7 Nigerians Among 50 Finalists Selected for Jack Ma’s $1.5m Africa’s Business Heroes Competition


Seven Nigerians have been shortlisted alongside 43 other Africans as finalists for the 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes Competition. The prize competition is an initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation through its Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI).

The seven Nigerians shortlisted include Adeyinka Tekenah of Happy Coffee Africa, Chinedu Azodoh of Metro Africa Xpress Inc, Faith Adesemowo of Social Lender and Ifeoluwa Olatayo of Soupah Farm-en-Market Limited. Others are Kehinde Ayanleye of Stutern, Olajide Ayegbusi of Edusko Africa and Oluwasoga Oni of MDaaS Global.

Adeyinka Tekenah

These Nigerians will join others in an exclusive bootcamp that will be hosted Africa’s Business Heroes team on July 28th. After this, they will enter into another round of selection to determine the final 20 contestants.

The 2020 Africa Business Heroes Competition

About 22,000 applications were received for the second edition of Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Competition. These applications are spread across 54 African countries. Applications were open in French for the first time this year. Prize money for this year’s edition is $1.5 million.

The Top 50 finalists were selected across various sectors of the tech industry. They include agriculture, AI, Big Data, business services, construction, education, engineering, e-commerce, fashion, financial services, healthcare, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, management services, retail, renewable energy, and transportation.

7 Nigerians Selected for Jack Ma's $1.5m Africa's Business Heroes Competition

The finalists were also selected from 21 countries. With applications open in French this year, 32% of the finalists are from Francophone countries. 50% of the finalists are women, indicating a 24% increase from the maiden edition last year.

The average age of the finalists is 37 years, with the youngest aged just 22 while the oldest is 64 years. With these numbers, the organisers of the competition believe the 2020 edition is inclusive enough.

The diversity of the finalist roster reflects the aim of Africa’s Business Heroes to be inclusive and grassroots, providing entrepreneurs from all over Africa with a platform to showcase their talent and business ideas, regardless of nationality, industry, age or gender.

Africa’s Business Heroes

A panel of 140 judges reviewed the application submissions in the course of a month. Criteria for selection include applicants’ leadership and vision, their ability to translate innovations and ideas into sustainable and robust business models, and their commitment to creating a positive impact to uplift their communities.

The cohort of 50 finalists would be mentored in a Bootcamp which will be focused on building their “management and leadership capabilities and ultimately increase not only their chance of progressing to the next stages of the competition but to further develop as entrepreneurs.”

Some mentors include the Director the Founders Institute, Rafeh Saleh and Senior Program Manager at Facebook, Omolara Awoyemi. Others are Founder & CEO of RiseUp, Abdelhameed Sharara; Founder and President of Ashesi University, Patrick Awuah; and General Partner of Janngo Capital, Sebastien Nony.

The top 20 finalists will be announced in August while the eventual top 10 finalists will be announced in September. Africa’s Business Heroes Competition will culminate in a grand finale show later this year, where the top 10 finalists will pitch to Jack Ma and other global business leaders for a chance to win their share of a US$1.5 million prize pool.

We wish the seven Nigerians the very best in future selection processes.

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