Alibaba’s Jack Ma offers $1m to African entrepreneurs

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Calls for entry has begun for the 2019 Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), a fundraising programme created by Chinese billionaire and Co-Founder of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, to support African businesses.

The initiative was created by Jack Ma to identify Africa’s entrepreneurs from all sectors and age groups, and support traditional and tech-driven businesses across the continent with a total grant prize worth $1 million.

Successful applicants who make the final ten will also have the opportunity to pitch their stories to the world-renowned businessman, Jack Ma, and several other business leaders around the world.

Who can apply?: Entry is open to citizens of 54 African countries and entrepreneurs of any age group and operating in any business sector. The applications process opened on March 27, 2019, and will close on June 30, 2019.

Selection process

In August, the top 50 applicants will be shortlisted and announced after a series of screenings at different levels. The next announcement in October will unveil the 10 final businesses to compete at the grand finale.

The Prize, which is led by the Jack Ma Foundation, will host a grand finale pitch competition in November 2019, involving the ten finalists who will jostle for $1 million.

The ANPI objective is to create a community of about 100 young African entrepreneurs who will receive a total of about $10 million grants by 2030.

Among the advisory board are: Graca Machel, Chair of the Graca Machel Trust Board, and Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations.

How to apply?

To partake in the funding programme, prospective applicants should click on the link: 2019 Africa Netpreneur Prize initiative.

Four Nigerian entrepreneurs have already benefited from Alibaba initiatives

Jack Ma created eFounders Fellowship Programme, another initiative to support and empower 1,000 entrepreneurs from developing countries in five years. Among the beneficiaries are four Nigerians.

List of the Nigerians:

  • Tochukwu Uwakeme is the founder of KemResource, an e-commerce company that connects farmers to potential buyers around the globe
  • Chijioke Dozie is the founder of OneFi, a financial technology (fintech) company that provides customers in West Africa access to loans, using machine-learning to assess the credit-worthiness of customers in realtime.
  • Malik Babalola from Gloo, an online supermarket that sells variety of groceries and foods.
  • Olugbenga Agboola from Flutterwave, a company that drives growth for banks and businesses across Africa through digital payment technology.

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