Jack Ma’s Search for Next Generation of African Entrepreneurs

  • Chinese billionaire’s foundation launches the 2020 edition of “Africa’s Business Heroes” prize competition

ADDIS ABABA – The Jack Ma Foundation has officially launched the second edition of the “Africa’s Business Heroes” (ABH) prize competition on Monday.

With applications now open, entrepreneurs from African countries including Ethiopia as well as every sector can apply, announced the organizer Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program in Africa, on Monday.

Its officials said the competition, which made its debut last year, aims to identify, support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their local communities.

They are expected to work on solving the most pressing problems, and building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future, according to ANPI.

This year, all ten finalists will share a prize pool of US$1.5 million, up from $1 million last year.

Officials of the foundation said they will also gain access to the ANPI community of business leaders to leverage the community’s shared expertise, best practice, training, and resources.

Last year, the competition received nearly 10,000 applications on rang of sectors including cloud kitchens, tech agribusiness, healthcare and pharma, e-commerce, consumer goods, and water supply solutions.

The organizers believe Africa needs more innovative businesspersons and the competition is a platform for budding entrepreneurs.

“We find ourselves in unprecedented and extraordinary times. Now, more than ever, we need entrepreneurs with courage, initiative, and vision to do what they do best – solve problems for society,” said Jason Pau, Senior Adviser for International Programs, Jack Ma Foundation.

“With this prize competition, we are looking to inspire and reward African business heroes in all sectors and encourage any aspiring applicants to seize this opportunity to break through barriers and create hope for the future,” Pau added.

The 2019 finalist, who pitched his business ideas to a prominent judging panel during a televised grand-finale show in Ghana, said of the experience as “incredible”.

Besides, Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO of LifeBank, said the prize money enabled him to expand to multiple states in Nigeria and become a truly pan-Nigerian business.

“I was truly inspired by my experience and by all my fellow winners,” he said. “I am looking forward to serving as an Ambassador for this year’s prize and to seeing the next group of entrepreneurs come forward to showcase the best of Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit and strength”. 

The ANPI will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to allocating US$100 million in grant funding, training programs, and more for the coming ten years.

Applications, which started on Monday, will remain open until June 9th, 2020 with the top ten finalists unveiled in September to apply, according to Africa business heroes website.

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