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 WAS FORMALLY REGISTERED IN 2018, CAN I APPLY? / 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 9th 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.
APPLICATION PROCESS

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 visit our application guide, which provides detailed insights into the questions.
  2. You can join our online webinars where we will provide insights into the application. Check the dates here: ONLINE WEBINARS
  3. You can look out for an offline application support workshop in a city near you: OFFLINE WORKSHOPS
  4. You can contact info@africabusinessheroes.org

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.

I CAN’T FILM MY CUSTOMER, WHAT DO I DO?

You can have them submit a written testimonial, which you can read aloud. Please also provide their contact information so we can verify their testimonial.

HOW CAN I TRUST THAT MY COMPANY’S DATA IS SECURE?

We have a rigorous privacy policy to protect you. Please review it here: Privacy Policy

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I SUBMIT MY APPLICATION?

After you submit your application, we have a review process where your application will be reviewed by judges with relevant industry and/or geographic expertise. 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 judges.

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

You will be contacted via email and/or telephone. We will send all unsuccessful applicants an email informing them of their application status at the end of the application review cycle. See timeline here: Application Timeline.

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.
SELECTION PROCESS

HOW DOES ANPI DEFINE A “BUSINESS HERO”?

We see business heroes as individuals who are passionate, bold, resilient, mission-driven, innovative, impact-oriented and is a 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 WILL ANPI JUDGES BE LOOKING 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

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.

WHO ARE ANPI JUDGES AND HOW ARE THEY SELECTED?

Our goal when selecting the roster of judges for ANPI was to find true representatives of the diverse entrepreneurial and business landscape in Africa. The judges we have selected are true leaders in their industries and communities, and bring diverse backgrounds, accomplishments, and skillsets to the table.

These highly qualified judges have all devoted their careers to promoting the ecosystem supporting African entrepreneurs, and were also fully aligned in support of the Jack Ma Foundation’s mission with this initiative.
  1. Our judges for round 1 are individuals with at least 5 years of business or relevant professional experience.
  2. The semi-finalist judging panel will be composed of individuals with an established track record in their field, with at least 7 years of business or relevant professional experience.
  3. Finale judges are business or professional leaders/icons with several years of experience across multiple sectors and industries.

A full list of judges can be found here: Judges
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. The 2019 Africa’s Business Heroes Show was distributed in over 48 African countries via DSTV and Startimes. CNN, Financial Times and other news outlets also covered the event and put a spotlight on ANPI’s finalists.
  2. Access to a network of business legends and successful business leaders. The Prize provides finalists with the opportunity to engage with and learn from highly accomplished business leaders and investors who provide advice and the opportunity for mentorship.
  3. Access to special training programs, we offer our Heroes training at Alibaba’s headquarters via the prestigious eFounders fellowship training program. In addition, we are working with partners to develop bespoke training and accelerator services for our Top 10.
  4. Opportunity to network with other impactful entrepreneurs from across Africa. ANPI attracts inspiring entrepreneurs from across all 54 African countries. Our finalist have the opportunity to connect with, learn and partner with other like-minded entrepreneurs.

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

We will provide our Top 50 and Top 20 finalists a platform to tell their stories through our website and social media channels. In addition, throughout the interview and evaluation process, our finalists will have the opportunity to engage with judges who are highly-qualified and experienced business or professional leaders and who can offer finalists advice. Our finalists will also have the opportunity to become a part of the ABH Network – a network for ABH finalists to tap into valuable entrepreneurship resources - when it’s established in 2021.

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.

HOW HAS THE PRIZE BENEFITED THE 2019 FINALISTS?

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 top-leadership.
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.