Semi-finalists for Africa’s Business Heroes Competition 2020

The Jack Ma Foundation’s search for Africa’s Business Heroes has announced the 20 semi-finalists who will progress onto the semi-final stage of Africa’s Business Heros Competition for 2020. 

Those selected at the end of the competition stand a chance to win a share of $1.5-million.

Established by the Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative, 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes is a philanthropic program. This year the competition received a reported 22 000 applications from 54 African countries earlier this year. 

This year’s candidates selected as the finalists have showcased a strong representation of female entrepreneurs with a reported 55% of the selected finalist’s women.

The 20 selected semi-finalists represent a range of industries including; agriculture, fashion, education, healthcare, manufacturing, e-commerce, renewable energy, financial services, food & beverage services, retail, and transportation. 

Jason Pau, Senior Advisor for International Programs with the Jack Ma Foundation, comments on the selected semi-finalists. 

“As we approach the final phases of the 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes competition, I am incredibly impressed by the talent and energy of the entrepreneurs we have met during the selection process. This is no surprise though, as we are aware of the strength of the entrepreneurial spirit of Africa and the unique drive of businesswomen and businessmen in the continent. 


A list of the 20 finalists can be found here.

The finalists are from the various countries; Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe. 

The South African entrepreneur selected in the semi-finals is:

The selected 20 semi-finalists will go head-to-head for a spot in the top 10 candidates in the grand finale. During the final round of the competition, a seven-judge panel will test the solidity of their business plans, motivation, vision, and ability to present their business plan as a coherent solution to resolving pressing issues faced in society. 

The semi-final judges  have been selected as they are revered as leading entrepreneurs, VCs, and start-up accelerators, and distinguished public figures in Africa, are:

  • Fatoumata Ba – Founder of Janngo
  • Marième Diop – Investment Manager at Orange Digital Ventures
  • Hasan Haider – Managing Partner of 500 StartUps, MENA Region
  • Rene Parker – Director at R Labs
  • Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard – Founder and Chairman of APO Group
  • Fred Swaniker – Founder of ALU
  • Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu – Founder of Sole Rebels & Garden of Coffee

After this round of judging only 10 candidates will be selected and will have to pitch their business concept to pioneering and leading entrepreneurs including Jack Ma, Joe Tsai, and Strive Masiyiwa. 

The grand final is expected to take place later this year with selected winners. 

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Featured image: Africa Netpreneur Prize, Facebook 



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