The Jack Ma Foundation’s philanthropic program, Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) on Monday this week announced the final top ten (10) finalists for this year’s prize competition —selected from over 12,000 applications across all 54 African nations. There was a gender balance in the winners as half were females and the other were males who all passed multiple stages of judging and evaluation.
The top ten winners represented seven (7) African countries: Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda. Nigeria had the most winners —3 to be exact, followed by Kenya with 2, and the remaining countries each had 1. Their businesses span across key industries; Agriculture, Beauty, Education, Energy, Food & Beverage, Logistics, Manufacturing, Media & Entertainment, and Retail. 80% of the finalists operate their businesses in rural areas.
“It was extremely difficult to shortlist the final 10 because each entrepreneur was so inspiring. They demonstrated the resilience, passion, imagination, and traction that we need in our entrepreneurs here in Africa,” Fred Swaniker, Founder of ALU and a judge of ABH, said.
The journey to the grand finals continues where the finalists face 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 boot camps and training sessions.
The top 10 winners are competing to get a share of USD$1.5 million (approx. UGX5,341,500,000) cash prize which will be coupled with invaluable networking and learning opportunities throughout their ABH journey.
Out of the top is a Ugandan, Ghirmay Abraham; Founder of Aptech Africa, a grown multinational business working to bring electricity and water to people across Africa —as well as eliminate poverty and hunger through the use of irrigation for crop and income increase, leading to economic growth.
“I’m so honored to be selected for the top 10 African Business Heroes. Together with the support of ABH, we will create a positive impact in Africa through renewable energy solutions,” Abraham told PC Tech Magazine.
Aptech Africa is currently operating in seven African countries; the Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Uganda — dedicated to working with the United Nations (UN) to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In November this year, Africa’s Business Heroes will host its Grand Finale in a virtual format, and these top 10 finalists will pitch their businesses, and in the due course, the overall winners will be announced.
“Every year the competition gets tougher for the entrepreneurs but it also makes it harder for us judges to choose our top 10. I wish the top 10 well on the next phase of the competition and congratulations to our Heroes,” Rene Parker, Director at R Labs and a Judge of ABH, said.
Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) is part of the Jack Ma Foundation’s long-term commitment to help support and foster an inclusive and strong Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. They will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs over a ten-year period and allocate grant funding alongside training, mentoring, and learning programs, as well as access to a community of like-minded African business leaders.
This year’s competition was themed, “It’s African Time”, a bold call to action for all talented African entrepreneurs who challenged stereotypes associated with “African time” through their businesses, leveraging ABH’s prize to scale their efforts as well as share their stories of how they’ve driven change and solutions.
Ugandan entrepreneurs that participated in this year’s competition and made it to the top 50 were; Emmanuel Emodek; Co-Founder & Managing Director at ChapChap Africa Limited, Robert Kintu; CEO at Fit Insights Limited, Peter Kakoma; CEO at Kanzu Code Limited, Daniel Mukisa; Founder & Team Lead at RideLink Limited, Ronald Hakiza; CEO & Co-Founder at Ugabus Inc. Limited, and Ghirmay Abraham; Founder and Managing Director at Aptech Africa Ltd.
Emmanuel Emodek, Daniel Mukisa, and Ghirmay Abraham made it to the top 20, and finally only one, Ghirmay Abraham emerged in the 10 finalists for this year’s competition.
The top 10 finalists are;
- Ghirmay Abraham, Founder, Aptech Africa – (Uganda).
- Navalayo Osembo-Ombati, Co-Founder and CEO, Enda Athletic – (Kenya).
- Oghenetega Iortim, Founder, Gricd -(Nigeria).
- Yvette Ishimwe, Founder and CEO, IRIBA Water Group – (Rwanda).
- Charlot Magayi, Founder and CEO, Mukuru Clean Stoves – (Kenya).
- Khadija Mohamed Elbedweihy, Founder, PraxiLabs – (Egypt).
- Chidi Nwaogu, Co-founder and CEO, Publiseer – (Nigeria).
- Ikenna Nzewi, Co-founder and CEO, Releaf – (Nigeria).
- Violet Amoabeng, Founder and CEO, Skin Gourmet – (Ghana).
- Ketsheaphone Jacob, Founder, and CEO, The Bulb World – (Botswana).
Reporter’s Note: Updated with comment from Ghirmay Abraham