Wellahealth’s Ikpeme Neto Among Africa’s Business Heroes Finalists
By Adedapo Adesanya
The founder of Nigeria’s Wellahealth Technologies, Mr Ikpeme Neto, has been selected among the top 10 finalists of Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition, the philanthropic programme sponsored by Chinese billionaire, Mr Jack Ma.
The foundation, now in its fifth year, announced this year’s finalists after an intense round of semi-finale business pitches and judging held on September 1 and 2 at Norrsken House in Kigali, Rwanda.
Mr Neto will be among these 10 entrepreneurs who will compete for their share of the final prize of $1.5 million in grant funding at the competition’s grand finale scheduled for November 23 and 24, 2023.
He will compete against the likes of Ms Bola Bardet, CEO and co-founder, Susu (Benin); Mr Ayman Bazaraa, CEO and co-founder, Sprints (Egypt); Mr Andrew Takyi-appiah, founder, Zeepay Ghana Limited (Ghana); Ms Christina Gyisun, CEO and co-founder, Sommalife Limited (Ghana) and Mr Thomas Njeru, CEO and co-founder, Pula Advisors Limited (Kenya).
Others include Mr Ismael Belkhayat, CEO and founder, Chari (Morocco); Mr Albert Munyabugingo, CEO and co-founder, Vuba Vuba Africa Limited (Rwanda); Ms Nthabiseng Mosia, CMO and co-founder, Easy Solar (South Africa); and Mr Theo Baloyi, CEO and founder, Bathu (South Africa).
In a statement seen by Business Post, the organisers said the entrepreneurs were selected through multiple stages of interviews and evaluation from 27,267 applications across all 54 African nations. They hail from eight African countries, including Benin, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa.
These start-ups have been drawn from a wide variety of industries, including agriculture, education & training, energy, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and retail.
The 10 finalists will present their businesses on stage to a panel of inspiring businesspeople at this year’s Grand Finale, which will take place in conjunction with a summit and will be the biggest in ABH’s history in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the competition.
Speaking on this, Mr Jason Pau, Executive Director of International Programs at the Jack Ma Foundation, said, “ABH remains committed to uncovering, championing, and supporting trailblazing African entrepreneurs who are bringing positive change to their communities. As we reach the fifth anniversary of our 10-year commitment to this initiative, we’re excited by the expanding and diverse array of talent among our contenders.
“With November on the horizon, we wish every one of the top 10 finalists the best of luck on their journey, and we encourage the public to join our Summit and Grand Finale, as it promises to be truly special.”
Adding her input, Ms Rene Parker, co-founder and CEO of RLabs, ABH semi-finale judge (2019 – 2023), said the ABH competition has shown that African entrepreneurship can emerge as a potent force propelling social upliftment and economic progress.
“It is a dynamic stage, spotlighting ingenious start-ups that steer toward solutions, tackling challenges with a resonance that’s impactful, competitive, sustainable, and additive. I believe that entrepreneurs are carriers of HOPE as they can unlock possibilities that can change the world. I look forward to the Grand Finale, where the top 10 finalists will demonstrate their remarkable business acumen on stage.”
The event will be held offline in Kigali, Rwanda, on November 23 and 24 and also partially livestreamed to reach audiences across Africa. The event will comprise exciting sessions, including speeches, workshops, an entrepreneurial showcase, and a live pitch competition, among other activities.