Nigerians sweep Jack Ma Foundation’s $1 million awards to 10 African entrepreneurs

Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon is an investigative journalist and publisher of TODAY NEWS AFRICA L.L.C. based in Washington, District of Columbia, U.S.A. His twitter handle is @simonateba and his email is simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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Nigerian Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO of LifeBank company, on Saturday night won the first prize – $250,000 – at the first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) grand finale, which awarded $1 million in prize money to 10 entrepreneurs from across Africa.

The Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative is Jack Ma’s flagship entrepreneur program in Africa led by the Jack Ma Foundation.

The second and third prizes went to Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and CEO, Nawah-Scientific (Egypt) who won $150,000 and
Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access Rwanda (Rwanda) –who won $100,000.

Amongst the seven other winners, three of them were Nigerians, making it four Nigerians out of ten entrepreneurs who were recognized last night in Ghana.

The Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative is Jack Ma’s flagship entrepreneur program in Africa led by the Jack Ma Foundation.

The ANPI is a flagship initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation, created by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma 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 prestigious judges including Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation; 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.

The specifics of the prize pool division is listed below. Each finalist is receiving a share of $1 million.

Nigerians sweep Jack Ma Foundation's $1 million awards to African entrepreneurs
Nigerians sweep Jack Ma Foundation’s $1 million awards to African entrepreneurs

The top three finalists were:

Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO, LifeBank ( Nigeria) – First Place, winning $250,000

Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and CEO, Nawah-Scientific (Egypt) – Second Place, winning $150,000
Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access Rwanda (Rwanda) – Third Place, winning $100,000

“It was an incredible honor 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,” said Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder and CEO of LifeBank.

The remaining finalists, who each received $65,000, are listed below:

Waleed Abd El Rahman, CEO, Mumm (Egypt)
Ayodeji Arikawe, co-founder, Thrive Agric (Nigeria)
Mahmud Johnson, founder and CEO, J-Palm (Liberia)
Kevine Kagirimpundu, co-founder and CEO, UZURI K&Y (Rwanda)
Dr. Tosan J. Mogbeyiteren, founder, Black Swan (Nigeria)
Chibuzo Opara, co-founder, DrugStoc (Nigeria)
Moulaye Taboure, co-founder and CEO, Afrikrea (Cote D’Ivoire)

“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, Founder of the Alibaba Group and Jack Ma Foundation. “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.”

“Africa’s Business Heroes” will be televised in a two-hour special throughout Africa. The journeys of the finalists as well as their pitches and business insights from the judges will all be included in this exciting television event.

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