Announced and launched during Jack Ma's first visit to South Africa, the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) by the Jack Ma Foundation will be closing its call for entries on 30 June 2019. African digital startups who are selected from those who applied will have an opportunity to pitch to Jack Ma and win a share of the $1 million prize at the competition's final event in November 2019.

Ma launched the Netpreneur Prize at an event hosted in Johannesburg on 8 August 2018 at which he stated that he is looking to empower Africa's digital startups.

"There is incredible   entrepreneurial energy in Africa, and we've   been inspired and motivated by the entries we've seen thus far. We strongly encourage every entrepreneur across Africa to use this opportunity to overcome any   barriers they've faced and share their ideas with the continent," said   Jason Pau, Senior Advisor for International Programs, Jack Ma Foundation.

Empowering Africa's technology startups

To support and empower Africa's digital technology startups, Kenya's Nailab was selected as one of the implementation and promotion partners by the Jack Ma Foundation for the ANPI. The other partners include 22 on Sloane (South Africa), Nine (West Africa), and Rise Up (North Africa).

Startups that want to enter the competition are required to create three short videos – one from the founder, one from   an employee, and one from a customer.

Some of the requirements are that applicants must be African nationals who are leading mission-driven organisations. The startups must also have been operating for at least three years. The finalists will be selected by a team of judges from the five regions representing the entire continent.

The ANPI is a flagship   initiative for the Jack Ma Foundation in Africa.   Jack Ma decided to create the prize after his   first trip to Africa in July   2017 when he was inspired by the energy and entrepreneurial potential   of the young people he met. The competition is open to entrepreneurs from   across all countries of Africa to apply; and   from all industries, including traditional and tech. It puts a special focus   on small enterprises, female entrepreneurs, and those doing work to improve   local communities.

Entries for ANPI officially   close on 30 June 2019. The semi-finalists will be   announced in August 2019.

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