The Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative by Jack Ma Foundation calls for applications in March

The Prize, which is supported by its continental partner Nailab, is focused on empowering a new generation of entrepreneurs, with a focus on small businesses, grassroots communities and women-founded enterprises.

“The Netpreneur Prize Initiative has brought together a strong ecosystem of players to support both technology-driven and traditional businesses. We look forward to unveiling the full slate of regional partners and to receiving applications from promising African entrepreneurs in the coming weeks,” said Sam Gichuru, Founder and CEO, Nailab.

All ten finalists will receive grant funding from the Jack Ma Foundation, as well as access to the Netpreneur community of African business leaders to leverage the community’s shared expertise, best practices, and resources.

“By 2030, we hope to identify and shine a spotlight on 100 African entrepreneur heroes who will inspire the continent. From day one, our approach has been community-based and focused on inclusiveness; to be truly for Africans and by Africans. To realize these goals, we are excited to work with Nailab as our implementing partner in Africa and multiple African partners across to continent.”

Bank Windhoek empowers entrepreneurs

Namibia’s Bank Windhoek in collaboration with Microsoft recently hosted a seminar for local entrepreneurs, which allows them to network, share knowledge and celebrate the spirit of innovation.

The entrepreneurs who came from various backgrounds were empowered with skills such as overcoming challenges, accessing finance, marketing their products and services, customer relations, business sustainability, and business continuity.

Bank Windhoek’s Emerging Small and Medium Enterprises (ESME) Finance Branch Manager, Mbo Luvindao, said their goal is to bring benefits to the entrepreneurs who are the bank’s customers, so they could build a competitive advantage and safeguard the success of their businesses.

“As connectors of positive change, we see an opportunity to bring additional value to our customers through strategic partnerships such as the one agreed with Microsoft,” said Luvindao.

Bank Windhoek’s Head of Specialist Finance Division, Saara Shivute, expressed the bank’s pride in being associated with emerging business in the country, saying they look forward to creating business partnerships with them.

“Bank Windhoek is a change-agent, we are committing to being the drivers of positive change in the small and medium enterprises ecosystem,” Shivute said.

Microsoft was represented by Thinkroom Consulting’s Founder, Catherine Young, who facilitated the seminar. She said Thinkroom Consulting is passionate about helping businesses and entrepreneurs.

“We use our networks to introduce them to corporate programmes, use management best practices as well as the latest technologies to reach existing and new markets,” said Young.

MEST Africa and Microsoft announce 2019 Pan-African Tech Summit in Nairobi

The Pan-African tech conference, the MEST Africa Summit brings together leading entrepreneurs, investors, ecosystem players and executives from across Africa and globally to explore the latest innovations and rising stars in the African tech ecosystem. In addition to panel discussions driven by the continent’s top thought leaders, this year’s event will feature an engaging second day including interactive workshops designed for entrepreneurs, a look inside the MEST training program and incubator, and more.

Following the success of last year’s event in Cape Town, this year’s Summit will build on the exponential growth and diversity that the continent’s startup scene has witnessed over the past 12 months. Thought leaders will discuss the latest challenges and opportunities in the African tech space, including the impact of AI and machine learning on Africa’s workforce, the role of tech in cultivating a more energy-efficient Africa, how the creative use of data is enabling financial inclusion on the continent and more.

The Summit will feature addresses from MEST and Meltwater Founder and CEO Jorn Lyseggen, and Microsoft’s Senior Director for Africa Chris Langwa. Additional partners include Liquid Telecom, Africa’s Talking, Ethiopian Airlines, Shell Foundation, Flutterwave, African Development Bank, ALX, iHub, GrowthAfrica, Gearbox and more.

Speakers to date include Wambui Kinya (Chief Strategy Officer at Andela), Martin Karanja (Market Engagement Director at GSMA), Fola Olatunji David (Head of Startup Successes and Services, Launchpad Africa at Google), Tosh Juma (Managing Director Nairobi,, Olugbenga Agboola (Co-Founder & CEO at partner Flutterwave) and more.

