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Applications Open for Jack Ma’s 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition


The “Africa’s Business Heroes” (ABH) prize competition, Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program spotlighting and celebrating Africa’s entrepreneurial talent has opened applications for its third annual edition.

The program is open to entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries and will see the top 10 finalists share the US$1.5 million grant.

Africa’s Business Heroes Prize competition 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.

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 bootcamps 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.

“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,”said Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation.

”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.” Jason added.

Applications will be open online until June 7 with semi-finalists announced in August, and the top ten finalists for 2021 unveiled in September. 

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I write about tech, business and African startups. Founder and Editor For TechTrendsKE. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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