Jack Ma picks Kenyan startup incubator to run $10 million Africa grant fund

The Netpreneur Prize will award Sh1 billion ($10 million) to 100 African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years.

Nailab will work with the Jack Ma Foundation team and other innovation hubs in rolling out the programmed dubbed “Netpreneur Prize” across the continent.

The plan targets innovators churning out digital solutions that address challenges and strengthen the continent’s digital economy.

Nailab will also help identify other critical partners on the continent that will help roll out the program.

Jack Ma launched the fund on Wednesday during the just concluded “Netpreneurs: The Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions” conference in South Africa.

“As a fellow entrepreneur, I understand the importance of getting support during the early days,” the Alibaba executive chairman said.

“This prize demonstrates our support of a next generation of young entrepreneurs across Africa that is paving the way for a better future and impart positive change in their communities.”

Grant funding

The Jack Ma Foundation will from next year host annual pitch competition for the shortlisted 10 best business ideas.

The best business idea will take home Sh100 million in prize money with the rest receiving grant funding from the foundation and have access to Netpreneur’s network of business leaders.

"This is one of those opportunities that we believe and know will create a network of entrepreneurs that not only showcase the African startups but will help tell the African startup stories as they drive change in the continent," said Nailab Founder and chief executive officer, Sam Gichuru.

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