Jack Ma-backed business competition announces 50 finalists
The Jack Ma-backed Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) competition has announced the top 50 finalists for its 2023 edition. This year, ABH had the highest number of submissions since its inception in 2019.
ABH – a philanthropic initiative, sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy, to uplift African entrepreneurs – received 27,267 applications for the 2023 edition.
Applications were received from all 54 African countries this year. West Africa emerged as the frontrunner, representing 43% of the applications received. Francophone countries accounted for 27% of all applications.
In a statement, ABH said, after an intense assessment by 256 judges from more than 40 countries, the top 50 finalists came from 20 countries across 13 industries, led by agriculture, education and training, and healthcare.
Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa account for most of the top 50 candidates and for the first time, the shortlist includes finalists from Sierra Leone.
The finalists are aged 36 on average, with 38% of them being female and 62% male.
Jason Pau, executive director, International Programmes, Jack Ma Foundation, commented: “We are honoured to see the overwhelming response, which is a testament to the rising potential of Africa’s entrepreneur ecosystem. The top 50 finalists represent the incredible potential and talent that exists in Africa, and we believe there are more surprises underway for this edition.”
All 50 finalists will join the Alibaba Netpreneur Masterclass Global Edition 2023, to be conducted online by Alibaba Global Initiatives from late July to late August, to acquire insights into how to harness digital technology to drive their business growth, says ABH.
A panel of over 50 round-two judges will interview these candidates to select the top 20. The top 20 finalists will be announced in July and the top 10 finalists in September.