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Kenyan hub Nailab busy identifying African partners for Jack Ma programme

Kenyan hub Nailab, which has been selected to run Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma’s $10-million Africa Netpreneur Prize, is in the process of identifying and selecting  hubs and other collaborative partners from across the continent, Nailab founder Sam Gichuru revealed yesterday.

During an event held earlier this month in Johannesburg to launch the initiative, Ma revealed that the Nairobi-based hub would act as the lead continental partner for the programme, which kicks off next year.

The programme will award $10-million to 100 African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years.

Responding to an email enquiry from Ventureburn, Gichuru (pictured above) said yesterday that his hub, which he founded in 2011, has been playing a consultative role with The Jack Ma foundation and has played an advisory role in the eFounders Initiative Entrepreneurship Training Programme, which is run by Alibaba Global Initiative and Unctad.

“We find ourselves aligned in our mission with the foundation and hence the opportunity to work together,” he added.

Nailab founder Sam Gichuru says his hub has been playing a consultative role with The Jack Ma foundation and has played an advisory role in the e-founders programme

Gichuru — who says he finds Ma “very inspiring and hardworking” — pointed out that the Chinese entrepreneur in his visits to Africa has repeatedly said that African entrepreneurs are inspired and driven to bring a change to the continent.

He said Ma’s rags-to-riches story is proof that anyone can make it despite your environment, as long as you work hard and stay focused. “There are a lot of similarities between Africa and what China was like 20 years ago,” he added.

Since it was founded, Nailab has helped accelerate 149 entrepreneurs, while the Nailab Seed Fund, set up in 2016, has so far invested in four businesses.

Said Gichuru: “As a business our focus remains to ensure that we create wells of knowledge and opportunity of entrepreneurs. In the last six months we have trained over 500 young people on entrepreneurship and employability working with other partners”.

*Correction: We incorrectly stated that the Africa Netpreneur Prize will hand out $100-million to 100 entrepreneurs over 10 years. It is in fact $10-million to 100 entrepreneurs over 10 years.

Featured image: Nailab founder Sam Gichuru (Supplied)

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