Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition has opened entries for African entrepreneurs to apply for its fifth annual edition.
The philanthropic initiative, sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy, was founded by the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative, the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic programme in Africa.
According to a statement, the competition aims to identify, support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs “who are making a difference in their local communities, working to solve the most pressing problems, and building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future”.
It is part of the Jack Ma Foundation’s long-term commitment to helping support and foster an inclusive and strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa, it said.
Every year since 2019, ABH conducts a continent-wide search with its partners for 10 outstanding, mission-driven entrepreneurs that are striving to make a difference in their local communities.
ABH said it seeks to recognise a total of 100 African entrepreneurs over a 10-year period.
As ABH’s anchor partner for 2023 in the Southern Africa region, the SA Innovation Summit (SAIS) will support the search for the next African business heroes.
“We believe innovative, bold businesses are the ones that build continents, and we exist to support them to do that,” says Buntu Majaja, CEO of SAIS.
“We are proud to be working with strategic partners like ABH and the Alibaba Foundation to showcase Africa’s Business Heroes to the world; giving them a platform to access markets and raise further funding as we have seen in the last couple of years.”
According to ABH, entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries − across every sector, gender and age group and all levels of society − are encouraged to submit their applications, in either English or French, for a chance to become one of the top 10 finalists to compete for a share of $1.5 million in grant money.
At the finale to be held later this year, the 10 finalists will take the stage to present their companies to a panel of business people.
The journey to the finale will include access to a community of international business leaders and innovators, industry experts, investors and accelerators, as well as multi-disciplinary boot camps and training sessions to help the participating entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level, it says.
“At ABH, we have long recognised the potential of entrepreneurs as engines of economic and social growth,” says Zahra Baitie-Boateng, head of partnerships and programmes for ABH.
“We encourage entrepreneurs from all countries, especially those from smaller countries, to seize the opportunity of ABH 2023 to tell and inspire millions more with their unique stories.”
Applications will be open online until 12 May, with the top 50 candidates to be announced in July. Semi-finalists will be announced in August, and the top 10 finalists unveiled in September.