April 18, 2024

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Africa’s Business Heroes Judges assure that 2022 entrepreneurs pitches provide solutions to Africa’s problems

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, the Founder of APO Group

By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU

Judges at Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) competition have assured that this year’s pitches submitted by African entrepreneurs have shown potential to provide solutions to Africa’s problems.

Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) is the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program in Africa to support African entrepreneurs.

The mission of ABH is to showcase and grow local talent who are creating positive impact in their communities and beyond, and inspire a movement of African entrepreneurship.

In a Press briefing that took place on Saturday, October 1, 2022, Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, the Founder of APO Group and one of the judges of this year’s competition, said that if you look at the projects submitted by entrepreneurs, almost all of them are providing solutions.

He said “first of all, African entrepreneurs, and most entrepreneurs, like some kind of a rule to be successful, they need to address the problems.”

He explained that It has been very clear that African entrepreneurs are solving African problems, either in the agriculture industry, education industry, health industry, etc.,..

“So and one thing, which is extremely important with that competition is that we are here to identify those heroes which refer to role models.” He said

Mr. DUSABEMUNGU Ange de la Victoire of TOP AFRICA NEWS during an interview with Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, the Founder of APO Group

Nicolas noted that the ABH competition is not only for recognizing Africa’s Business Heroes but also to inspire them to become big entrepreneurs.

“The idea is to not only acknowledge the value and the potential of an entrepreneur and of a company, etc, but to show that success in that person, in that company, etc, to the world and to show little girls, okay, you could be that woman entrepreneur, tomorrow, or that young man, you could be that successful entrepreneur, etc. So it’s a role model.” He explained.

Regarding the inclusivity of the competition, Mr. Nicolas said that applications came from 54 countries across the continent and that there was a balance between genders.

“So we have like 18 years old, just like we have 50 years old, all the countries, all the languages, it’s truly Pan African” said Mr. Nicolas.

In the meantime, he reminded that “when it comes to both investments and judging, the key criteria that we’re looking at, is the founders themselves before anything else. And so we’re looking for founders that have an ability to execute, to build something, to show that they’ve built something, and have sort of this passion and determination to succeed.”

A group of ABH Judges

“When we are looking at their pitches or judging them, we look at those who want to succeed through the pure strength of will of the founders themselves, They’re there, they’re out to make sure this succeeds, no matter what it takes, no matter how hard it’s gonna be, they’re gonna make sure this thing succeeds. And so that’s what we saw with a lot of these sorts of founders and the heroes that presented their projects, they had this sort of tenacity, and they had this real drive to build something and do something for their communities for Africa and for the whole continent.” Mr. Nicolas said as he responded to a TOP AFRICA NEWS reporter’s question.

The ABH 2022 Top 10 entrepreneurs who are to each win a share of the 1.5 million USD will be selected from the 15 profiles below:

Melissa Tafila, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Conexus Proprietary Limited (Botswana)
A native of Gaborone, Botswana, Melissa is seen as a talented youth role model for both children and young adults in Botswana and Africa at large. Melissa works to achieve her dream of transforming the educational system through digitalization. Conexus provides an educational software and an e-learning centre that offers quality education/ learning materials for primary, junior and secondary schools.


Flavien Kouatcha Simo, Managing Partner of Save Our Agriculture Sarl (Cameroon)
Flavien, a Cameroonian engineer by training, runs an agricultural company that designs and
manufactures aquaponic units for individuals and professionals wishing to produce large-volume organic food as close as possible to sales areas, i.e., in town. Their system is a solution to climate change, the land challenge of young African farmers, and the increased use of agricultural chemicals.


Amena Elsaie, Co-Founder of Helm Consulting (Egypt)
Amena is a multiple Award-winning entrepreneur. Created in 2014, Helm supports 4000+ persons with disabilities, promotes their social inclusion, serving more than 200 entities and working with top notch experts from 16 countries. In addition to sponsorships and grants, Helm is the first provider of localized and customized inclusion solutions in the region, awarded multiple times as innovative global best practices and successful business models by Zero project, JICA, Rise Egypt, etc.


Nadia Gamal El Din, Founder and CEO of Rahet Bally (Egypt)
Nadia Gamal El Din studied finance at the American University in Cairo, after which she started her professional career as an assistant brand manager at Procter & Gamble. She became a mother at the age of 24 and realized there was a huge market gap when it comes to supporting new moms. Consequently, in 2015 she founded Rahet Bally, an all-inclusive platform to support Egyptian mothers financially, physically, emotionally, and intellectually, both online and in person, on top of Rahet Bally Discount App for Moms, Rahet Bally Mama Fitness Programs, the Cloud by Rahet Bally, and Mumerz.com.


Ayman Bazaraa, Co-Founder at Sprints (Egypt)
Ayman started his career in the IT sector for 6 years before he started his entrepreneurship journey. He co-founded Sprints in 2019, the first end-to-end solution to bridge the tech talent gap among youth. Starting from assessing the talent, delivering a customized learning journey, guaranteeing a top-paying job, then supporting the alumni’s career growth, Sprints is the only social enterprise in MEA that offers guaranteed hiring programs where graduates only pay upon successful hiring in 0% interest payments over 3 years. They have created 80+ programs, graduated 6000+ learners, and delivered 300,000+ learning hours in the 12 most demanded technology fields.


