Jack Ma, the Alibaba Group founder and Executive Chairman, has launched the Netpreneur Prize through the Jack Ma Foundation. The prize will support and fund African entrepreneurs working in the digital economy. The prize was announced at the “Netpreneurs: The Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions” conference.
The Netpreneur Prize will award US$10 million to 100 African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years. The initiative will begin in 2019 where 10 finalists will be selected and then will showcase their talent and business ideas for a chance to win $1 Million in prizes. The finalists will be selected by a team of judges from five regions representing the entire continent. Applications for the first pitch competition will be open from January 2019 until April 2019, and the finalist pitch competition will be held and broadcast across Africa in the second half of 2019. All 10 finalists will receive grant funding from the Jack Ma Foundation, as well as access to the Netpreneur community of African business leaders. The program will be offered across the continent through lead continental partner, Nailab, and other regional hub partners.
The Netpreneur Prize is the second initiative launched by Jack Ma to support African entrepreneurs. Last year, Alibaba Business School and UNCTAD announced the eFounders Fellowship Initiative, a program that will train 1,000 entrepreneurs from emerging markets, 200 of whom will come from Africa.