The “Africa’s Business Heroes” (ABH) prize competition, the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program spotlighting and celebrating Africa’s entrepreneurial talent, opened applications for its third annual edition.
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.
The central theme of this year’s competition, “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 ABH prize to scale their efforts as well as share their stories of how they’ve driven change and solutions.
BH is part of the Jack Ma Foundation’s long-term commitment to help support and foster an inclusive and strong Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. ABH 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.
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 US$1.5 million grant. The journey to the Finale 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 boot camps and training sessions.
In 2020, the ten outstanding finalists – half of whom were female – were selected from over 22,000 applicants across all 54 African nations. They represented eight African countries – Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe – and various industries including agriculture, fashion, education, healthcare, renewable energy, and financial services.
The winner of the 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes prize was Chebet Lesan, Founder and CEO at BrightGreen Renewable Energy.
“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 a positive impact on their local communities. 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.” said Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation.
Applications will be open online until June 7 with semi-finalists announced in August, and the top ten finalists for 2021 unveiled in September. To apply and for more information about ABH, please visit: www.AfricaBusinessHeroes.org