The Jack Ma Foundation has announced that its Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) judges for the semi-finals stage of the competition.

Applications for the competition opened on 27th March 2019 and were closed on June 30th 2019. They received close to 10,000 applications from all over Africa.

ANPI will take place over a period of 10 years and each year it will host a pitch competition in Africa. 10 finalists from across the continent will compete for US$1 million (Ksh. 100 million) in total prize money. The initiative is focused on empowering a new generation of entrepreneurs, with a focus on small businesses, grassroots communities and women-founded enterprises.

The final pitch competition for the Africa Netpreneur Prize will be held in November 2019, in Accra, Ghana.

The Africa Netpreneur Prize was launched in 2018 and is the second initiative launched by Jack Ma to support African entrepreneurs. This year, the Jack Ma Foundation announced that it will run the program with 3 new partners NINE from Nigeria, RiseUp from Egypt, and 22 On Sloane from South Africa. The new three partners are in addition to Nailab, who is the eastern Africa partner. In 2017, 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.

The judges for the Africa Netpreneur Prize semifinals are:

  • Fred Swaniker – Founder of the African Leadership Academy and the African Leadership Network.
  • Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu – Founder and managing director of SoleRebels, the world’s fastest-growing African footwear brand.
  • Peter Orth – Managing partner and co-founder of 4DX Ventures, a venture capital firm that aims to find and partner with the top entrepreneurs in Africa.
  • Marième Diop – Currently serving as a venture capital investor in early stage African startups at Orange Digital Ventures Africa – Orange Group’s 50 million Euro venture capital fund.
  • Hasan Haider – Founding member of the MENA Angel Investors Network (MAIN), an association bringing together all the active angel investment groups in the Middle East and North Africa region.
  • Fatoumata Ba – Board member, investor and entrepreneur at Jumia.
  • Rene Parker – Director of RLabs, which is part of the International Living Lab movement and has a strong focus on community-driven innovation and social change.