February 28, 2024

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ABH: Fostering Pan-African Business and Entrepreneurship

Jason Pau (In the middle), the Executive Director of International Programs, Jack Ma Foundation

“Our mission is to identify 100 African business heroes that will inspire millions more.” – Jason Pau

By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU

In July 2017, at the Internet Summit, the idea of the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) initiative was born. With a $10 million fund to support young African entrepreneurs, ABH aimed to empower and inspire a new generation of business leaders across the continent. Over the years, ABH has grown in ambition, fueled by the success stories it has witnessed.

In the meantime, according to Jason Pau, the Executive Director of International Programs, Jack Ma Foundation, “Pan-African is really tough to do. “

He said that “One of the key lessons learned through ABH so far is that Pan-African entrepreneurship is not an easy feat. However, within these challenges lie opportunities for growth and collaboration.”

2023 ABH Heroes

“ABH heroes have embraced these opportunities and are actively exploring Pan-African ventures, contributing to the economic development of the continent.” Jason Pau told TOP AFRICA NEWS Reporter during a Press Conference in Kigali, last November.

“African entrepreneurs are global entrepreneurs. That’s what we’ve learned.”

ABH has discovered that the next generation of African entrepreneurs are not only Pan-African in their mindset but also global in their aspirations.

According to the official, ABH recognizes the importance of a strong support system for entrepreneurs.

“Many of these entrepreneurs have built global companies, challenging the narrative that African businesses are limited to local markets. Their success stories need to be shared to inspire more young people to pursue entrepreneurship and create positive change in their communities.”

The future of ABH relies on community of mentors, heroes, educators, and investors

Mr. Jason Pau explained that “The success of ABH lies in its community of mentors, heroes, educators, and investors who are passionate about entrepreneurship and the future of Africa.”

“This community provides guidance, resources, and networks necessary for the growth and sustainability of African businesses.” He added.

“Technology is at the core of ABH, but it’s not just about tech. It’s about using technology to solve critical challenges in various sectors.”

ABH is sector-agnostic and focuses on leveraging technology to address critical challenges across various sectors, including agriculture, healthcare, and education.

Judges at ABH 2023 Grande Finale in Kigali

It was observed that the next generation of African leaders identified by ABH are not just tech entrepreneurs but innovators who understand the importance of integrating technology into their businesses to drive growth and impact.

ABH’s journey has been marked by the belief in the potential of African entrepreneurs to drive economic prosperity and job creation.

ABH continues to be a Game-Changer

ABH has truly been a game-changer for African businesses. It has provided African Entrepreneurs with a platform to showcase their ideas and connect with mentors and investors who have helped them grow and scale.

“Through ABH, we have been able to tap into markets beyond Rwanda and gain exposure on a Pan-African level.” Said, Mr. Albert Munyabugingo, CEO of Vuba Vuba Company.

“The journey with ABH has been nothing short of amazing. From the initial application process to being selected as one of the top 50, we have been challenged and pushed to think outside the box. The feedback and ideas we received from the mentors and judges have been invaluable in improving our business strategies.” He said.

Vuba Vuba is expanding delivery services across Rwanda, ahead of the business expansion in other African Countries

“One of the key lessons we learned from ABH is the importance of constantly evolving and expanding our product offering. We started with food delivery, but based on the recommendations from the judges, we have expanded to include shopping from different markets, delivering drinks, and even flowers. Our goal is to become a one-stop shop for all products, both locally and internationally.” Mr. Munyabugingo revealed.

Winning the ABH competition has not only boosted Entrepreneurs operations but also given them credibility in the market like one can witness the impacts from the previous winners.

Speaking at the 1st Day of the ABH Summit which was held in Kigali in November, 2023, Mrs. Boateng Zahra Baitie, Head of Partnership and Programs at Africa Business Heroes said that “The statistics speak for themselves” She explained that “with over $150 million raised in investment, 123,000 direct and indirect jobs created, and an impressive 42% representation of women among the heroes, these collective and individual achievements inspire the ABH community to dream bigger and strengthen the African entrepreneur ecosystem.”

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