Judges at Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) competition have assured that this year’s pitches submitted by African entrepreneurs have shown potential to provide solutions to Africa’s problems.
Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) is the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program in Africa to support African entrepreneurs. Its mission is to showcase and grow local talent who are creating positive impact in their communities and beyond, and inspire a movement of African entrepreneurship.
During the press briefing that took place on Saturday, October 1, 2022, five judges of this competition highlighted how the pitches of entrepreneurs could solve the Africa problems.
Chris Suzdak, Director of entrepreneurship from African Leadership Group. Said that As a judge, it is her first time as a judge for the African business heroes competition, where she found lots of great pitches.
” One of my takeaways is that there are a lot of African companies that are increasingly confident in selling their products and services to other African markets, and even to global markets. And that’s something we definitely want to support.”
“And my message to Jack Ma would be finding additional ways to support African entrepreneurs and advocacy, global markets, whether that’s in Asia, or elsewhere.” He added.
René Parker, Director of RLabs said ” I have just watched the entrepreneurs, I think that you know what Africa, our time is now. And seeing that it doesn’t matter what age you are, you are still a hero.’
Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, the Founder of APO Group and one of the judges of this year’s competition, said that if you look at the projects submitted by entrepreneurs, almost all of them are providing solutions.
He said “first of all, African entrepreneurs, and most entrepreneurs, like some kind of a rule to be successful, they need to address the problems.”
He explained that It has been very clear that African entrepreneurs are solving African problems, either in the agriculture industry, education industry, health industry, etc.,..
“So and one thing, which is extremely important with that competition is that we are here to identify those heroes which refer to role models.” He said
Nicolas noted that the ABH competition is not only for recognizing Africa’s Business Heroes but also to inspire them to become big entrepreneurs.
“The idea is to not only acknowledge the value and the potential of an entrepreneur and of a company, etc, but to show that success in that person, in that company, etc, to the world and to show little girls, okay, you could be that woman entrepreneur, tomorrow, or that young man, you could be that successful entrepreneur, etc. So it’s a role model.” He explained.
Regarding the inclusivity of the competition, Mr. Nicolas said that applications came from 54 countries across the continent and that there was a balance between genders.
“So we have like 18 years old, just like we have 50 years old, all the countries, all the languages, it’s truly Pan African” said Mr. Nicolas.
Nicola thanks Jack Ma. “My message to Jack Ma is well, obviously, that initiative is extremely important to provide the African youth his role model. Very glad and humbled to be a member of us to be federal judge.” He said.
The ABH 2022 Top 10 entrepreneurs who are to each win a share of the 1.5 million USD will be selected from the 15.
A Rwandan, Francine Munyaneza of Munyax Eco (Rwanda) is among of them. She has grown up as a refugee, who had no access to electricity. Francine’s founded Munyax Eco to harness the Africa’s recurring problem – lack of access to electricity and to solve Rwanda’s energy challenges in rural and urban areas by providing solar equipment adapted and tested for the African continent. Francine is well known for her gender-oriented recruitment and sales strategy which is to bring women into the fight against climate change while empowering them economically. To date, over 10,000 people across Rwanda, DRC and Burundi have access to clean energy, thanks to Munyax Eco’s women-led and focused solutions.