The Jack Ma Foundation second edition of the “Africa’s Business Heroes” (ABH) prize competition is now open to African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries.
Organized by the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program in Africa, ABH aims to identify, support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their local communities and working to solve the continent’s most pressing problems.
“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. 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,” said Jason Pau, Senior Advisor for International Programs, Jack Ma Foundation.
The competition selects ten finalists to compete in a finale pitch competition show. This year, ten finalists share a prize pool of US$1.5 million, up from $1 million last year, as well as gain access to the ANPI community of business leaders to leverage the community’s shared expertise, best practice, training and resources.
Last year, the prize received nearly 10,000 applications from 50 African countries. The 2019 top ten finalists pitched their business ideas to a prominent judging panel during a televised grand-finale show in Accra, Ghana and won by Nigeria’s Lifebank which took home $250,000.
According to Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO, LifeBank, “It was an incredible honor to be named Africa’s Business Hero last year. The Prize enabled me to expand to multiple states in Nigeria and become a truly pan-Nigerian business, and I was truly inspired by my experience and by all my fellow winners. 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.”
Global leaders Graca Machel, Chair of the Graca Machel Trust Board and Ban Ki-moon, Former UN Secretary- General and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens serve on the ANPI advisory board. Over a ten-year period, the ANPI will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to allocating US$100 million in grant funding, training programs, and support for the broad African entrepreneurial ecosystem.
This year, ANPI will work with a select group of Anchor Partners, including Ashesi, Dalberg, Janngo and RiseUp to identify and support African entrepreneurs. In addition, Anita Erskine, UN SDG Advocate and Founder of the STEM Woman Project, joins ANPI to serve as the official host of “Africa’s Business Heroes” program and Brand Ambassador.
Applications are open online from April 6th to June 9th 2020 with semi-finalists announced in August, and the top ten finalists for 2020 unveiled in September.