Jack Ma’s Africa Netpreneur Prize has announced that startups can start applying to be accepted to the programme from 27 March 2019. The inaugural competition will see the Jack Ma Foundation awarding $1 million a year for the next 10 years to support Afrikan startups, small businesses, grassroots communities and women-founded enterprises that are growing the continent’s nascent digital economy.

On his first ever visit to South Africa in 2018, Ma announced that he is looking to empower Afrikan startups by allocating $10 million over the next 10 years for the development of digital startups.

“By 2030, we hope to identify and shine a spotlight on 100 African entrepreneur heroes who will inspire the continent. From day one, our approach has been community-based and focused on inclusiveness; to be truly for Africans and by Africans,” said Beth Yu, Executive Secretary-General at the Jack Ma Foundation.

Countdown to applications opening for the Africa Netpreneur Prize.

Afrika's digital economy

When announcing the Netpreneur Prize in 2018 during his visit to South Africa, Ma explained that the prize will be looking for entrepreneurs who are working to address Afrika’s most important challenges and further its digital economy.

What is also important is that the Jack Ma Foundation has selected Kenya's Nailab as its continental partner to the annual pitch competition. Every year, 10 finalists will receive grant funding and access to the Netpreneur community of Afrikan business leaders for mentorship and other resources.

The following are key activities and dates until a winner is announced in November:

  • Applications Launch: March 27
  • Deadline for applications: June 30
  • Announcement of the top 50 regional finalists: August 2019
  • Announcement of the final 10 finalists: October 2019

Cover image credit: Jack Ma with some of the Afrikan startups he met during his visit to South Africa. Jack Ma Foundation

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