Alibaba founder Jack Ma has established a new Africa Netpreneur Prize contest that will see African entrepreneurs compete for $10 million in funding, with the aim of supporting businesses that are growing the continent’s nascent digital economy.
Called the Jack Ma Foundation Africa Netpreneur Prize, small businesses in Africa will vie for $1 million in prize money every year for the next decade, starting in 2019. The Jack Ma Foundation will host an annual pitch competition, with all 10 finalists receiving grant funding and access to the Netpreneur community of African business leaders for mentorship and other resources.
Applicants must be African nationals with internet-led businesses that help advance technology and innovation in Africa. The finalists will be selected by a team of judges from five regions representing the entire continent. Applications for the first pitch competition will be open from January 2019 until April 2019, and the finalist pitch competition will be held and broadcast across Africa in the second half of 2019. The program will be offered across the continent through lead continental partner, Nailab, and other regional hub partners.
“As a fellow entrepreneur, I understand the importance of getting support during the early daysThis prize demonstrates our support of a next generation of young entrepreneurs across Africa that is paving the way for a better future and impart positive change in their communities.”
– Jack Ma Executive Chairman, Alibaba
The Netpreneur Prize is the second initiative launched by Jack Ma to support African entrepreneurs. Last year, Alibaba Business School and UNCTAD announced the eFounders Fellowship Initiative, a program that will train 1,000 entrepreneurs from emerging markets, 200 of whom will come from Africa, with the purpose of building a community of young entrepreneurs committed to creating digital platforms to build more inclusive economies.