LEAP Africa Climaxes 20th Anniversary Celebration With Awards/Gala Night

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LEAP Africa, a youth-focused leadership development organisation has concluded its 20th-anniversary celebration with a gala and awards night.

The high profiled gala and awards night with the theme “Celebrating impact and redefining the future” took place at the prestigious Eko Hotel & Suites, on Thursday, September 8, 2022.

 The event was the 10th edition of its yearly Social Innovators Programme & Awards (SIPA) as well as part of activities to mark the 20th anniversary, the not-for-profit organisation  

SIPA provides LEAP Africa with the opportunity to deepen further its engagement with social entrepreneurs and foster sectorial collaboration with the over 200 alumni social innovators on the continent.

Founder and CEO of LEAP Africa, Mrs. Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli

The organisation has supported about 200 social entrepreneurs in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Cameroon, Burundi, Uganda, and Tanzania through SIP in the past 10 years.

This year, the co-founder and partner, Sovereign’s Capital, Henry Kaestner, spoke alongside the co-founder, GirlTrek, Vanessa Garrison;  Lead, Global Prosperity Research Group, Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, Efosa Ojomo, and CEO, CarePoint, Sangu Delle, on the theme “Reawaken, Redesign and Re-emerge – Africa Beyond Potential.”

The event also had dignitaries like the Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing, Union Bank, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem; Head of Sahara Group Foundation, Pearl Uzokwe and Partner and West Africa Director, Impact Amplifier, Olusuji Aina, the Commissioner for Health in Lagos, Prof. Akin Abayomi, among a host of others.

The Executive Director, LEAP Africa, Femi Taiwo, expressed his delight to graduate a new set of change-makers from the programme.

He said, “I am proud of everyone we have impacted, who are impacting their communities, cities, states, and countries. I am privileged to have served these social entrepreneurs doing great things in their various endeavours to contribute positively to their communities”.

Mr. Udeme Ufot, the Board Chair

At the dinner, LEAP Africa celebrated with its partners, funders, board of directors, individuals, organisation, and government partners who have contributed to the organisation’s vision over the years.

The organisation also played host to the State Governors of Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Ogun, Edo, Taraba, Anambra, and the minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Udeme Ufot, the Board Chair and the Group Managing Director of SO&U, thanked their partners, volunteers, and sponsors for the immeasurable support over the years as he reflected on the collective achievements and milestones that the organisation has recorded while sharing insights into the journey for the next two decades.

“The work of LEAP has manifested in so many diverse ways, not just within Nigeria but across the borders of this country. Over the years, the organisation has transformed from LEAP to LEAP Africa as it operates in over 12 countries on the continent. Today is an evening to say thank you and celebrate those people who have been on the journey with LEAP Africa over the last 20 years. Without your support, we wouldn’t have impacted these young innovators, entrepreneurs whom we have tried to mold into ethically and innovative leaders for tomorrow’s Africa”.

Commenting earlier, Udeme Ufot had revealed that “the LEAP Africa 20th Anniversary Gala & Awards Night marks the end of my six-year tenure as Chair of the LEAP Africa Board, as well as my ten-year tenure on the board. This has been a period of significant growth and impact by LEAP in its vision for developing transformational and ethical leaders amongst Africa’s youth. The period has witnessed LEAP’s activities transcend Nigeria’s borders and impacting over a dozen African countries, and developing tomorrow’s leaders in Africa.”

The founder and CEO of LEAP Africa, Mrs. Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli commended the partners for supporting the initiative and reiterated the need for impact investments for social entrepreneurs to scale sustainably.

She said, “LEAP Africa started in Lagos, Nigeria, and today, it has grown beyond our imagination. We recognise that youth leadership and inclusion are critical to wealth creation and development across the continent and we will continue to raise and empower a movement of young African social entrepreneurs and enterprises capable of transforming Africa into the Africa of our dreams.

“Our work is not done. We need to instill leadership, effectiveness, accountability, and professionalism in our young people, we need to give them the courage to believe that they can change the continent. We believe that young people are the leaders of tomorrow as they have the energy, creativity, drive, innovation, and ability to take risks unlike some older people like us. So, we have to give them the wings to fly by investing in their future.”

Those recognised at the event are the Lagos Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, for his contributions during the heat of the ravaging COVID-19,  Akwa Ibom state government, Sahara Foundation, Ford Foundation, Nigerian Breweries, British Council, Dow Chemicals, Union Bank, Sterling Bank Plc, among others.

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