The Young Innovation Leaders Fellowship (formerly known as The HELP Fellowship) is a platform created by Hutzpa Centre for Innovation and Development -- a social enterprise aimed at promoting innovation across sectors in Africa.


to create a platform to groom excellent leaders.

To achieve this, we set out to identify “the seeds of excellence” – young individuals who have demonstrated outstanding performances in their endeavors. Our platform is designed to inspire them on how to get to more without settling for less. Furthermore, we help in “the buildup of excellence”. The Y.I.L Fellows have access to life-long mentorship and resources for growth. While, the government has a more active role in creating “the platforms of excellence”, we position ourselves to inspire that. Our goal in the Y.I.L Fellowship is to create a system to scale up excellence. 



To create the largest platform for innovation leadership in the world.


To raise excellent leaders who can inspire, initiate, manage, and lead innovation in their spheres.


Scaling up excellence.


Seeds of excellence can be implanted, cultivated, and grown

At Hutzpa we presume that for developing countries to make sustainable economic advancement there has to be a culture of excellence. Certainly, excellence is a culture. As with all cultures, it must  be — both consciously and unconsciously — implanted, cultivated, and grown within the fabrics of our civilization. This three-stage process is what we refer to as scaling up excellence.

To implant excellence, it is imperative to discover what we refer to as “the seeds of excellence”. Seeds are not ubiquitous. Also, they are not meant to be consumed but planted. A prominent challenge in establishing excellence in developing countries is that seeds of excellence are not always planted, rather they are, oftentimes, quickly consumed. Seeds of excellence in the societal context are outstanding performances in academics, sports, science and technology, and in the arts. Amidst harsh economic realities, such talents are not always harnessed and refined into skills for global excellence.

To cultivate excellence, we must invest in “the platforms of excellence”. These platforms are the basic structure upon which germination of excellence can take place; an example is having good schools. Cultivation in a societal context would mean building common innovation infrastructures and recent research has shown that location is significant to enhance the productivity and competitive advantage of innovation. Moreover, for us to cultivate excellence in our societies, we need to pay attention to cross-cutting factors that support innovation throughout the economy. These include the overall human and financial resources we invest in technological and scientific advances and the public policies we make to promote innovation. A strong common innovation infrastructure will demand strategic societal investments and policy efforts that span a long-term.

The growth of excellence is associated with “the buildup of excellence”. As seeds germinate, they need to be watered, weeded, and pruned to flower well and yield the most and best fruits. This is a strategic imperative to produce results from the efforts and investments made in the cultivation and planting of excellence. Outstanding individuals must be guided and mentored to discover and optimize their best potentials. In today’s competitive and fast-paced world, mentorship structures are highly required to get to the inflection point of global excellence.

The Problem We Want to Solve

Despite its endowment with vast wealth of human talent, sub-Saharan Africa ranks low in the Global Human Capital Index. This tells that the human potential is largely unrealized and unprepared for the future and the future of work. Times are changing. In this Age of fast-paced Innovation, there is need to foster a revolution in our educational systems where greater attention is focused on unleashing and delivering our talent potential by properly harnessing the ingenuity and creativity at our collective disposal.

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