ack Ma attends the 20th Anniversary Schwab Foundation Gala Dinner on September 23, 2018 in New York, NY USA. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Ben Hider Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
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Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative awards $1 Million to African entrepreneurs

The Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) is a flagship initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation that aims to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs. In its first year the initiative awarded $1 million in prize money to 10 entrepreneurs from across Africa.

The Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) was created by Jack Ma founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation after his first trip to Africa in 2017. Its mission is to identify and spotlight African entrepreneur heroes and heroines, and their stories to inspire the continent and beyond. In its first year of a promised 10 years, approx. 10,000 entrepreneurs from 50 countries across the continent applied.

The 10 finalists picked out of the multitude of applicants then pitched their businesses directly to four prestigious judges including Jack Ma, at the “Africa’s Business Heroes,” grand event. The top three finalists were: In first place winning $250,000, Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO, LifeBank (Nigeria), in second place winning $150,000, Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and CEO, Nawah-Scientific (Egypt) and in third place winning $100,000, Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access (Rwanda).

Reacting to the finalist pitches Jack Ma said in a statement, “Each of these entrepreneurs looked at big challenges facing their communities and saw them as opportunities. 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.”

One of the  judges, Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group also said, “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.”

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Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO, LifeBank (Nigeria)

Temie Giwa-Tubosun is the founder and CEO of LifeBank, a Lagos-based delivery company that connects registered blood banks to hospitals and patients in need of urgent blood supplies, medical products, oxygen and vaccines.

Giwa-Tubosun recently partnered with the Information Network Security Agency (INSA) an Ethiopian government agency tasked with exploring technology, to test run drone delivery. The drones are programmed to automatically pick up samples from blood banks and deliver to laboratories or hospitals without human contact. These drone delivery services will be tested and launched in other regions across Africa as the next frontier in critical service delivery.

Giwa-Tubson told CNN that, “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.”

Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and CEO, Nawah-Scientific (Egypt)

Nawah-Scientific is the first, private, multidisciplinary research center in Egypt that caters to natural and medical sciences. The organisation’s mission is to empower research in the region by providing scientists with access to state‐of‐the‐art scientific facilities that enable them to carry sophisticated, and more thorough scientific research.

CEO Dr. Omar Sakr has 13 years experience in the pharmaceutical field, both in academia and industry and already holds several awards in business innovation and product development.

Read: Nigeria: How youth entrepreneurship programmes reduce unemployment

Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access (Rwanda)

Water Access Rwanda is a social enterprise committed to eradicating water scarcity by providing appropriate technologies for affordable, reliable and safe access to water. The company aims to provide clean water access to over 132,000 individuals, schools, business and farms in Rwanda and across the borders in DRC, Burundi and Uganda.

In a recent interview with Nailab, founder Christelle Kwizera said, “More than 200million hours are wasted by women every day in Africa just looking for water. Looking at that and the fact that I now knew and had the tools to actually be able to fix the situation I thought let me do a project in my country.”

The company has to date dug 93 boreholes, headed 96 Geosurvey Projects covering 214 points and through its micro-grid network ‘Inuma’ supplied 15,601,600 litres of water since January 2019.

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