The Jack Ma Foundation's Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative grand finale awarded $1 million (R14.71 million) in prize money to 10 African entrepreneurs. Photo: Supplied

DURBAN - The Jack Ma Foundation hosted its first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) grand finale awarding $1 million (R14.71 million) in prize money to 10 African entrepreneurs.

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. The Jack Ma Foundation has committed to running the competition for 10 years.

The finale event, called “Africa’s Business Heroes,” was held in Accra, Ghana, 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/Chief Executive 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 (R14.71 million).

The top three finalists were:

First place: Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and Chief Executive of LifeBank from Nigeria who won $250000 (R3,677 million)
Second place: Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and Chief Executive of Nawah-Scientific from Egypt) who won $150000 (R2,206 million)
Third place: Christelle Kwizera, founder of Water Access Rwanda from Rwanda who won $100000 (R1,471 million)

"It was an incredible honor 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 Chief Executive of LifeBank.

The remaining finalists, who each received $65000 (R956150), are listed below:

1. Waleed Abd El Rahman, Chief Exeutive, Mumm (Egypt)
2. Ayodeji Arikawe, co-founder, Thrive Agric (Nigeria)
3. Mahmud Johnson, founder and Chief Executive, J-Palm (Liberia)
4. Kevine 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 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. 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," said Jack Ma, Founder of the Alibaba Group and Jack Ma Foundation.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE