The Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition, an initiative supported by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy to recognize and empower African entrepreneurs, has revealed the top 50 finalists for its 2023 edition.
This year, the competition received an impressive 27,267 applications, the highest number since its establishment in 2019. This surge in submissions reflects the flourishing entrepreneurial spirit in Africa.
“We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all the entrepreneurs and judges who participated in this edition of the Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition. We are honored to witness the overwhelming response, which serves as evidence of Africa’s rising entrepreneurial potential,” stated Jason Pau, Executive Director of International Programs at the Jack Ma Foundation. “The top 50 finalists exemplify the incredible talent and potential that exists in Africa, and we believe there are more exciting surprises in store for this edition. As the judging process progresses and our fifth-anniversary event series unfolds, we encourage all our supporters to stay connected and closely follow ABH.”
ABH has continued to gain extensive reach and engagement across Africa, with applications coming from all 54 African countries this year. West Africa emerged as the leader, accounting for 43% of the total applications received. Francophone countries constituted 27% of all applications, marking the highest proportion in ABH’s history.
After a rigorous assessment conducted by 256 judges from over 40 countries, the top 50 finalists were selected from 20 countries across 13 different industries, with agriculture, education and training, and healthcare leading the way. The average age of the finalists is 36, with 38% of them being female and 62% male. Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa have the highest number of candidates in the top 50, and for the first time, applicants from Sierra Leone have secured a spot. The finalists represent 33 out of 54 African countries. A panel of over 50 round-two judges will now conduct interviews to determine the top 20 candidates.
This year, all the top 50 finalists will have the opportunity to participate in the Alibaba Netpreneur Masterclass Global Edition 2023, an online program organized by Alibaba Global Initiatives (AGI) from late July to late August. This masterclass will provide valuable insights on leveraging digital technology to drive business growth.
The top 20 finalists of ABH 2023 will be announced in July, followed by the unveiling of the top 10 finalists in September. The highly anticipated Grand Finale and Summit, featuring live pitches by the top 10 candidates to renowned global business figures, will take place in Kigali, Rwanda, on November 23-24, 2023.
ABH recognizes outstanding participants each year through traditional media and social media platforms. The ABH Show highlights the journey and entrepreneurial stories of the previous edition’s top 10 finalists, offering significant exposure.