The Summit will culminate with the finals of the 2019 MEST Africa Challenge, where attendees see regional winners AMPZ.TVOZÉSnode TechnologiesWayaWayaand Seekewa pitch for a chance at up to USD50,000 in equity investment, a place in a MEST Africa incubator of their choice and full support to help their company scale.

MEST Africa’s Managing Director, Aaron Fu, said: “As we gear up for this year’s Summit, we’re excited to welcome some of Africa’s most engaging entrepreneurs, partners, corporate leaders and ecosystem facilitators. We’re thrilled to partner with Microsoft, whose entrepreneur toolkit is helping developers across the continent more easily build impactful solutions. We look forward to diving deep into discussions around the innovations and solutions that are rapidly driving change on the continent.”

Microsoft Senior Director for Africa Chris Langwa said: “At Microsoft we believe in empowering every organization and person to do more. The work that MEST does with innovators in Africa aligns perfectly with our mission to transform people’s lives through technology engagement.”

MEST Africa has been training, supporting and investing in tech entrepreneurs on the continent for more than 10 years. Over 330 individual entrepreneurs have been trained at MEST, and nearly 60 tech companies have been launched via seed funding and mentorship. Five companies have exited, including Amplify Payments Ltd. (Amplify) who was recently acquired by leading Nigerian fintech player, One Finance Limited (OneFi), to further develop the payments ecosystem in Nigeria.

For more information about the MEST Africa Summit, and to register,

Over 130 Kenyans chosen for the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme 2019

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has announced that it has chosen over 130 Kenyans for its annual TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. The Kenyans are among 3,050 African entrepreneurs drawn from all 54 African countries who will join the 5th cycle of its USD100 million initiative.

They also announced that the annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum will be held on 26-27 July 2019. The announcement was made at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja, following a presentation of the selection process by Accenture Development Partners.

This year, over 216,000 applications were received which represents an increase from last year’s 151,000. Nearly 90,000 were submitted by female entrepreneurs, an increase of 45%. The selected Entrepreneurs will each receive non- refundable amount of USD5,000 in seed capital, access to mentors, and a 12-week business training programme. On 26-27 July 2019, all the selected entrepreneurs will attend the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum.

Over 130 Kenyan entrepreneurs were selected in this year’s TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, nearly double the 74 that were selected last year. This brings the total number of Kenyan entrepreneur beneficiaries from the programme to over 480 over the last 5 years.

Marking the fifth anniversary of the 10-year programme, this year’s selection includes 2,050 entrepreneurs, supported by the Foundation’s partners. This is in addition to the Foundation’s annual commitment of 1,000, bringing the total number of entrepreneurs empowered by the Foundation to date to 7,520. Last year, the organization launched TEFConnect, a digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs.

The Foundation’s partners include; the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Federal Republic of Benin (Seme City), the Anambra State Government, Indorama, the Government of Botswana and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Opportunity open for creative entrepreneurs

The British Council in partnership with Seed Academy and the Social Enterprise Academy are recruiting 120 creative social entrepreneurs in Cape Town and Johannesburg to take part in a fully-funded, high impact business accelerator programme. Applications open on Monday 18 February.

This three-month business development programme will include in-depth, bespoke coaching from international and local social enterprise experts designed to support creative social enterprises that are at the ideation and growth stages to build or enhance their business models and bring social impact to the forefront of their work. The programme aims to help these creative social enterprises to become funding ready and/or access new market opportunities.

Participants for this selective programme will be recruited through a competitive online application process and can include enterprises operating in the performing arts, creative arts, fashion and textile design through to stage and set design, graphic design and film and television. The programme runs from May to December 2019.

The accelerator is being delivered as part of the British Council’s Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies (DICE) Programme which supports the growth of creative and social enterprises at systemic, institutional and individual levels as a means of addressing entrenched social problems and supporting youth employment, gender equality and greater opportunities for people with disabilities and members of marginalized communities.

