SELECTION PROCESS

WHAT CRITERIA DOES ANPI USE TO SCREEN CANDIDATES?

  1. Business is 3 years old or more. We disqualified applicants that were registered after 2017.
  2. Has 3 years of revenue history. We disqualified candidates who did not demonstrate 3 years of revenue.
  3. Position of Applicant & Nationality of Applicant: We disqualified candidates who are not the Founder or Co-Founder, and do not have African nationality.
  4. Fully completed application. We disqualified applicants who did not answer mandatory questions with relevant information.
  5. Independent Reference. We disqualified applicants who provided their own reference rather than getting a mentor, friend, spouse or colleague to provide it.
  6. Video Content followed our guidelines: We disqualified applicants who had inappropriate content which did not include information from the candidate, team member and/or customer.

WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA THAT ANPI JUDGES USE TO ASSESS THE APPLICATION?

  1. Mission, Vision, Values: ANPI judges look out for applicant who are driven by passion and clear, impact-oriented goals.
  2. Problem/Need: Our judges evaluate whether the problem or need being addressed by the applicant is significant. We’re looking for businesses that are solving pain points for customers or addressing unfulfilled needs.
  3. Solution: ANPI judges assess how the business is addressing the problem/need they’ve identified and whether the solution is unique and has a competitive advantage.
  4. Market Traction: our judges look out for whether there is demand for the business’ product/service. We place emphasis on solutions that have customers and where there is demonstrated demand for the solution.
  5. Financial Sustainability: ANPI judges evaluate the financial status and prospects of businesses. We place emphasis on revenue models that show scalability and that have generated income.
  6. Team: our judges assess how well candidates engage & motivate teams and whether the team members buy-in to the vision of the business. We believe in the power of teamwork and we’re looking for entrepreneurs who have strong teams.
  7. References: ANPI judges evaluate what others have to say about you and whether you are a good fit to the Prize based on reference’s testimonial of you and your business.
    Overall, we’re looking for passionate, mission-driven, impact-oriented, resilient and bold entrepreneurs who are leveraging business to create sustainable change in their communities.

HOW DOES ANPI DEFINE A “BUSINESS HERO”?

We see business heroes as individuals who are passionate, bold, resilient, mission-driven, innovative, impact-oriented and visionary.

Ultimately, we’re looking for individuals creating positive change in the communities they operate in and using innovative solutions to address challenging and pertinent problems, and specific market gaps.

BEYOND THE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA, WHAT DOES ANPI LOOK OUT FOR?

  1. Vision, Mission & Values
  2. The importance/magnitude of the problem/need you’re addressing
  3. The feasibility and value-add of your solution
  4. Market traction of your solution
  5. Competitiveness of your product/solution
  6. The feasibility of your revenue model and financial projections
  7. Leadership & Team Potential
  8. Social Impact – the tangibility and sustainability of the impact you’re creating

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I SUBMIT MY APPLICATION?

Round 1:

After you submit your application, your application will be reviewed by two judges.

We will compile all scores at the end of the review process to determine our Top 50 Candidates.

If you make it to the Top 50 stage, we will contact you to arrange video interviews with our Round 2 Judges. All applicants who are not successful will receive notification on their status as well submit feedback on their application.

To learn more about what happens when you click submit, watch this video: what happens when you submit.

HOW WILL I KNOW, IF I’VE MADE IT TO THE NEXT ROUND?

If you’re successful, you will be contacted via email and/or telephone.

If you’re unsuccessful, you will receive an email informing you that you’ve not been admitted into the next round. You will also receive feedback on your application.

See timeline here: Application Timeline.

WHO ARE ANPI JUDGES AND HOW ARE THEY SELECTED?

ANPI judges are true leaders in their industries and communities, and bring diverse backgrounds, accomplishments, and skillsets to the table. A full list of judges can be found here: Judges.

They are selected based on referrals from our partners, and based on our evaluation of their business, investment and or professional experience as well as their alignment with ANPI’s values. Importantly, there are all highly qualified with experience in building, managing and/or investing in successful companies.

HOW WILL YOU WORK TO ENSURE A FAIR COMPETITION?

Prior to the Grand Finale, we have 3 rounds that provides us with several opportunities to thoroughly assess candidates.

