Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH), the flagship philanthropic programme established by the Jack Ma Foundation in Africa, on Wednesday, July 21, announced the top 50 finalists for its 2021 prize competition.
The 50 Africa entrepreneurs were from 16 African countries across the continent, with 10 percent being Francophone. They were selected from over 12,000 applications.
The ABH Prize Competition, a programme aiming at spotlighting and celebrating Africa’s entrepreneurial talent, opened its 2021 application process in March and ended on June 21.
Entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, across every sector, age group, and gender, were encouraged to submit their applications either in English or French.
The 50 applications sail through after the entrepreneurs convinced a pool of 233 judges that their businesses can provide innovative, robust solutions to problems in their communities. The top fifty finalists were invited to participate in an ABH virtual bootcamp to engage with and learn from business leaders and previous ABH winners. The aim of bootcamp is to prepare them for the next round of interviews with the Round 2 judges, after which the Top 20 will be identified and announced in August.
The Top 10 will be announced in late September before they go on to the grand finale to win a share of USD 1.5 million in grant funding.
Sixteen different sectors have been presented in this year’s top 50 selection: agriculture, beauty & wellness, construction, consulting, education & training, energy, environmental protection, financial services, healthcare, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, food and beverages, media & entertainment, retail, and transportation.
Out of the Top 50 outstanding entrepreneurs this year, 12 are Nigerians, which is equivalent to 24 percent representation. Others include South Africa (10), Kenya (6), Uganda (5), Ethiopia (2), Tanzania (2), Egypt (2), Cote D’Ivoire (2). Rwanda (2), Botswana (1), Ghana (1), DRC (1), Madagascar (1), Togo (1), Eritrea (1) and Zimbabwe (1).
The 12 Nigerians include Leslie Emenalo of Kobopay, Abiodun Adereni (HelpMum), Yetunde Oyalowo (Market Doctors-Social Enterprise), Godwin Benson (Tuteria), Olorunishola Aje (IDEAS IN FUSION LIMITED), Adebowale Odulana (Doctoora E-Health Ltd), Ige Atiba (Laughkord Consult and Resources Limited), Ikenna Nzewi (Releaf Marketplace Nigeria Limited), OLAGOKE BALOGUN (Oghenetega Iortim), Ebinabo Ofre (GeroCare Solutions), and Chidi Nwaog (Publisee).