Founder and CEO of Alibaba, Jack Ma, has launched a $10 million program targeting young entrepreneurs across Africa seeking funding for their tech startups. Jack Ma made the announcement during the Youth Connekt Africa Summit held in Rwanda last week. The summit was co-hosted by UNCTAD and the Rwandan Government.
Ma claims: “I want that fund supporting African online businesses. The money is set. This is my money, so I don’t have to get anybody’s approval. I want them to go China, meeting our people, seeing all the things we have been doing, all the great ideas China has. They know what they want. And when they know what they want, we can support it”.
Jack Ma wants to take the top 200 entrepreneurs from Africa to China, where they can learn first-hand about Alibaba’s journey. Ma is also looking to partner with universities across the continent to curate teaching materials on internet technology, e-commerce, and artificial intelligence- All the tools a young person needs to be armed with before embarking on creating a startup business online. He gave a public lecture at the University of Nairobi last week on July 20th before traveling to Rwanda for the Summit.
While at the university, Ma spoke to the students about his journey in owning a $248 billion dollar company. Ma not only wants to inspire the youth, but also provide them opportunities with his networks, influence, and financial muscle.
He stressed on the role that access to the internet plays for any nation wishing to grow in this 21st-century world. Ma says internet access has become an important raw material, just like electricity or coal has been to running of industries and businesses over the years.
Ma says: “Not being connected to the internet today is worse than not having electricity 100 years ago. I think e-commerce, internet, Big Data is the future. You can never stop it. You like it or don’t like it. But you will never stop it. Every time you have a technological revolution, it will kill a lot of jobs and it will create a lot of jobs. This is what history tells us.”
Article Taken from: innov8tiv