Africa’s Business Heroes’ Competition Applications Open Until June 6, 2022

The Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize competition has expanded its ecosystem of partners and judges for its 4th edition. With a more robust partner and judge network in place, the ABH program will be able to better fulfill its mission of spotlighting and supporting entrepreneurs from all industries across the continent.  

Entrepreneurs and small business owners will have until June 6 to apply for this year’s edition. ABH is one of the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic programs. The official slogan for 2022, “It’s African Time”, is a bold call to action to all talented African entrepreneurs who are challenging stereotypes associated with “African time” – creating local impact and building a better, more inclusive future through their businesses. ABH continues to deepen its partnership with anchor partners – The Room (an initiative of the African Leadership International), SA Innovation Summit (SAIS), RiseUp, VC4A and Ashesi. Alongside its anchor partners, ABH will provide applicants with a range of training and talent development programs.

ABH has also increased its pool of channel partners to influential stakeholders in Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. These partners will bolster the program’s efforts in finding Heroes across Africa as well as providing participants with additional resources and support. The channel partner pool now includes African Management Institute (AMI), African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF), AfriLabs, Briter Bridges, Disrupt Africa, ImpactHub Dakar, MEST Africa, Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Enterprise (MCISE) and Seedstars International.

“AfriLabs is committed to supporting programmes and interventions targeted at enabling entrepreneurs, creating a conducive environment for ventures to thrive while stimulating economic growth and social development in Africa. Through this partnership with ABH, we will leverage our Pan African community to scout business heroes from across the continent to stand a chance to be one of the finalists.” – Anna Ekeledo, Executive Director of AfriLabs

“Disrupt Africa is happy to partner with Africa’s Business Heroes and play a part in helping early-stage tech startups on the continent access vital funding and support. We will utilise our network and reach to ensure this valuable opportunity gets in front of as many founders as possible.” – Tom Jackson, co-founder of Disrupt Africa.

“In partnering with Africa’s Business Heroes, the Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (MCISE) aspires to convey one of the best international and African opportunities to its community and beyond. This endeavor draws on the MCISE’s previous efforts since 2012 to foster social entrepreneurship in Morocco and provide an opportunity for Moroccan entrepreneurs to broaden their projects to a continental scale.” – Nafaa Hanane, Communication and Marketing Manager of MCISE.

“At Seedstars, our mission has always been to create a positive impact in emerging markets, so this partnership with ABH is something our team is excited about. The African startup ecosystem is beaming with opportunities and we’re thrilled to be one of the organizations helping further enable its growth.” – Lina Ng’inja, Head of Partnerships in Africa for Seedstars.

“The African Management Institute (AMI) is one of the leaders in business learning across Africa. We believe that skilled people build thriving businesses, thriving businesses create quality jobs, and quality jobs drive prosperity and dignity. That is why are very excited about our new partnership with Africa’s Business Heroes, an initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation. Behind each thriving business is a hero and team of people growing Africa’s economy and prosperity, one success at a time,” said – Patricia Maina, Partnerships & Gender Lead at AMI. “AMI and ABH’s missions are uniquely aligned, and together, we are committed to enabling ambitious African entrepreneurs across the continent to thrive, turning Africa’s business heroes into Africa’s business superheroes.”

Ventureburn, Ventures Africa and AfterSchool Africa will also support ABH’s efforts in amplifying the ongoing call for applications. In addition, ABH is expanding its community of Judges who will help narrow down applications received to the Top 50, Top 20 and Top 10. ABH Judges currently include senior professionals from companies such as Facebook, Mastercard, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, VC firms as well as established entrepreneurs such as Dr. Anino Emuwa of Avandis Counslting and Rafeh Saleh of Cubit Ventures. Seasoned entrepreneurs, VCs, academics and business professionals from all sectors are invited to join the ABH community of judges.

Current judges reflected on their experience with ABH and are encouraging others to join ABH as fellow judges. “Being an ABH judge was an exciting, inspiring, and humbling experience for me. I learned a lot and it was a great opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise with the applicants and my fellow judges. Most of all, it was an honor to watch and support such committed change-makers across the continent, they are all true heroes,” says Adaora Ikenze, Head of Public Policy, West Africa at Facebook. “Exceptional young entrepreneurs and fresh ideas! Judging and mentoring through ABH is a great way to give back, while also learning about new trends and business models emerging throughout the continent,” says Matthew Grollnek, Consultant – Venture Fund Lead, Mastercard Foundation.

ABH is currently calling for all entrepreneurs, start-ups and business owners across the continent and every sector, age group, and gender to submit their application – in either French or English – for a chance to become one of the Top 10 finalists. Applicants for this year’s ABH competition have less than three weeks to throw their hats in the ring for their chance to win a share of the US$1.5 million grant. To date, the competition has already attracted applications from all 54 African countries for the third consecutive year.

In addition to a cash grant, applicants will also gain access to mentoring, networking, and publicity opportunities for their ventures. All applicants also have access to training and scaling opportunities across a vast range of business disciplines in the form of webinars, presentations, and events.  They can also take advantage of the competition’s ABH Community Lead program, which gives them access to Heroes from the competition across the years.

To apply to the 2022 Africa’s Business Heroes competition, enter your application on ABH’s official site ( You can also follow Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) on LinkedIn (, Twitter (, Facebook ( and Instagram (

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Written by Mercy ANURIKA


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