Four Kenyan entrepreneurs in race to win Jack Ma's Sh178.5m innovative prize

Founder of Alibaba group Jack Ma arrives for the Tech for Good summit in Paris, 2019. [AP Photo]

Four local technology entrepreneurs are training their guns on making Kenya proud by winning a sizeable share of the Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize come October this year.

With over 21,000 entrants from the continent, there was a 20 per cent increase in applications from Central Africa, accounting for nine per cent, Southern Africa (17 per cent), while East Africa and West Africa accounted for 17 per cent and 43 per cent of all applications respectively.

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.

Every year, ten finalists are selected to compete in the ABH grand finale pitch competition and participate in a TV Show that will be broadcast online and across. The finalists compete for a share of Sh178.5 million ($1.5 million) in grant money.

On-demand e-commerce and delivery platform Gobeba co-founders Lesley Mbogo and Lucy Odiwa of WomenChoice Industries, a social enterprise that manufactures and distributes low-cost menstrual hygiene products for girls have made it into the top 50 finalists of ABH Prize.

Samuel Rigu Safi, co-founder and CEO of Safi Organics, a local for-profit company that produces and sells organic fertiliser is also on the lineup for the top prize.

Tesh Mbaabu of MarketForce Technologies, a B2B platform that facilitates the retail distribution of consumer goods and digital financial services in Africa is also a man to watch from Kenya.

Africa’s Business Heroes Head of Partnerships and Programmes Zahra Baitie-Boateng noted that the top contestants of the ABH 2022 competition show what great potential and talent exists in Africa.

“We are looking forward to spotlighting them and giving them the support they need to grow and generate a positive impact for both their businesses and the communities they serve,” she added.

The top 50 finalists of ABH 2022 recently participated in a virtual boot camp in preparation for their next round of interviews.

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