Africa’s Business Heroes Competition 2023

Change-makers that believe in the power of entrepreneurship

The Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Competition is #lookingforHeroes like you! Stand your chance to win your share of $1.5 million, training and global publicity!

Our yearly competition to identify Africa’s Business Heroes is live and we’re accepting applications till May 12th, 2023. Read below to learn about the key benefits, our eligibility criteria, and the application process!


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 grand finale pitch competition and participate in a TV Show that will be broadcast online and across the continent. The finalists compete for a share of US $1.5 million in grant money.

Africa’s Business Heroes Competition 2023

Africa’s Business Heroes Competition 2023


May 17, 2023
Organizer Jack Ma Foundation
Website Visit website
Targets Africa
Sectors Sector agnostic

Benefits of applying?

ABH is more than a competition and has been designed to provide applicants and finalists with numerous benefits:

Insights into your business

Our application process helps applicants strengthen their pitching/fundraising efforts via an introspective application process. Applicants also get the opportunity to receive feedback and advice from numerous business professionals and seasoned entrepreneurs at various stages of the competitions.


Targeted & practical training programs:

We provide ABH community members to a range of bespoke training programs such as financial management, marketing and more. Finalists have the opportunity to access even more programs & services such as investment readiness and talent sourcing via our network of partners and judges.


Mentorship from business icons

Our Finalists have the opportunity to be mentored by global business icons both throughout the competition and afterward.


Grant funds of up to $300,000

Our Top 10 finalists share a prize pool of $1.5 million with the first prize winner taking home $300,000 in grant funds.


Global recognition and exposure

ABH also spotlights the most promising entrepreneurs as they progress via press releases, social media, news articles and provides significant exposure opportunities to finalists via the Africa’s Business Heroes Show, which is distributed across 40+ African countries.

Who is eligible?

To apply for our competition, you should meet the following criteria:

  1. The applicant should be the Founder or a Co-Founder of the company.
  2. The applicant has African citizenship or is the child or grandchild of an African citizen.
  3. The company is registered and headquartered in an African country, and primarily operates in Africa.
  4. The company is in a post-idea stage and has at least 3 years of revenue.

If you meet all these criteria, we welcome you to apply. However, please note that at various stages of the application, we require documents to prove these criteria so we encourage you to be honest.

How to apply?

  1. Visit and create your free account
  2. Answer questions related to yourself as a founder and your business
  3. List references that can be contacted if you progress
  4. Submit videos of yourself and of a customer so we can get to know you better

Judging process

To identify our heroes, we run a 4-step application 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 distinguished and experienced panel of investors, business leaders, and professionals who will determine our Top 10 Finalists.

At each stage of the review process, our judges provide applicants with feedback and advice to support them on their business journey.


March 3rd – Applications open

March & April – Application support workshops

May 12th – Applications close

June – Round 1 judging

July – Top 50 & 20 announcements + bootcamp

August – due diligence

September – Semi-finale

October – Top 10 announcement + coaching

November – Grand finale

It’s African Time

Africa’s Business Heroes Competition 2023

Africa’s Business Heroes Competition 2023