Africa's Business Heroes (ABH) prize competition ( is a philanthropic initiative sponsored by Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy with an aim of supporting African business entrepreneurs across the continent.

The grant offers up to 1.5 million dollars in funding to 10 winners every year. Winners are selected based on the strength of their business plan, their potential to make an impact and their leadership qualities.

Amadou Daffe, CEO and co-founder of Gebeya Inc. was selected among winners of ABH 2022 as a Top 10 finalist and received 110,000 US dollars grant plus other benefits.

Q: What prompted you to participate in the ABH Competition?

Amadou Daffe: I always wanted to find a way to spread Gebeya’s brand across Africa faster. One of my greatest motivations was to put the Ethiopian startup ecosystem on the map with Gebeya. As a business entity, I understood that I needed a lot of resources to put the brand in the corners of the continent.

Q: What were you looking to gain out of the competition?

I was looking to get Exposure, Network, Fund, Mentorship and Knowledge.

Q: Why should young entrepreneurs and start-ups apply for this competition?

ABH is a valuable opportunity for African entrepreneurs to receive funding, mentorship, and support to help them grow their businesses and create positive change in their communities. Anyone who has an innovative solution to a problem and is committed to positively impacting the continent should definitely consider applying. The competition is a unique opportunity for young entrepreneurs and start-up founders to gain networking opportunities and business exposure.

Q: What sort of start-ups would be eligible to apply for the competition?

Eligibility for application entails the applicant having a company that’s legally registered in Africa, based in Africa or primarily operating in Africa. The business has to be post-the idea stage (i.e., has been operational for at least 3 years and has 3 years of revenue history to provide), and having a working product or business model. It also requires being able to demonstrate innovation, scalability, and a clear social and economic impact and having to solve pressing social or economic challenges in the community in any African country.

Q: What tips would you give to apply for the competition successfully?

Applicants should understand the eligibility criteria as clearly as possible. The criteria include being an African, owning a business that operates in Africa, and having a business that is no less than three-year-old.

Applicants should also have a clear and concise business plan that clearly outlines the business model, target market, revenue streams, and growth strategy.

They should be able to demonstrate their impact, highlighting how their business creates job opportunities, improves lives, and contributes to sustainable development goals.

I also advise receiving feedback before submitting an application. Have a mentor, a family member or a friend review it before submission.

I also want to point out that the application process is highly competitive. An applicant should make sure to put in the time and effort to create a compelling application that stands out from the rest.

PUBLISHED ON May 02,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1201]

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