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Kenyan entrepreneur among top 10 finalists of Jack Ma Foundation competition


Kenyan entrepreneur Chebet Lesan is among the 10 finalists of Africa’s Business Heroes, a competition organized by the Jack Ma Foundation to identify and recognize the continent’s top entrepreneurs.

Chebet is the founder of Bright Green Renewable Energy, a social enterprise that turns urban waste into clean burning charcoal for households, schools, farmers, hospitals and many others.

Chebet is now among the 10 finalists who will pitch at the competition’s grand finale in November for a chance to win a share of a US$1.5 million prize pool.

Speaking to Nairobi News, Chebet said being among the top 10 is a humbling experience for her as they were up against strong competition.

For Chebet and the team at Bright Green Renewable Energy, a win in the competition will be a win for more than 800 million people in Africa who cannot access clean energy.

“It will mean that the problem we are solving of energy poverty across Africa, that the voices of 800 million people in Africa who still don’t have access to clean cooking fuel have been heard and are going to get the support they need to be able to improve their situation,” Chebet said.

For Chebet to win, As Kenyans you can support her by sharing your first Ugali experience using the hashtag #ugaliyanguyakwanza

The finalists were chosen from a pool of more than 22,000 applications across all 54 African states and key sectors, including agriculture, fashion, education, financial services, healthcare and renewable energy.

The top 10, an even split of female and male entrepreneurs whose average age is 34, represent eight African countries: Kenya, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

On November 13 and 14, Africa’s Business Heroes will host its Grand Finale and winners of the 2020 ABH prize will be announced on November 14.

During the online Grand Finale pitch, the top ten heroes will present their business ventures, as well as their vision and leadership profile, to the finale judging panel that includes Jack Ma, Founder of the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Group, Ibukun Awosika – Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group, Strive Masiyiwa – Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group and Joe Tsai – Executive Vice Chairman of the Alibaba Group.

All of this will be part of ABH brand-new business entertainment televised show due to air in five episodes from November 21-December 19 across Africa.