Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba group announced a new funding initiative for African entrepreneurs during the “Netpreneurs: Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions” conference organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Johannesburg, South Africa which drew 800 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, researchers and policymakers.

The initiative aims to foster and develop entrepreneurial talent in Africa and build a community of 100 young digital African entrepreneurs by 2030.

The prize, called the Jack Ma Foundation Netpreneur Prize will have small businesses in Africa compete for $1 million every year for the next decade, starting from January 2019. There would be an annual pitch competition hosted by the Jack Ma foundation which will be open to African entrepreneurs, with focus on internet-led businesses that will help advance technology and innovation in Africa.

Applications for the first pitch competition will be open from January 2019 until April 2019, and the finalist pitch competition will be held and broadcast across Africa in the second half of 2019.

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