Dare to Change East Africa

About Yea

The East Africa Youth Enterprise Awards (YEA) seeks to recognize youth-led businesses that are resilient, innovative, and actions oriented towards providing decent livelihoods for youth.
Awards will be given in two categories;
  • Innovative business ideas requiring startup capital
  • Existing businesses requiring scale-up capital
A study conducted in April 2020 by YouLead and its partners on
COVID-19 and its impact on youth life in
East Africa revealed 59% of the respondents had experienced
severe negative impacts to their income


Initiatives with:

  • An angle to SDGs – growth and economic opportunities for youth
  • An angle to reducing gender based economic inequality against women
  • An angle of innovative use of new technology such as e-commerce platforms that accelerate regional integration and cooperation among youth led businesses
  • An angle to connecting and promoting young women participation in cross-border business
  • An angle to promoting youth participation in agribusiness sector
  • An angle to promoting young women participation in high-value added sectors where they are underrepresented such as manufacturing, industry, recreation, leisure, tour, travel, parks, hotels and lodging


Who Can Apply ?

Young entrepreneurs between ages 18-35 years, who are citizens of the East African Community Partner States participating in the 2020 YEA awards, are strongly encouraged to apply.

Are submission being accepted from all EAC Partner States ?

Due to limitations in partnerships acquisition and funding, not all EAC countries may participate in the 2020 YEA awards process. Awards may be partnerships have been acquired. At the moment, adequate partnerships exist in Tanzania and Uganda. The list of participating countries may be updated from time to time all through the process.

How are submissions being received ?

Each participating country has a unique context, with submissions being handled by YouLead partners in that country. Information on each country has been provided in the section below.


Initiatives will be of interest
if they demonstrate high potential of:
  • Strong alignment to and implementation of one or a set of Sustainable Development Goals especially SDG 8.
  • Promoting young women’s collaboration in cross-border trade and reduction of gender-based economic inequality against young women.
  • Promoting cross-border trade and regional integration especially through use of e-commerce platforms and emerging technologies.

What YEA covers


Through a one week bootcamp for awardees to refine their business & prepare for pitch


Award funds as start up capital or acceleration capital

Round trip

All paid expenses round trip to and from Arusha, Tanzania for the business idea boot camp and YouLead Summit 2020

Networking Opportunities

Connect with other social innovators from across all 6 EAC Partner State during the boot camp, YouLead Summit and at the award dinner

The YEA process and key dates

20th October 2020

Applications open

6th November 2020

Applications close

9th November 2020

Successful ideas be announced

16th - 20 November 2020

Regional business idea bootcamp for selected innovators be held

25th November 2020

Regional enterprise awards be given during YouLead Summit in Arusha Tanzania

The YEA process in Tanzania

In Tanzania, the East Africa Youth Enterprise Awards (YEA), are being delivered in partnership with Dare to Change Tanzania an initiative of DOT Tanzania, with the responsibility of handling submission and selection process. DOT Tanzania also doubles as the funding partner. The process is supported by a select of innovation hubs that are part of the innovation ecosystem in Tanzania by offering technical assistance for bootcamp designing, training and mentorship and later will offer follow support up services to the selected awardees.

Awards will go to promising businesses that are resilient, innovative, and are simultaneously taking deliberate innovative actions towards providing decent livelihoods and confronting the most pressing issues of our region, such as youth unemployment. Preference will be given to; Innovative business ideas requiring patient/seed capital to test out new models.

YEA Partners in Tanzania
The YEA process in uganda

In Uganda, the East Africa Youth Enterprise Awards (YEA), are being delivered in partnership with The Innovation Village as the lead partner. The Innovation Village is handling submission and selection process and will later offer follow up support services to the selected awardees. The process is supported by a select of individuals from the business community in Uganda by offering technical assistance for bootcamp designing, training and mentorship.

3 innovators with best ideas will be selected, and at present, the only prize/award to be given is a round trip to enable selected awardees to participate in the regional bootcamp in Arusha Tanzania and being announced at the regional awards dinner to be held in Arusha with 3 regional winners from East Africa.

Limited funding to support Ugandan innovators to participate in the regional bootcamp has been made available by Stanbic bank Uganda.

YEA Partners in UGANDA


Institutional partners and individuals from across the region are welcome to support any of the three segments of YEA process, which are;

Support the in-country Youth Enterprise Awards Processes.

Support the one-week regional Boot Camp for 18 winners from the six EAC Partners States.

Support the YEA Gala night, to be held on Wednesday 25th of November 2020 in Arusha, Tanzania, as a fitting finale to the East Africa Under 40 Business Leaders’ Forum at YouLead Summit 2020.

If you lead, I lead, we lead together

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