The founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, is set to address the startup ecosystem at the ‘Netpreneur’ conference in South Africa. South African Startups will be welcoming and embracing the acclaimed, Chinese e-commerce giant for the first time. Ma will be an up-close keynote speaker at the Netpreneurs: The Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions, held at the Linder Auditorium at Wits tomorrow, August 8th.
The aim of the Netpreneur conference is to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by the new digital Africa and the role that the public sector, investors, entrepreneurs and educational organisations must play in this transformation. Ma will launch an initiative entitled the Netpreneur Prize, poised for 100 young, African entrepreneurs likely to receive grants worth USD 10 Mn by 2030.
Jack Ma is widely regarded as one of the most brilliant entrepreneurs of his generation. His Company, Alibaba was founded in 1999 and remains today as one of the top ten most valuable internet-based companies in the world with a market cap of USD 542 Bn. Ma wants to empower Africa’s young entrepreneurs to not only succeed in their ventures but to inspire others on how to build inclusive business models in the digital era.
His mission to empower entrepreneurs is also perceived in his recent eFounders Fellowship program. Spread over two weeks, the programme caters to young entrepreneurs who get to meet with Alibaba’s executives and local practitioners to learn from their experiences. They are likely to get knowledge transfer in e-commerce, payments, logistics, cloud computing, marketing, cross-border trade and innovation to identify lessons that can be applied to their own markets. The program is open to entrepreneurs in the digital and technology space who operate open platforms related to the programs criteria.
Another key note speaker will be Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General for United Nations Conference on Trade and development (UNCTAD). Dr Kituyi will be addressing Africa’s digital transformation. The partnership between Jack Ma and UNCTAD is based on exploring opportunities with African businesses to participate in a global trade and the ultimate mission to raise awareness for the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the international community.
Note: This article was updated with the correct date of the event.