Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma announced $10 million prize as part of the Jack Ma Foundation Netpreneur Prize competition to fund African entrepreneurs who are working to support digital economy in Africa.
The Netpreneur Prize will target new generation of entrepreneurs, focusing on small business growth, innovation and women founders.
Alibaba Group will award $10 million to 100 African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years. Starting in 2019, the Jack Ma Foundation will host an annual pitch competition to select ten finalists to showcase their talent and business ideas and compete for $1 million in prize money.
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.
Applicants must be African nationals leading mission-driven organizations. The finalists will be selected by a team of judges from five regions representing the entire continent, said the e-commerce and Cloud giant in a statement.
Applications for the first pitch competition will be open from January 2019 until April 2019, and the finalist pitch competition will be held and broadcast across Africa in the second half of 2019. The program will be offered through lead continental partner, Nailab, and other regional hub partners.
Last year, Alibaba Business School and UNCTAD announced the eFounders Fellowship Initiative, a program to train 1,000 entrepreneurs from emerging markets including 200 from Africa. 52 African entrepreneurs have participated in this two-week fellowship at Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China