The maiden edition of the Africa Business Heroes Show in Ghana has seen a Nigerian medical distribution startup, Life Bank owned by Temie Giwa-Tubosun, emerge winner with a prize of $250,000.
The Jack Ma foundation together with a panel of judges screened 10 other startups across the African continent with a total of $1 million for the finalists.
“This is validation for the critical work that we do and we are looking forward to expanding, I am proud of my team who are back in Nigeria, right now as I sit here, my team is delivering blood to needy people in Nigeria,” Temie Giwa-Tubosun said at a press conference.
Commending all finalists, Chinese business magnate and founder of Alibaba e-commerce platform, Jack Ma, urged respective African economies to “create the needed environment for startups to thrive. This will help advance the cause of economic development and also expand growth”.
The competition saw Scientist – Omar Shoukry Sakr take the second. His business pitch and module under the company, Nawah Scientific walked away with $150,000.
The third finalist was 25-year-old Christelle Kwazera, who walked away with $100,000 for her startup Water Access Rwanda which tackles water scarcity and unemployment in the rural zones of Rwanda.
The other finalists; Waleed Abd El Rahman, CEO, Mumm, Ayodeji Arikawe, co-founder, Thrive Agric, Mahmud Johnson, founder and CEO, J-Palm, Kevine Kagirimpundu, co-founder and CEO, UZURI K&Y, Dr Tosan J. Mogbeyiteren, founder, Black Swan, Chibuzo Opara, co-founder, DrugStoc and Moulaye Taboure, co-founder and CEO, Afrikrea (Cote D’Ivoire) were each awarded $65,000.
LifeBank is a Nigerian medical distribution startup founded in 2015 that uses medical distribution technology to employ drones to provide health workers with critical medical products such as blood and vaccines.
The founder, Giwa-Tubosun, was named winner by a four-member panel of judges including Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma, Econet Group Founder and Executive Chairman Strive Masiyiwa, First Bank of Nigeria Chairman and The Chair Centre Group founder Ibukun Awosika and Alibaba Group Executive Vice Chairman Joeseph Tsai.
The second prize winner, Omar Shoukry Sakr, walked away with $150,000 for his business, Nawah Scientific, a private research centre in the Middle East and North Africa which is focused on natural and biomedical sciences.
The motive of the awards ceremony is to support and inspire entrepreneurs across the African continent. Business conglomerate, Jack Ma said his foundation “will award $1 million each year for the next 10 years in an annual pitch competition where the top 10 finalists will compete in a televised event to win their share of the prize money”.
The ANPI is a flagship initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation, created by Jack Ma after his first trip to Africa in 2017. The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. In its inaugural year, nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs from 50 countries across the continent applied. The Jack Ma Foundation has committed to running the competition for 10 years.
The finale event, called “Africa’s Business Heroes,” was held in Accra, Ghana, where the top 10 finalists pitched their businesses directly to four prestigious judges including Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation; Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba.