A Solid Representation of African Development Priorities In ABH 2021 Top 50 finalists

By Samuel Ouma

The Top 50 finalists of the 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes have been announced after a pool of 233 judges reviewed thousands of applications from across Africa.

The 50 entrepreneurs are two steps away from winning a share of USD 1.5 million in grant funding and will also gain invaluable networking and learning opportunities throughout their ABH journey.

After being shortlisted, the fifty African entrepreneurs just participated in an ABH virtual boot camp where they engaged with and learned from business leaders and previous ABH winners. This stage was organized to prepare them for the next round of interviews, where the top 20 finalists will be identified and announced in August.

The judges will then name the top 10 in late September ahead of the grand finale slated for November.

This year’s competition attracted more than 12,000 applications from all 54 African countries. The Top 50 finalists came from 16 countries, including Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Out of the 50 outstanding candidates, 10 percent are Francophone.

Women are well represented as they comprise 38 percent of the finalists.

Sixteen different sectors are represented, including agriculture, beauty & wellness, construction, consulting, education & training, energy, environmental protection, financial services, healthcare, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, food and beverages, media & entertainment, retail, and transportation.

Women featured in twelve out of sixteen sectors except for agriculture, logistics, transportation, and ICT. On the other hand, men did not appear only in two sectors that are Beauty and Wellness and consulting.

Seven entrepreneurs are working in the manufacturing sector, healthcare (6), education & training (5), financial services (5), construction (3), energy (3), retail (3), agriculture (3), transportation (3), food &beverages (2), media & entertainment (2), beauty & wellness (2), ICT (2), logistics (2), environmental protection (1) and consulting (1).

The 2020 sectors were agriculture, AI, Big Data, business services, construction, education, engineering, e-commerce, fashion, financial services, healthcare, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, management services, retail, renewable energy, and transportation.

The average age of the cohort is 31, with the youngest candidate aged 23 and the eldest aged 52.

In terms of geographical representation, all pentagons of Africa, North, South, West, East, and Central, are well represented.

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