The 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize, is a flagship philanthropic program run by leading Chinese tech entrepreneur’s Jack Ma Foundation which stands out as one of the top 10 finalists. The ten finalists will make their final pitches at the grand finale in November as they battle for a share of the US$1.5 million prize pool.
Of the ten finalists, where half are women, the top of 12,000 applications chosen from all 54 African nations passes multiple stages of judging and evaluation. The average pool age is 32 years and is spread across 7 countries namely Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, and Rwanda. The businesses operate across the sectors of agriculture, energy, education, logistic, food and beverage, energy, media and entertainment, and retail. 80% of the finalists run their businesses in rural areas.
“The Top 10 are truly inspiring,” said Jason Pau, the ED at International, Jack Ma Foundation. He attributed this to the “talent, resilience, innovation, and passion” of Africa’s entrepreneurs.
The entrepreneurs that made it to the top 10 are:
Ghirmay Abraham, who founded Aptech that brings water and electricity to Africans. The company experienced phenomenal growth and now operates in seven Africa countries.
Navalyo Osembo-Ombati, the founder of Enda Athletic that produces the next generation of long-distance runners. The made-in-Kenya running shoes are set to create jobs, invest in local communities while spurring economic development.
Charlot Magayi, the CEO of Mukuru Clean Stores looking to provide safe and affordable cooking technologies.
Oghenetega Iortim, founder of Gricd that is solving health and food accessibility challenges through the use of technology. He is building cold-chain storage facilities to address shortage pitfalls in the agricultural and healthcare sectors.
Chidi Nwaogu, CEO at Publiseer, a digital content distribution company helping Africa’s underserved creatives make a living.
Ikenna Nzewi, CEO at Releaf Marketplace Nigeria which is an agricultural technology company that develops both software and hardware solutions in turn driving the industrialization of Africa’s food processing.
Yvette Ishimwe, the CEO, IRIBA Water Group, a social enterprise offering innovative drinking water solutions.
Khadija Mohamed Elbedweihy, the founder of PraxiLabs Egypt, makes virtual science labs accessible for educational institutions.
Violet Amoabeng, the founder of Skin Gourmet, specialized in accounting, marketing, and supply chain management.
Ketsheaphone Jacob, the CEO of The Bulb World, an LED light manufacturing company.