The Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition, a philanthropic program sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy, now in its fifth year, has announced this year’s top 10 finalists following an intense round of semi-finale business pitches and judging held on September 1 and 2 at Norrsken House in Kigali, Rwanda. These 10 entrepreneurs will compete for their share of the final prize of US$1.5 million in grant funding at the competition’s Grand Finale scheduled for November 23 and 24.
The top 10 finalists are (in alphabetical order, by country):
Ms. Bola Bardet, CEO and Co-Founder, Susu (Ivory Coast).
Mr. Ayman Bazaraa, CEO and Co-Founder, Sprints (Egypt).
Mr. Andrew Takyi-appiah, Founder, Zeepay Ghana Limited (Ghana)
Ms. Christina Gyisun, CEO and Co-Founder, Sommalife Limited (Ghana)
Mr. Thomas Njeru, CEO and Co-Founder, Pula Advisors Limited (Kenya)
Mr. Ismael Belkhayat, CEO and Founder, Chari (Morocco)
Mr. Ikpeme Neto, CEO and Founder, Wellahealth Technologies (Nigeria)
Mr. Albert Munyabugingo, CEO and Co-Founder, Vuba Vuba Africa LTD (Rwanda)
Ms. Nthabiseng Mosia, CMO and Co-Founder, Easy Solar (Sierre Leone)
Mr. Theo Baloyi, CEO and Founder, Bathu (South Africa)
The 2023 ABH top 10 entrepreneurs were selected through multiple stages of interviews and evaluation from 27,267 applications across all 54 African nations. They hail from eight African countries, including Benin, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa. Their start-ups have been drawn from a wide variety of industries, including agriculture, education & training, energy, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and retail.
The 10 finalists will present their businesses on stage to a panel of inspiring businesspeople at this year’s Grand Finale, which will take place in conjunction with a summit and will be the biggest in ABH’s history in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the competition. Held offline in Kigali, Rwanda on 23 and 24 November and also partially livestreamed to reach audiences across Africa, the Summit and Grand Finale will be a gathering of a diverse group of African entrepreneurial ecosystem players. The action-packed event will comprise exciting sessions including speeches, workshops, an entrepreneurial showcase and a live pitch competition, among other activities. Register here to secure your seat: ttps://africabusinessheroes.org/en/the-community/2023-abh-grand-finale
“ABH remains committed to uncovering, championing and supporting trailblazing African entrepreneurs who are bringing positive change to their communities. As we reach the fifth anniversary of our 10-year commitment to this initiative, we’re excited by the expanding and diverse array of talent among our contenders,” said Jason Pau, Executive Director of International Programs at the Jack Ma Foundation. “With November on the horizon, we wish every of the top 10 finalists the best of luck on their journey, and we encourage the public to join our Summit and Grand Finale, as it promises to be truly special.”
“We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the distinguished panel of Semi-finale Judges: Fred Swaniker, Founder and CEO, African Leadership Group; Hasan Haider, Founder and Managing Partner, Plus Venture Capital; Ken Njoroge, co-founder, Cellullant and Rene Parker, co-founder and CEO, RLabs.”
“The ABH competition has shown that African entrepreneurship can emerge as a potent force propelling both social upliftment and economic progress. It is a dynamic stage, spotlighting ingenious start-ups that steer toward solutions, tackling challenges with a resonance that’s impactful, competitive, sustainable and additive. I believe that entrepreneurs are carriers of HOPE as they can unlock possibilities that can change the world. I look forward to the Grand Finale, where the top 10 finalists will demonstrate their remarkable business acumen on stage,” said Rene Parker, Cofounder and CEO of RLabs, ABH semi-finale judge (2019 – 2023).
Originally launched in 2019, the ABH Prize Competition is Pan-African, inclusive, sector-agnostic and grassroots-oriented. It aims to identify, support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their local communities by working to solve the most pressing problems and building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future.
About Africa’s Business Heroes
The Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition is a philanthropic initiative sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy. It aims to support, inspire and enable the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors who are building a brighter future for the continent, by offering grant funding, training programs and support for the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Over a 10-year period, each year the ABH Prize Competition and show features 10 entrepreneur finalists as they pitch their business to win a share of US$1.5 million in grant money.
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