The Jack Ma Foundation is accepting applications for the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition 2021. The ABH’s mission is to find, encourage, and empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their communities, working to address the most pressing issues, and creating a more prosperous and equitable economy for the future. The aim of the project is to be as inclusive as possible. Entrepreneurs from all African countries, all markets, and all ages who run companies officially licensed and headquartered in an African country and have a 3-year track record are invited to apply in English or French. Every year, ten finalists will be chosen to compete in the ABH finale pitch competition and to appear on a TV show that will be broadcast online and across Africa. The finalists will bid for a share of a grant fund of US $1.5 million.
Who is qualified to apply for a position with the Jack Ma Foundation?
- The candidate must be the company’s Founder or Co-Founder.
- The applicant is either an African citizen or a descendant of an African citizen. The business is based in Africa and is registered and headquartered there.
- The business is currently in the post-idea stage. The company has been in operation for at least three years and has a track record of sales.
Benefits of Jack Ma Foundation Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition
- Get the opportunity to pitch to business legends and receive advice from them.
- Gain international publicity via televised Africa’s Business Heroes Show, press releases, news articles, TV/radio & print interviews.
- An online community of ABH Alumni, judges and key stakeholders that promotes peer learning, engagement and networking.
- All ten finalists win grant funds from $100,000 to $300,000.
- Tailored Feedback, Mentorship & Training via Africa’s Business Heroes Network of Partners and Judges.
Jack Ma Foundation Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition Judging Criteria
- Mission, Vision, Values: ABH judges look out for applicant who is driven by passion and clear, impact-oriented goals.
- Problem/Need: The judges evaluate whether the problem or need being addressed by the applicant is significant. They’re looking for businesses that are solving pain points for customers or addressing unfulfilled needs.
- Solution: ABH judges assess how the business is addressing the problem/need they’ve identified and whether the solution is unique and has a competitive advantage.
- Market Traction: Judges look out for whether there is demand for the business’s product/service. They place emphasis on solutions that have customers and where there is demonstrated demand for the solution.
- Financial Sustainability: ABH judges evaluate the financial status and prospects of businesses. They place emphasis on revenue models that show scalability and that have generated income.
- Team: Judges assess how well candidates engage & motivate teams and whether the team members buy into the vision of the business. They believe in the power of teamwork and they are looking for entrepreneurs who have strong teams.
- References: ABH judges evaluate what others have to say about you and whether you are a good fit for the Prize based on reference’s testimonial of you and your business.
Overall, they are looking for passionate, mission-driven, impact-oriented, resilient and bold entrepreneurs who are leveraging business to create sustainable change in their communities.
How to Apply for Jack Ma Foundation Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition
The following are required for application:
- An online written application.
- Video introductions. You will be required to film and upload 3 separate videos, each 1 minute long:
- Self & Company Introduction
- Team Introduction &. Testimonial
- Customer Testimonial
- A reference from a mentor, friend, teammate or partner. A reference should be someone who has worked with you and can provide a written testimonial on your character, work ethic, passion and drive.