Africa’s Business Heroes Competition 2021

Change-makers that believe in the power of entrepreneurship

About the prize

ABH aims to identify, support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their local communities, working to solve the most pressing problems, and building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future.

The initiative aims to be as inclusive as possible. Applications are open in English and French to entrepreneurs from all African countries, all sectors, and all ages who operate businesses formally registered and headquartered in an African country, and that have a 3-year track record.

Every year, ten finalists will be selected to compete in the ABH finale pitch competition and participate in a TV Show that will be broadcast online and across the continent. The finalists will compete for a share of US $1.5 million in grant money.

Africa’s Business Heroes Competition 2021

Africa’s Business Heroes Competition 2021


June 21, 2021
Program dates Jun 21 - Nov 30, 2021
Organizer Jack Ma Foundation
Website Visit website
Targets Africa
Sectors Sector agnostic

Why apply?

Pitch business legends
Opportunity to pitch to business legends and receive advice from them.

Gain global recognition & exposure
International publicity via the televised Africa’s Business heroes Show, press releases, news articles, TV/radio & print interviews.

Get connected with entrepreneurs ecosystem
An online community of ABH Alumni, judges and key stakeholders that promotes peer learning, engagement and networking.

Win your share of USD 1.5 million
All ten finalists win grant funds from $100,000 to $300,000.

Access mentorship & training
Tailored Feedback, Mentorship & Training via the Africa’s Business Heroes Network of Partners and Judges.

Eligibility criteria

  • Applicant should be the Founder or a Co-Founder of the company.
  • Applicant has African citizenship or is the child or grandchild of an African citizen.
  • The company is registered and headquartered in an African country, and primarily operates in Africa.
  • The company is in post-idea stage. Business is 3 years old or more and has at least 3 years of revenue history.

How we select our heroes

To identify our heroes, we run a 4-step review process.

Round 1
An online review of submitted applicants to determine our Top 50 Finalists. Each application will be reviewed by two judges. The Top 50 Finalists will be determined by the average scores of all applications.

Round 2
Video-Call interviews with two established business leaders who engage in a 1 hour and a half in-depth assessment of the company and finalist. The Top 20 Finalists will be determined by the average scores of all 50 Finalists.

Due diligence
Our Top 20 Finalists will need to pass due diligence checks by our partner: Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) in order to move to the Semi-Finale round.

Semi-Final Pitch
Our short-listed finalists will pitch to a panel of a distinguished and experienced panel of investors, business leaders and professionals who will determine our Top 10 Finalists – our Heroes. 

Grand Finale
Our Top 10 Heroes then go on to the Grand Finale where they pitch to a panel of business legends. Past judges have included Ibukun Awosika, Jack Ma, Joe Tsai, Lucy Peng and Strive Masiyiwa. The stories of our Heroes and their pitches are captured in the Africa’s Business Heroes show, which is televised across the globe. 


Africa’s Business Heroes Competition 2021

Africa’s Business Heroes Competition 2021