The “Africa’s Business Heroes” (ABH) prize competition the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program spotlighting and celebrating Africa’s entrepreneurial talent, has opened applications for its third annual edition to award 10 outstanding African entrepreneurs with a share of a USD$1.5 million grant.
“As we open our third annual pitch competition, we want to recognize Africa’s extraordinary entrepreneurs, whose business ventures not only are successful and profitable but are generating positive impact on their local communities,” Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation, said in a press statement.
Pau adds that, “Despite the incredibly difficult conditions faced by entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world over the past year, Africa’s entrepreneurship has been experiencing an incredible upward trajectory, showing the magnitude of potential and opportunities yet to be seized. Therefore, Africa’s Business Heroes is excited to join forces with our partners to identify, spotlight and support even more passionate, innovative, and determined entrepreneurs across Africa.”
The applications are open (FOLLOW/CLICK LINK TO APPLY) across all sectors and African countries, with special emphasis on entrepreneurs working to achieve the UN SDGs. Entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, across every sector, age group, and gender will now be able to submit their applications, in either French and English, for a chance to compete for a spot among the Top 10 finalists.
This year’s competition is themed, “It’s African Time”, is a bold call to action for all talented African entrepreneurs who are challenging stereotypes associated with “African time” through their businesses, to leverage the Africa’s Business Heroes prize to scale their efforts as well as share their stories of how they’ve driven change and solutions.
At the grand finale later this year, ten finalists will take the stage to present their businesses and share their visions to an esteemed panel of judges, to win a share of the USD$1.5 million grant. The journey to the finals will include several rounds of rigorous evaluation panels, as well as access to a community of international leaders and innovators, industry experts, investors and accelerators, through a number of multi-disciplinary bootcamps and training sessions.
Applications will be open online until June 7th, 2021 with semi-finalists announced in August 2021, and the top ten finalists unveiled in September 2021.
The Africa’s Business Heroes is part of the Jack Ma Foundation’s long-term commitment to help support and foster an inclusive and strong Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Africa’s Business Heroes will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs over a ten-year period and allocate grant funding alongside training, mentoring and learning programmes, as well as access to a community of like-minded African business leaders.
Last year, the foundation through its competition awarded the ten outstanding African entrepreneurs half of whom were female. The finalists represented eight African countries; Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe – and various industries including agriculture, fashion, education, healthcare, renewable energy, and financial services.
The overall winner Chebet Lesan from Kenya, is the Founder & CEO of BrightGreen Renewable Energy, received USD$300,000. Oluwasoga Oni from Nigeria and Ethel Mupambwa from Zimbabwe came in 2nd and 3rd positions respectively each received USD$250,000 and USD$150,000 respectively.
The rest of the winners including two Ugandans, Dr. Emma Naluyima Mugerwa; Founder of MST Junior School and Joan Rukundo Nalubega; CEO & Founder of Uganics received USD$100,000.