Alibaba founder and millionaire, Jack Ma, has donated $10 million to young entrepreneurs, in efforts to encourage entrepreneurship in the continent. Photo: AP

INTERNATIONAL – Jack Ma, founder of China's Internet giant Alibaba, says his foundation has dedicated a support package to young entrepreneurs across the African continent. 

The Jack Ma Foundation gave a total cash prize of $1 million to support the enterprises of 10 young African entrepreneurs during the maiden first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative ceremony on Saturday. 

"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," he said. "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," Ma added. 

In his keynote speech, Ghanaian President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo noted that successful economies depended on entrepreneurs running successful businesses. "It is time to take entrepreneurship seriously. We need to push vigorously in Africa the culture of entrepreneurship," Akufo-Addo urged. 

The Netpreneur Prize initiative was launched in 2018 with a view to supporting exemplary African business leaders. 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.

The ANPI is a flagship initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation, created by Jack Ma after his first trip to Africa in 2017. The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. In its inaugural year, nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs from 50 countries across the continent applied.