The competition was officially open to African entrepreneurs from all countries, sectors and age groups. The ANPI is a prize competition founded by the Jack Ma Foundation that will award US$10 million and recognize 100 African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years.
The Prize aims to support and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. Every year, 10 finalists will be selected to compete in a finale pitch competition that will be broadcast across the continent. All ten finalists will gain access to the Netpreneur community of African business leaders to leverage the community’s shared expertise, best practice and resources.
Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma first created the prize after he made his first trip to Africa in July 2017 and was inspired by the energy and entrepreneurial potential of the young people he met. The Prize is open to entrepreneurs from all industries, and Ma especially encouraged those running small businesses, those making a difference in their local communities and female entrepreneurs to apply.
Global leaders Graca Machel, Chair of the Graca Machel Trust Board and Ban Ki-moon, Former UN Secretary-General and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens serve on the ANPI advisory board. The Jack Ma Foundation has teamed up regional partners: Nailab (continental and Eastern Africa), 22 on Sloane (South Africa), Nine (West Africa), and Rise Up (North Africa) to promote the Prize in their respective regions. The partners will mobilize entrepreneurs across the continent through grassroots outreach.
Graca Machel praised the Prize’s inclusive approach and focus on female entrepreneurs. “I especially encourage powerful women entrepreneurs to apply. It is up to you to be the heroes that will usher the continent into the next stage of development, growth and prosperity. Good luck to all applicants and I look forward to your contributions in taking Africa to higher heights.”
Nailab Founder and CEO Sam Gichuru called for applicants to consider a visionary approach towards creating all-inclusive solutions to the continent’s challenges. “This is a unique prize that is looking to inspire and reward heroes in both technology-driven and traditional businesses. We hope that all of the applicants will be able to use this opportunity to break through the barriers that have been holding them back.”