Alibaba Group co-founder Jack Ma has announced a $10 million commitment in support of African entrepreneurs working to address urgent challenges and advance the continent's digital economy through local entrepreneurship.
The Africa Netpreneur Prize will award a total of $10 million to a hundred entrepreneurs over the next decade through an annual pitch competition that will give ten finalists from across the continent an opportunity to compete for $1 million in prize money. All ten finalists will receive grants from the Jack Ma Foundation and will be encouraged to leverage the Netpreneur community's expertise and resources.
Announced in Johannesburg at the Netpreneurs: The Rise of Africa's Digital Lions conference — jointly organized by Alibaba Business School, the Jack Ma Foundation, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) — the prize competition is the second initiative Ma has launched in support of African entrepreneurs. In 2017, Alibaba Business School and UNCTAD launched the eFounders Fellowship Initiative, which will train a thousand entrepreneurs from emerging markets, including two hundred from Africa, with the goal of establishing a community of young entrepreneurs committed to building digital platforms and more inclusive economies.
"As a fellow entrepreneur, I understand the importance of getting support during the early days," said Ma. "This prize demonstrates our support of the next generation of young entrepreneurs across Africa who are paving the way for a better future and imparting positive change in their communities. I am inspired and encouraged by these entrepreneurs who, together, will help build a sustainable, inclusive economy for Africa and for the world."
(Photo credit: Alibaba Group)