The latest edition of the Alibaba Netpreneur Training (“ANT”) Program has graduated 86 African entrepreneurs, according to Alibaba Global Initiatives (“AGI”).
The Africa-specific edition, which ran from mid-October to mid-November, was supported by the Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition, a philanthropic initiative that aims to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs.
Ritalee Monde, Founder of Leemed Supplies Pvt Ltd from Zimbabwe, was among the graduates in this cohort. She founded her company in 2018 with the goal of improving access to medical supplies and equipment in her country, particularly for women and children in rural areas. The initial years of Ritalee’s business were no smooth sailing, but that did not stop her from exploring new approaches and opportunities.
“I decided to take the Netpreneur training because I wanted to change the way I do business.” “I was looking forward to learning about business frameworks and strategies that would help my company promote innovation and deliver quality results,” Monde said. “It was quite inspiring to attend webinars led by a group of people who had truly made the journey.” My most important takeaway is understanding what business digitalization entails. In the same way that it has led to the success of many SMEs operating in Alibaba’s ecosystem, I believe a digital shift will help my company tap into new markets and clientele, boost productivity, reduce operating and marketing costs, and lay the groundwork for new job creation and innovation.”
In the midst of a global shift toward digital channels, the ANT Program provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to learn and experiment with digital technology in order to grow their businesses and contribute to the local economy. The online program took participants through the latest trends and practices shaping China’s digital economy, as well as approaches and frameworks for entrepreneurs to build a successful and innovative business in today’s digital world, over a four-week period.
The 86 graduates were chosen after successfully completing a series of classes, assignments, and assessments that demonstrated their understanding of the fundamentals of the digital economy and their ability to apply their newfound knowledge in their respective businesses. Collectively, they represent various industries varying from agriculture, education, information & communication technology (ICT), and trading.
Already running a digital business that spans procurement and forwarding service as well as digital marketing and web development, Emmanuel Yao Agbodo, Founder of Engcando Logistics and Consultancy from Ghana also saw value in the Netpreneur program.
“I’d long heard about Alibaba’s innovations and was curious to learn how the company makes them happen.” “I also hope to one day export locally made products from Ghana via digital platforms,” Yao Agbodo said. “The modules about mission, vision, and values were the most useful for my business because they are essential to the organizational development and strategic planning of any business, digital or traditional.” The lesson has inspired new ideas that my company can implement as we strive to become Ghana’s leading digital platform connecting local and international markets.”
Adesola Adetunji, Founder of Digital Education Management System World Academy in Nigeria, benefited the most from the training’s lectures on business fundamentals. His start-up, founded a year ago, is on a mission to provide education in and outside of Nigeria that bridges the gap between what students are taught in school and what they actually need.
“I am ambitious, but I had no idea how to make my ambition a reality.” “With what I’ve learned from the Netpreneur training, I’ve gained the key to developing my own strategy, bringing me one step closer to realizing my ambition,” Adetunji said. “Among other things, I’ve learned to prioritize my customers, create and maintain my own company culture, always bet on big ideas, and embrace failure.”
All course participants have been invited to join the AGI entrepreneur community, where they can continue to network with other passionate and like-minded entrepreneurs and gain access to post-program learning opportunities such as webinars and newsletters.
Once travel restrictions are lifted, outstanding trainees will be eligible to participate in offline immersion programs at Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China.The Alibaba Netpreneur Training Program was launched in 2019 as an initiative to help entrepreneurs succeed in the digital economy. To date, it has trained over 1,800 entrepreneurs in Africa, Europe, Latin America, and South and Southeast Asia.