According to Rachael Millson, African partnerships director of the Social Enterprise Academy, “Creative entrepreneurship can play a significant role in addressing joblessness in South Africa and therefore more needs to be done to develop enterprises in the creative sector. In the face of rising unemployment, creative enterprises are employers, especially of young people, they open up business opportunities, especially for women, and they help build livelihoods for people living in local communities. Beyond their inclusive economic contribution, many creative enterprises address social issues.”

Kate Gardner, who manages the British Council’s DICE programme in South Africa, says, “Creative social enterprises have an artistic and social vision whilst operating as income generating businesses. By working with creative social enterprises, we are able to support the arts, enable the continued social impact of these enterprises and contribute to the growth of a creative economy that creates quality work opportunities for South Africa’s most underserved communities.”

Donna Rachelson, CEO at Seed Academy, says, “Creative industries provide South Africa with an opportunity to build inclusive economies and were identified as far back as 2014 as a growth area for job creation, especially because they tend to outperform traditional industries in terms of black, youth and female ownership.

“But not enough is being done to accelerate creative social entrepreneurship in South Africa. This is why we partnered with the British Council and the Social Enterprise Academy to develop a programme to build more social and creative businesses to make their impact sustainable.”

Aspiring and established creative social entrepreneurs are invited to apply. The programme is suitable for businesses at both ideation as well as the growth and scale stage. To apply, you should be an entrepreneur with a great idea for a creative business wanting to build it into a viable business with social impact. Or you should already be running a creative social enterprise and ready to scale or to bring social impact into your business model.

Applications can be made at from Monday, 18 February 2019.

ENQUIRIES and assistance contact Surika Behrens at or call 021 447 2556 / 083 411 0927.


British Council, Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies (DICE) :

The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. DICE is an ambitious programme that supports the development of creative and social enterprises in the UK and five emerging economies: Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and South Africa.


Social Enterprise Academy :

Social Enterprise Academy delivers transformational learning and development programmes for people and organisations working for social change. We are a social enterprise driven by a vision of a society which combines economic activity with community benefit, led by dynamic social entrepreneurs and enterprises. Our unique approach to learning has helped thousands of social entrepreneurs and social change organisations to become stronger and more resilient, increasing both their impact and their economic sustainability. Social Enterprise Academy South Africa is part of a worldwide network of 13 hubs, supporting social change within local communities and beyond.

Seed Academy :

Seed Academy builds successful, sustainable businesses by providing entrepreneurs with high-impact business development support and access to markets whilst assisting them to become funding ready. Our systematic methodology moves entrepreneurs from ideation to growth and ultimately to scale. We partner with clients to deliver real ROI based on measured outcomes combined with high levels of transparency and accountability for Enterprise and Supplier Development. Our programmes have been designed with sustainability in mind – we ensure our entrepreneurs are equipped, personally and professionally, to know what it takes to build, grow and scale a business.


Founded in 2015, Kingson Capital is a Section 12J Venture Capital Company committed to providing venture capital for companies, enabling them to accelerate their growth potential. 

The hope for success of both Enterprise Development and Supplier Development hinges strongly on the idea that capital and supply contracts are enough to bring about meaningful transformation, but studies have shown that capital alone is not a sufficient driver to propel SME’s and black-owned businesses into their next growth phase.  

“Although we see a substantial rise in South African start-ups,” says Gavin Reardon, founder of Kingson, “it is unfortunate that when it comes to them sustaining that start-up momentum, many fall by the wayside due to lack of support.” 

Ongoing business support is critical to ensuring long-term business sustainability, which is why Kingson has launched a brand-new High-Growth Tech and Black-Owned SME Fund.

