Kenya’s Tesh Mbaabu wins People’s Choice Award and $250,000 grant in Africa Business Heroes Prize
Over the weekend in Johannesburg, South Africa, our Co-founder and CEO bagged the People’s Choice Award and 1st runner-up at the just concluded Africa’s business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition.
Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition (www.AfricaBusinessHeroes.org), the flagship philanthropic initiative sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy, announced this year’s winners during a hybrid Grand Finale held in Johannesburg, South Africa that was live broadcasted to a global audience. Elia Timotheo from Tanzania, Tesh Mbaabu from Kenya, and Nadia Gamal El Din from Egypt were named first, second, and third prize winners, respectively.
The top three Africa’s Business Heroes for 2022 are:
1st – winning $300,000 – Elia Timotheo, Founder and CEO of East Africa Fruits Co. (Tanzania)
2nd – winning $250,000 – Tesh Mbaabu, Co-Founder and CEO of Marketforce Technologies (Kenya)
3rd – winning $150,000 – Nadia Gamal El Din, Founder and CEO of Rahet Bally (Egypt)
The remaining 7 finalists got $100,000 each. They are:
- Mr. Flavien Kouatcha Simo, Managing Partner of Save Our Agriculture Sarl (Cameroon)
- Ms. Amena Elsaie, Co-Founder of Helm Consulting
- Mr. Amadou Daffe, CEO and Co-Founder of Gebeya Inc. (Ethiopia)
- Mr. Prince Agbata, Co-Founder and CEO of Coliba Waste Management Services Limited (Ghana)
- Ms. Francine Munyaneza, Founder of Munyax Eco (Rwanda)
- Ms. Shona Mcdonald, Founder and Executive Director of Shonaquip Social Enterprise (South Africa)
- Ms. Elmarie Pereira, Chief Operations Executive, Co-Founder & Acting CEO of Memeza Shout (PTY) Ltd (South Africa)
Each year, the ABH prize competition and show features 10 finalists as they pitch their business to win a share of US$1.5 million in grant money. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation, created the prize after he made his first trip to Africa in 2017 and was inspired by the energy and entrepreneurial potential of the young people he met there.
“This one is for Kenya, East Africa, and the MarketForce family for our collaborative grit in building such an impactful platform – reimagining the future for neighborhood merchants and retail trade in Africa.” says Tesh Mbaabu who was chosen as the winner of the “People’s Choice” award, newly introduced this year to encourage audiences to support their favorite Hero among the top ten finalists through online voting.
“The winners of the 2022 Africa’s Business Heroes competition embody the incredible entrepreneurial spirit in the region. The judges recognized them for their leadership, passion, and ability to drive positive impact across Africa through their businesses. Despite the unprecedented challenges of the past two years, these entrepreneurs have inspired us all with their resilience and unwavering commitment to their businesses and communities,” said Jason Pau, Executive Director of International Programs, Jack Ma Foundation.
The finalists other than the top three will each receive US$100,000 in prize funding, and an additional US$10,000 will be allocated to each of the top ten finalists for immersive training program(s) and community gathering activities.
The 10 finalists of this year’s competition were selected through multiple stages of interviews and evaluation from over 21,000 applications across all 54 African nations, after 7 months of rigorous evaluation by over 300 judges. Their start-ups were drawn from a wide variety of industries including retail, consulting, energy, environmental protection, healthcare, information & communication technology (ICT), and agriculture.
Over 7,000 viewers from across the globe watched the Grand Finale live online, following the finalists as they pitched their businesses to a final panel of esteemed judges: Ibukun Awosika, Founder and CEO of The Chair Centre Group, Victor Williams, CEO of NBA Africa, and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group.
The Grand Finale judges were impressed with the caliber of the finalists and their businesses
Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition aims to help foster an inclusive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa. The official competition slogan “It’s African Time” is a bold call to action for all African entrepreneurs who are challenging stereotypes associated with “African time” – creating local impact and building a better, more inclusive future through their businesses.
The annual competition, now in its fourth year, shines a spotlight on talented African entrepreneurs working to make a difference in their communities and helping build a more sustainable, inclusive future.
The ABH competition is grassroots oriented as well as age, gender, and sector agnostic.
The full video playback of the 2022 ABH Grand Finale is currently available on ABH’s official YouTube (https://bit.ly/3hTqFA5) channel.
We at MarketForce love to win, we love to serve and we love to impact.