The 24th Harvard Business School Africa Business Conference will be held on March 25th and March 26th, 2022 with the theme “Reimagining the Road Ahead.”

As part of the conference, the Africa Business Club will be hosting the New Venture Competition which seeks to 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 over 1,000 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.

NVC 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.

Select 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 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:

– Early stage startups (for profit or not-for-profit)
– Africa-focused with a majority or all of its operations in Africa
– Less than 50 employees
– Less than 5 years of operations
– 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:

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

The application form will be open on the conference website from November 26, 2021 to December 19, 2021. All applications must be received by 11:59pm EST on Sunday, December 19, 2021.

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