Applications for this year’s competition have closed.

Competition Details

At WABF27, we aim to connect promising early-stage African entrepreneurs to a powerful network of investors, mentors, and coaches to accelerate their growth and resources to develop their ventures into regional powerhouses.

As part of this initiative, the Wharton Africa Student Association is pleased to announce the New Venture Competition at this year’s Wharton Africa Business Forum. Entrepreneurs will submit an application outlining their venture. The shortlisted finalists will pitch to a panel of judges and public audience at the conference on Friday, November 1, 2019 and Saturday, November 2, 2019

If you believe that your venture/idea has what it takes, please see the eligibility details below. Applications are now open, and the application deadline is Thursday, September 26, 2019 11:59PM EST

How it works

10 finalists will be shortlisted to pitch their business to a panel of expert judges on Friday, November 1, 2019. Then, only the Top 3 ventures emerging from Friday will present to the panel and conference audience on Saturday, November 2, 2019

  • 1st place winner will claim $10,000 grand prize

New this year:

  • 2nd place will claim $5,000

  • 3rd place will claim $3,000

The audience will get to vote an additional People’s Choice award with a discretionary monetary amount.

Eligibility Criteria

The competition is open to entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to some of the Africa’s toughest challenges. Entrepreneurs with ventures that meet the following criteria are encouraged to apply:

  • Focused on serving customers in Africa. Although the venture may not be domiciled/headquartered in Africa, the target customers/market has to be in Africa

  • Has a for-profit business model. Pre-revenue ventures are eligible

  • Has less than 50 employees and less than 3 years in operations 

  • Raised less than $150,000 for their venture

Judging Criteria

Successful ventures demonstrate strength in these areas:

  • Customer Need & Market: Compelling reach and relevant need in their target market

  • Solution: Competitiveness and viability of solution to sustainably capture value from customers

  • Business Model: Defensible monetization strategy





Jim Seymour

Managing Partner, Pontefract Global Strategies


Chairman, Industry Advisory Board, Alta Semper Capital
Senior Fellow, Health Care Management and Lecturer, Entrepreneurship, Wharton School


Founding Partner, CRE Ventures

Ami Dalal

Managing Director, FINCA Ventures

Harambeans Wharton Prize

$2,500 Prize - $100,000 Investment

This year, we are proud to partner with Harambeans to give Wharton New Venture Competition finalists additional opportunities for funding and mentoring. The Harambeans Wharton Prize will recognize NVC finalists with a proven track record of execution.The winner will gain admission to the 13th class of Harambeans, receive a $2500 and access to $100,000 from the Ciscobacked Harambeans Prosperity Fund - a rule-based, co-investment vehicle aimed at accelerating the growth of Harambean-founded ventures.

Click here for more information on the Harambeans Wharton Prize


At Wharton Africa Business Forum, we aim to connect promising early-stage African entrepreneurs to resources to develop their ventures into regional powerhouses. As part of this initiative we are pleased to announce the launch of our Growth Track: entrepreneurship education masterclass series for New Venture Competition applicants.

Meet our Facilitators:


Fundraising 101: How to pitch and land your first investors


Nichole Yembra

Founder/Managing Partner The Chrysalis Capital

One-on-One pitching clinics with NVC Finalists


Bunmi Otegbade


Use of data in businesses including concept validation and customer retention


Kunle Malomo

Chief Executive Officer, People Productivity Solutions


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