The Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition 2022, a philanthropic initiative sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy which is now in its fourth edition, has announced this year’s top 10 finalists following an intense round of semi-finale business pitches and judging held on September 30 at the Kigali Convention Centre.
The top 10 finalists include:
- Mr. Flavien Kouatcha Simo, Managing Partner of Save Our Agriculture Sarl (Cameroon)
- Ms. Amena Elsaie, Co-Founder of Helm Consulting (Egypt)
- Ms. Nadia Gamal El Din, Founder and CEO of Rahet Bally (Egypt)
- Mr. Amadou Daffe, CEO and Co-Founder of Gebeya Inc. (Ethiopia)
- Mr. Prince Agbata, Co-Founder and CEO of Coliba Waste Management Services Limited (Ghana)
- Mr. Tesh Mbaabu, Co-Founder and CEO of Marketforce Technologies (Kenya)
- Ms. Francine Munyaneza, Founder of Munyax Eco (Rwanda)
- Ms. Shona Mcdonald, Founder and Executive Director of Shonaquip Social Enterprise (South Africa)
- Ms. Elmarie Pereira, Chief Operations Executive, Co-Founder & Acting CEO of Memeza Shout (PTY) Ltd (South Africa)
- Mr. Elia Timotheo, Founder and CEO of East Africa Fruits Co. (Tanzania)
The result was announced at a Gala Dinner on October 1 to an audience of around 100 attendees from all over the African continent, consisting of current and past ABH participants, judges, investors and other key stakeholders in Africa’s entrepreneurial landscape.
These top 10 finalists will take the stage at the competition’s grand finale in November 2022 for their final pitch to win a share of a US$1.5 million prize pool. The winner of the first prize will walk home with a US$300,000 grant to fuel their further business growth.
The 10 entrepreneurs were selected through multiple stages of interviews and evaluation from over 21,000 applications across all 54 African nations.
They hail from eight African countries including Cameron, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania. Their start-ups have been drawn from a wide variety of industries including agriculture, consulting, energy, environmental protection, healthcare, information & communication technology (ICT), and retail.
These outstanding entrepreneurs share a common trait of having a deep commitment to creating a positive impact on their communities, such as empowering disadvantaged groups, increasing access to digital commerce for businesses in Africa and leveraging technology to improve agricultural efficiency for small-holder farmers.
“ABH remains steadfast in its efforts to identify, support and shine a spotlight on African entrepreneurs that are driving positive growth for their communities. Now in the fourth year of the ABH competition, we are impressed with the increasing diversity of our participants and the impact they are making especially in supporting post-pandemic economic recovery.
These top 10 finalists are sources of inspiration for other entrepreneurs in Africa,” says Jason Pau, Executive Director of International Programs, Jack Ma Foundation. “We wish all of them the very best of luck for the final pitch in November.”
“Entrepreneurship is a huge driver for social and economic development in Africa. The ABH Prize Competition provides a platform for outstanding start-ups to showcase targeted solutions that tackle problems in an impactful, competitive, sustainable and value-adding way.
This year’s Heroes – as with other years – continued to demonstrate the resilience, passion, imagination, and traction that we need in our entrepreneurs here in Africa,” says Birame Sock, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kwely Inc, one of the judges in the semi-finale round.
Along with the unveiling of the top 10 finalists in this year’s competition, ABH has also announced its launch of a local team in Kigali to better serve and engage its growing African entrepreneur community of over 100,000 members.
“As ABH enters its fourth year, we are humbled by the incredible support from African entrepreneurs and key stakeholders which has made it possible for our ABH community to reach its current scale,” says Zahra Baitie-Boateng, Head of Partnerships & Programs at Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition.
“Now with our base in Kigali, a city brimming with vitality and innovation, we are closer than ever to the African entrepreneurs that we serve and better positioned to help create a cohesive local start-up community leveraging our global network and experience.
We are particularly excited to be based at Norrsken House, which is home to a vibrant ecosystem of incubators, accelerators and start-ups. We believe being a part of Norrsken will help strengthen our efforts to collaborate with key stakeholders in Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
The ABH Prize Competition aims to identify, support and empower entrepreneurial talent from across Africa. The official competition slogan “It’s African Time” is a bold call to action to all African entrepreneurs who are challenging stereotypes associated with “African time” – creating local impact and building a better, more inclusive future through their businesses.
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