According to Disrupt Africa, twenty nine African entrepreneurs completed their two week eFounders Fellowship program in China. The program serves as an initiative ran by Alibaba and the Untied Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Their objective is to provide support for African entrepreneurs to succeed in this digital age. Additionally, the program hopes to empower 1000 entrepreneurs in developing nations over a five year period. The eFounders Fellowship is led by Jack Ma, Alibaba Group’s executive chairman and special advisor to UNCTAD.
“Together with UNCTAD, we want to empower Africa’s young entrepreneurs to not only succeed in their own ventures, but to return home and demonstrate to others how to build inclusive business models for the digital era,” stated Jack Ma.
Jack Ma created this platform based on his own experiences in 1999 when he launched Alibaba. He has much knowledge and experience as he had to overcome the same barriers and lack of infrastructure that African entrepreneurs face today. Thus, Ma has stated that this makes his program unique as Alibaba has provided him with the ability to share his experiences and lessons with African entrepreneurs in the technology sector. Additionally, Ma has made many strides to build entrepreneurship in the continent through the creation of a 10 million dollar African Young Entrepreneurship Fund. As well as, forming partnerships with African universities to impact the teachings of internet technology, artificial intelligence and e-commerce.
This year will mark the program’s third round of African entrepreneurs who participated in the fellowship. The third cohort was made up of representatives from eleven African countries: Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia, Egypt, Uganda, Algeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Tunisia. Some participants were Alloys Meshack of Kenya’s Sendy, Rwanda’s Leah Uwihoreye of Golden Thoughts, Cedric Atangana of Cameroon’s Wecashu, Bright Chinyundu of Zambia’s Kodipay and Olugbenga Agboola of Nigeria’s Flutterwave. The founders all operate platform-based ventures in fintech, bigdata, tourism industries, logistics and ecommerce. Participants of the program travel to Hangzhou, China for a two-week intensive that provides them with business training and connections with Alibaba executives and local practitioners.