The Jack Ma Foundation has awarded $1 million in prize money to 10 entrepreneurs across Africa at its first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative. Picture: AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati

Johannesburg - The Jack Ma Foundation has awarded $1 million (about R15 million) in prize money to 10 entrepreneurs across Africa at its first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative.

The ANPI, created by Chinese businessman Jack Ma after his first trip to Africa in 2017, aims to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs in building a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

In its inaugural year, nearly 10 000 entrepreneurs from 50 countries across the continent applied, and the Jack Ma Foundation has committed to running the competition for 10 years.

At the finale in Accra, Ghana over the weekend, the top 10 finalists pitched their businesses directly to judges including Ma, founder and executive chairman of mobile telecommunications company Econet, Strive Masiyiwa, chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Ibukun Awosika and executive vice chairman of Alibaba Joe Tsai.

"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,” Ma said.

"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.”

African News Agency (ANA)