Applications open for 2022 Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition


Applications open in English and French for fourth year of the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH)  prize competition  

  • ABH annually awards 10 outstanding entrepreneurs from across Africa with a share of a  US$1.5 million grant  
  • Season 3 of the ABH Show featuring the Top 10 Heroes from the 2021 competition will  premiere on CNBC Africa on March 25th 6pm CAT and will subsequently air on CNBC Africa,  StarTimes, DSTV, VoxAfrica and a number of local African TV stations.  

Kigali, March 25, 2022 – The “Africa’s Business Heroes” (ABH) prize competition, one of the Jack Ma  Foundation’s flagship philanthropic programs spotlighting and celebrating Africa’s entrepreneurial  talent, has opened applications for its fourth annual edition 

Entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, across every sector, age group, and gender are now be  able to submit their applications, in either French and English, for a chance to become one of the Top  10 finalists. The official slogan of the competition, “It’s African Time”, is a bold call to action to all  talented African entrepreneurs who are challenging stereotypes associated with “African time” – creating local impact and building a better, more inclusive future through their businesses.  

At the grand finale later this year, 10 finalists will take the stage to present their businesses to a panel  of business legends to win a share of the US$1.5 million grant. The journey to the Finale will also  include access to a community of international leaders and innovators, industry experts, investors and  accelerators, as well multi-disciplinary boot camps and training sessions to help the finalists take their  businesses to the next level. 

Today also marks the television premiere of the 3-episode series for the ABH 2021 competition. The  show follows the journeys of the top 10 finalists from 2021 as they geared up for the grand finale. The  show aims to provide a masterclass in entrepreneurship, as audiences can see first-hand how the top  entrepreneurs from across Africa refined their final pitches and faced tough questions from legendary  business figures. It was filmed in 12 African countries and will premiere on CNBC Africa on March 25.  It will also be broadcast across Africa on StarTimes, DSTV, VoxAfrica and a number of African local TV stations, including Rwanda Television. The show will also air on ABH’s official YouTube channel later  this year.  

“I was beyond proud to have been named the winner of the 2021 ABH competition. I hope that my  win inspires many people across Africa to feel that they can make a difference and be impactful. I  learned so much throughout the competition and will take those learnings to continue growing  PraxiLabs. We will remain focused and determined to change how Africa learns and teaches science,  one virtual lab at a time,” Khadija Mohamed Elbedweihy, Founder, PraxiLabs

“Entrepreneurship in Africa is experiencing a strong upward trajectory and it is so encouraging to  see. But there are still so many entrepreneurs whose inspiring stories and impactful businesses need  a spotlight, and who could benefit from additional support. The Africa’s Business Heroes prize  competition is encouraging extraordinarily talented entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries,  across every single sector, age group, and gender to apply in either English or French for a chance to  win their share of a $1.5 million grant, access to training, mentorship, and more. We want to enable  entrepreneurs that are not only building successful businesses, but who are also running mission  driven organizations that generate growth for their local communities across Africa. If this sounds  like you, join the Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition today. It’s African Time,” said Zahra Baitie, Head of Partnerships & Programs, ABH. 

ABH is part of the Jack Ma Foundation’s long-term commitment to help support and foster an inclusive  and strong Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Over a 10-year period, ABH will recognize 100 African  entrepreneurs. This year, ABH has revamped the brand identity to better reflect its ethos. The new  logo focuses on the concept of the “Hero” as they are the one who drive changes on the continent.  The interconnected lines capture a sense of connectedness, which reflects the goal of creating a  community of African entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, trainers and business service providers. The logo also aims to evoke a sense of dynamism, which reflects the inherent nature of true  entrepreneurship and ABH’s own drive for innovation. Lastly, the logo features African geometric  designs, which speaks to ABH’s pan-African focus and goal of enabling the African entrepreneur  ecosystem. ABH has also upgraded the application system by adding in-process tutorials such as  former heroes’ sample videos and tips, streamlining the applications process and adding in fun,  interactive elements such as Avatars, etc. 

Applications will be open online until 6th June 2022 with semi-finalists announced in October and the  top ten finalists for 2022 unveiled in November. To apply and for more information about ABH, please  visit: and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and  Facebook

ABH marked the official opening of applications with launch events on March 24 both online and in  five locations across Africa – Kigali, Rwanda; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Cairo, Egypt,  Johannesburg, South Africa; and Lagos, Nigeria. More than 1,600 entrepreneursfrom 63 countries and  21 industries registered to join the launch events.  

Throughout the year, ABH will be partnering with a wide range of organizations to drive the call for  applications, support African entrepreneurs and to spotlight their inspiring work. Partners include the  African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum, African Management Institute (AMI), Ashesi  University, Briter Bridges, Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (MCISE), The  Room – an initiative of African Leadership Group, RiseUp, VC4A and more. 

As part of an expanded suite of offerings to ABH Finalists, many of these partners will provide training  programs aimed at supporting finalists to scale their businesses. For example, select finalists will have  the opportunity to participate in AMI’s Management Development Program. They will also be able to  participate in an Investment Readiness Program designed and facilitated by VC4A, access “The Room”  and talent sourcing benefits as well as attend key entrepreneurship events on the continent such as  the South Africa Innovation Summit and the RiseUp Summit.   

About Africa’s Business Heroes 

The Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition is the flagship philanthropic initiative spearheaded by  the Jack Ma Foundation aimed at supporting and inspiring the next generation of African  entrepreneurs across all sectors, who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the  future of the continent. Over a ten-year period, ABH will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and  commit to allocating grant funding, training programs, and support for the development of an  entrepreneurial ecosystem. Each year, the ABH prize competition and show will feature ten finalists  as they pitch their business to win a share of $1.5 million in grant money. Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba  Group and the Jack Ma Foundation, created the prize after he made his first trip to Africa in 2017 and  was inspired by the energy and entrepreneurial potential of the young people he met with.


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