Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) brings together more than 1,600 delegates for its first annual summit



Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) brings together more than 1,600 delegates for its first annual summit

ABH ( also released its first annual report, highlighting the achievements and impact of the initiative; Investors, partners and entrepreneurs from all sectors and markets came together to discuss pressing issues and ideas for collaboration; Applications for this year’s edition of the awards competition are being reviewed and the 2021 Top 50 will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Awards Contest, the flagship philanthropic program established by the Jack Ma Foundation to help foster an inclusive pan-African business ecosystem, held its first Annual Summit in a fully virtual format and brought together more than 1,600 attendees from across Africa. . The Summit consisted of a half-day online conference and workshops and presented an opportunity for the ABH community to connect, engage and listen to some of the best minds in business, technology and marketing.

At the top Jason Pau, Executive Director (International) of the Jack Ma Foundation, released ABH’s first Annual Report (, which summarizes ABH’s journey to date and the impact it has created for participants and communities. “The team has tirelessly sought to look to the horizon, innovate and drive greater impact through our program. We are focused on building an inclusive pan-African business community, and our achievements are only possible through the support of our partners, judges, volunteers, friends and communities in Africa and in every corner of the world.

The report notes that since they were named ABH finalists, the top 10 of 2019 and 2020 have supported in total more than 8,300 direct and indirect jobsand created 455 new direct jobs. Many have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, leveraging their businesses to deliver blood, oxygen, PPE, and other essential services to those most in need. In addition, several companies have seen their growth double or even triple and have raised millions of dollars in financing, thanks to the exposure and connections acquired during their experience at ABH. Additionally, 43,000 entrepreneurs from across Africa who were previous applicants have been able to access unrivaled training, learning and networking opportunities.

Throughout the Summit, participants discussed the central theme of this year’s competition, ‘Time for Africa’. Bogolo kenewendo, a world economist and former Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry of Botswana, and Special Advisor to ABH, pointed out the key role that entrepreneurs can play in unlocking the economic potential of the continent: “The potential for companies is immense. Africa has been one of the fastest growing regions in the world for the past decade, with around $ 6.7 trillion available in consumer and business spending, many of the opportunities are disguised as challenges and problems. We need capital to drive problem solving and innovation on the continent. It’s not charity, it’s business. There is more room for growth in Africa than in the rest of the world. “

Participants also shared the same passion for offering solutions. In a survey conducted during the summit, 93% of respondents said that a problem to solve and a great business idea was the reason they chose to become entrepreneurs. Only 5% said they were primarily driven by economic gains.

The event also brought together a panel of high-level African and international speakers to engage with the audience on a number of crucial topics including investment, technology, marketing and talent cultivation. Their common message was that this is an extremely exciting, yet challenging time for entrepreneurship and business creation in Africa, but the future looks bright:

  • Moulaye Tabouré, Founder and CEO of Afrikrea and one of the top ten finalists in 2019, commented: “The crisis is a great way to focus. In 2020, we increased volume by 2.5 times and revenue by 5 times. It was painful but it worked. “
  • Fred swaniker, founder of African Leadership Group, said that the shift to remote work gives entrepreneurs access to new talent, across borders, making now a great time to grow. He added: “Please ignore the technology at your own risk. Stop thinking of technology as secondary, think of it as the core of everything. Doing so is a great time to be an entrepreneur. “
  • “The growth in access to capital in Africa is incredible,” he said. Charlie Graham-Brown, Director of Investments and Partner of Seedstars. “2020 saw a drop in volume, but the number of deals grew 44%. For entrepreneurs who need to raise capital, this is a brilliant time. “

Entries for the ABH 2021 awards contest recently closed and expert judges are reviewing thousands of applications to select the top 50, which will be announced later this month. All 54 African countries are represented in this year’s candidate pool and in a variety of sectors, with agriculture dominating at 22%, followed by ICT at 9% and business, education and manufacturing at 8 % each. One third of all participants are women, with 15% from Francophone countries.

CNBC Africa, Star Times, and 11 national television stations will air a four-episode series on the 2020 Africa Business Heroes Journey in July. Full details of the broadcast will be available on local listings. To follow the next phases of ABH and all updates, visit: and follow us on Twitter (, LinkedIn (, Instagram ( and Facebook (

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