2023 Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition Launched
By Boris Esono Nwenfor & Sonita Ngunyi Nwohtazie
BUEA, March 6 – The fifth annual edition of the “Africa’s Business Heroes” (ABH) Prize Competition, a philanthropic initiative sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy, has been launched with Africa’s entrepreneurial talent expected to participate.
Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition aims to help foster an inclusive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa. The annual competition shines a spotlight on talented African entrepreneurs working to make a difference in their communities and helping build a more sustainable, inclusive future.
“At ABH, we have long recognized the potential of entrepreneurs as engines of economic and social growth. Now in the fifth year of the competition, we are encouraged to see that ABH has grown into a truly Pan-African initiative that is positively impacting the continent’s entrepreneurship landscape,” said Zahra Baitie-Boateng, Head of Partnerships & Programs of ABH.
“We are extremely impressed with the increasing diversity of our Heroes and how they’ve been taking tangible steps to solve some of Africa’s most challenging issues. We encourage entrepreneurs from all countries, especially those from smaller countries, to seize the opportunity of ABH 2023 to tell and inspire millions more with their unique stories.”
Every year since 2019, ABH conducts a continent-wide search with its partners for 10 outstanding, mission-driven entrepreneurs that are striving to make a difference in their local communities. Over 10 years, ABH will recognize a total of 100 African entrepreneurs. The top 10 finalists compete for a share of US$1.5 million in grant money.
Apart from grants, mentorship and networking opportunities, ABH creates a television show every year which follows the finalists of the previous year on their exciting journey to the Grand Finale, featuring their on-stage pitches as well as behind-the-scenes moments. To date, over 72,000 entrepreneurs across the continent have participated in the ABH Prize Competition. The 10 outstanding finalists for 2022 were chosen from over 21,000 applicants from 54 African countries, representing a broad spectrum of industries including agriculture, consulting, energy environmental protection, healthcare, information and communication technology (ICT), and retail.
Elia Timotheo, who hails from Tanzania in East Africa, 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.
Applications are now open online until May 12, 2023, with the top 50 candidates announced in July, semi-finalists announced in August and the top 10 finalists unveiled in September.
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 features 10 entrepreneur finalists as they pitch their business to win a share of US$1.5 million in grant money.