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Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition 2023 Announces Top 50 Candidates

27,267 applications received from across all 54 African countries, the highest since ABH’s inception

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Africa Business Heroes- Investors King

The Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition, a philanthropic initiative sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy to recognize and uplift African entrepreneurs, has announced the top 50 finalists for its 2023 edition.

With a remarkable 27,267 applications, ABH this year has seen the highest number of submissions since its inception in 2019, reflecting the growing entrepreneurial spirit in Africa.

ABH continues to garner a remarkable level of reach and engagement across Africa, with applicants hailing from all 54 African countries this year. West Africa emerged as the frontrunner, representing 43% of the total applications received. Francophone countries accounted for 27% of all applications, the highest in ABH’s history.

Following an intense round of assessment by 256 judges from more than 40 countries, the top 50 finalists have been selected from 20 countries across 13 different industries, led by agriculture, education and training, and healthcare. The finalists are aged 36 on average, with 38% of them being female and 62% male. Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa account for the most top 50 candidates and, for the first time, applicants from Sierra Leone are represented in the top 50, which to date cover 33 out of 54 African countries. A panel of over 50 round-two judges will now embark on interviewing these candidates to select the top 20.

“We would like to express our sincere appreciation to all the entrepreneurs and judges who participated in this edition of the Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition. We are honored to see the overwhelming response, which is a testament to the rising potential of Africa’s entrepreneur ecosystem,” said Jason Pau, Executive Director of International Programs, Jack Ma Foundation.

“The top 50 finalists represent the incredible potential and talent that exists in Africa, and we believe there are more surprises underway for this edition. As our judging process moves forward and our fifth anniversary event series unfolds, we invite all our supporters to stay connected and follow ABH closely.”

This year, all the top 50 finalists will be invited to join the Alibaba Netpreneur Masterclass Global Edition 2023 to be conducted online by Alibaba Global Initiatives (AGI) from late July to late August, to acquire insights into how to harness digital technology to drive their business growth.

The top 20 finalists of ABH 2023 will be announced in July and the top 10 finalists in September. The return of a large-scale Grand Finale and Summit, during which the top 10 candidates will pitch live to global business legends to secure their share of the final award, is slated to take place in Kigali, Rwanda on November 23-24, 2023.

Every year, ABH spotlights outstanding participants through traditional media and social media channels, including providing significant exposure to the top 10 finalists via the ABH Show, which features the ABH journey of the previous edition’s top 10 finalists and their entrepreneurial stories. The first episode of the 2023 ABH Show was recently released and is available here.

As part of reaching its five-year milestone this year, ABH will be publishing a fifth-anniversary impact report to showcase the growth and impact of the prize competition on African entrepreneurs over the years, and reflect on the applicants, winners and stakeholders who have been integral to its success.

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Google Leads $250 Million Funding Round for Glance

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A logo is pictured at Google's European Engineering Center in Zurich

Google is leading a $250 million funding round for Glance, a mobile content provider.

This infusion of capital aims to expand Glance’s reach and solidify its market position amidst growing competition.

Glance, a subsidiary of InMobi Group, offers a unique service that delivers news, entertainment, and other content directly to users’ mobile screens without unlocking their devices.

With a user base exceeding 300 million across India, the US, Japan, and Indonesia, the startup has gained significant traction since its inception in 2019.

The funding round, expected to close in the coming weeks, marks a continued partnership between Google and Glance.

Google initially invested in the company in 2020, and this latest round will further enhance Glance’s capabilities to innovate and reach new audiences.

This investment reflects Google’s strategic interest in India, the world’s most populous nation, where it competes with tech giants like Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon.

With India’s rapidly growing middle class and increasing smartphone adoption, the market presents vast opportunities for digital expansion.

The support from Google comes on the heels of a previous $200 million investment by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s wealthiest individual, which valued Glance at over $1 billion.

The startup’s largest stakeholder, InMobi, continues to thrive as a pioneer in mobile advertising, with Glance benefiting from its expertise and resources.

As Glance prepares for this new phase of growth, it stands poised to redefine how content is consumed on mobile devices worldwide.

