Kenyan entrepreneurs miss out on Sh100m Jack Ma award

Monday, November 18th, 2019 14:25 | By

Kenyan entrepreneurs have missed out on the inaugural $1 million Jack Ma sponsored African Netprenuer Prize Initiative (ANPI) award that seeks to support and inspire upcoming African business people.

However, they have a chance of winning part of the $1 million at stake, as the Chinese philanthropist, and billionaire owner of Alibaba Group, through his Jack Ma foundation plans to sponsor the award for the next 10 years.

The inaugural winner of the awards held in Accra, Ghana over the weekend was Nigerian Temie Giwa-Tubosun, whose company LifeBank scoped $250,000, followed by Egypt’s Omar Sakr, founder and CEO of Nawah-Scientific whose company took home $150,000, while Rwanda’s Christelle Kwizera, of Water Access Rwanda completed the top three winners taking home US$100,000. The remaining seven companies will each receive US65 million.

 A total of 10 entrepreneurs from 50 countries competed for a share of the money, in a competition dominated by Nigerian firms.

 ANPI is a flagship initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation, created by Ma after his first trip to Africa in 2017. It will support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs build a sustainable and inclusive economy for the future.

 Ma said 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,” said Ma, adding that it was entrepreneurs who will change the world by creating companies that drive inclusive growth and opportunity on the continent.

Judges Strive Masiyiwa, the Executive Chairman of Econet Group, said he was excited about the future of industry and entrepreneurship in Africa, while Ibukum Awosika Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria observed that the finalists succeeded in addressing specific African problems and solutions in a fresh way, leveraging on technology that was not available previously.

“If this is an indication of the future of entrepreneurship on the continent, then Africa’s future looks bright,” said Awosika.

Ma said the “Africa’s Business Heroes” program will be televised in a two-hour special throughout Africa on DSTV, NOVELA and sports focus on Star Times between December 13 and 14, 2019.

“The journeys of the finalists, as well as their pitches and business insights from the judges will all be included in this exciting television event,” he said. The competition will be run for 10 years.

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