Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition, a philanthropic program by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy, has launched its fifth annual edition, inviting entrepreneurs from all over Africa to participate. ABH seeks to establish a robust and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa through its activities. It has been carrying out a continent-wide search every year since 2019, alongside its partners, to identify ten exceptional entrepreneurs who are mission-driven and have a passion for making a difference in their communities. ABH intends to recognize 100 African entrepreneurs over ten years.
According to Zahra Baitie-Boateng, Head of Partnerships & Programs at ABH, the competition’s fifth year demonstrates that ABH is now a Pan-African initiative that is having a positive impact on the continent’s entrepreneurship landscape. The competition is grassroots-oriented, sector-agnostic, inclusive, and Pan-African. Entrepreneurs from all 54 African nations, of all ages and levels of society, and across all sectors, are urged to apply. The top ten finalists will compete for a portion of $1.5 million in grant funds at the Grand Finale, which will be held later this year. The application deadline is May 12, 2023.
In addition to networking opportunities, mentorship, and grants, ABH creates a television show each year that chronicles the previous year’s finalists’ journey to the Grand Finale, featuring their onstage pitches as well as behind-the-scenes moments. The upcoming edition of the ABH Show will consist of shorter episodes and will be released on ABH’s official YouTube channel and social media platforms beginning in March 2023.
ABH will hold in-person information sessions across the continent during the application period this year to make it easier for interested entrepreneurs to apply. Sessions will be held in Ethiopia, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda in partnership with local entrepreneur organizations and ABH local connect leads.
ABH’s partnerships with critical ecosystem partners have been a key part of its success. ABH has partnered with several organizations to drive the call for applications, support African entrepreneurs, and highlight their inspiring work. For the 2023 Anchor partners, ABH has Afrilabs, RiseUp, SA Innovation Summit, The Room – an African Leadership Group initiative, and VC4A. Channel partners include the African Management Institute (AMI), AfterSchool Africa, Anzisha Prize, Briter Bridges, Disrupt Africa, Haske Ventures, Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (MCISE), MEST Africa, Pariti, and Seedstars.