The fifty finalists for the 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize competition powered by the Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), have been announced.
The fifty entrepreneurs will continue their journey in the competition, for a chance to become one of the ten entrepreneurs that will compete in the grand finale later this year.
The top 50 finalists were selected from a pool of over 22,000 applications received from all 54 African nations.
The 2020 top fifty finalists come from twenty-one countries and eighteen sectors, such as agriculture, AI, Big Data, business services, construction, education, engineering, e-commerce, fashion, financial services, healthcare, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, management services, retail, renewable energy, and transportation.
The diversity of the finalist roster reflects the aim of Africa’s Business Heroes to be inclusive and grassroots, providing entrepreneurs from all over Africa with a platform to showcase their talent and business ideas, regardless of nationality, industry, age or gender.
The average age of the cohort is 37 with the youngest candidate aged 22 and the eldest aged 64. 50% of the candidates are female – a 24% increase from the debut competition last year, and 32% are francophone, reflecting this year’s competition opening applications in French for the first time.
Over the past month, a panel of 140 highly skilled and experienced judges reviewed the submissions, evaluating applicants’ leadership and vision, their ability to translate their innovations and ideas into sustainable and robust business models, and their commitment to create positive impact to uplift their communities.
Judges, whose unrivaled knowledge and industry expertise has brought immense added value to the selection process, represented a variety of key sectors in Africa, such as agriculture, tech, retail and e-commerce, education, healthcare, finance, logistics, and tourism.
Before stepping into the second round of selection, which will determine the top 20 finalists, the fifty selected entrepreneurs will be invited to join an exclusive virtual boot camp hosted by Africa’s Business Heroes team on July 28th.
The boot camp represents a further opportunity for aspiring candidates to access unparalleled knowledge and insights from across the ABH network. It also aims to build up finalists’ management and leadership capabilities and ultimately increase not only their chance of progressing to the next stages of the competition but to further develop as entrepreneurs.
During the boot camp, they will have the chance to receive feedback from round 1 judges such as Rafeh Saleh, Director of the Founder Institute, and Omolara Awoyemi, Senior Program Manager at Facebook.
Participants will also have the opportunity to attend interactive workshops with industry and business leaders, who have been partnering with ABH this year, including Abdelhameed Sharara, Founder and CEO of RiseUp; Patrick Awuah, Founder and President of Ashesi University, and Sebastien Nony, General Partner of Janngo Capital . It will also feature a few of the 2019 finalists who will provide advice and insights on their own journeys.
The selection process to spotlight the 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes finalists will continue throughout the summer.
Following round 2 interviews and the semi-finale pitch, the top 20 and top 10 finalists will be announced in August and September respectively.
ABH will culminate in a grand finale show later this year, where the top 10 finalists will take the stage to pitch business legends – including Jack Ma – for a chance to win their share of a US$1.5 million prize pool.
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