Jack Ma Foundation-promoted Africa Business Heroes Competition has announced top 20 finalists for its 2020 prize and will be selecting top 10 startups among them to pitch at the grand finale.
The 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize competition, a flagship philanthropic program established by the Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), says the twenty entrepreneurs have a chance to become one of the ten entrepreneurs entering the grand finale, and competing for their share of the US$1.5 million prize pool.
The top 20 entrepreneurs have come a long way from the pool of over 22,000 applications that ABH garnered from all 54 African nations earlier this year. They represent 11 key sectors and industries of the African economy, such as agriculture, fashion, education, healthcare, manufacturing, e-commerce, renewable energy, financial services, food & beverage services, retail, transportation, and span 14 countries (Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe).
According to Jason Pau, Senior Advisor for International Programs with the Jack Ma Foundation, “As we approach the final phases of the 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes competition, I am incredibly impressed by the talent and energy of the entrepreneurs we have met during the selection process.
On August 18th, the top twenty Africa’s Business Heroes finalists had the opportunity to participate in a second virtual bootcamp, a unique event to exchange and learn from inspiring personalities from the African entertainment, sports and entrepreneurship scene – including Anita Erskine, UN SDG Advocate and ANPI’s Brand Ambassador and Official Host of “Africa’s Business Heroes” program; NBA Hall of Fame inductee and philanthropist Dikembe Mutombo; Sean Tong, Partner at Boyu Capital Advisory and Jack Ma Foundation’s Board Member; and the top three finalists from last year’s debut edition of ABH, Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Omar Sakr and Christelle Kwizera.
Highlighting the investor point of view, Sean Tong emphasized that a great vision should always come with a relentless pursuit of excellence and execution. The digital, connected world we live in makes it an exceptional time for entrepreneurs to launch their ventures, but business leaders are increasingly challenged to learn and adapt fast. He also added: “I am very excited to see the excellent quality of the business projects at Africa’s Business Heroes this year, and the remarkable dedication and passion these entrepreneurs have put into turning them into successful and investable enterprises. While progressing through the competition, it will be very important for the candidates to demonstrate even more clearly the viability of their ventures and how they are able to match their vision with sustainability and profitability. I wish them all the best of luck on this journey and beyond – they are already Africa’s Business Heroes”.
Candidates will now progress to the semi-final stage of the competition, and will face even more intense scrutiny from a 7-judge panel, which will test the solidity of their business plans, their motivation and vision, and ability to clearly articulate why the ground-breaking nature of their ideas can solve pressing problems and catalyze change for society, inspiring others to do the same.