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10 startups named finalists for $1.5m Africa Netpreneur Prize

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Ten finalists have been selected for the Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), which will offer selected innovative tech startups access to a US$1.5 million prize pool.

The Jack Ma Foundation launched the second edition of ANPI earlier this year. Created by Alibaba founder Jack Ma after his first trip to Africa in 2017, the initiative aims to support the next generation of African entrepreneurs. The first edition was won by Nigerian startup,LifeBank in November last year.

The 10 entrepreneurs represent eight African countries, and were selected from over 22,000 applications across all 54 African nations. Their businesses span key industries including agriculture, fashion, education, healthcare, renewable energy, financial services, and retail.

Two of the finalists are from Ivory Coast – INVESTIV, which leverages innovative technologies to support smallholder farmers; and Le Chocolatier Ivorien, which manufactures handcrafted and quality chocolate – and another two from Uganda, in the shape of MST Junior School, a primary school with a unique approach and earning model; and Uganics, which manufactures life-saving organic anti-malaria soap.

The rest of the list is made up of Ghana’s Amaati, which produces an extinct and neglected crop called Fonio; Kenya’s BrightGreen Renewable Energy, which produces life-saving fuel bricks that reduce the cost of cooking for underserved communities; Cameroon’s Enko Education, the largest single network of private schools in Africa; Zimbabwe’s Moneymart, a microfinance institution that offers tailor-made business loans; Senegal’s Diarrablu, a fashion tech company; and Nigeria’s MDaaS Global, which builds and operates modern, tech-enabled diagnostic centres in clinically-underserved communities. Finalists will compete in the grand finale on November 13-14.

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