__Seize the moment… Apply to win!
This week I am going to share some exciting news for many of you. Remember when I said in my recent town halls, “The future is now!”? Well, if you’re an African entrepreneur, there’s not a single moment to lose this month. Innovative opportunities are being created for you to raise “prize capital” like never before in history. This week I will share about two prize contests for African entrepreneurs but you have to move fast.
First, I am thrilled to announce that I will be a judge at the Grand Finale of the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative run by the Jack Ma Foundation. This pan-African competition will offer 10 entrepreneurial finalists the chance to pitch their businesses to Jack, myself and a world-class panel of judges in November, for the opportunity to win a share of USD 1 million! Wow!
Do you think your business has the potential to transform Africa and the world? Has it been in operation for at least three years? I want you on this platform to compete to win here!! You have done a lot of homework over the years. Now is your time to go to the next level. To head to prime time.
The Africa Netpreneur competition is open to entrepreneurs of all ages, from all sectors, from across Africa. The application deadline is 30 June. If you haven’t already entered, you must go and learn all the details here: http://
I was so excited to hear that Jack was launching his new Netpreneur Prize this year because his entrepreneurial journey is very similar to what many African entrepreneurs are currently facing.
You know when he got started back in the late 1990s, Jack tells the story how he saw big companies like Microsoft, IBM and Oracle and thought to himself: “They take all the opportunities!!”
But then he had a realization, something similar to what we have talked a lot about on this platform:
__“Most people keep on complaining,” Jack noted, “but if you can solve the complaining, if you solve the problems, then that is the opportunity…”
For Jack back then, his “solution” was coming up with a simpler, cheaper technology that could be used by his company Alibaba, and the millions of small businesses he hoped to add to his e-commerce platform one day…
The rest as they say, is history.
You all know Jack is a multi-billionaire now. Like most of you, he started from scratch (When he got started, they wouldn’t even hire him at KFC, he said). Back then, Jack faced big challenges exactly like you do… such as the cost of IT, big competitors, not just big competitors, huge ones! His answer?
__“We had to innovate”, he said. “That’s it, we were forced!”
That was about 20 years ago now… Wow.
Now listen, when Jack and I were getting started, there were no prizes for entrepreneurs like the ones I am telling you about this week, and he has said something that I can really appreciate as you’ll know if you’ve been reading my page for a while:
“Early days were so tough for me,” he said. “Nobody helped us. Today I’m able to help. It would be an honor for me to do this.”
I think this is amazing and I am myself honored to take part as a judge. Like me with the new Generation Africa GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize that we launched in Johannesburg on 30 May (which I’ll tell you all about in Part 2), this is our way of opening some doors to entrepreneurs that we ourselves never had…
As my friend Richard Branson says: “Successful entrepreneurs don’t wait for the perfect moment, they create it.”
The rest is up to you!
To be continued. . .
Image credit: Jack Ma Foundation, Nailab in Kenya. http://
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa