The Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) has appointed NINE from Nigeria, RiseUp from Egypt, and 22 On Sloane from South Africa as the official Western, Northern, and Southern Africa regional partners, respectively. The three organizations will work closely with Nailab, the continental and Eastern Africa partner, to promote the Prize in their respective regions.
The ANPI is a prize competition for African entrepreneurs, founded by the Jack Ma Foundation. For the next ten years, the ANPI will host a pitch competition across Africa culminating in a finale where ten finalists will compete for US$1 million in total prize money. The Prize aims to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs across all sectors, who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future.
(TOP: From Left – Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma speaks with Kago Kagichiri, co-founder of Eneza Education and Derrick Muturi, the CEO of grocery delivery enterprise, Herdy, at Nailab during his maiden visit to Africa. NINE from Nigeria, RiseUp from Egypt, and 22 On Sloane from South Africa will serve as regional partners of the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative, leading grassroots mobilization in their regions).
The regional partners will mobilize aspiring entrepreneurs across the continent through grassroots outreach. Nailab Founder and CEO Sam Gichuru said, “We are excited to work with these reputable and mission-aligned partners who will help us bring the Prize to all corners of Africa, as well as discover and spotlight a new generation of entrepreneurs from across the continent. Together with our partners, we will support both technology-driven and traditional companies with a special focus on small businesses, grassroots communities and women-founded enterprises.”
Graca Machel, Chair of the Graca Machel Trust Board and a member of ANPI advisory board, noted that the regional partners will help support the Prize’s inclusive and community-based approach and praised the Prize’s strong focus on women entrepreneurs. “There are so many undiscovered entrepreneurial heroes, women and men alike, who once unearthed can become game-changers of the African entrepreneurship landscape. I am happy the Africa Netpreneur Prize has decided to make women a priority.”
The southern partner, 22 On Sloane, is a legacy project of the Global Entrepreneurship Network Africa (GEN Africa) and home to the largest startup campus on the continent. The organization seeks to nurture the development of new industries by supporting disruptive startups. The northern partner, RiseUp, is the creator and organizer of the MENA region’s largest entrepreneurship event, RiseUp Summit. RiseUp is a platform that connects startups with needed resources from across the continent. The western partner, NINE is Nigeria’s largest network of Incubators supporting the growth of entrepreneurs.
“We look forward to supporting the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative in its mission to empower entrepreneurs from Africa. 22 On Sloane has received support from world leaders and a network of more than 15,000 partner organizations which has enabled us to catapult the growth of many businesses, and is indicative of the strong entrepreneurial potential we have across the continent to thrive globally,” said GEN Africa Chairperson Kizito Okechukwu.
Abdelhameed Sharara, CEO of RiseUp noted, “We are looking for against-the-grain entrepreneurs who will provide visionary solutions to today’s most important challenges. We define an entrepreneur as anyone who’s willing to take on innovation and challenge the norm. This Prize will be an important catalyst to support budding entrepreneurs from across the continent and give them a platform for effective innovation.”
“We are excited to discover vibrant enterprises that would benefit from the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative. We believe that the Prize finalists have the power to inspire the continent with their commitment and dedication, as well as show the potential of our African Entrepreneurs,” said Bankole Oloruntoba, Founder of NINE.
ANPI will officially call for applications starting from March 27 to June 30, 2019. All ten finalists will receive grant funding from the Jack Ma Foundation, as well as access to the Netpreneur community of African business leaders to leverage the community’s shared expertise, best practices, and resources.
Jack Ma Foundation (JMF) is a charitable organisation founded in 2014 by Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group. The foundation’s aim is to promote human development in harmony with both society and the environment, while its mission is to work towards a world of bluer skies, cleaner water, healthier communities, and more open thinking. From education to environment, to public health and personnel development in philanthropic sector, the foundation intends to awaken social consciousness and responsibility to cultivate an innovative and sustainable model for a better world.
Nailab is an accelerator that offers a “Launch out” program for entrepreneurs and “Launch in” program for those seeking employability in the digital economy. Through 3 – 6 months programs, the accelerator has designed initiatives that help cater to personal and or business transformations, ensuring an increase in knowledge in both soft and technical skills as well as access to opportunities such as seed and growth funding or market access. With its main focus being the support of entrepreneurs that are looking to optimize the use of technology to deliver better services and products, Nailab works with different organisations from Government, development aid, foundations and corporates that are youth-centric to help design programs aimed at catalyzing innovations, entrepreneurship and job creation.