Nigerian businesswoman Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO, LifeBank has won the first place prize of $250,000 at the first Jack Ma Foundation annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), which held in Accra, Ghana on Saturday night.
Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and CEO, Nawah-Scientific placed second and won $150,000, while
Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access Rwanda came third and will go back to Kigali with $100,000.
$1million in prize money was shared to 10 budding African entrepreneurs by ANPI, created by Jack Ma, China’s second richest man and founder of e-commerce behemoth Alibaba after his first trip to Africa in 2017.
The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. In its inaugural year, nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs from 50 countries across the continent applied. The Jack Ma Foundation has committed to running the competition for 10 years.
The finale event, called “Africa’s Business Heroes,” was held in Accra, Ghana, where the top 10 finalists pitched their businesses directly to four judges including Jack Ma. The other judges were Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba.
Said an elated Temie Giwa-Tubosun: “It was an incredible honour to be named Africa’s Business Hero. I was truly inspired by my fellow winners at today’s Netpreneur Summit. The Africa Netpreneur Prize will give me the resources to grow LifeBank and expand our presence in Nigeria and throughout the rest of Africa. I look forward to continuing my journey to solve problems and make a significant impact on the future of Africa.”
Seven other finalists, among them three Nigerians received $65,000 each. They are Ayodeji Arikawe, co-founder, Thrive Agric, Dr. Tosan J. Mogbeyiteren, founder, Black Swan and Chibuzo Opara, co-founder, DrugStoc.
Egyptian Waleed Abd El Rahman, CEO, Mumm, Liberian Mahmud Johnson, founder and CEO, J-Palm and Rwandan Kevine Kagirimpundu, co-founder and CEO, UZURI K&Y and Ivorian Moulaye Taboure, co-founder and CEO, Afrikrea were the other finalists who also got $65,000 each.
“The finalists who competed in ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’ should be an inspiration for Africa and for the world. Each of these entrepreneurs looked at big challenges facing their communities, and saw them as opportunities,” said Jack Ma said.
“It is my strong belief that entrepreneur heroes, like these finalists, will change the world – creating companies that drive inclusive growth and opportunity for the continent. Everyone is a winner tonight.”
“This competition demonstrates the overwhelming entrepreneurial talent that exists across Africa. I’m very excited about the future of industry and entrepreneurship for this continent,” said Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group. “The top 10 truly show the limitless potential of African business.”
“What really struck me about the finalists was that they each addressed specific African problems with a specific African solution in a fresh way, leveraging technology that wasn’t available previously,” said Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group. “If this is an indication of the future of entrepreneurship on the continent, then Africa’s future looks bright.”