The Fund pairs investment with business support through its investment structure. This allows investors to score B-BBEE points under both Enterprise and Supplier Development scorecards, whilst acting as a minority shareholder in the black-owned business in which it has invested. Pairing investment with business support facilitates meaningful economic transformation, driving stable and sustainable black-owned business. Where SME’s look to enter a corporate Enterprise and Supplier Development program, they should not only seek funding, but this holistic approach.

By investing in the SME or black-owned business as an equity shareholder, the fund aligns to its long-term success, growth and profitability. The Fund Manager acts as a shareholder representative and plays an active role in strategy and business development, as well as providing financial management and a key governance oversight role. These are all essential factors in the transfer of skills to executives and senior management that ensure long-term success and sustainability.

The socio-economic and financial benefits of the Fund are exponential, giving the SME growth potential towards sustainable profitability that can cement job creation and youth employment. On-the-job upskilling of executive management and industry-specific transformation become integral parts of the process allowing the investor sustainable supply chain opportunities, as well as a solid return on their capital. All of this positively contributes towards the emergence of black industrialists aligning with the Industrial Policy Action Plan and National Development Plan.

Kingson Capital’s investment approach is to invest in businesses that are unique and scalable, and entrepreneurs that are building a better tomorrow today. . By pairing SME’s whose product offering has the potential to change the current landscape and existing business models with investors intent on cultivating measurable socio-economic growth, key players from both sides will see progressively larger returns that have long-term impact. 

Investour on safe travel, resilience, digital transformation and innovation

More than 20 tourism ministers from various African countries attended INVESTOUR, the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa, now a well-established event celebrating its tenth edition. Organized jointly by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Casa África and FITUR, INVESTOUR promotes sustainable development in Africa and facilitates meetings on investment and business opportunities in the continent.

The tenth edition of INVESTOUR consisted of two round tables and a session of business-to-business meetings. This strategic platform is held every year within the framework of the FITUR tourism fair in Madrid, and puts African entities with tourism projects in direct contact with potential international partners.

The sessions covered topics such as safety and security challenges and their impact on the development of the tourism sector, as well as the issues of crime, health hazards, natural disasters, violence and political instability, which affect the image of a destination. Participants also discussed the promotion of tourism through innovation and digital transformation and diversification through niche tourism products.

As a new feature in this year’s edition, the UNWTO launched the Tourism Startup Competition for Africa devoted to identifying emerging companies that will lead the transformation of the tourism sector in the region. The objective of this initiative is to challenge young African entrepreneurs to design new innovative companies that contribute positively to the facilitation of travel and tourism in their respective countries or in the region in general. The five winners gave presentations to pitch their ideas.

Strive Masiyiwa Elected to National Geographic Society Board of Trustees

“We are delighted to welcome Strive to the National Geographic Society board of trustees,” said Case. “An impact-driven nonprofit like the Society requires leadership that reflects the complex interdependent world in which we live. With his significant international business, entrepreneurial and philanthropic experience, Strive will provide the global perspective and expertise we need to achieve our mission.”


Masiyiwa currently serves on the board of Unilever, the transnational consumer goods company, as well as the global advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. In 2013, the United Nations and the World Bank named him to the advisory board of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. In addition, he is a trustee of the Asia Society; a member of the Committee on Conscience of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; and was part of the Founders Circle of the Carbon War Room, an initiative created by Sir Richard Branson to promote market-based, low-carbon energy solutions to combat climate change.

Masiyiwa has also built a legacy of extensive philanthropic work across Africa. He is chairman of the board of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, which is working to improve food security and income levels for 30 million farming households by 2021.

Committed to the next generation of African entrepreneurs, Masiyiwa mentors young people from across the continent on his Facebook page, reaching more than 3.5 million followers. He and his wife, Tsitsi, also founded the Higher Life Foundation, which has supported the education of more than 250,000 orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa over the past two decades.

