The Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) has joined forces with local partners from across Africa to identify and mobilise innovative, resilient, and mission-driven African entrepreneurs, as well as support them throughout the application and selection process of the second edition of the Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition (ABH).
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ANPI’s Anchor Partners for 2020 are African Leadership Group, Ashesi, Dalberg, Janngo, and RiseUp. Since the official launch of applications on April 6, local partners have been instrumental in promoting the ABH prize competition in their respective regions, helping to identify and engage with potential applicants. Partners have also worked closely with aspiring candidates to build up their management and leadership capabilities - sharing knowledge, best practices and insights from across their networks, as well as delivering training and education programs. Programs include the ‘Africa’s Business Webinar Series’ – which to date, have drawn more than 7,000 entrepreneurs to participate.
The Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition - which is open for applications in both English and French - aims to provide entrepreneurs from across Africa a platform to showcase and develop their talent and business ideas. The prize is open to all entrepreneurs regardless of country, industry, age or gender. ABH will culminate in a grand finale later this year where the top 10 finalists will pitch global business legends for a chance to win their share of a US$1.5 million prize pool.
ANPI has also been working with a diverse ecosystem of partners, including business incubators (Ethiopia Entrepreneurship Development Center, StartUp Factory Ethiopia, CTIC, Impact Hub Dakar, Outlierz Ventures, WikiStart Up, i4policy), communications platforms (Sasai), mobile network operators (Safaricom) and media outlets (Pulse.Africa and Startimes) to further amplify grassroots outreach to entrepreneurs and to make educational and training resources more widely accessible.
“We are honored to be able to work closely with these exceptional local partners to bring the Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition to all corners of Africa and spotlight talented entrepreneurs from across the continent. Our extraordinary partners share our mission and commitment to enabling entrepreneurship and together, we hope to support entrepreneur heroes who will create jobs and opportunities for their local communities as well as catalyze a movement of entrepreneurship across Africa,” said Jason Pau, Senior Advisor for International Programs for the Jack Ma Foundation.
The 2020 edition of the ABH prize competition has received a tremendous level of interest and responses. To date, ABH has received 18,000 applications from candidates representing all 54 countries in Africa. Last year’s inaugural edition of the competition drew nearly 10,000 applications from 50 African countries. This year, in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances facing entrepreneurs and SMEs around the world and in Africa, the deadline for applications will be extended from June 9 to June 22. To apply and for the latest updates on the Prize, please visit: africabusinessheroes.org and follow @africa_heroes on Twitter. To see a documentary into the journeys of 2019 finalists, please visit YouTube.
Anchor Partners commented on their ongoing collaboration with ANPI, noting:
The ANPI is the flagship philanthropic initiative spearheaded by the Jack Ma Foundation aimed at supporting and inspiring the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors, who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future of the continent. Over a ten-year period, ANPI will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to allocating US$100 million in grant funding, training programs, and support for the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. The ANPI organizes the “Africa's Business Heroes” prize competition and show, in which ten finalists have the opportunity to pitch their business to win a share of $1.5 million in grant money. Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation, first created the prize after he made his first trip to Africa in July 2017 and was inspired by the energy and entrepreneurial potential of the young people he met with.
About Jack Ma Foundation
Established by Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, the Jack Ma Foundation was founded on 15 December 2014 and has been focusing on education, entrepreneurship, women’s leadership, and the environment. The Foundation aspires to be a reliable, participative, and sustainable philanthropic organisation. The Jack Ma Foundation has so far supported projects worldwide including the Jack Ma Rural Education Program, the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative, the Ma & Morley Scholarship Program, and Jordan's Queen Rania Foundation. Additionally, the Foundation has also funded a number of projects in its priority areas. The Jack Ma Foundation is committed to empowering rural educators, entrepreneurs, rural children, young start-ups, and women to equip them for the future and to help build a happier, healthier, more sustainable and more inclusive society.