Applications for Jack Ma’s Africa Netpreneur Prize to open in March

Featured image: Alibaba Group chairperson Jack Ma engages with entrepreneurs from across Africa during the launch of the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative in Johannesburg in 2018 (Supplied)
Featured image: Alibaba Group chairperson Jack Ma engages with entrepreneurs from across Africa during the launch of the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative in Johannesburg in 2018 (Supplied)

Applications for the inaugural $10-million Africa Netpreneur Prize will open on 27 March and close on 30 June, the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) announced today. This, after the earlier application date was moved from 15 January. It’s not clear why the date was moved forward. 

The prize is an initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation. Over the next 10 years, the ANPI will host a pitch competition where 10 finalists from across the continent will compete for $1-million in total prize money.

In addition, all 10 finalists will receive grant funding from the Jack Ma Foundation, as well as access to the Netpreneur community of African business leaders which will assist the entrepreneurs with resources, advice on best practices and through its shared expertise.

Applications for the inaugural edition of the Africa Netpreneur Prize will open on 27 March and close on 30 June

The initiative — which is supported by Nairobi-based incubator Nailab — aims to bring up a new generation of entrepreneurs with a focus on small businesses, grassroots communities and women-founded enterprises.

In a statement today (18 February), Nailab CEO and founder Sam Gichuru said the competition has brought together a community of stakeholders to support both technology-driven and traditional businesses.

“We look forward to unveiling the full slate of regional partners and to receiving applications from promising African entrepreneurs in the coming weeks,” added Gichuru.

In August last year Gichuru said his hub was in the process of identifying and selecting other hubs from across the continent as collaborative partners for the programme (see this story).

Last month he told Ventureburn that his hub was still busy co-ordinating with other hubs and that an announcement on which hubs had been selected for the programme would be mad at a later stage.

Commenting in the same statement, Jack Ma Foundation executive secretary Beth Yu said 2030 the organisation hopes to “identify and shine a spotlight” on 100 African entrepreneur heroes who will inspire the continent.

“From day one, our approach has been community-based and focused on inclusiveness –to be truly for Africans and by Africans,” she added. You also said the foundation is “excited” to work with Nailab and its other African partners to realise these goals.

Grand finale in November

The top 50 regional finalists of the Africa Netpreneur Prize will be announced in August, while the competition’s 10 finalists are set to be announced in October. Thereafter, the prize’s grand finale pitch event will take place in November.

Featured image: Alibaba Group chairperson Jack Ma engages with entrepreneurs from across Africa during the launch of the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative in Johannesburg in August last year. (Supplied)

Read more: Kenyan hub Nailab busy identifying African partners for Jack Ma programme
Read more: Here’s all you need to know about Jack Ma’s Africa Netpreneur Prize

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