New Venture Competition

The 22nd Africa Business Conference will be held in Boston, MA on February 14th and February 15th, 2020 under the theme “Africa 2020: Creating clear visions for future prosperity.”

As part of the conference, the Africa Business Club will be hosting the New Venture Competition on February 14th, 2020.

The New Venture Competition will showcase the diversity of entrepreneurs making a difference on the continent today.

From the pool of applications, 10 finalists will be invited to pitch their business in front of approximately 700 attendees and receive feedback from a panel of experienced judges.

The competition winner and runner-up will be awarded cash prizes of $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

The finalists will have the opportunity to participate in the Startup Lab, a workshop for early-stage entrepreneurs seeking advice and input from conference participants.

Conference participants and Harvard Business School faculty and students with experience in strategy, operations, finance, and other relevant business fields will engage with the entrepreneurs and help them to solve problems facing their businesses.

20 ventures will also have the opportunity to showcase their companies at the Startup Fair networking and recruiting event and attend networking lunches with distinguished panelists.

The application form will be open on the conference website from November 10th to December 5th, 2019. All applications must be received by 5 pm EST on December 5th, 2019.


The competition is open to all African entrepreneurs with businesses focused on shaping Africa’s future. Entrepreneurs who offer unique and homegrown solutions to local problems and who meet the following eligibility criteria are highly encouraged to apply:

1.)  Early Stage Startups (for-profit or not-for-profit)
2.)  Africa-focused with a majority or all of its operations in Africa
3.) Less than 50 employees
4.) Less than 5 years of operations
5.) Raised less $250,000 in funding to date


The Competition is about assessing the commercial merit and potential viability of each proposed new venture.

The judges will evaluate its potential for economic success and the likelihood of achieving that success based upon the team’s plan, experience, and the validation of key assumptions and a clear and convincing presentation of the following:

1.) Product/Service (what it is; why distinctive)
2.) Team (breadth/depth of skills; ability to execute)
3.) Opportunity (market size/need, ability to penetrate, strong value proposition and business model)
4.) Context (favorable regulatory/tax/political and industry context; competitive landscape/advantage)
5.) Risk/Reward (ways to manage upside/downside)
6.) Structured Experimentation (market validation of value proposition/growth hypothesis)
7.) Financial (realistic assumptions underlying any financial projections)
8.) Execution (defined milestones)

Click here to apply

Musa Suleiman
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