(Yicai Global) Aug. 10 -- African entrepreneurs could build 100 Alibaba-like firms, the Chinese e-commerce titan's Executive Chairman Jack Ma said in Johannesburg while unveiling a fund to support the young go-getters.
Ma made the remarks on Aug. 8 while announcing the USD10 million Netpreneur Prize initiative, backed by his own Jack Ma Foundation, which will support 100 young African entrepreneurs as they look to create jobs and bolster economic development over the next decade, Tencent News reported.
Africa is just like China was 19 years ago, Ma said, referring to the lack of infrastructure but the great opportunity for digitization. It can benefit more than anywhere else from the digital economy, he added, saying African nations should work together to develop payment systems and logistics networks to help people buy and sell globally.
The fund aims to promote the development of small businesses, grassroots innovation and women entrepreneurs in the world's second-largest continent by providing USD1 million in funding every year for the next 10.
The prize will be awarded to 10 outstanding young entrepreneurs each year through selective trials, and Alibaba will also offer training, mentors and other resources to help the businesspeople hit the ground running.
Editor: James Boynton