Alibaba Group chairman and founder, Jack Ma has launched the Jack Ma ‘Netpreneur ‘prize. A new program which will focus on creating support for African entrepreneurs through funding, who are working to address Africa’s most important challenges and, in the process, further the continent’s digital economy through local entrepreneurship. The new prize was announced at the “Netpreneurs: The Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions” conference.
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The entrepreneur prize was named to empower a new generation of entrepreneurs while focusing on small business growth, grassroots innovation and female founders which will award 10million dollars to 100 African entrepreneurs in the next 10 years. Staring in 2019, the jack ma foundation will host an annual pitching competition from which ten finalists will be selected from across the continent to showcase their talent and business ideas to compete for the $1 million prize money.
However, all ten finalists will receive a grant from the jack ma foundation, as well as become a part of the netpreneur community of African business leaders. As part of this community, they will have the opportunity to leverage their business to the community’s shared knowledge and expertise for best practices, and resources to develop their businesses. The founding of the new prize comes as a result of jack mas’s first visit to Africa in July of last year, where he was inspired by the energy and potential of the young Africans he met.
The competition is open to entrepreneurs from all industries, but more so the participants should be entrepreneurs working on an Internet-driven business. Having both an open and inclusive attitude on the impact the technology can have on their local communities. The applicants must also be African nationals (naturally) leading purpose-driven organizations. The teams selected will be done through a fair process using a panel of judges from five regions across the continent.
The pitch for the first competition will be open from January 2019 until April of the same year. The final pitch round of the competition will be broadcast across Africa in the second half of 2019. The program will be offered to African entrepreneurs across the continent through their continental partner Nailab, based in Nairobi, Kenya, and other regional hub partners. During his visit to Kenya, the famous entrepreneur of the world’s largest online retailer he became inspired to start the competition.
Jack ma stated that he understood the importance of getting support in the early days of a business venture. As an entrepreneur himself, he knows the challenges that come with getting a business to take off. The prize money represents the support for the next generation of young entrepreneurs across Africa who are paving the way for a better future. Imparting positive change in their communities., by building a sustainable inclusive economy for Africa and for the world.
The Netpreneurs: The Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions conference is jointly organized by Alibaba Business School, the Jack Ma Foundation and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Together, they gathered more than 800 entrepreneurs, policymakers, academics, students, banks and venture capitalists to address the challenges and opportunities facing Africa’s entrepreneurs. Across Africa, e-commerce, logistics, tourism, big data and payment platforms have helped lift the national economies of several African nations.
This event also explored the barriers the new digital Africa was facing and the role that the public sector, investors, entrepreneur and educational institutions had to play in this transformation. Ban Ki-Moon praised the move, emphasizing that with the rapid developments taking place Africa is the future. Due to its gravitation towards a more globally digital economy because of the availability of technology.
He will be a part of the advisory board for the Africa netpreneur prize, as it moves to support African entrepreneurs build a more prosperous Africa which will dramatically reshape the future prospects of the continent for the better.
Source: Biz-Tech Africa