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African Leadership Group Joins Forces with “Africa’s Business Heroes” 2021 Prize Competition

April 28, 2021

The initiative gives African entrepreneurs a unique platform to showcase their talent and grow their businesses



African Leadership Group is an ANCHOR PARTNER of Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition in 2021; The initiative gives African entrepreneurs a unique platform to showcase their talent and grow their businesses; Applications are now open in English and French for “heroes” across all sectors and African countries.




African Leadership Group announces 2021 Pan-African Anchor Partnership with the “Africa’s Business Heroes” prize competition, the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program spotlighting and celebrating Africa’s entrepreneurial talent. In its third annual edition, “Africa’s Business Heroes” will leverage the network of African Leadership Group to outreach to talented entrepreneurs and share knowledge and insights to help aspiring candidates navigate the application process.

“The Africa Business Heroes prize aligns with our mission of supporting the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders. We are eager to support by identifying high potential Young African entrepreneurs and preparing them for the competition. I am personally excited to be serving as a judge for the 3rd time. Best of luck to all applicants!” Fred Swaniker, African Leadership Group Founder.

“Africa’s Business Heroes” prize competition applications are now open. Entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, across every sector, age group, and gender can submit their applications, in either French and English, for a chance to compete for a spot among the Top 10 finalists.

Over the next few weeks, we will share additional information related to AFRICA’S BUSINESS HEROES partnership on how upcoming founders and judges can apply, as well as webinars, events and training session etc.

ABH will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and allocate, over ten years, grant funds alongside training, mentoring and learning programmes and access to a community of like-minded African business leaders.  This is in line with African Leadership’s mission to transform leaders by developing ethical entrepreneurial leaders.

At the grand finale later this year, ten finalists will take the stage to present their businesses and share their visions to an esteemed panel of judges to win a share of the US$1.5 million grant. The journey to the Finale will include several rounds of rigorous evaluation panels and access to a community of international leaders and innovators, industry experts, investors, and accelerators through several multi-disciplinary boot camps and training sessions.

In 2020, the ten outstanding finalists – half of whom were female – were selected from over 22,000 applicants across all 54 African nations. They represented eight African countries – Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe – and various industries including agriculture, fashion, education, healthcare, renewable energy, and financial services.

“I am proud to be a 2020 Africa’s Business Hero winner. The competition was an incredible journey. 2020 was a challenging year that made us refocus from profitability to survival. I hope my win inspires Africans to believe that we have what it takes to make an impact, no matter where we are. The Prize is helping us scale our energy solution across East Africa, and we remain focused to change how Africa cooks, one kitchen at a time.” said Chebet Lesan, Founder and CEO at BrightGreen Renewable Energy.

“As we open our third annual pitch competition, we want to acknowledge the huge inspiration coming from Africa’s extraordinary entrepreneurs, whose business ventures not only are successful and profitable but can generate a positive impact on their local communities. Despite the incredibly difficult conditions faced by entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world over the past year, Africa’s entrepreneurship has been experiencing an incredible upward trajectory, showing the magnitude of its potential and the opportunities yet to be seized. Therefore, Africa’s Business Heroes is excited to join forces with our partners to identify, spotlight and support even more passionate, innovative, and determined entrepreneurs across Africa.” said Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation.

Applications for the 2021 competition are open until 7th June 2021. Applicants can apply Here .


In 2035, Africa will have the largest workforce in the world and will need to catalyse transformation by empowering its largest untapped resource – its people. Fuelled by this, the African Leadership Group is an ecosystem of institutions with a shared moonshot vision to harness Africa’s abundant human capital and transform the continent and the world by selecting, developing, and investing in 3 million ethical and entrepreneurial leaders by 2035. ALG was founded over 15 years ago by Fred Swaniker , a serial entrepreneur recognised by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2019 and his partners. The Group has also been recognised by Fast Company when ALU was awarded as 2019’s most innovative company in Africa for “remaking education for a new era”. As a Group, our focus is to continue scaling this mission at a pace never seen before.

About Africa’s Business Heroes:
Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition is the flagship philanthropic initiative spearheaded by the Jack Ma Foundation to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors, building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future of the continent. Over ten years, ABH will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to allocating grant funding, training programs, and support to develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Each year, the ABH prize competition and the show will feature ten finalists as they pitch their business to win a share of $1.5 million in grant money. Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation, created the prize after making his first trip to Africa in 2017 and was inspired by the energy and entrepreneurial potential of the young people he met with. 

Please contact Georgia Kokkini, Head of partnerships (gkokkini@theroom.com) from African Leadership Group and Zahra Baitie, to be considered for exclusive competition information and more news and interviews Partnerships and Program Lead (zahra.baitie@alibaba-inc.com) from Africa’s Business Heroes. 


*SOURCE African Leadership Group
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