Round 1 & Round 2: Each application is assessed by two independent judges. We work to ensure that judges are matched to applicants based on sector expertise and language ability. In addition, through our matching system, we also ensure that applications referred by partners are not assessed by judges referred through the same partner.

Semi-Finale: we have a panel of distinguished judges drawn from diverse sectors and geographies to ensure diversity in opinion and expertise to fairly assess candidates.

Due Diligence: finally, all our short-listed finalists go through rigorous due diligence by PwC before we select them as Africa’s Business Heroes.
ELIGIBILITY

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?

We are looking for African entrepreneur heroes creating impact in their communities and building a more inclusive economy for the future. Africans from all 54 African countries are eligible to apply irrespective of age, industry sector or gender. However, applicants have to meet a strict set of criteria:
  1. Applicant should be the Founder or Co-Founder of the company.
  2. Applicant is of African origin. You have/had African citizenship and/or a parent or grandparent has African citizenship.
  3. Company is Africa-Based. The business is registered and headquartered in an African country, and primarily operates in Africa.
  4. Company is post-Idea stage. Business is 3 years old or more and has at least 3 years of revenue history.

I AM NOT AFRICAN BUT AM LIVING AND RUNNING A BUSINESS IN AFRICA, CAN I APPLY?

No, unfortunately you are not eligible to apply. Only individuals of African origin may apply. In other words, you must either have/have had African citizenship OR a parent/grandparent has African citizenship.

MY COMPANY IS LESS THAN 3 YEARS OLD, BUT IS GROWING RAPIDLY CAN I STILL APPLY?

We celebrate and encourage rapidly growing businesses. However, to qualify for the Africa’s Business Heroes competition, your business should be at least 3 years old. Given the application deadline of June 22nd 2020, eligible candidates for the 2020 application should have been registered/incorporated before June 2017. If your company was registered after this date, we encourage you to consider applying again at a later stage when your company is eligible. For more details on eligibility, please visit here.

In the meantime, we encourage you to subscribe to the ANPI newsletter here to learn about other opportunities that may be relevant to you.

DO COMPANIES NEED TO BE FORMALLY REGISTERED IN ORDER TO APPLY?

Yes, companies need to be formally registered in order to apply. This means that you have registered with the relevant government authority and have a license to operate.

I RUN AN NGO. CAN I APPLY?

NGOs can apply. However, like other applicants, you will need to demonstrate financial sustainability and show that you have customers/users. Please note that your clients can be government, development agencies and others and you can classify a grant as revenue.

I HAVE AN IDEA/PROJECT. CAN I APPLY?

Unfortunately, this competition is open to only post-idea stage companies (businesses with at least a 3-year operational track-record) so you can’t apply with just an idea.

However, the competition will run for the next 8 years so you can apply when you're eligible! In the meantime, we encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media for updates! Facebook & Instagram: @africabusinessheroes and Twitter: @africa_heroes.
GENERAL APPLICATION QUESTIONS

IS IT FREE TO APPLY?

Yes, it is free to apply! Just set up an account to begin: apply now.

I NEED SUPPORT IN UNDERSTANDING A QUESTION, WHERE CAN I GET HELP?

We have a range of options to support you:
  1. You can use the Livechat function on our website from 8.00am to 6.00pm GMT or contact info@africabusinessheroes.org.
  2. You can read this step by step application guide to gain insights into the questions.
  3. You can watch a past webinar featuring 2019 Finalist Mahmud Johnson that provides tips and insights on how to apply here: “How to become a 2020 African Business Hero”.

WHAT DO THE VARIOUS “STAGES OF FUNDING” MEAN?

Pre-Seed:

You are still in an early stage of development and you are growing organically. During this stage, you’re likely still getting operations off the ground.

You have not formally raised a significant amount of finance/investment. Your funding may have come from your own savings, friends, family or via crowd-funding platforms and they likely do not have any stake (equity) in your company.

Seed:

This is the first official investment stage. At this stage, your operations have stabilized and you’ve sought additional external funds to gain more traction and to accelerate growth. At this stage, the investors (angel investors, founders, friends, family, incubators, venture capital companies) take equity in your company.

