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Jack Ma Foundation Accepting Applications for the 2022 ABH Competition

Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize competition — Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program that spotlights and celebrates impactful African entrepreneurs has begun accepting applications for its fourth annual competition that will award 10 outstanding entrepreneurs a share of a USD$1.5 million (approx. UGX5.3 billion) grant money.

Open to African entrepreneurs of all ages, from all sectors, and across all 54 African countries, Africa’s Business Heroes competition aims to reach as many promising entrepreneurs as possible. The competition is geared toward entrepreneurs that are post-idea stage and have a 3-year track record.

The theme for this year’s competition “It’s African Time”, is a bold call to action to all talented African entrepreneurs who are challenging stereotypes associated with “African time” — solving critical issues in their local communities and who demonstrate core values such as resilience, innovation, and leadership.

In a press statement, Zahra Baitie, Head of Partnerships and Programmes at ABH, said, “Entrepreneurship in Africa is experiencing a strong upward trajectory and it is so encouraging to see. But there are still so many entrepreneurs whose inspiring stories and impactful businesses need a spotlight, and who could benefit from additional support.”

Baitie adds “We want to enable entrepreneurs that are not only building successful businesses but who are also running mission-driven organizations that generate growth for their local communities across Africa.”

To be eligible for the competition, the applicant has to be an African and s/he should be the Founder or a Co-Founder of the company applying for the competition. In addition to the eligibility requirements, the company should be registered and headquartered in an African country, primarily operates in Africa, and should be in a post-idea stage with at least 3 years of revenue. Applicants that meet all these criteria are called to apply (CLICK HERE TO APPLY — open till June 6th, 2022) but should note that at various stages of the application, documents will be required to prove these criteria.

From the pool of applications, each application will be reviewed by two judges and only the top 50 Finalists will be selected who will later have video-call interviews with two established business leaders who engage in an in-depth assessment of the company and finalist. Out of the 50, the top 20 finalists will be selected and will need to pass due diligence checks by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) in order to move to the semi-finale round. The short-listed finalists will pitch to a panel of a distinguished and experienced panel of investors, business leaders, and professionals who will determine our top 10 finalists [in Nov. 2022] that will share the USD$1.5 million (approx. UGX5.3 billion) grant money.

ABH confirmed that the ten finalists will also have the opportunity to pitch to global business icons such as Strive Masiyiwa in a competition show that will be broadcast online and on TV Stations across the continent, later this year.

Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) competition is part of the Jack Ma Foundation’s long-term commitment to help support and foster an inclusive and strong African entrepreneurial ecosystem. ABH wants to 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.


  1. Register for an ABH account — (CLICK HERE TO APPLY — open till June 6th, 2022).
  2. Confirm your eligibility. (NOTE: At various stages of the application, documents will be required to prove these criteria.)
  3. Fill in all the questions required. Genuinely answer questions about yourself, your vision, business model, and future plans.
  4. Get a reference.
  5. Submit video introductions from yourself, team members, and a customer.



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