The winners of the competition last year with the jury members and Chinese billionaire Jack Ma (middle, front row) in Accra, Ghana/Photo: © Alizila/News from Alibaba Group

Jack Ma Foundation awards $1 million to African entrepreneurs

The foundation of Chinese billionaire and founder of the Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, hosted its first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative grand finale on Saturday in Accra, awarding $1 million in prize money to 10 entrepreneurs from across Africa.

Contestants in the Africa Netpreneur Prize finale faced tough questions from the judges, which included Jack Ma, Alibaba Group Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai, Econet Group founder and Executive Chairman Strive Masiyiwa and First Bank of Nigeria Chairman and The Chair Centre Group founder Ibukun Awosika /Photo: © Alizila/News from Alibaba Group


The finale event, called “Africa’s Business Heroes,” was held in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday (16 November) where the top 10 finalists pitched their businesses directly to four prestigious judges including Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation; Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba.

The specifics of the prize pool division is listed below. Each finalist is receiving a share of $1 million.

The top three finalists were:

  • Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEOLifeBank  ( Nigeria) – First Place, winning $250,000
  • Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and CEONawah-Scientific (Egypt) – Second Place, winning $150,000
  • Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access Rwanda (Rwanda) – Third Place, winning $100,000

“It was an incredible honour to be named Africa’s Business Hero. I was truly inspired by my fellow winners at today’s Netpreneur Summit. The Africa Netpreneur Prize will give me the resources to grow LifeBank and expand our presence in Nigeria and throughout the rest of Africa. I look forward to continuing my journey to solve problems and make a significant impact on the future of Africa,” said Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder and CEO of LifeBank.

Temie Giwa-Tubosun, whose company LifeBank delivers blood to in-need hospitals in Nigeria, took first place in Jack Ma’s inaugural Africa Netpreneur Prize contest/Photo: © Alizila/News from Alibaba Group


The remaining finalists, who each received $65,000, are listed below:

  • Waleed Abd El Rahman, CEOMumm (Egypt)
  • Ayodeji Arikawe, co-founder, Thrive Agric (Nigeria)
  • Mahmud Johnson, founder and CEOJ-Palm (Liberia)
  • Kevine Kagirimpundu, co-founder and CEOUZURI K&Y (Rwanda)
  • Dr. Tosan J. Mogbeyiteren, founder, Black Swan (Nigeria)
  • Chibuzo Opara, co-founder, DrugStoc (Nigeria)
  • Moulaye Taboure, co-founder and CEOAfrikrea  (Cote D’Ivoire)

“The finalists who competed in ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’ should be an inspiration for Africa and for the world. Each of these entrepreneurs looked at big challenges facing their communities, and saw them as opportunities,” said Jack Ma, Founder of the Alibaba Group and Jack Ma Foundation. “It is my strong belief that entrepreneur heroes, like these finalists, will change the world – creating companies that drive inclusive growth and opportunity for the continent. Everyone is a winner tonight.”

“This competition demonstrates the overwhelming entrepreneurial talent that exists across Africa. I’m very excited about the future of industry and entrepreneurship for this continent,” said Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group. “The top 10 truly show the limitless potential of African business.”

“What really struck me about the finalists was that they each addressed specific African problems with a specific African solution in a fresh way, leveraging technology that wasn’t available previously,” said Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group. “If this is an indication of the future of entrepreneurship on the continent, then Africa’s future looks bright.”

“Africa’s Business Heroes” will be televised in a two-hour special throughout Africa. The journeys of the finalists as well as their pitches and business insights from the judges will all be included in this exciting television event.

You can watch “Africa’s Business Heroes” on the following dates and channels:

  • 13 December 2019 – ROK 3 on DSTV
  • 14 December 2019 – NOVELA and Sports Focus on StarTimes

Report distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative 

About the ANPI:
The Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) is a philanthropic initiative spearheaded by the Jack Ma Foundation aimed at supporting and inspiring the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors, who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future of the continent. For the next ten years, the ANPI will host the “Africa Business Heroes” show where ten finalists will compete in a pitch competition to win a share of $1 million USD in grant money. 

More about the ANPI at https://www.Netpreneur.Africa/

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