The Jack Ma Foundation’s philanthropic program, Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) late last month announced the top fifty (50) finalists of their 2023 prize competition —chosen from a pool of 27,000 applications that were received from fifty-four (54) countries across Africa. These entrepreneurs emerged as the shining stars of this year’s competition representing more than 10 industries; Agriculture, Business Services, Education & Training, Energy, Financial Services, Food & Beverages, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail, and Transportation.
“At Africa’s Business Heroes, we are absolutely thrilled to announce the highly anticipated 2023 cohort of our remarkable top 50 finalists! After receiving an overwhelming response from over 27,000 applicants from diverse industries and sectors across Africa,” ABH said in a statement.
Out of the 50 finalists, 40% came from West Africa, 28% from East Africa, 16% from North Africa, 12% from Southern Africa, and 4% from Central Africa. In addition to this year’s number, ABH was thrilled to have a record number of inspiring female applicants, surpassing previous years — to be exact 36% of the finalists were female entrepreneurs.
The ABH finalists are selected based on their demonstration of visionary entrepreneurship, embodying traits such as innovation and creativity, impact on communities and societies, leadership and vision, the potential for growth and scalability, market demand, and financial sustainability.
Effective communication skills are also crucial as finalists are required to present and articulate their business plans to the judges while responding to thought-provoking questions within a specified number of minutes. Their ability to convey their passion, expertise, and unique selling points is essential to impressing the judges and securing their support.
The ABH competition not only empowers entrepreneurs but also captivates audiences with the diversity and ingenuity of the business plans submitted. Each business plan tells a unique story of resilience, creativity, and the drive to make a positive impact in Africa. From innovative tech solutions and beauty and fashion to sustainable agricultural initiatives, the business plans showcased in the competition offer fascinating insights into the entrepreneurial landscape across the continent.
Many of the business plans submitted demonstrated the remarkable depth of talent and the transformative ideas that are emerging from Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The finalists are competing for a chance to win a share of USD$1.5 million (approx. UGX5,491,783,500) grant funding. However, the value of the prize goes beyond financial gain. It represents an extraordinary platform where all participants, including the winners and the finalists, benefit from the expertise and insights garnered by the ABH community of business leaders.
“To the top 50 finalists, we wish you the best of luck in the upcoming rounds. Let the pursuit of impact and the $1.5 million prize fuel your passion and drive,” per ABH.
The ABH competition has become a significant platform that aims to recognize 100 African entrepreneurs over a ten-year period, providing them with grant funding alongside other resources, mentorship, and exposure needed to thrive in the business landscape.
The list of the 50 finalists;
|Vuba Vuba Africa LTD
|Viebeg Medical and Dental Supplies Ltd
|Zeepay Ghana Limited
|Boubacar Biro Balde
|Platinum Fisheries Ltd
|Keep IT Cool (Raino Tech4 Impact)
|Gisela Van Houcke
|Democratic Republic of the Congo
|Capitol Foods Limited
|East Africa Hafeshawi Medical Centere
|Democratic Republic of the Congo
|Kalafhi Medical Center
|Melaku Belay Emeru
|Fendika Cultural Center
|Sentinel Africa Consulting Ltd
|Pad-Up Creations Ltd
|Apiculture Venture Limited
|Bamboo Systems Technology Limited
|Salpha Energy Ltd
|Sheila Mariza Elias Omarji Alvarado
|Good Nature Agro