Temie Giwa-Tubosun was crowned the winner of the African Netprenuer prize Initiative during the ‘Africa’s Business Heroes Show’ at the Accra International Conference Centre in Accra, Ghana.
The initiative, founded by Jack Ma, 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 AwosikaChairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, where Temie emerged as the winner.
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, ‘in Alibaba, we love big ideas but we love those who solve problems’, he said.
“We have to find the business that is simple, that has impact and that is profitable,” he added.
Speaking during a press conference after the event, Tema expressed her gratitude towards the Jack Ma Foundation for awarding her the top prize and giving her the grant.
“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,” she said.
Tema said that she would use the grant money for growth towards her business and help her “solve this problem thorough a business model that works”.
The second prize winner, Omar Shoukry Sakr, walked away with 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.
“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,” he said.
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.
On her part, 25 year old Christelle Kwazera, the youngest of the finalists, walked away with USD $100,000, which she said she would pump back into the business.
“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,” she said.
The other finalists were each awarded USD $65,000.