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2020 Top10 Finalist
The 2022 ABH Competition application period ran from March 24th to June 20th, 2022. For the first time since 2019, the ABH team physically gathered entrepreneurs from across the continent via a hybrid launch event that connected physical audiences in Rwanda, Egypt, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to a large online audience.

Following the hybrid launch, the call for applications went out via social media, TV, radio, and via our ABH Partner network. Our Local Connect Leads actively engaged with entrepreneurs in Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa to encourage them to apply for the ABH Competition and provide support to hopeful entrepreneurs to help them strengthen their applications.

We actively worked with our anchor partners: RiseUp, SAIS, The Room, VC4A and our channel partners: African Management Institute, Afrilabs, After School Africa, Briter Bridges, Disrupt Africa, Moroccan Center for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MCISE), Seedstars among others to promote additional awareness around the ABH Competition.
Thanks to the combined effort of all our partners, our 2022 call for applications saw ~21 000 applications submitted via the Africa’s Business Heroes online portal.
applications received during the application period
African countries were represented by the applicant pool, covering the entire continent
African countries were represented by the applicant pool, covering the entire continent
sectors from agriculture to renewable energy to fashion were represented
Once applications closed, all applications underwent a rigorous review and selection process:
Round 1 - Online Application Review
Between June 20th, and July 20th, 2022, all eligible submitted applications were reviewed by over 100 ABH Round 1 Judges who comprised of business professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors. Utilizing ABH’s criteria and scoring matrix, each application was independently reviewed by three ABH Round 1 Judges. Based on the average scores of all applicants, the Top 50 Finalists were shortlisted.
Round 2 - Video Call Interviews
Between August 3rd, and August 17th, 2022, the Top 50 finalists each had a 1.5-hour deep-dive video call interview with two Round 2 Judges - senior executives, investors/VCs, and successful business people - who evaluated their business robustness, and impact. The Top 20 finalists were identified based on their Round 2 ranking. These finalists then underwent a rigorous due diligence process conducted by PwC before the Top 15 finalists progressed to the next round.
Round 3 - Semi-final Pitches
On the 30th of September 2022, our Top 15 heroes traveled to Kigali, Rwanda to pitch our illustrious panel of Judges in-person for the first time since 2019. Our panel of judges included Rene Parker - Founder & Director of R Labs, and Hasan Haider - Founder & Managing Partner of Plus Ventures among other prominent investors, entrepreneurs, and business professionals. After careful deliberation, we identified our Top 10 Heroes who progressed to the Grand Finale.
Final Round - The Grand Finale
On the 19th of November, our Top 10 Heroes gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa to pitch to a virtual panel of renowned business legends: Ibukun Awosika - Founder of the Chair Group, Joe Tsai - Chairman of Alibaba Group, and Victor Williams - CEO of NBA Africa. The finalists participated in a 2 Round Finale. After all 10 finalists pitched and answered a short Q&A session with our panel, the Judges selected the Top 3 Finalists to move on to the final stage, a deep-dive Round Table. During this Round Table, our judges got to further probe the businesses of our final three: Elia Timotheo, Nadia Gamal El Din, and Tesh Mbaabu. After the Round Table, the Judges deliberated once more to determine the Grand Prize Winner: Elia Timotheo.
Africa’s Business Heroes aims to be more than a competition, it is a platform that provides entrepreneurs with the tools to scale, collaborate, and inspire other like-minded entrepreneurs across the continent. As such, at each stage of the competition, our finalists are given access to training programs and the opportunity to engage with industry experts, venture capitalist, and their fellow entrepreneurs.
Both the Top 50 and the Top 20 Heroes were invited to join interactive and informative ABH Bootcamps where they were given the opportunity to network with their fellow heroes, learn from ABH partners and interact with ABH Judges and former finalists. Partner training sessions were presented by After School Africa, APO Group, Briter Bridges, PwC, Rise Up, SAIS, The Room, and VC4A. Training topics ranged from media training to due diligence preparation and data analysis.
1-on-1 Coaching:
Our Top 10 Heroes were given the opportunity to receive 1-on-1 coaching with the incredible Anita Erskine - a multi-award-winning professional compère, actress, and broadcaster. Anita gave our heroes invaluable guidance on how to improve their stage presence, refine their pitches, and win the hearts of not only our Finale Judges but the broader entrepreneurial community too!
Scale Up Program
The ABH ScaleUp Program was a quarterly event where carefully selected ABH Community Members from various backgrounds came together to give informative Master Classes on a range of pressing topics relevant to the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem across the continent, curated to share invaluable knowledge and advice that can benefit our community. Topics included relationship building, building a brand, and understanding the African fin-tech landscape.
AMI Management Development Program
African Management Institute (AMI) offered our heroes access to their Management Development Program designed to equip middle managers to empower their teams and drive performance. This 4month program equipped participants with the tools and strategies to more effectively manage their teams, communicate, problem-solve, and plan. Heroes who participated in the program were better equipped to manage themselves, empower their teams, and drive performance.
VC4A Investment Readiness Program
​Our fundraising heroes were invited to attend an exclusive investment readiness program presented in partnership with VC4A. This program featured a 6 part series presented by industry-leading investors on a range of topics including how to negotiate with an investor, fundraising with an exit in mind, and venture debt.
In addition to this, we’ve connected our Heroes with various mentors, business professionals, and venture capital firms with more connections to come!
Our 2022 Top 10 Heroes came from 8 countries, had an average age of 40 years, spanned 7 industries, and were 50% female. They are:
Elia Timotheo
Founder & CEO of East Africa Fruits Co.
Tesh Mbaabu
Co-founder & CEO of MarketForce Technologies
Nadia Gamal El Din
Founder & CEO of Rahet Bally
Amadou Daffe
Co-founder & CEO of Gebeya Inc
Amena Elsaie
Co-founder & CEO of Helm
Elmarie Pereira
Co-founder & COO of Memeza Shout (PTY) Ltd
Flavien Kouatcha Simo
Founder & CEO of Save Our Agriculture Sarl
Francine Munyaneza
Founder & CEO of Munyax Eco
Prince Agbata
Founder & CEO of Coliba Recycling
Shona McDonald
Founder & CEO of Shonaquip SE
All other finalists received $100,000
My journey with ABH is yet another reminder that to succeed in business is not about luck, but persistence. Through the ABH Competition, I met a lot of inspiring entrepreneurs across Africa who are persistently devoting their efforts to revolutionizing the continent. The journey is totally worth it!
Elia Timotheo
ABH 2022 Winner
The values and diversity of ABH finalists creates the ideal platform to get inspired and sharpen your entrepreneurial journey. ABH is creating a platform that emphasizes youth entrepreneurship, collaboration, and impact for Africa, which is exactly what we need to achieve prosperity for our people.
Tesh Mbaabu
ABH 2022 2nd Place Hero
The ABH competition was a life-changing experience. Not only was it an opportunity to grow personally, but it helped me and my team learn how to get our company to be "investable". It was hard work, but the impact ABH left will help Memeza scale our impact. I recommend taking the ABH journey to every entrepreneur that is ready to take on the next challenge, grow your business, your mind, and your circle of influence!
Elmarie Pereira
ABH 2022 Top 10 Hero