The Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) has been officially launched and entries can be submitted from now till June 30, 2019.

Lagos, Nigeria—ANPI's Advisory board comprises global leaders Graca Machel, Chair of the Graca Machel Trust Board and Ban Ki-moon, Former UN Secretary-General and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.

Graca Machel praised the Prize’s inclusive approach and focus on female entrepreneurs. “I especially encourage powerful women entrepreneurs to apply. It is up to you to be the heroes that will usher the continent into the next stage of development, growth and prosperity. Good luck to all applicants and I look forward to your contributions in taking Africa to higher heights”.

I especially encourage powerful women entrepreneurs to apply.
Graca Machel, Board member, ANPI

On March 27, 2019, the Africa Netpreneur Prize was jointly launched by all the regional partners of the Jack Ma Foundation in their respective countries. ANPI's West African regional partner, The Network of Innovators and Incubators in Nigeria (NINE) convened entrepreneurs, journalists and community managers at the Zone Tech Park, Lagos to witness the launch. Simultaneously, the other regional partners, Rise Up (North Africa) and 22 On Sloane (South Africa) hosted their own ceremonies in the major cities across their region; Cairo (Egypt) and Johannesburg (South Africa) respectively.  They were all tuned in to the live broadcast by the continental partner, Nailab based in East Africa's Kenya.

In attendance was the International Project Manager at Jack Ma's Alibaba Group, Patrick Jennings.

Before the countdown and official launch, the launch ceremony in Nigeria featured a welcome address by NINE's CEO and two panel sessions.

If you feel the story of your barbing saloon or small business is compelling, you can apply for this prize.
Bankole Oloruntoba, CEO, NINE

In his welcome address, CEO Bankole Oloruntoba described the Africa Netpreneur Prize as a way of celebrating the compelling stories of African entrepreneurs. Unlike any other entrepreneurial prize, he explained that the $10 million ANPI is open for all businesses and all Africans.

L-R: CEO of Njugush Creatives, Timothy Kimani, Metropol TV General Manager, Terryanne Chebet and Nailab Founder, Sam Gichuru during the launch of the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) in Nairobi.

Similarly, in East Africa, Sam Gichuru, CEO and Founder of Nailab called for applicants to consider a visionary approach towards creating all-inclusive solutions to the continent’s challenges. “This is a unique prize that is looking to inspire and reward heroes in both technology-driven and traditional businesses. We hope that all of the applicants will be able to use this opportunity to break through the barriers that have been holding them back.”

This is a unique prize that is looking to inspire and reward heroes in both technology-driven and traditional businesses.
Sam Gichuru, CEO, Nailab

This corroborates the inclusiveness of the ANPI highlighted by its visioner Jack Ma as seen in a video played during the ceremony. Mr Ma said, “This prize is for entrepreneurs of any age, gender, and sector who are citizens of any of the 54 African countries.”

The ANPI is aimed at rewarding 100 African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years. The prize aims to support and inspire the next generations of entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. Every year, 10 finalists will be selected from across Africa to compete for a $1 million prize.

L-R: Moderator Oloruntoba with Wale Adisa, Emilia and Boroffice on the first panel session

The two panel sessions, moderated by the CEO of NINE, had as panellists: Wale Adisa [Director of Operations at Workforce Group], Emilia Asim-Ita [Founder of AML], Feyi Boroffice [Senior Private Sector Development Specialist at the World Bank], Adeyinka Adeleke [CEO of Founders’ Hub] and Adewale Yusuf [CEO of Techpoint]. They discussed the concept of business failure, the impact of celebrating entrepreneurs and telling their stories, how to ensure businesses scale and bridging the gap between African countries.

Some of the nuggets shared during the sessions include:

  • Failure is part of the entrepreneurial process
  • When customers are perpetually dissatisfied, failure is imminent
  • There are things Africa can’t leapfrog, one of them is infrastructure
  • Making money is good, but it should not be the only goal of your business
  • The media should do more in spotlighting African entrepreneurs and telling their stories
  • African countries must work together for the continent to move forward

To apply for the Africa Netpreneur Prize, visit the Africa Netrepreneur website.