Photograph — HTXT

Applications have opened for the 2019 Africa Netpreneur Prize initiative (ANPI), with the competition looking for Africa’s entrepreneurs from all sectors and age groups. The prize seeks to identify and spotlight African entrepreneur heroes and their stories to inspire the continent and beyond.

Applications are open from March 27 to June 30, during which time African entrepreneurs of any age and sector from any 54 African countries will apply. From the pool of applicants, the prize organizers will conduct a series of screenings at different levels and shortlisted entrepreneurs will be announced. Firstly, the top 50 applicants will be shortlisted and announced in August. The next announcement in October will unveil the 10 final businesses to compete at the grand finale.

The Prize will host a grand finale pitch competition in November where the ten finalists from across the continent will compete for a share of US$1 million in total grant prize money. These successful applicants will also have the opportunity to pitch their stories to world-renowned business magnate Jack Ma. The prize also gives the entrepreneurs exposure and a network to meet with other players from different industries and regions.

The ANPI was founded by co-founder Alibaba Group Jack Ma, and led by the Jack Ma Foundation. Through this prize competition, the Chinese business magnate seeks to explore Africa’s entrepreneurial potential by identifying and supporting entrepreneurs from across the continent encouraging both traditional and tech-driven. He first created the initiative after his first trip to Africa in 2017 and for the next 10 years, the ANPI will host an annual pitch competition across Africa.

The online application for ANPI was launched simultaneously in Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa.

The 10 finalists of the competition will also receive mentorship from the Netpreneur community of African business leaders on how to scale up their businesses. The ANPI will seek to create a community of about 100 young African entrepreneurs who will receive a total of about $10 million grants by 2030.

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