MASK Awards 2021

All entries are free

Young entrepreneur

The brief

Youth unemployment in Africa is critical. As a result of COVID-19, millions more jobs have been lost. As a way of surviving the crisis, can you generate your own job which you care passionately about? have you considered entrepreneurship as a career option?

According to the African Development Bank, 22-27% of Africa's working-age population are starting enterprises. This is the highest entrepreneurship rate in the world!

You already have the key ingredient you need to be a successful entrepreneur – your creativity and imagination. Combined with new digital and communication technology, you have a competitive advantage over large corporations and stand a real chance of success.

In less than 1,000 words, describe your best business or nonprofit enterprise idea and enter it into MASK Innovation Awards. If you wish, add pictures and videos to help our judges better visualise your idea.

Judging criteria

Your ideas will be judged on their creativity and innovation. That is - how original, new, inventive and groundbreaking they are.

All entries will be reviewed by our panel of Jury: artists, business leaders and entrepreneurs.

These ten questions can help you to think about your business plan:

  • How creative – original, new, inventive, and groundbreaking – is your idea?
  • Is the idea focused on the near or far future?
  • How passionate are you about the idea? Does the idea plug into a bigger worldview? 
  • Will the idea serve local or global needs?
  • What is the potential intellectual property value of the idea? Can it be licenced/replicated?
  • How clear is the business structure? How are sales, marketing, branding, product creation, team-building and growth organised and managed?
  • How is technology integrated into the business? I.e. how is the business going to interact with the world? Will it use digital video, articles, audio, podcasts, downloads, live event streaming, slideshows, blogs, tweets? Is it mobile friendly?
  • Is the business set in a factory, offices, community, or home? A combination? If so, why? And is it effective?
  • Who is/will be on the team? Do they share the same passion for the idea? How creative are the team-members? Where are they located – locally or globally? How are team-members evaluated: by performance, or hours clocked?
  • What is the fundamental ethos of the business: profits or livelihood? Are you prepared to share profits with communities and charities?

If you have any questions about any of the above, please let us know, and our team will be happy to help! Contact

Think differently. Imagine possibilities. Do not hold back or criticise your ideas.

Dream big. Be brave. Push boundaries. Remember, with creative thinking there is no idea that is ‘too wild’, ‘absurd’, or ‘impossible’.

Choose to download and fill-in your free MASK Awards Participation Certificate to use as a reference for future school/job applications.

Enter the other challenges:

The prizes:

  • Winners will be awarded with 3-month paid internships at top company in Nairobi

  • Best business and social enterprise ideas will be listed in our Innovation Gallery to be seen around the world

  • Winning ideas will be shared with the business and policy community.