Call for Applications: Africa New Venture Competition for African Startups ($55,000 in Cash Prizes)

The 25th Harvard Business School Africa Business Conference hosts the New Venture Competition, once again, to showcase the diversity of entrepreneurs making a difference on the continent.


From the pool of applications, 10 finalists will be invited to pitch their business in front of over 1,000 attendees and receive feedback from a panel of experienced judges. The competition winner and runner-up, and third place will be awarded cash prizes of $30,000, $15,000, and $10,000, respectively.

Team Eligibility

  • All African and Africa-focused entrepreneurs with businesses focused on shaping Africa’s future.
  • 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 in operation.
  • Raised less $1,000,000 in funding to date.

Evaluation Criteria

  • The Team (relevance to problem/breadth/depth of skills; ability to execute)
  • The Problem (what is it, how painful is it, who is facing it?)
  • The Solution (product or service? technology or more analog? has it been done before?)
  • The Context & Opportunity (timing, market size/need, ability to penetrate, strong value proposition and business model, regulatory/tax/political and industry context)
  • Go-to-Market Strategy – (who is your target customer, how will you acquire and scale?)
  • Competitive Landscape – (competitors, Barriers to Entry, Differentiation
  • Risks & Unknowns – (how will you mitigate risks and test assumptions?)
  • Financials (How will you generate revenue in the short to longer term? what is your model?)
  • Traction & Execution (What have you done so far and still need to do in terms of testing, validation, and growth hypothesis as well as defined milestones)

Application Timeline

  • Application Opens: November 28, 2022
  • Application Closes: January 2nd, 2023
  • Finalists Announced: January 24, 2023
  • Mentors Matched: January 31, 2023
  • Round-Robin Session: Early March
  • ABC New Venture Competition: Friday March 24th

Click here to apply


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