Chinese billionaire and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, has launched the Jack Ma Foundation ‘Netpreneur’ Prize. The Netpreneur Prize aims to promote and fund African entrepreneurs developing tech-driven solutions to critical issues in Africa.
#NetpreneurPrize has been setup by the Jack Ma Foundation to support & fund local African entrepreneurs that are working to address Africa’s most important challenges & further its digital economy through local entrepreneurship https://t.co/rZrN7m48rH #Netpreneurs @AlibabaGroup pic.twitter.com/uCSGJbaJQv
— Aki Anastasiou (@AkiAnastasiou) August 8, 2018
“As a fellow entrepreneur, I understand the importance of getting support during the early days”, says Jack Ma. “I am inspired and encouraged by these entrepreneurs who, together, will help build a sustainable, inclusive economy for Africa and for the world.”
Supported by both the UNCTAD, the Netpreneur Prize will award $10m to 100 of such entrepreneurs within the next ten years.
However, to qualify for the fund, the Jack Ma Foundations says beginning from 2019, it would hold pitch contests for entrepreneurs. The contest will hold annually, and ten startups selected from across the continent will take the stage.
This prize demonstrates our support of the next generation of young entrepreneurs across Africa who are paving the way for a better future and imparting a positive change in their communities.
Importantly, at each pitch contest, startups will compete for $1m prize money. Other perks include grants from the Jack Ma Foundation and access to the Foundation’s community of supporters and business leaders.
Wits University is honoured to have hosted the Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma and the launch of the Jack Ma Foundation Prize. #Netpreneurs #JackMaInSouthAfrica #JackMaAtWits #Alibaba pic.twitter.com/pXj4TVsKUL
— Wits University (@WitsUniversity) August 8, 2018
This is Jack Ma’s second initiative to spur African entrepreneurial development. Last year, he launched the eFounders Fellowship under the Alibaba Business School. The Fellowship aims to train 1,000 entrepreneurs from various developing countries over the next five years. And it has already completed three rounds training for 52 African entrepreneurs.
First Netpreneur Prize Competition Announced
The first Netpreneur Pitch contest has been announced for 2019. Although not much information was given about the application process or date, here are few important things to note:
First of all, applications for the pitch contest will be opened by January 2019 and is scheduled to hold in the second half of 2019. The deadline is slated for April 2019.
And importantly, 10 startups will be selected to compete for the contest’s $1m prize money.