Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Expands Ecosystem of Partners and Extends Application Deadline

PUBLISHED: Mon, 07 Jun 2021 11:15:09 GMT

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ABH ( has joined forces with a broader network of partners from across Africa to identify and support talented African entrepreneurs for the 2021 prize competition; In response to the strong level of interest from across the continent, ABH has extended the deadline for applications from June 7 to June 21.

The Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize competition, a philanthropic program established by the Jack Ma Foundation to spotlight and support African entrepreneurs, has extended its network of local and international partners ( for its 2021 edition.

This year, ABH has consolidated its long-standing collaboration with Anchor Partners, including African Leadership Group (, Janngo (, and RiseUp (, to work together to mobilize talented and mission-driven entrepreneurs from across the continent. This year, the Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) ( has also joined ABH’s partner ecosystem and will help to ensure greater participation of female entrepreneurs and business owners. ABH has also partnered with the Research Institute for Innovation & Sustainability (RIIS) (, a group working at the intersection of corporate strategy, socio-economic development and entrepreneurship & innovation; VC4A (, a leading platform for startup funding in Africa, and Briter Bridges (, a data-driven research company with a focus on emerging markets.

Mrs. Bogolo J. Kenewendo, global economist and former Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry of Botswana, has also joined ABH as Special Advisor. Her unparalleled background and expertise in the field of economic development will be key to shaping initiatives that will help foster a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“We are immensely grateful to all our partners as we work hand in hand to give the talented entrepreneurs from across Africa a platform to grow their businesses and share their stories,” notes Zahra Baitie-Boateng, Head of Partnerships and Programs at ABH. “With their unparalleled expertise, they serve a critical role in engaging with entrepreneurs from a diverse range of regions and industries. With the support of this robust network of partners, we will be able to do even more to support African entrepreneurs.”

ABH’s partner network also includes media outlets such as CNBC Africa, Pulse.Africa and StarTimes; incubators and accelerators such as the Moroccan Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Ethiopia Entrepreneurship Development Center, Impact Hub Dakar and i4policy; communications platforms like Sasai, and telecoms operator Liquid Telecom.

Furthermore, ABH has continued to build out its pool of expert judges. More than 100 judges will take on the critical task of reviewing applications throughout the initial phases of the competition. The judges include investors and VCs, members of the media, academics, senior consultants and advisors, incubators and accelerators, and other recognized business leaders.

To date, the 2021 edition of the ABH prize competition has received strong applications from candidates representing all 54 countries in Africa. In recognition of the level of interest from across the continent and the challenging circumstances that entrepreneurs and SMEs continue to face, ABH has extended the deadline for applications from June 7 to June 21. To apply and for more information about ABH, please visit: and follow us on Twitter (, LinkedIn (, Instagram ( and Facebook (

Commenting on their ongoing collaboration with ABH, partners noted:

“The Africa’s Business Heroes prize aligns with our mission of supporting the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders. We are eager to support by identifying high potential Young African entrepreneurs and preparing them for the competition. I am personally excited to be serving as a judge for the 3rd time. Best of luck to all applicants!” – Fred Swaniker, Founder, African Leadership Group. “I am proud of our partnership with the Africa’s Business Heroes prize. At AWIEF, we want to see more women entrepreneurs becoming winners in this coveted competition. It’s really African time and there are many amazing women innovators and business owners driving that change to an inclusive African economic growth.” – Irene Ochem, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) “Our partnership with Africa's Business Heroes empowers African entrepreneurs to rewrite their continent's narrative of innovation, resilience and humanity. Entrepreneurs have a grand opportunity to benefit from this competition and I hope that entrepreneurs from all walks, show their stripes and apply.” – Buntu Majaja, Director of Ecosystems and Digital Innovation, SA Innovation Summit “Founders across the continent are working hard to bring about important innovations and solutions that address some of the world's most pressing problems. It is important we celebrate these efforts and work together to support these entrepreneurs.” – Ben White, Founder and CEO, VC4A “Briter Bridges is excited to be partnering with players such as Africa's Business Heroes that brings fresh and strategic resources into Africa's tech ecosystem. Briter brings its expertise in leveraging its data and network to help the team focus on targeted market opportunities.” – Dario Giuliani, Director, Briter Bridges Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH).

Press Contacts:
Holly Zhao

Miriam Forte 

About Africa’s Business Heroes:
The Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition is the flagship philanthropic initiative spearheaded by the Jack Ma Foundation aimed at supporting and inspiring the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors, who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future of the continent. Over a ten-year period, ABH will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to allocating grant funding, training programs, and support for the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Each year, the ABH prize competition and show will feature ten finalists as they pitch their business to win a share of $1.5 million in grant money. Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation, created the prize after he made his first trip to Africa in 2017 and was inspired by the energy and entrepreneurial potential of the young people he met with. 

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