Amadou Daffe, CEO/Co-Founder of Gebeya Inc. Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
Gebeya.com is a Pan-African freelance talent marketplace that identifies the Best of African Talent and matches them with cutting-edge projects from selective customers with a goal of solving one of Africa’s biggest challenges: employment. Their tech-driven marketplace connects remote African tech talents with employers globally. The continent needs to generate 12 million new jobs every year to keep unemployment at bay. Startups, SMBs, and corporations in industries like telecommunications and transportation rely on Gebeya to be a one-stop shop for talent capable of building new products and services to scale up their businesses.


Prince Agbata, Co-founder and CEO of Coliba Waste Management Services Limited (Ghana)
Coliba is an award-winning and leading Ghanaian plastic waste recycling company operating in Ghana & Ivory Coast. Prince co-founded Coliba to address the issue of plastic pollution and to promote environmental sustainability. Plastic waste is a serious problem in West Africa, and Prince decided to tackle this issue after losing his best friend in a flood disaster caused by plastic pollution. Coliba collects, sorts, and recycles plastic and metal garbage. This initiative employs over 110 workers.


Tesh Mbaabu, Co-Founder and CEO of Marketforce Technologies (Kenya)
Tesh Mbaabu is an African serial technology entrepreneur who lives to blend commerce and technology. MarketForce is a B2B Commerce platform that empowers over 200,000 neighbourhood merchants across 5 African markets to source, order and pay for inventory, access financing and earn more by reselling financial services in their communities.


Oluwatomi Solanke, Founder and CEO of Trove Finance (Nigeria)
Oluwatomi, a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos Nigeria, started as a newbie – failing and failing- to establish Trove finance, a micro-investing platform that lets Nigerians invest in publicly traded US, Nigerian and Chinese stocks, government bonds and more. To date they have empowered over 200,000 Africans to take charge of their financial future, created awareness about building generational wealth from the ground up and generated more than $1,000,000 in revenue.


Okey Esse, Founder and CEO of Powerstove Energy (Nigeria)
Okey is a self-taught serial social entrepreneur who founded Powerstove Energy to solve and scale energy poverty in the last mile communities. The affordable smokeless cooking stove that self-generates electricity for the user to charge their mobile phones and home appliances also allows users to enjoy pay-as-you-cook financing making it possible for poorer families to afford the stove through monthly installment payment. Currently, Powerstove distributes her products to 100,000 households across West Africa for FREE and owns the largest bio-pellets in West and Central Africa.


Francine Munyaneza, Founder of MUNYAX ECO (Rwanda)
Growing up as a refugee, Francine had no access to electricity. Francine’s founded Munyax Eco to harness the Africa’s recurring problem – lack of access to electricity and to solve Rwanda’s energy challenges in rural and urban areas by providing solar equipment adapted and tested for the African continent. Francine is well known for her gender-oriented recruitment and sales strategy which is to bring women into the fight against climate change while empowering them economically. To date, over 10,000 people across Rwanda, DRC and Burundi have access to clean energy, thanks to Munyax Eco’s women-led and focused solutions.


Dr. Sadiyo Siad, Founder of Hano Academy Hano Academy (Somalia)
Hano Academy a social-enterprise academy which provides educational training and employment
opportunities to bridge skills/knowledge gaps to many Africans who lack access to basic education. Today, over 30,000 lives have been impacted through eLearningX by Hano Academy. Dr. Siad believes that Africa’s poor economic performance is partly due to inadequate qualified skilled manpower and there is dire need for human capacity development.


Shona Mcdonald, Founder and Executive Director of Shonaquip Social Enterprise (South Africa)
Shona founded her company to address the challenges of children with mobile disabilities living in peri- urban and rural areas of South Africa. Shonaquip’s range of tailor-made mobility products and health services can be assembled and maintained even in conditions with limited resources. Their inclusive early childhood education training, social services, advocacy and research directly impacts nearly 20,000 individuals with disabilities and their families annually.


Elmarie Pereira, Chief Operations Executive, Co- Founder & Acting CEO of Memeza Shout (PTY) Ltd
(South Africa)

Elmarie is on a mission to make South Africa safer. Memeza is an ICT Social Enterprise providing affordable innovative safety technology and monitoring services to lower income communities who don’t have access to private security, as well as assists government and corporates with specialized community-based project deployment services. To date Memeza has created over 2700 income opportunities for youth, and reduced GBV by 67% in low-income communities focusing on solving social ills.


Elia Timotheo, Founder and CEO of East Africa Fruits Co. (Tanzania)
Elia has grown East Africa Fruits Co into the largest food distributor/aggregator in Tanzania by
modernizing systems never implemented in East Africa before. By distributing fresh produce directly from farms to B2B customers, they ensure no brokerages and less waste. The software resolves market inefficiencies by pairing crops with market demand, boosting efficiency, and yielding 60% more earnings for farmers as they tackle Africa’s 4-billion-dollar problem of post-harvest food wastage.

ABH Judges posing for a picture
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