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Africa’s Business Heroes Competition Opens Applications for 2021

Over a ten-year period, ABH will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and allocate grant funding along with training and mentoring programmes, and access to a community of African business leaders.

The Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) competition has opened applications for their third edition. The programme is open to entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries - with special emphasis on those working to achieve the UN SDG - and will see the top ten finalists win a share of the $1.5 million grant.


In its third year, the Africa’s Business Heroes competition gives African entrepreneurs a platform to showcase their talent and grow their businesses. It is part of the Jack Ma Foundation’s long-term commitment to help foster an inclusive and resilient African entrepreneurial ecosystem. Over a ten-year period, ABH will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and allocate grant funding along with training, mentoring and learning programmes, and access to a community of similar-minded African business leaders.


The theme of this year’s competition, ‘It’s African Time’, is a call to action for all African entrepreneurs, alluding to and challenging the stereotype associated with “African time” through their businesses.


The trip to the finale will include many rounds of rigorous evaluation panels, as well as access to a host of international leaders, investors, accelerators and industry experts through a handful of inter-disciplinary training sessions and workshops.


In 2020, five of the ten finalists were female and in total, represented eight African countries as well as various industries including agriculture, fashion, education and renewable energy.


Omar Shoukry Sakr, founder of Egypt-based Nawah Scientific, was the second prize winner, walking away with $150,000. Nawah Scientific is a core platform of high-tech research equipment that provides analytical and scientific services online and on-demand.


Global leaders Graca Machel, Chair of the Graca Machel Trust Board and Ban Ki-moon, Former UN Secretary-General will serve on the ABH advisory board. Additionally, Anita Erskine, UN SDG Advocate and Founder of the STEM Woman Project, will continue to serve as the official host of the programme. This year, ABH will continue to work with its anchor partners across the continent, such as African Leadership Group Ashesi, Dalberg, Janngo, and Cairo-based, RiseUp.


Applications will be open online until June 7th. Semi-finalists will be announced in August, while the top ten finalists for 2021 will be unveiled in September.