Briefing: Alibaba opens applications for $10 million African Netpreneur Prize in March

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Applications for Jack Ma’s Africa Netpreneur Prize to open in March-Ventureburn

What happened: The Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) officially announced a call for its inaugural round of applications. The process will start on Mar. 27, rescheduled from the initial plan of Jan. 15. It remains unclear why the date was changed. The $10 million competition for African entrepreneurs was founded by the Jack Ma Foundation to provide African entrepreneurs a platform where they can scale up their work. The Prize is open to innovators from African countries across all industries, who can nominate themselves until Jun. 30.

Why it’s important: Africa’s budding e-commerce market is the new playground for Chinese tech giants, like Alibaba. McKinsey’s Global Institute projected that annual e-commerce sales in Africa’s largest economies will reach a total $75 billion by 2025, a prospect which has excited tech companies around the world. The Africa Netpreneur Prize is the second initiative launched by Alibaba’s Jack Ma to support African entrepreneurs. In 2017, Alibaba Business School and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) announced the eFounders Fellowship, a program that will train 1,000 entrepreneurs from emerging markets; 200 of those come from Africa.