the Taleveras Group in 2004, a Nigerian energy trading company with a vision and drive to become "a leading Global Energy & Service Company." The company has offices in London, Geneva, Cape Town, Dubai, Ivory Coast, Abuja and Lagos. According to Forbes, Igho Sanomi's Taleveras "trades over 100 million barrels of crude oil as well as several million tons of gasoline, LPG and jet fuel.

Igho Sanomi exercises his philanthropic gesture through the Dickens Sanomi Foundation (DSF), a charity organisation founded in 2011 by him and his siblings to commemorate the life of their late father, Dickens Sanomi. He is the Foundation's Board of Trustees' Chairman. The DSF is funded by Taleveras Group and the Midel Group, currently limits its activities to Nigeria.

In October 2012, under its Project Rescue 10,000 Flood victims, "The Dickens Sanomi Foundation gave out a comprehensive funding package worth over N100 million to flood victims in Delta and Bayelsa State, as part of its intervention programme to mitigate the effects of the devastating flood on the people. Igho Sanomi has been reported to have, through the Dickens Sanomi Foundation, pledged a "substantial grant" to Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research in UK "to help fund vital prostate cancer research;" a gesture which earned him (Sanomi) the Martin Luther King Legacy Award for Philanthropy.