A 21-YEAR-OLD who created a company in his teens to supply his community with affordable chickens and eggs may become the next winner of the Anzisha Prize – Africa’s leading honour for young entrepreneurs.
The awards were established to highlight young people who have implemented innovate solutions to economic, social and political challenges, which Sirjeff Dennis has certainly done with his business.
Sirjeff’s journey started much like all Tanzanian teenagers, after he left school he had to join the compulsory national service for three months.
But unlike his peers he saved almost all of the money he made while in the army (£41) and reinvested it by buying 50 broiler chickens.
While raising the chickens, which he kept in a coup he built in his yard, he lived of bread and water, as he spent money on building his business.
Now, four years later, Sirjeff is producing 2000 chicken a month through his company. He also sells eggs and chicken manure fertilizer to local farmers.
And last year he managed to buy six aches of land, which he has turned into a farm that produces vegetables, maize and rice.
“I want to change the mindset that agriculture is only for those that do not have an education – because it is not. Agriculture is for anyone,” Sirjeff told the Anzisha Prize website.
He also explained that the most positive aspect of his business has undoubtedly comes from the support he has received from his local community.
“To have people older than my parents thank me for this gave me inspiration to continue. It way my happiest moment.”
Although there are 12 other inspiring youngsters in the running for the top prize, if Sirjeff wins he will win an all-expenses paid trip to South Africa and be a part of a week-long entrepreneur workshop and conference at the African Leadership Academy. He is also in the running to win a cash prize of £50,000.
WORDS: Hazelann Williams