Accra – Students from JA Zimbabwe have won the coveted 2023 De La Vega Global Entrepreneurship Award that comes with a cash prize of US$15 000 (R273 055), and a paid-for entrepreneurship course from any institution of their choice.
The 2023 competition included teams from Greece (JA Europe), Ohio (Junior Achievement USA), UAE (INJAZ Al-Arab), Mexico (JA Americas), Guam (JA Asia Pacific), and Zimbabwe (JA Africa).
Speaking via livestream, JA Worldwide CEO Asheesh Advani on Friday announced JA Zimbabwe’s Hekima Inc. – from Maranatha Christian School in Harare – as this year’s De La Vega Global Entrepreneurship Award winner for its educational app “Study Buddie”.
The Study Buddie app allows users to time their studies, schedule their tasks, form study groups, and connect learners with teachers all on one app.
The app also includes a stress relief game to help students refresh during study breaks.
Users can download Study Buddie from Google Play and in the Apple Store.
Study Buddie is a product of a software development company born out of the JA Company Program in Zimbabwe, Hekima Inc., which specialises in education-specific technologies.
Hekima Inc. says it aims – through software development – to make education accessible to everyone.
JA Africa’s CEO, Simi Nwogugu, said: “Hekima Inc. has made Africa proud. This victory affirms Africa’s youth have mind-blowing ideas and innovations which can transform and disrupt global industries and receive prestigious recognitions like the Ralph de la Vega Global Entrepreneurship Award”.
Nwogugu added: “Much appreciation goes to our JA Company Program supporters, Citi Foundation, PMIEF, and Tomorrow Foundation, who enable us to unearth entrepreneurial talents like this across the continent.”
Five other JA student companies also won US $5 000 each, courtesy of the de la Vega Family Foundation.
The De La Vega Global Entrepreneurship Award recognizes outstanding young entrepreneurs within the JA (JA-Africa.org) network.
The winning team from each regional JA Company Program competition (known as Company of the Year, Gen-E, Young Entrepreneurs Celebration, and National Student Leadership Summit) in Africa, Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, MENA, and the United States was automatically entered for the award.
Founded by tech-legend Ralph de la Vega, former President and CEO of AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions, in 2021, the De La Vega Global Entrepreneurship Award is the first global award for the JA Company program.