The Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) competition, a flagship philanthropic programme established by the Jack Ma Foundation to spotlight and support African entrepreneurs, has announced the top 50 finalists for its 2022 edition.
The Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition is 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 10-year period, ABH will recognise 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to allocating grant funding, training programmes, and support for the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Each year, the ABH prize competition and show features 10 finalists as they pitch their business to win a share of US$1.5 million in grant money.
This year, the competition received more than 21,000 applications and saw applicants from across all 54 African countries. Fifty startups have been named finalists. Nigeria leads the way with 13 startups, but the top 50 came from 14 countries in all. For the first time, Burundi, Guinea, Madagascar and Somalia are represented in the top 50.
A pool of over 60 judges will now interview the top 50 candidates, which come from a wide variety of industries, including agriculture, energy, healthcare, retail and manufacturing. In late August, the top 20 will be identified and announced. The top 10 will be announced in October, before they go on to the grand finale where they will pitch live to global business legends and secure their share of the US$1.5 million prize pool.
“We are thrilled to see that all of the countries and regions of Africa are represented in this year’s competition and to have a more diverse pool of applicants than ever,” said Zahra Baitie-Boateng, head of partnerships and programmes for Africa’s Business Heroes. “It is encouraging to see more than 21,000 entrepreneurs throw their hats into the ring from a wide spectrum of industries, regardless of their gender and age.”