Jack Ma Foundation Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition 2021 (Win a share of $1.5 million)

Deadline: June 7, 2021

Applications are invited for the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition 2021. The ABH aims to identify, support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their local communities, working to solve the most pressing problems, and building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future.

The initiative aims to be as inclusive as possible. Applications are open in English and French to entrepreneurs from all African countries, all sectors, and all ages who operate businesses formally registered and headquartered in an African country, and that have a 3 year-track record.

Every year, ten finalists will be selected to compete in the ABH finale pitch competition and participate in a TV Show that will be broadcast online and across the continent. The finalists will compete for a share of US $1.5 million in grant money.


  • Get opportunity to pitch to business legends and receive advice from them.
  • Gain international publicity via the televised Africa’s Business Heroes Show, press releases, news articles, TV/radio & print interviews.
  • An online community of ABH Alumni, judges and key stakeholders that promotes peer learning, engagement and networking.
  • All ten finalists win grant funds from $100,000 to $300,000.
  • Tailored Feedback, Mentorship & Training via the Africa’s Business Heroes Network of Partners and Judges.


  • Applicant should be the Founder or a Co-Founder of the company.
  • Applicant has African citizenship or is the child or grand-child of an African citizen.
  • The company is registered and headquartered in an African country, and primarily operates in Africa.
  • The company is post-Idea stage. Business is 3 years old or more and has at least 3 years of revenue history.

Judging Criteria

  • Mission, Vision, Values: ABH judges look out for applicant who are driven by passion and clear, impact-oriented goals.
  • Problem/Need: The judges evaluate whether the problem or need being addressed by the applicant is significant. They’re looking for businesses that are solving pain points for customers or addressing unfulfilled needs.
  • Solution: ABH judges assess how the business is addressing the problem/need they’ve identified and whether the solution is unique and has a competitive advantage.
  • Market Traction: Judges look out for whether there is demand for the business’ product/service. They place emphasis on solutions that have customers and where there is demonstrated demand for the solution.
  • Financial Sustainability: ABH judges evaluate the financial status and prospects of businesses. They place emphasis on revenue models that show scalability and that have generated income.
  • Team: Judges assess how well candidates engage & motivate teams and whether the team members buy-in to the vision of the business. They believe in the power of teamwork and they are looking for entrepreneurs who have strong teams.
  • References: ABH judges evaluate what others have to say about you and whether you are a good fit to the Prize based on reference’s testimonial of you and your business.
    Overall, they are looking for passionate, mission-driven, impact-oriented, resilient and bold entrepreneurs who are leveraging business to create sustainable change in their communities.


The following are required for application:

  • An online written application.
  • Video introductions. You will be required to film and upload 3 separate videos, each 1 minute long:
    • Self & Company Introduction
    • Team Introduction &. Testimonial
    • Customer Testimonial
  • A reference from a mentor, friend, teammate or partner. A reference should be someone who has worked with you and can provide a written testimonial on your character, work ethic, passion and drive.

Click here to apply

For more information, see FAQ and visit ABH Prize Competition.