The De La Vega Global Entrepreneurship Award recognizes outstanding young entrepreneurs within the JA 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. 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). Today, JA Worldwide CEO Asheesh Advani announced the winners via livestream.
Ultimately, JA Zimbabwe’s Hekima Inc. from Maranatha Christian School in Harare triumphed for its educational app Study Buddie. The team won a cash prize of US$15,000, as well as an entrepreneurship course from the institution of their choice. The five other JA student companies also won US $5,000 each, courtesy of the de la Vega Family Foundation.
A software development company born out of the JA Company Program in Zimbabwe, Hekima Inc. specializes in education-specific technologies with an aim to make education accessible and available to all. 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 include a stress relief game to help students refresh during study breaks. Users can download Study Buddie on Google Play and in the Apple Store.
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. 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.”