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The “Africa’s Business Heroes” (ABH) prize competition, one of the Jack Ma Foundation’s philanthropic programs spotlighting and celebrating Africa’s entrepreneurial talent, has opened applications for its fourth annual edition.
Entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, across every sector, age group, and gender are now able to submit their applications, in either French or English, for a chance to become one of the Top 10 finalists.
At the grand finale later this year, the 10 finalists will take the stage to present their businesses to a panel of business legends to win a share of the US$1.5 million grant. The journey to the finale will also include access to a community of international leaders and innovators, industry experts, investors and accelerators, as well multi-disciplinary boot camps and training sessions to help the finalists take their businesses to the next level.
“I was beyond proud to have been named the winner of the 2021 ABH competition. I hope that my win inspires many people across Africa to feel that they can make a difference and be impactful. I learned so much throughout the competition and will take those learnings to continue growing PraxiLabs. We will remain focused and determined to change how Africa learns and teaches science, one virtual lab at a time,” said Khadija Mohamed Elbedweihy, Founder, PraxiLabs
“Entrepreneurship in Africa is experiencing a strong upward trajectory and it is so encouraging to see. But there are still so many entrepreneurs whose inspiring stories and impactful businesses need a spotlight, and who could benefit from additional support. The Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition is encouraging extraordinarily talented entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, across every single sector, age group, and gender to apply in either English or French for a chance to win their share of a $1.5 million grant, access to training, mentorship, and more. We want to enable entrepreneurs that are not only building successful businesses, but who are also running mission driven organisations that generate growth for their local communities across Africa. If this sounds like you, join the Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition today. It’s African Time,” said Zahra Baitie, Head of Partnerships & Programs, ABH.
ABH is part of the Jack Ma Foundation’s long-term commitment to help support and foster an inclusive and strong Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Over a 10-year period, ABH will recognise 100 African entrepreneurs. This year, ABH has revamped the brand identity to better reflect its ethos. The new logo focuses on the concept of the “Hero” as they are the one who drive changes on the continent. The interconnected lines capture a sense of connectedness, which reflects the goal of creating a community of African entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, trainers and business service providers. The logo also aims to evoke a sense of dynamism, which reflects the inherent nature of true entrepreneurship and ABH’s own drive for innovation. Lastly, the logo features African geometric designs, which speaks to ABH’s pan-African focus and goal of enabling the African entrepreneur ecosystem. ABH has also upgraded the application system by adding in-process tutorials such as former heroes’ sample videos and tips, streamlining the applications process and adding in fun, interactive elements such as Avatars, etc.
Applications will be open online until 6th June 2022 with semi-finalists announced in October and the top ten finalists for 2022 unveiled in November.
Throughout the year, ABH will be partnering with a wide range of organisations to drive the call for applications, support African entrepreneurs and to spotlight their inspiring work. Partners include the African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum, African Management Institute (AMI), Ashesi University, Briter Bridges, Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (MCISE), The Room – an initiative of African Leadership Group, RiseUp, VC4A, and more.
As part of an expanded suite of offerings to ABH Finalists, many of these partners will provide training programs aimed at supporting finalists to scale their businesses. Select finalists will have the opportunity to participate in AMI’s Management Development Program. They will also be able to participate in an Investment Readiness Program designed and facilitated by VC4A, access “The Room” and talent sourcing benefits as well as attend key entrepreneurship events on the continent such as the South Africa Innovation Summit and the RiseUp Summit.
In addition, season 3 of the ABH Show featuring the Top 10 Heroes from the 2021 competition will premiere on CNBC Africa on March 25th 6pm CAT and will subsequently air on CNBC Africa, StarTimes, DSTV, VoxAfrica, and a number of local African TV stations.
Featured image: Supplied