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Africa’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem is Thriving, but it’s Complex and Challenging to Navigate

In 2019, the Jack Ma Foundation established the first Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition, a charitable initiative which annually identifies, trains and supports outstanding African entrepreneurs with a US$1.5 million grant. Over a 10-year period, the program will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and provide grant funding, training programs and other support for the broad African entrepreneurial ecosystem. Jack Ma, the Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation, created the prize after he made his first trip to Africa in 2017 and was inspired by the energy and entrepreneurial potential of the young people he met. Now in its fifth year, ABH has evolved beyond a competition to become a platform that includes a TV show and a community of entrepreneurs, investors and mentors. The program has become increasingly localized, inclusive, and Pan-African. By partnering and leveraging the strengths of like-minded organizations, ABH is contributing to the development of a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem on the continent.