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Former Konga CEO Nick Imudia Dies by Suicide in Lagos Home

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Nick Imudia

The Nigerian business community was rocked by tragedy as Nick Imudia, former CEO of e-commerce giant Konga and current CEO of solar energy solutions innovator D.light, died by suicide in his Lekki apartment.

Imudia’s death, confirmed on the night of Tuesday, June 25, has left friends, family, and colleagues in a state of shock and sorrow.

According to sources, Imudia reportedly took his own life by jumping from the balcony of his home. In the moments leading up to the tragic incident, he made a series of distressing phone calls.

He reached out to his brother in the United States, giving detailed instructions on how to distribute his wealth should anything happen to him.

Imudia also spoke to his young daughter from a previous relationship, offering her comforting words and telling her to look to the sky to see him.

Imudia’s sudden death has raised many questions among those who knew him. Described by colleagues as a visionary leader, Imudia was instrumental in the growth of Konga, one of Nigeria’s largest e-commerce platforms.

After his tenure at Konga, he continued to make significant contributions to the tech industry as the CEO of D.light, a company known for its innovative residential solar energy solutions.

Imudia hailed from Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State and had a young daughter from a previous marriage that ended due to irreconcilable differences.

Despite the end of his marriage, those close to him said he maintained a strong bond with his daughter, often expressing his deep affection for her.

The reasons behind Imudia’s decision to end his life remain unclear. As news of his death spread, messages of condolence and tributes poured in from friends, family, and business associates.

Many have expressed their profound sadness and confusion as Imudia was widely seen as a successful and driven individual.

“Nick was a brilliant mind and a compassionate leader,” said a former colleague. “His death is a huge loss to the tech community in Nigeria and beyond. We are all struggling to understand why this happened.”

Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding Imudia’s death. Meanwhile, his family has asked for privacy as they navigate this difficult time.

Nick Imudia’s death is a stark reminder of the unseen struggles many face, even those who appear successful and accomplished.

His passing has sparked conversations about mental health awareness, urging individuals to seek help and support when needed.

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Gokada CEO’s Former Assistant Found Guilty of Gruesome Murder and Embezzlement

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Tyrese Haspil, the former executive assistant of Fahim Saleh, CEO of Gokada, has been found guilty of first-degree murder and multiple counts of embezzlement.

The verdict, delivered by a Manhattan jury on Monday, marks the end of a harrowing legal saga that unfolded over accusations of financial betrayal and a brutal homicide.

Prosecutors detailed how Haspil, 25, meticulously planned and executed the murder of his boss in July 2020 to cover up a complex embezzlement scheme.

Haspil, entrusted with managing Saleh’s financial affairs, reportedly siphoned approximately $400,000 from the tech entrepreneur’s accounts over several months using fraudulent transactions and hidden accounts.

The trial revealed that tensions escalated when Saleh discovered the embezzlement and confronted Haspil earlier in 2020.

Instead of facing the consequences, Haspil opted to silence Saleh permanently, fearing exposure and legal repercussions.

On July 13, 2020, Haspil followed Saleh into his Lower East Side condominium, where he incapacitated him with a taser and fatally stabbed him multiple times.

Following the heinous act, Haspil returned the next day to dismember Saleh’s body in an attempt to conceal the crime.

However, he abandoned the cleanup midway upon discovering police presence outside Saleh’s apartment.

Saleh’s cousin, checking on him after being unable to reach him, made the gruesome discovery of the dismembered body.

Throughout the trial, the prosecution painted a chilling portrait of Haspil’s calculated actions, describing how he methodically planned the murder to prevent Saleh from reporting him to authorities.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg emphasized the tragedy of Saleh’s untimely death, highlighting his entrepreneurial success and contributions to the tech industry.

“I hope the accountability delivered by today’s verdict can provide a measure of comfort to Mr. Saleh’s loved ones as they continue to mourn his loss,” Bragg stated in a post-verdict statement.

Haspil, represented by Sam Roberts of The Legal Aid Society, faces a sentencing hearing scheduled for September.

The case has drawn widespread attention for its grisly details and the betrayal of trust between a CEO and his assistant, underscoring the vulnerabilities within corporate settings and the drastic consequences of financial malfeasance.

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