Temie Giwa-Tobsun Wins 2019 African Netprenuer Prize

Temie Giwa-Tubosun has emerged the overall winner of the 2019 African Netprenuer prize Initiative during the ‘Africa’s Business Heroes Show’.

Omar Sakr from Egypt emerged the second winner, while Christelle Kwizera from Rwanda emerged third winner.

The winners were announced on 16 November 2019 during the Netpreneur 2019 Conference, which held at the Accra International Conference Centre in Accra, Ghana.

The African Netprenuer prize initiative, founded by Jack Ma and sponsored by Alibaba Foundation for Africa, brought together ten of the best young entrepreneurs for a chance to win a share of  USD $1 million.

These were entrepreneurs chosen from over 50 African countries over a 7 month period, who demonstrated great passion and initiative to change their communities for the better.

The ten shortlisted finalists had one last chance to present their business pitches to the four judges – Jack Ma, Executive Vice Chairman, Alibaba Group, the other judges were; Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman – Econet Group; Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman – Alibaba Group and Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited.

Temie Giwa-Tubosun is CEO and Founder of LifeBank, a medical distribution technology to help health workers discover critical medial products. Since she started her business, she has been able to save lives of almost 6,000 people.

On picking the final winner, Jack Ma said that he wanted to pick the business which had the most impact. He listed the four ‘Es’ which African entrepreneurs must stand on to include education, eGovernment, e-Infrastructure and entrepreneur skills.

In his words:

“Entrepreneurs are problems solvers who always challenge the things that people do not believe will work.

There are lots of challenges and opportunities in Africa which only tech entrepreneurs who are the heroes of Africa can address, and we need to support entrepreneurs in Africa.

Good entrepreneurs open the radar, search for challenges and create opportunities out of challenges for others.

In Alibaba, we love big ideas but we love those who solve problems.

We have to find the business that is simple, that has impact and that is profitable.”

Speaking during a press conference after the event, Temie Giwa-Tubosun, who received the grand prize of USD $250,000, expressed her gratitude towards the Jack Ma Foundation for awarding her the top prize and giving her the grant.

According to Temie Giwa-Tubosun:

“I am really proud of my team who are back in Nigeria, right now as I sit here, my team is delivering blood to needy people in Nigeria.

This is validation for the critical work that we do and we are looking forward to expanding.”

The second prize winner, Omar Shoukry Sakr, received USD $150,000 for his business, Nawah Scientific, which is the first private research centre in the Middle East and North Africa region which is focused on natural and biomedical sciences. It offers analytical and scientific services online and on-demand.

Omar said that his initiative was a testament to the fact that bio technology is a profitable business and wished to see more scientists in next year’s round.

According to Omar Shoukry Sakr:

“One of the biggest challenge is recognition in bio technology and this is definitely an achievement and a vote of credibility that scientists have potential.”

On her part, 25 years old Christelle Kwazera, the youngest of the finalists, received USD $100,000, which she said she would pump back into the business.

According to Christelle Kwazera:

“This is a win for the 63 people who work for me, I will channel the money into resources to help my business grow smarter.”

The other finalists of the 2019 African Netprenuer Prize were each awarded USD $65,000.

The Alibaba Foundation has set aside $10 million to be won by 100 entrepreneurs in the next ten years.

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