The philanthropic program, Africa’s Business Heroes, organized by the Jack Ma Foundation, has announced the lineup of the twenty semi-finalists for its 2023 prize competition. This group was arrived at after a winnowing process that shortlisted 50 candidates in June.
The twenty semi-finalists emerged from a larger pool of over 27,000 submissions from fifty-four African countries. These represented diverse industries, including agriculture, business services, education & training, energy, financial services, food & beverages, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and transportation.
The twenty entrepreneurs will meet in Kigali, Rwanda, from September 1st to 2nd, 2023, where they will present their ventures and compete for a position among the top 10 finalists. The final 10 that are shortlisted will share the prize money of USD 1.5 million.
The forthcoming pitches will be very competitive and promise to have thorough deliberation by a panel of judges that has the task of determining who makes it to the Africa’s Business Heroes final for 2023.
Beyond the financial reward, all participants, including winners and finalists, will benefit from the insights and experience that the Africa’s Business Heroes community of business leaders possess. The ten finalists will be revealed in November during the Africa’s Business Heroes Summit and Grand Finale, which will run from November 23rd to 24th, 2023, and again be held in Kigali.
The selection of these African business heroes is based on criteria ranging from visionary entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity to tangible impact on communities, demonstrable leadership and vision, scalability potential, market demand, and financial viability.
Possessing effective communication skills is important because it will be the tool that finalists use to clearly present and explain their business strategies before the judging panel. They will also need to respond to thought-provoking questions within a set time frame. Their ability to articulate their expertise and unique value propositions is crucial to impressing the judges.
Africa’s Business Heroes competition is part of the Jack Ma Foundation’s long-term commitment to help support and foster an inclusive and strong African entrepreneurial ecosystem. The initiative aims to support 100 African entrepreneurs over a ten-year period, supporting them with grant funding, training, mentorship, learning initiatives, and a platform to engage with like-minded African business leaders.
The roster of twenty semi-finalists is as follows:
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