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Applications Now Open for the 2023 Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition for African Entrepreneurs

Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize competition, a philanthropic initiative sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy, has launched its fifth annual edition and is seeking participation from Africa’s entrepreneurial talent. The goal of ABH is to foster an inclusive and robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa.

The competition searches for 10 outstanding, mission-driven entrepreneurs each year who are working towards creating positive change in their local communities. ABH plans to recognize a total of 100 African entrepreneurs for 10 years, highlighting their contributions to the continent’s economic growth and development.

Zahra Baitie-Boateng, Head of Partnerships & Programs of ABH, said: “At ABH, we have long recognized the potential of entrepreneurs as engines of economic and social growth. Now in the fifth year of the competition, we are encouraged to see that ABH has grown into a truly Pan-African initiative that is positively impacting the continent’s entrepreneurship landscape. We are extremely impressed with the increasing diversity of our Heroes and how they’ve been taking tangible steps to solve some of Africa’s most challenging issues. We encourage entrepreneurs from all countries, especially those from smaller countries, to seize the opportunity of ABH 2023 to tell and inspire millions more with their unique stories.”

The ABH Prize Competition is open to all African entrepreneurs, regardless of sector, age, gender, or social status, and provides a chance to win a share of $1.5 million in grant money. The competition, which is sector-agnostic and grassroots-oriented, culminates in a Grand Finale where the top 10 finalists pitch their businesses to a panel of renowned business leaders.

Along with the grant, the finalists have access to mentorship, networking opportunities, and training sessions. Additionally, ABH creates a television show featuring the finalists’ journeys, which aims to provide a masterclass in entrepreneurship. Over 72,000 entrepreneurs have participated in the competition so far, with the 10 finalists for 2022 selected from over 21,000 applicants representing various industries.

Elia Timotheo, Founder and CEO of East Africa Fruits Co. and the 2022 ABH first prize winner said: “My business represents my philosophy and my values, and I am thrilled that East Africa Fruits was recognized on the prestigious ABH platform. ABH has given homegrown African businesses like mine a tremendous opportunity to access learning and networking opportunities and benefit from media support. I hope that my story will inspire other entrepreneurs to feel that they too have the potential to make a difference and be part of ABH’s start-up community.”

The organisation will be holding in-person information sessions in several African countries to assist entrepreneurs in applying. The sessions will be held in partnership with local entrepreneur organizations and ABH local connect leads in Ethiopia, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda.

Applications for the competition are currently open online until May 12, 2023. In July, the top 50 candidates will be announced, followed by the semi-finalists in August, and the top 10 finalists in September.

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