Applications open for Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa’s Business Heroes competition


Applications are open for this year’s Africa’s Business Heroes competition, the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic programme in Africa which annually awards 10 outstanding finalists with a share of a US$1.5 million grant.

In its third year, the Africa’s Business Heroes competition gives African entrepreneurs a platform to showcase their talent and grow their businesses.

The central theme of this year’s competition, “It’s African Time”, is a call to action for all talented African entrepreneurs who are challenging stereotypes associated with “African time” through their businesses, to leverage the prize to scale their efforts as well as share their stories of how they have driven change and solutions.

Applications are now open in English and French for “heroes” across all sectors and African countries, with special emphasis on those working to achieve the UN SDGs.

At the grand finale later this year, 10 finalists will take the stage to present their businesses and share their visions to an esteemed panel of judges, to win a share of the US$1.5 million grant. The journey to the finale will include several rounds of rigorous evaluation panels, as well as access to a community of international leaders and innovators, industry experts, investors and accelerators, through a number of multi-disciplinary bootcamps and training sessions.

Applications will be open online until June 7, with semi-finalists announced in August, and the top 10 finalists for 2021 unveiled in September.


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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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