Series A/B/C/D:

You have any established track record (an established user base, consistent revenue figures, or some other key performance indicator), you’ve moved past your development stage and you’re at the stage where you’re developing new products, expanding into new markets or acquiring other companies. To support this rapid growth, you have gone beyond your first round of formal investment to raise more finance (often above $1 million).

The investment is usually in the form of equity investment or convertible loans and is likely to come from experienced investors and have clear shareholder rights.

WHAT IS AN ADDRESSABLE MARKET?

The realistic number of customers that your product or service can reach. To calculate it, you should consider both what the total number of potential customers is but also what proportion of these customers you can still reach given external factors such as competitors and internal factors such as distribution channels.

HOW DO YOU ENSURE MY INFORMATION DOES NOT GET INTO THE HANDS OF COMPETITORS?

The protection of our candidates’ data is a high priority for us. As such, our judges are required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement to ensure the confidentiality of our candidates. We also have a rigorous Privacy Policy that is designed to protect our candidates.

Lastly, our application is designed to understand your company and you as a Founder in holistic terms. We require you to provide enough details that allow judges to understand:
  • who you are as a founder.
  • the problem your company aims to address & why it is important.
  • how you’ve created impact and solved the problem.
  • and an indication of how you plan to further amplify your impact. You do not need to provide any commercially sensitive or any ideas that you plan to patent in order to submit a strong application.
THE VIDEO INTRODUCTION

CAN I UPLOAD MORE THAN 1 VIDEO?

Yes - you can upload up to 3! This feature is now available on your application form.

HOW LONG SHOULD EACH VIDEO BE?

1 minute each! The combined length should be 3 minutes or less.

WHAT DO I DO IF MY TEAMMATES AND CLIENTS ARE IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS?

Please have them record themselves and send the video to you! You can upload the videos separately.

WHAT DO I DO IF MY TEAMMATES AND/OR CLIENTS CANNOT RECORD A VIDEO?

Gather their written testimonial and record yourself reading it on their behalf. Please also give us their contact detail in the application form.

MY VIDEO UPLOAD KEEPS FAILING. WHAT DO I DO?

Please ensure your video is in MP4 or MOV format and under 350 MB. To change formats, you can use a free online tool like: https://www.onlineconverter.com/mp4.

HOW DO I REDUCE MY FILE SIZE?

You can use an online video compressor e.g.: https://www.freeconvert.com/video-compressor.

DO THE VIDEOS HAVE TO BE PROFESSIONALLY MADE?

No, we’re looking for authentic and compelling stories. You can use your phone, personal camera or laptop to film it.

Just make sure your video is filmed horizontally, the audio is clear and is in one of our official languages: English or French. If you include local languages, please add subtitles.

You can watch this video for insights on how to shoot your video: How to shoot your video.

HOW CAN I BE SURE MY VIDEO HAS UPLOADED?

After you select the file and click upload, it should show "Uploaded File + File Name" in orange text. Please click save at the bottom of the page to ensure that it's uploaded.
SEMI-FINALE LOGISTICS

IF I AM CHOSEN AS A SEMI-FINALIST, WILL I HAVE TO COVER MY COSTS FOR THE IN-PERSON SEMI-FINALE INTERVIEWS?

No, ANPI will cover all costs related to the Semi-Final.

WHEN AND WHERE WILL SEMI-FINALS BE HELD?

The semi-finals will be held in mid-august. For updates on specific timeline, please see: Application Timeline.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we may host the Semi-Finale online. We will closely monitor the situation globally to determine the safest solution.

IF I AM CHOSEN AS A FINALIST, WILL I HAVE TO COVER MY OWN TRAVEL COSTS?

No, ANPI will cover all costs related to the Final.

WHEN AND WHERE WILL THE FINALE BE HELD?

The Finals will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the end of November/early December. This is subject to the situation regarding COVID-19.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THE GRAND FINALE?

The finale will be held as part of a 3 day summit featuring, conferences, master-classes, workshops, exhibition booths, the Africa's Business Heroes pitch competition, and a gala award ceremony where the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners of the ANPI program will be announced.
THE PRIZE

HOW IS THE GRANT SHARED AMONG THE TOP 10?

1st Prize Winner

$300,000

2nd Prize Winner

$250,000

3rd Prize Winner

$150,000

Other Top 10 Finalists (7)

$100,000

Global Immersion Program (Hangzhou, San Francisco, South East Asia)

$100,000

BEYOND THE FUNDS, WHAT ARE THE KEY BENEFITS OF THE PRIZE?

