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Nigeria’s LifeBank Emerges Winner of Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative

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Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative

LifeBank , a Nigerian medical distribution startup, has been named the winner of the first-ever Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative whose grand finale was recently held at the Africa Netpreneur Summit in Accra Ghana.

The startup which was founded by Temie Giwa-Tubosun in 2015, beat 10 other startups from across Africa that pitched to a panel of high-powered judges including  Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma, Econet Group Founder and Executive Chairman Strive Masiyiwa, First Bank of Nigeria Chairman and The Chair Centre Group founder Ibukun Awosika and Alibaba Group Executive Vice Chairman Joeseph Tsai.

 Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative

For her winning pitch, Temie Giwa-Tubosun of LifeBank was rewarded with a cash prize of $250,000. This said the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative is not a winner takes all competition.

The first runner up got $150,000 which went to Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and CEO, Nawah-Scientific (Egypt), the second runner up received $100,000 which went to Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access Rwanda (Rwanda) while the 4th-10th placed startups will get $65,000 each.

Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative
Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access Rwanda (Rwanda) and Ist runner up
Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and CEO, Nawah-Scientific (Egypt) and 2nd runner up

The road to the finals

The road to the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative started on March 27th when the prize was launched simultaneously in partnership with different hubs across Africa. TECHAWK was present at the Lagos launch.

The hubs are the Network of Incubators & Innovators in Nigeria (NINE), the West African partner for the prize, RiseUp (Egypt) for North Africa, 22 On Sloane (South Africa) for Southern Africa and  Nailab (Kenya) for East Africa.

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From more than 9,000 African entrepreneurs that applied for the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), founded by the Jack Ma Foundation; the 10 startups were shortlisted which culminated in the finals won by LifeBank.

LifeBank by Temie Giwa-Tubosun

LifeBank is a medical distribution company that uses data and technology to help health workers discover critical medical products, saying it has saved over 5,7 96 lives in Nigeria.

Founder Temie has over 10 years of health-management experience with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Program, and Nigeria’s Lagos State.

In 2014, BBC listed her as one of the 100 women changing the world. She was also recognized by Quartz and World Economic Forum.

LifeBank started back In July 2012, when she founded the One Percent Project, which promoted voluntary blood donation across Nigeria and collected more than 3,100 pints of blood until December 2015, when it morphed into LifeBank.

In a 2016 interview with Newsweek, Temie said that she launched LifeBank to address blood shortage by connecting blood banks with hospitals in Lagos.

The app allows medical professionals to order blood from about 25 blood banks in Lagos. Orders are filtered by blood type, location, and urgency according to the report.

The report added that LifeBank’s logistics team then stores the blood in a cool chain system—keeping it at 10 degrees Celsius—and transports it in Bluetooth-padlocked boxes that only the intended recipient can open.

The company also only transports blood that has been screened by state-run clinics, reducing the possibility of blood-transmitted infections entering the chain.

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Also, we must not fail to mention the support LifeBank received from Co-Creation Hub, one of Africa’s biggest tech incubation hubs, in its early stages. It received $25,000 in pre-seed funding, and the company has since raised a further $15,000 from a private investor.

“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 CEO of LifeBank.

The Africa Netpreneur Prize

The Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative aims to invest US$10 million and recognize 100 African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years.

The Prize powered by the Jack Ma Foundation wants to support and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future.

Every year, 10 finalists will be selected to compete in a final pitch competition that will be broadcast across the continent.

All ten finalists will gain access to the Netpreneur community of African business leaders to leverage the community’s shared expertise, best practice, and resources.

Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, created the prize after he made his first trip to Africa in July 2017.

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The initiative will host a pitch competition where 10 finalists from across the continent will compete for $1 million in total prize money every year through 2028. All entrepreneurs across Africa, are encouraged to apply. Entries for next year’s prize will open in the first half of 2020.

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