A Nigerian entrepreneur, Temie Giwa- Tubosun yesterday pipped nine other African entrepreneurs to land Jack Ma's $250,000 (over N90m) prize money for innovation in business
Temie-Giwa is the Founder and CEO of LifeBank, a medical distribution company which makes distribution of blood to people in dire crisis easier and faster, through technological means.
The Nigerian emerged top of the first three best initiatives selected by a group of four judges at the grand finale of the first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative, ANPI, last night in Accra Ghana
The ANPI is an initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation, created by Jack Ma after his first trip to Africa in 2017. The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future.
The initiative is committing $10 million across ten years, where about 10 budding entrepreneurs will be supported with $1m every year.
This year's finale, tagged "Africa's Business Heroes," produced top 10 finalists selected from nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs from 50 countries in Africa.
They pitched their businesses directly to four judges including Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation, Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group, Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group, Ibukun Awosika and Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group, Joe Tsai.
The top three finalists included the Nigerian who won $250,000, an Egyptian, and founder Nawah-Scientific, Dr Omar Sakr, who grabbed $150,000 and Rwandan founder of Water Access Rwanda, Christelle Kwizera, who won $100,000.
However, the other seven finalists, among them three other Nigerian entrepreneurs, also went home with $65,000 each.
The grand winner, Giwa-Tubosun, said: "It was an incredible honor to be named Africa's Business Hero. I was truly inspired by my fellow winners at today's Netpreneur Summit. The Africa Netpreneur Prize will give me the resources to grow LifeBank and expand our presence in Nigeria and throughout the rest of Africa. I look forward to continuing my journey to solve problems and make a significant impact on the future of Africa" .
Founder of the Alibaba Group and Jack Ma Foundation, Jack Ma, said: "It is my strong belief that entrepreneur heroes, like these finalists, will change the world - creating companies that drive inclusive growth and opportunity for the continent. Everyone is a winner tonight."
"The finalists who competed in 'Africa's Business Heroes' should be an inspiration for Africa and for the world. Each of these entrepreneurs looked at big challenges facing their communities, and saw them as opportunities," he added.
Also, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group, Strive Masiyiwa, said: "The top 10 truly show the limitless potential of African business. This competition demonstrates the overwhelming entrepreneurial talent that exists across Africa. I'm very excited about the future of industry and entrepreneurship for this continent,"
This is just as Ibukun Awosika, also had to say: " What really struck me about the finalists was that they each addressed specific African problems with a specific African solution in a fresh way, leveraging technology that wasn't available previously.
"If this is an indication of the future of entrepreneurship on the continent, then Africa's future looks bright," she stressed.