Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) brings together over 1,600 delegates for its first annual summit
ABH (www.AfricaBusinessHeroes.org) also unveiled its first annual report, highlighting the achievements and impact of the initiative; Investors, partners and entrepreneurs from all sectors and markets came together to discuss pressing issues and ideas for collaboration; Applications for this year’s edition of the competition are under review and the 2021 Top 50 will be announced in the coming weeks.
Africa’s business heroes (ABH), the flagship philanthropic program established by the Jack Ma Foundation to help foster an inclusive Pan-African entrepreneurial ecosystem, hosted its first-ever annual summit in a fully virtual format, bringing together over 1,600 participants from across Africa. The Summit consisted of a half-day online conference and workshops and provided the opportunity for ABH community to connect, engage and hear from some of the best minds in business, technology and marketing.
At the top, Jason Pau, Executive Director (International) of the Jack Ma Foundation, launched the very first ABH Annual Report (https://bit.ly/2U4u57T), which traces the journey of ABH to date and the impact it has created for participants and communities. “The team has worked tirelessly to look to the horizon, to innovate and to have a greater impact through our program. We are focused on building an inclusive Pan-African entrepreneurial community, and our achievements are only possible with the support of our partners, judges, volunteers, friends and communities across Africa and all corners of the world.
The report notes that since he was appointed ABH finalists, the top 10 2019 and 2020 supported in total more than 8,300 direct and indirect jobs, and created 455 new direct jobs. Many have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, leveraging their businesses to provide blood, oxygen, EAR and other essential services for those who need them most. In addition, several companies have seen their growth double or even triple and have raised millions of dollars in funding, thanks to the visibility and connections acquired during their experience at ABH. In addition, 43,000 entrepreneurs from across Africa who were former candidates were able to access unprecedented training, learning and networking opportunities.
Throughout the Summit, participants discussed the central theme of this year’s competition, “It’s Africa Time”. Bogolo Kenewendo, global economist and former Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry of Botswana, and ABH The Special Advisor noted the key role entrepreneurs can play in unlocking the continent’s economic potential: “The potential for business is immense. Africa has been one of the fastest growing regions of the world over the past decade, with around USD With $ 6.7 trillion available in consumer and business spending, many opportunities are veiled as challenges and problems. We need capital to fuel problem solving and innovation on the continent. It’s not charity, it’s business. There are more opportunities for growth in Africa than in the rest of the world.
The participants also shared the same passion for providing solutions. In a poll at the summit, 93% of people said that a problem to solve and a great business idea was the reason they chose to become an entrepreneur. Only 5% said they were primarily driven by economic gain.
The event also brought together a panel of high-profile African and international speakers to engage with the audience on a number of crucial topics, including investment, technology, marketing and talent cultivation. Their common message was that this is an extremely exciting, yet difficult time for entrepreneurship and business creation in Africa, but the future looks bright:
- Moulaye Taboure, founder and CEO from Afrikrea and one of the top ten finalists in 2019, commented: “The crisis is a great way to focus. In 2020, we increased the volume by 2.5 times and the turnover by 5 times. It was painful but it worked.
- Fred swaniker, the founder of African Leadership Group, said the shift to remote work gives entrepreneurs access to new talent, across borders, which now makes it a great time to grow. He added, “Ignore the technology at your peril. Stop thinking of technology as a side thing, think of it as the heart of everything. If you do, it’s a phenomenal time to be an entrepreneur.
- “The growth in access to capital in Africa is incredible,” said Charlie graham-brown, director of investments and partner at Seedstars. “2020 saw a drop in volume, but the number of transactions increased by 44%. For entrepreneurs who need to raise capital, it’s a bright time.
Registrations for 2021 ABH The prize competition recently ended and expert judges are currently reviewing thousands of entries to select the top 50, which will be announced later this month. All 54 African countries are represented in this year’s pool of candidates and in a variety of sectors, with agriculture dominating at 22%, followed by TIC at 9% and business, education and manufacturing at 8% each. A third of all entrants are women with 15% from French-speaking countries.
CNBC Africa, Star Times and 11 national TV stations will broadcast a four-part series on the journey of Africa’s Business Heroes 2020 in July. Full broadcast details will be available on local listings. To follow the next phases of ABH and all updates, please visit: www.AfricaBusinessHeroes.org and follow us on Twitter (https://bit.ly/3kkucXB), LinkedIn (https://bit.ly/2TfTFpY), Instagram (https://bit.ly/3rigzcL) and Facebook (https://bit.ly/3eDKOGb).
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH).
About Africa’s Business Heroes:
The Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition is the flagship philanthropic initiative led by the Jack Ma Foundation to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs in all sectors, who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future of the world. continent. Over a ten-year period, ABH recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to allocate grants, training programs and support for the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Each year the ABH the competition and awards show will feature ten finalists pitching their companies to win a share of $ 1.5 million in grants. Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation, created the award after making his first trip to Africa in 2017 and was inspired by the energy and entrepreneurial potential of the young people he met.
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