Based on a conversation with Beth Yu, Executive Secretary-General of the Jack Ma Foundation.

In November 2019, the first Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) finale took place. This event was the end of a year-long selection process, and $1 million in total was awarded to the winners.

WHAT IS THE AFRICA NETREPRENEUR PRIZE INITIATIVE?

The Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) is organized by the Jack Ma Foundation. The foundation is named after Jack Ma, an entrepreneur and the co-founder of Alibaba Group, a technology company. The prize aims to spotlight African entrepreneurs and support their work.

The first annual ANPI began with an online selection process in March 2019. In August, the top 50 were announced. The November finals were held in Accra, Ghana. There, the judges selected Africa’s Business Hero out of the 10 finalists.

WHO WON THE 2019 ANPI?

The title of Africa’s Business Hero was awarded to Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO of LifeBank in Nigeria. Her business improves access to blood transfusions in Nigeria. It transmits blood from labs to patients in hospitals. LifeBank also organizes blood drives to increase blood donations. Giwa-Tubosun says she will use the $250 000 prize money to expand LifeBank in Nigeria and across Africa.

Dr. Omar Sakr achieved second place. His organization, Nawah Scientific, is a research center in Egypt. It gives scientists resources for natural and medical science research. He received $150 000 to support his organization’s work.

The selection process was very competitive, which shows the entrepreneurial potential across Africa. The Jack Ma Foundation therefore plans to organize the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative every year for at least ten years.