Africa Business Club New Venture Competition 2019


As part of the 21st Africa Business Conference, the Africa Business Club will be hosting the New Venture Competition on February 15th, 2019. The New Venture Competition aims to showcase the diversity of entrepreneurs making a difference on the continent today.

10 finalists will be invited to pitch their business in front of approximately 700 attendees and receive feedback from a panel of experienced judges. The competition winner and runner-up will be awarded cash prizes of $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

The top 20 shortlisted ventures will also have the opportunity to showcase their companies at the Startup Fair to network and and interact with distinguished panelists and conference attendees.


The competition is open to all African entrepreneurs with businesses focused on shaping Africa’s future. Entrepreneurs who offer unique and homegrown solutions to local problems and who meet the following eligibility criteria are highly encouraged to apply:

  • Early Stage Startups (for profit or not-for-profit)
  • Africa-focused with a majority or all of its operations in Africa
  • Less than 50 employees
  • Less than 5 years of operations
  • Raised less $250,000 in funding to date


The judges will evaluate the venture’s potential for economic success and the likelihood of achieving that success based upon the team’s plan, experience, and the validation of key assumptions and a clear and convincing presentation of the following:

  • Value proposition and business model (including market validation of value proposition/growth hypothesis)
  • Team expertise and ability to execute
  • Market opportunity
  • Geopolitical and industry context
  • Potential risks and mitigants
  • Realistic assumptions underlying any financial projections
  • Defined milestones and execution plan

The Competition is about assessing the commercial merit and potential viability of each proposed new venture. Teams that have a proven technology or even attracted “beta” customers may raise their chances of success, but early stage ideas that have been thought through / tested will be considered based on their standalone potential and the team’s ability to execute.


Sundial Brands Community Commerce Prize – $5,000

The Africa Business Conference is happy to announce Sundial Brands as a sponsor of this year’s New Venture Competition. As part of this commitment, Sundial Brands will offer a $5,000 prize for a new venture which most closely reflects the mission of Sundial’s Community Commerce business model.

This model, with a focus on women empowerment, creates opportunities for sustainable social and economic empowerment throughout its supply chain within communities in the United States, Africa and beyond.  Community Commerce goes further than corporate social responsibility and fair trade by challenging businesses to use commerce as a means to transform local and global communities, in the process creating a fairer, more equitable world. Community Commerce is about truly looking at how businesses can impact the broader community they operates in and ensure that value is created across the board. It’s about making conscious decisions regarding the partners and suppliers you select, and who you choose to engage with. This means adding value, not only to consumers and customers, but to every player in the value chain.

As such, the New Venture Competition will use Sundial Brands’ sponsorship to help highlight women led ventures and reward ventures which use their business models to create opportunities for women or other financially excluded persons, or that are helping to improve the ecosystem for female entrepreneurship in Africa. 

The Harambeans Harvard Prize:
Entrepreneurs Building Africa’s Future – $5,000

In keeping with Harambe’s admission standards, the Harambeans Harvard Prize will recognize African teams with a proven track record of execution – Entrepreneurs capable of meeting weekly, monthly and quarterly company targets in spite of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Innovators determined to transform Africa’s challenges into opportunities. Optimists who share Harambe’s conviction that “the Africa our generation desires can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is ours.”

The winner will receive $5000 at the Africa Business Conference at the Harvard Business School, gain admission to the 12th class of Harambe and attend the Harambe Bretton Woods Symposium, April 6-8, 2019.

The prize is sponsored by Harambeans. Over the last decade, Harambeans have spawned off tech-enabled ventures such as Andela, Flutterwave, Yoco which have collectively attracted over $300 million from investors such as Google Ventures, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Alibaba. To build on this success, Cisco established the Harambe Seed Fund (HSF) – a rule-based, co-investment vehicle which enables Harambe to invest in high performing teams and direct global investors to the next generation of high growth African entrepreneurs.

All applications must be received by 5pm EST on November 30th, 2018.

Apply here!