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Jack Ma Foundation launches $1.5million “Africa’s Business Heroes” 2020

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Jack Ma
Jack Ma hugging the CEO of LifeBank Nigeria, Temie Giwa-Tubosun during 2019 edition
  • ANPI is the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program in Africa, and aims to give entrepreneurs across Africa a platform to develop their talent and business ideas, and inspire others to pursue entrepreneurship
  • Now in its second year, the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize competition will open applications in French and English, and award a pool of US$1.5 million in grant money to ten finalists
  • Open to entrepreneurs across all sectors and African countries, ABH has a special focus on those building up their local communities and working to solve the most pressing problems

The Jack Ma Foundation announced today it has officially launched the second edition of the “Africa’s Business Heroes” (ABH) prize competition with applications now open to African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, as well as every sector, age group, and gender. Applications will also now be available in both French and English.

The ABH prize competition and show is organized by the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program in Africa.

ABH made its debut last year, and 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.

Every year, ten finalists will be selected to compete in a finale pitch competition show that will be broadcast online and across the continent.

At this year’s grand finale, all ten finalists will share a prize pool of US$1.5 million, up from $1 million last year, as well as gain access to the ANPI community of business leaders to leverage the community’s shared expertise, best practice, training and resources.

Last year, the prize received nearly 10,000 applications from 50 African countries. The 2019 top ten finalists pitched their business ideas to a prominent judging panel during a televised grand-finale show in Accra, Ghana.

The finalists represented a variety of industries – including cloud kitchens, tech agribusiness, healthcare and pharma, e-commerce, consumer goods, and water supply solutions.

“It was an incredible honor to be named Africa’s Business Hero last year. The Prize enabled me to expand to multiple states in Nigeria and become a truly pan-Nigerian business, and I was truly inspired by my experience and by all my fellow winners. I am looking forward to serving as an Ambassador for this year’s prize and to seeing the next group of entrepreneurs come forward to showcase the best of Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit and strength,” said the Founder and CEO, LifeBank, Temie Giwa-Tubosun.

Jack Ma Foundation

Top 10 Winners from 2019 Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition

“We find ourselves in unprecedented and extraordinary times. Now, more than ever, we need entrepreneurs with courage, initiative, and vision to do what they do best – solve problems for society. With this prize competition, we are looking to inspire and reward African business heroes in all sectors and encourage any aspiring applicants to seize this opportunity to break through barriers and create hope for the future,” said Jason Pau, Senior Advisor for International Programs, Jack Ma Foundation.

Global leaders Graca Machel, Chair of the Graca Machel Trust Board and Ban Ki-moon, Former UN Secretary- General and Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens serve on the ANPI advisory board. Over a ten-year period, the ANPI will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to allocating US$100 million in grant funding, training programs, and support for the broad African entrepreneurial ecosystem.

This year, ANPI will work with a select group of Anchor Partners, including AshesiDalbergJanngo and RiseUp to identify and support African entrepreneurs. ANPI will also partner with Pulse.Africa to highlight stories of African entrepreneur heroes. More partners will be announced in due course.

In addition, Anita Erskine, UN SDG Advocate and Founder of the STEM Woman Project, joins ANPI to serve as the official host of “Africa’s Business Heroes” program and Brand Ambassador.

Her advocacy for social good reflects the boldness, creativity and strength that the Prize will be looking for in their entrepreneur heroes.

Application deadline:

Applications will be open online from April 6th to June 9th 2020 with semi-finalists announced in August, and the top ten finalists for 2020 unveiled in September.

To apply and for more information about ANPI, visit HERE and follow @africa_heroes on Twitter.

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APPLY: You can take advantage of final admissions deadline for Founder Institute Lagos Cohort III

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Founder Institute Lagos

The first and second cohorts of Founder Institute Lagos saw the emergence of 45 new companies all geared towards solving various problems leveraging technology.

Cohort III kicks off from the 19th of August, 2020, and sessions take place one night per week via zoom, over a 14-16 weeks period. 

If you apply today, then you will be able to take advantage of the free DNA test HERE ($50 value), or you can learn more here.

Anyone building a business that is pre-funding is welcome to apply, including established businesses and teams, aspiring entrepreneurs.

It is interesting to note that leaders of some of the world’s fastest-growing startups have used the Founder Institute to raise funding, get into seed-accelerators, generate traction, recruit a team, build a product, and more. 

If you enrol by 11.59 pm on Sunday’s Final Admissions Deadline, you will be eligible for a reduced course fee and have the best chance of being accepted. Get started here

In the words of Regional Director, Founder Institute, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr., startups who make the decision to join the program will be learning how to build and launch a company in a structured way plus become a part of a global network of innovators, mentors and investors. 

The Founder Institute (fi.co) is the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator, based in Silicon Valley but with chapters in close to 200+ cities.

The program provides high-potential entrepreneurs and teams with the support network and structured process needed to build an enduring business. 