Beyond the grant-funds, ANPI provides finalists with several other benefits to enable them propel their business. These benefits include:

  1. Global recognition and increased visibility via the “Africa’s Business Heroes” Show, which is distributed across Africa via major television network providers and also covered by globally renowned media houses.
  2. Mentorship: The Prize provides finalists with the opportunity to engage with and receive advice from highly accomplished business leaders and investors.
  3. Access to special training programs. We offer our Heroes training at Alibaba’s headquarters via the prestigious eFounders fellowship training program.
  4. Networking opportunities: ANPI attracts inspiring entrepreneurs from across all 54 African countries. Our finalists have the opportunity to connect with, learn and partner with other like-minded entrepreneurs and our community of judges.


You can watch reasons to apply here: 5 Reasons to Apply.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BECOMING AN ANPI TOP 50 OR TOP 20 FINALIST?

Access to the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Network. Our finalists will also have the opportunity to become a part of the ABH Network where they can tap into valuable entrepreneurship resources such as mentorship, exclusive training resources – such as investment readiness coaching, and more. They will also have the opportunity to network with a wide range of business leaders and other likeminded entrepreneurs.

Feedback from Industry experts. Throughout the interview and evaluation process, our finalists will have the opportunity to engage with our highly-qualified judges who will offer finalists advice.

Publicity: We will provide our Top 50 and Top 20 finalists a platform to tell their stories through our website and social media channels. We also issue press releases on our Top 50 and 20 finalists to ensure their stories gain exposure across Africa and the world.

HOW HAS THE PRIZE BENEFITED THE TOP 10?

Our finalists have used the funds to expand their teams, invest in technology and machinery and to expand their footprint locally and internationally.

In addition, due to the exposure from the Prize, some of our finalists have gone on to secure investment due to the exposure from the show, attract top talent and engage with their country’s senior leadership.

You can watch the stories Post-Prize of 2 of our finalists here:

Mahmud Johnson’s Heroes Diary
Christelle Kwizera’s Heroes Diary

CAN I PARTNER WITH ALIBABA THROUGH THIS PRIZE?

ANPI is the flagship philanthropic project spearheaded by the Jack Ma Foundation and is not related to Alibaba Group’s business. We cannot guarantee or offer partnership with Alibaba as part of this prize.

WHY DID JACK MA DECIDE TO ESTABLISH ANPI?

In July 2017, Jack Ma visited Africa for the first time in his capacity as special adviser to UNCTAD. During his trip, Jack had the opportunity to engage with African entrepreneurs and hear their stories. He was inspired by the entrepreneurial energy in the young people he met with. He also recognized the same barriers to entrepreneurship in Africa that existed in China when he founded Alibaba in 1999. As a proponent of the power of entrepreneurship to drive positive change, Jack decided to establish ANPI to inspire, train and support entrepreneurs in Africa to build inclusive businesses models that can create development and economic opportunity for the continent.
IMPACT OF COVID-19

HOW WILL ANPI CONSIDER THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON BUSINESSES AND ENTREPRENEURS?

We’re aware that it’s not business as usual for many entrepreneurs and that many SMEs are pivoting in order to both remain viable and address the challenges of the current period.

Our judging process will allow us to understand you – your vision, mission and values - and your business in a holistic sense and over a period of time. We will consider the impact of the crisis on your business – both from a financial perspective and also your future plans.

During Round 2 and the Semi-Finale, you’ll also have the opportunity to directly engage with Judges and you’ll have the opportunity to share both how your business is responding to the crisis and its impact on you and your team. We believe that crisis brings out the opportunity for leadership and innovation and we’ll be looking out for this.

WILL THE GRAND-FINALE STILL BE HELD THIS NOVEMBER IN ETHIOPIA?

We are closely monitoring the situation to determine the safest option. It is likely to be a semi-offline event with online components. However, we will ensure that applicants will have an engaging experience.

IF THE FINALE IS ONLINE, WILL THE PITCH STILL BE TELEVISED?

Yes, we will ensure that we are able to create and film the 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes Show. We are committed to ensuring that our finalists are able to tell their stories to Africa and the world.