By Adedapo Adesanya
The Jack Ma Foundation has announced the semi-finalist judging panel for this year’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), a prize competition for African entrepreneurs which is set to run for the next 10 years across the African continent, culminating in an annual finale where 10 finalists will compete in a pitch competition.
The semi-finalist judging panel consists of seven esteemed entrepreneurs, investors and businesspeople from across the continent.
The all-star lineup is led by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, the founder and CEO of SoleRebels, who also owns the premium coffee brand, Garden of Coffee; technology entrepreneur and venture capital investor currently serving as the Founder and Executive Chair of Janngo and Managing Partner of Janngo Capital, Fatoumata Ba, and Investment Manager at Orange Digital Ventures Africa, Orange Group’s €50 million venture capital fund dedicated to African startups, Marième Diop.
The others include: Partner at 500 Startups, the most active Venture Capital firm in the world, based in Silicon Valley, with more than 2,000 investments in more than 50 countries and $400 million in AuM, Hasan Haider; founder and Managing Partner of 4DX Ventures, Peter Orth, and Managing Director and CEO of RLabs, a global social enterprise with a strong focus on community-driven innovation and social change, René Parker; and Fred Swaniker, founder of the African Leadership Group, an ecosystem of organisations that collectively aims to develop three million entrepreneurial leaders for Africa by 2035.
The panel will evaluate the semi-finalists and select the top ten finalists for the ANPI who will then go on to pitch Jack Ma and other influential judges for the chance to be awarded a share of USD 1 million in total grand prize money during the finale event.
Speaking about the event, Jason Pau, Senior Advisor for International Programs for the Jack Ma Foundation expressed the anticipation before the grand finale event which will hold in Accra, Ghana in November.
“We are thrilled with the response and the quality of the applications we have received. We look forward to the next phase where this panel of illustrious judges will help decide on our finalists,” said
“Our goal when selecting the roster of judges for the ANPI was to find true representatives of the diverse entrepreneurial and business landscape in Africa. The judges we have selected are true leaders in their industries, and bring vastly different backgrounds, accomplishments, and skillsets to the table. Their feedback will be invaluable and will set the tone for the competition.
“We wish both the applicants and judges the best of luck as we make our way to the grand finale in Accra,” concludes Pau.
The founder and CEO of Nailab, Sam Gichuru adding his two cents on the event, said: “It’s impressive to see the passion coming from across Africa. I’m inspired by the quality of applications received and to see how young and old people are making a difference through the resilience and grit shown by their focus on the community
“I am looking forward to seeing the finalists for the first year. To the entrepreneurs who missed the application deadline, be ready to apply in the coming year.” He concluded.
It was disclosed that almost 10,000 applications from 50 African countries were received.
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