The Jack Ma Foundation awarded $1 million to 10 African entrepreneurs during its first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) grand finale pitch competition.
The ANPI, created by Alibaba founder Jack Ma after his first trip to Africa in 2017, is a flagship entrepreneur initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation. The entrepreneurs who make it to the grand finale get the chance to pitch to Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group, Strive Masiyiwa; Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/Chief Executive of The Chair Centre Group, Ibukun Awosika; and Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba, Joe Tsai.
The first-place winner was Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and Chief Executive of LifeBank from Nigeria who won $250,000. The second-place winner was Dr Omar Sakr, founder and Chief Executive of Nawah-Scientific from Egypt who won $150,000. The third-place winner was Christelle Kwizera, founder of Water Access Rwanda from Rwanda who won $100,000. The remaining finalists each received $65,000. They are listed below:
1. Waleed Abd El Rahman, Chief Executive, Mumm (Egypt)
2. Ayodeji Arikawe, co-founder, Thrive Agric (Nigeria)
3. Mahmud Johnson, founder and Chief Executive, J-Palm (Liberia)
4. Kevin Kagirimpundu, co-founder and Chief Executive, UZURI K&Y (Rwanda)
5. Dr Tosan J. Mogbeyiteren, founder, Black Swan (Nigeria)
6. Chibuzo Opara, co-founder, DrugStoc (Nigeria)
7. Moulaye Taboure, co-founder and Chief Executive, Afrikrea (Côte D’Ivoire)
The grand finale competition was held in Accra, Ghana. Ghana's president, Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said in his keynote speech, "It is time to take entrepreneurship seriously. We need to push vigorously in Africa the culture of entrepreneurship."
The initiative will provide 10 million U.S. dollars to 100 African entrepreneurs over a ten-year period, and encourage grassroots innovation, economic empowerment of women and small business.
Jack Ma said, "If Africa wants sustainable growth, the most important thing is that you should create innovative ways. We need entrepreneurs to join forces together to develop Africa. Let us start to help and inspire; let us start to support the start-up and entrepreneurial spirit, because if society respects entrepreneurship, that society will make progress."