Elia Timotheo, Founder Of Agri-Tech Startup East Africa Fruits Co Wins ABH 2022

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Elia Timotheo from Tanzania (middle), Tesh Mbaabu from Kenya (left) and Nadia Gamal El Din from Egypt (right) were respectively named first, second and third prize winners of the 2022 Africa’s Business Her

Timotheo, who hails from Tanzania in East Africa, has won the 2022 edition of Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize competition. The Founder/CEO of East Africa Fruits Co. received a $300,000 grant to grow his business following a final pitch showdown between the top ten finalists.

“I’d like to thank the ABH team for working with us along the journey, and my fellow Heroes for being there for me. I especially want to bring this victory back to my team as I would not have been where I am now without them. More significantly, the award is meant to demonstrate to my fellow Tanzanians that entrepreneurship is the way forward and that food sustainability is attainable for all young Africans if we dare to make things happen,” said Elia Timotheo, founder/CEO of East Africa Fruits Co., a food distributor that leverages data and technology to create efficiencies for farmers and consumers while reducing food waste, as quoted by APO Group.

East Africa Fruits Co. clients include international hotel chain Ramada and American restaurant franchise Subway, according to Alizila.

Tesh Mbaabu from Kenya (Co-Founder and CEO of Marketforce Technologies) and Nadia Gamal El Din from Egypt (Founder and CEO of Rahet Bally) came in second and third place respectively. They each received $250,000 and $150,000 as prize money.

“The winners of the 2022 Africa’s Business Heroes competition embody the incredible entrepreneurial spirit in the region. The judges recognized them for their leadership, passion, and ability to drive a positive impact across Africa through their businesses. Despite the unprecedented challenges of the past two years, these entrepreneurs have inspired us all with their resilience and unwavering commitment to their businesses and communities,” said Jason Pau, Executive Director of International Programs, at the Jack Ma Foundation.

The finalists other than the top three will each receive US$100,000 in prize funding, and an additional US$10,000 will be allocated to each of the top ten finalists for the immersive training program(s) and community gathering activities.

Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition aims to help foster an inclusive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa. The annual competition, now in its fourth year, shines a spotlight on talented African entrepreneurs working to make a difference in their communities and helping build a more sustainable, inclusive future. The ABH competition is grassroots oriented as well as age, gender and sector agnostic.

This year’s official competition slogan, “It’s African Time,” was a bold call to action for talented African entrepreneurs to redefine stereotypes associated with “African time” as creating local impact and building a better, more inclusive future through their businesses.

Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group said: “The ABH competition is an incredible opportunity to see the vigorous entrepreneurship taking place on the African continent. This year’s winners are role models of entrepreneurship from the standpoint of changing people’s lives and creating opportunities for people to transform society with the use of technology. We believe their contribution will be huge if they can inspire more entrepreneurialism across the continent.”

Over 10 years, each year the ABH Prize Competition and show feature 10 entrepreneur finalists as they pitch their business to win a share of US$1.5 million in grant money

“Congratulations to all the finalists and the winners of this year’s ABH competition. Entrepreneurship is more than just building a successful business; it takes true grit and passion to create and seize opportunities where they don’t always exist. These exceptional entrepreneurs are all worthy winners and I’m excited to see how they will continue to drive progress in their respective markets, and across the African continent,” said Victor Williams, CEO of NBA Africa.

Tesh Mbaabu was also chosen as the winner of the “People’s Choice” award, which was newly introduced this year to encourage audiences to support their favourite Hero among the top ten finalists through online voting.

Pre-registration for the 2023 ABH prize will open in December 2022 and the 2023 ABH application will open in early 2023.

About Africa’s Business Heroes:

Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition is a philanthropic initiative sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy. It aims to support, inspire and enable the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors who are building a brighter future for the continent, by offering grant funding, training programs and support for the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Over 10 years, each year the ABH Prize Competition and show feature 10 entrepreneur finalists as they pitch their business to win a share of US$1.5 million in grant money.


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