Applications for the inaugural $10-million Africa Netpreneur Prize have officially opened to African entrepreneurs. The application window opened yesterday and will close on 30 June.
The prize is an initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation. Over the next 10 years, the initiative will host a pitch competition where 10 finalists from across the continent will compete for $1-million in total prize money.
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The prize aims to support and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future.
Every year, 10 finalists will be selected to compete in a finale pitch competition that will be broadcast across the continent. All 10 finalists will gain access to the Netpreneur community of African business leaders to leverage the community’s shared expertise, best practice and resources.
Ten finalists from across the continent will compete in the Africa Netpreneur Initiative for $1-million in total prize money
Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma first created the prize after his first trip to Africa in 2017. The prize is open to entrepreneurs from all industries, and Ma especially encouraged those running small businesses, those making a difference in their local communities and female entrepreneurs to apply.
Global leaders Graça Machel, chair of the Graça Machel Trust Board and Ban Ki-moon, former UN secretary-general and co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens will serve on the initiative’s advisory board.
The Jack Ma Foundation has teamed up with regional partners Nairobi-based accelerator Nailab, Abuja-based Network of Incubators and Innovators in Nigeria (Nine), Cairo-based entrepreneurship platform RiseUp, and Johannesburg-based startup campus 22 On Sloane.
The partners will mobilise entrepreneurs across the continent through grassroots outreach.
In a statement today Machel praised the Prize’s inclusive approach and focus on female entrepreneurs.
“I especially encourage powerful women entrepreneurs to apply. It is up to you to be the heroes that will usher the continent into the next stage of development, growth and prosperity. Good luck to all applicants and I look forward to your contributions in taking Africa to higher heights,” she said.
Nailab Founder and CEO Sam Gichuru called for applicants to consider a visionary approach towards creating all-inclusive solutions to the continent’s challenges.
“This is a unique prize that is looking to inspire and reward heroes in both technology-driven and traditional businesses. We hope that all of the applicants will be able to use this opportunity to break through the barriers that have been holding them back.”
To apply visit www.netpreneur.africa.
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Featured image (from left to right): Njugush Creatives CEO Timothy Kimani, Metropol TV general manager Terryanne Chebet and Nailab CEO and founder Sam Gichuru during the launch of the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative in Nairobi yesterday. (Supplied)