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IYF, Sahara Foundation, LEAP Africa to foster innovative thinking

The International Youth Foundation (IYF), Sahara Foundation and LEAP Africa have announced that the 10th edition of the Social Innovators Programme and Awards (SIPA 2023) will be held on 26 and 27 October, with both virtual and physical attendance at the Abuja Continental Hotels.

According to a statement made available, the theme for this SIPA ‘Maximizing Africa’s Potential through Disruptive Leadership and Innovation’ seeks to harness the vast, untapped potential within the African continent by fostering innovative thinking and transformative leadership.

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The statement stated further that Africa is blessed with a vast population of young people capable of positive result but are limited by a number of challenges, leadership inclusive.

It also stated that disruptive leadership seeks to break away from conventional norms and drive change, while innovation involves creating new solutions and opportunities.

“Together, they form a powerful combination that can empower African nations to address complex issues, create economic growth, and improve the overall quality of life for its people.,” the statement read.

Kehinde Ayeni, executive director, LEAP Africa, while speaking on its foundation’s effort to build a community of young change-makers across Africa, said LEAP Africa has consistently proven its role as a catalyst for identifying and unleashing the potential of young individuals in Nigeria and Africa at large.

“Over the years, we have achieved this through a variety of programs, such as the Social Innovators Program (SIP) and awards initiative.

“This journey has been made possible thanks to the unwavering commitment of our valued partners, including but not limited to, Sahara Foundation, the International Youth Foundation, Ford Foundation, Union Bank and others,” Ayeni said.

According to her, SIPA 2023 will showcase fellows and alumni from African countries who are shattering barriers and utilizing the Global Goals to enhance the quality of lives for diverse communities in Africa.

She stated that some of these innovators have been nurtured on requisite skills and empowered with relevant resources over the past 12 months to scale their enterprise sustainably in the one-year fellowship, while others are being inducted into the fellowship.

This year’s conference will cover a number of activities including panel sessions, networking sessions, fireside chats, and workshops, led by organizations like Digivate, SME Ng, Impact Investor Foundation, SCALE Palladium, and Pangea.

The highlight of the conference will be the recognition of fellows who have distinguished themselves during the fellowship year through the following awards categories: Outstanding Fellows Awards; late Innocent Chukwuma Awards; and late Seyi Bickersteth Prize winner for financial accountability.

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She equally disclosed that in the past 10 years, the Social Innovators Programme has impacted 276 innovators from 14 countries, trained and connected them to investment opportunities allowing them to raise approximately $7 million in grants and revenue while creating jobs for over 400 unemployed persons.

“This landmark achievement only challenges the team and organization (including the entire ecosystem) to expand the frontiers of African innovation and impact investing in ensuring a sustainable Africa is delivered to future generations,” Ayeni said.

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