J-Palm Named Among 20 Top Companies Vying for US$1 Million African Entrepreneurship Prize

MONROVIA, Montserrado – One of Liberia’s biggest local manufacturer of consumer goods, J-Palm, has been recognized among the 20 top companies in Africa to compete for the 2019 Africa Netpreneur Prize.

The prize was founded by the Jack Ma Foundation of the Chinese billionaire and aims to support and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. Each year, 10 finalists are selected to compete in a final pitch competition that will be broadcast across the continent. All 10 finalists will gain access to the Netpreneur community of African business leaders to leverage the community’s shared expertise, best practice, and resources.

J-Palm was selected as one of the 20 sets of companies from a pool of almost 10,000 candidates. The company participated in the top 20 pitch in Nairobi, Kenya.

J-Palm’s CEO, Mahmud Johnson, represented the company in Nairobi and has expressed the hope of being among the list of finalists.

“The top 10 will be unveiled soon, and will get a chance to pitch their businesses during the Grand Finale this November, and stand a chance of winning funds to expand their businesses,” Johnson wrote on the company’s Facebook page.

“We did our best during the Top 20 Pitch event in Nairobi, and are hoping to make it through to the final round and represent Mama Liberia to the best of our ability.”

He said the company was thrilled by its selection and thanked their customers and supporters for their loyalty, encouragement, and patronage.

He also thanked the Jack Ma Foundation for organizing the initiative to provide the ‘much-needed’ technical and financial support to ambitious African entrepreneurs.

A collection of some products produced by J-Palm. Photo: J-Palm Liberia

In 2016, Johnson won the African Entrepreneurship Award with a cash prize of US$150,000 to support his business.

J-Palm also won the first Johnson & Johnson Africa Innovation Challenge during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Johannesburg, for its popular skin and hair care product, Kernel Fresh. The products are currently sold in most supermarkets and convenience stores in Monrovia. The company recently added premium lotions to its catalog of soaps, oils and face scrub.

Featured photo: screenshot of ANP video

Gbatemah Senah

Senah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. Between 2017 and 2019, he won six excellent reporting awards from the Press Union of Liberia. They include a three-time Land Rights Reporter of the Year, one time Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

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