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APPLY: CWG Academy to start new online session August 10

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CWG academy logo
CWG academy logo

CWG Academy, the training and capacity arm of CWG Plc will on August 10, 2020, start a new online session; the Head of Brand and Marketing Communications, Mr. Taiwo Lapite, announced in a statement.

The statement urged all Nigerians who are willing to pursue a career or learn a skill in Information and Communications Technology to apply and be part of the session, which is expected to last for six weeks.

“The new online session of the CWG Academy will take off by August 10, 2020. We urge all Nigerians willing to pursue a career in ICT to apply,” Taiwo emphasized in the statement.

CWG Academy had few weeks ago graduated its first set of online students in a ceremony conducted online owing to the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world that has forced many people and organizations to stay at home.

The CWG Academy is a brainchild of CWG Plc, Nigeria’s largest system integration company to bridge the skill gap in the country’s Information and Communications Technology sector.

Since its inception, the Academy has trained and developed over 1,500 Professionals, some of whom are working with Blue-Chip companies in Nigeria today. Some have also gone ahead to establish their own companies as entrepreneurs and are doing very well.

The Academy is one of the many ways CWG contributes her quota to Nation building by ways of helping to tackle the Nigerian unemployment quagmire.

The Academy deals with four core areas of the Information and Communications Technology ecosystem.

They are Advance Service management, Data Centre Infrastructure Services, IT Infrastructure & Cloud Platform and Software Training.

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ENTRY: Impact Amplifier calling for innovative solutions that promote online safety across Africa

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Online Safety

The exponential increase in internet, smartphone and mobile network usage over the past few years, which accelerated during the COVID-19 crisis, has created new opportunities for socio-economic development in Africa.

However, the rapid growth has also resulted in an increasing number of safety and security concerns varying in the different African regions from identity theft, bullying and harassment, sex trafficking, hate crimes, terrorist recruitment and promotion, to mis- or disinformation and financial scams.

To address these pressing issues, social innovation accelerator and advisory firm Impact Amplifier has designed the Africa Online Safety Fund, supported by Google.org, to finance innovative existing and new solutions to combat online security and safety threats.

Research done by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), technical adviser to the Fund, highlighted specific areas of concern in various African countries.

Some key safety concerns in Nigeria include communal conflict, often caused by irresponsible and biased reporting online, which can further ethnic and/or religious divides and play a significant role in increasing polarisation offline, remaining a relatively unaddressed issue in the country.

Local, inter-communal violence poses a significant challenge to social cohesion in Nigeria, with conflict caused by dispute over land and water use often associated with inter-ethnic and religious tensions.

Nigeria ranked third on the 2019 Global Terrorism Index, with its terrorist threat stemming predominantly from domestic Islamist groups Boko Haram and its ISIS-endorsed offshoot, ISIS in West Africa Province (ISWAP), both of whom operate online and use social media for recruitment purposes and the distribution of harmful propaganda.

The ISD’s Deputy Director, Moustafa Ayad, commented: “As we turn increasingly to an online existence, digital threats (ranging from terrorist and extremist use of the internet to cyberbullying and child grooming, mis- and disinformation, online hate speech and various forms of cyber-fraud) become more acute. The Africa Online Safety Fund comes at a pivotal moment as these threats are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and we are excited to see the innovative, community-led and contextually relevant responses we know this call for applications will have.”

The Africa Online Safety Fund is making a $1 million commitment to address these online safety issues.

There are two funding categories.

  • Transformative, which provides grants of maximum $100,000, is aimed at projects that provide larger and scalable solutions across multiple geographies and/or potentially large numbers of beneficiaries.
  • The Catalytic category targets smaller, potentially local or culturally specific projects, with grants of a maximum $10,000.

According to the Impact Amplifier’s Director, Tanner Methvin, the Fund although not exclusively focused, will favour solutions that address women and children’s online safety specifically, as they are the most targeted communities in this regard.

Google.org Grants Lead EMEA, Liza Belozerova, commented: “Working with local communities to help people be safer online is a core focus of our work at Google.org.  Our work comes alongside the company’s long-standing commitment to strengthen privacy and security across the internet. The work of Google.org with local experts has taught us that the best answers often come from those closest to the problem. That’s why we are supporting Impact Amplifier’s Online Safety Fund with $1 million to support organisations and initiatives that seek to make the internet a safer place.”

The Fund will be open for applications from 17 July – 21 August this year.  The call is open to social enterprises, public sector or public benefit organisations (not individuals) throughout Africa, but will be prioritising Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia and the Côte d’Ivoire.

Methvin said that the primary criteria that will be used to select successful applications include innovation and replication; social impact; potential for success; management team; financial efficiency, and sustainability.

“The selection of finalists will be followed by a tight mentoring process to develop and implement the winning solutions in the regions and where applicable, across Africa in order to combat these socio, economic and political security and safety threats,” he added.

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