“Strive’s profound knowledge of Africa will be extremely valuable as we partner with local scientists, conservation professionals and government officials to safeguard some of the Earth’s last wild places such as Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, the sub-Saharan Okavango River Basin and Benin’s Pendjari National Park,” said Wolstencroft. “As the National Geographic Society looks toward helping to conserve 30 percent of the planet by 2030, Strive’s insights will be critical to our success.”

By signing the Giving Pledge, Masiyiwa and his wife have publicly declared that they will donate at least half of their assets to charitable causes. In recognition of the global reach of Masiyiwa’s work, Fortune magazine named him to i

ts list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” in 2014 and 2017.

About the National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is an impact-driven global nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas to increase understanding of our world and generate solutions for a healthy, more sustainable future for generations to come. Our ultimate vision: a planet in balance. To learn more, visit


Young Ghanaian business executive to speak at Harvard Business School

With the growth of African cities, especially within the urban centers, demand for high-quality commercial and residential real estate in both West and East Africa is also rising.

On the back of this, a business executive who runs a multi-million dollar business in the real estate industry in Ghana, Emmanuel Kojo Jones, CEO of Empire Domus and managing director of Empire Concrete has been invited by the world’s premier university, Harvard Business School (HBS) to share his success formula in the real estate terrain in Africa at a conference of over 1,500 attendees from all over the world.

This year’s conference which is themed: Africa Forward; Forging New Alliances For The Future, however, promises to celebrate and promote awareness of existing innovative solutions that have been deployed in Africa, in addition to motivating attendees to create more innovative solutions to overcome the challenges in Africa.

On 15 and 16 February, the 21st edition of the conference among other things seeks to leverage on the experiences of African Entrepreneurs to share their wealth of knowledge and experience as well as address questions regarding the role African Entrepreneurs play in future development and the challenges African property developers currently face.

Jones comes from a strong lineage of business entrepreneurs. He acknowledged that “business DNA flows through his blood”.

With an educational background mostly from UK universities, Jones holds an LLB from London Metropolitan University (LMU), Business diploma from LMU and also holds an MBA in oil and gas management.

He is also a qualified civil and commercial mediator.

Jones drive and passion for creating employment and opportunities for people landed him in business. After studying in the UK, he joined New Generation Construction in 2012 where he worked as a business development manager. He later started building luxury homes in the UK for sale.

Sierra Leone: New Ecowas project seeks to empower female entrepreneurs

50MAWS is an initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is providing the funding, in partnership with the regional blocs ECOWAS, the East and Southern Africa Common Market (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC).

It aims to improve women’s ability to access financial and non-financial information, to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and access to business financing opportunities.

Through this initiative, women will also be able to build networks and establish partnership relationships with people and structures that can help them grow and support their businesses.

According to officials, the project was conceptualised and designed following a pilot study conducted by AfDB, which identified challenges impeding women from growing their businesses.

Mrs Bio was speaking at the launch of the Sierra Leone Country Team of the 50MAWS.

It comes at the end of a two-day stakeholders’ engagement on Thursday.

The Sierra Leonean First Lady, who presided over the launching, said the initiative would bring more respect to women and give them a voice in the development process.

“I want to encourage every Sierra Leonean woman who is already [an] entrepreneur, who wants to be one and has vision, but do not know where to start,” Mrs Bio said in a statement on Friday.

She added: “This is an opportunity for you to be part of a network that is beyond the borders of this country. This is an opportunity for you people to market your products beyond Sierra Leone. This is an opportunity Ecowas is brining for us women in Sierra Leone.”

Sierra Leone becomes the tenth country to launch and officially commit to the implementation of the initiative.

Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Benin and Cape Verde have all already launched it.

Sierra Leone is also billed to host a continental launch of the initiative.

ECOWAS Vice-President, Sierra Leonean Mrs Finda Koroma, represented the regional bloc at the event in Freetown.

She said the project is in line with the ECOWAS Gender Program that is fully aligned with the ECOWAS Gender Policy adopted in 2004.

“This project if successful will take many women out of poverty and it will bring more respect to the women,” she said.