By Samuel Ouma
The 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes, a flagship philanthropic program run by the Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), has shortlisted its top 50 finalists this year.
The 50 entrepreneurs were selected from more than 12000 applications across Africa by 233 judges. These fifty finalists attended a n ABH exclusive virtual bootcamp to network and learn from business leaders and previous ABH winners.
After the boot camp, they will heed to the next round of interviews where the top 20 will be identified and revealed in August. The top 10 finalists who will go on to the grand finale to win a share of USD 1.5 million will be named in late September.
“In the face of incredibly difficult conditions over the past year, Africa’s entrepreneurs have shown incredible resilience and innovation. The top 50 of the 2021 ABH competition are a true testament to this, and we are excited to support these talented entrepreneurs as they continue to grow and generate positive impact,” said the Executive Director of International of the Jack Ma Foundation, Jason Pau.
Sixteen countries are represented in this year’s top 50. These are 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.
Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda are among the countries with the largest cohorts with 12, 6, and 5, respectively. Encouragingly for women, 38 percent of them have appeared in the top 50.
Sixteen different sectors are also represented. The sectors are agriculture, beauty & wellness, construction, consulting, education & training, energy, environmental protection, financial services, healthcare, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, food and beverages, media & entertainment, retail, and transportation.
Lesan Chebet, the Bright Green Renewable Energy founder in Nairobi, scooped the overall 2020 winner’s cash prize as she took home $300,000. The 1st Runner up was Oluwasoga Oni of MDaaS Global, Nigeria who walked away with $250,000, and the Ethel Mupambwa with of MoneyMart Finance, Zimbabwe who received $150,000 as 2nd Runner up. Other 7 Top 10 finalists each received $100,000.