Competition Details


The Africa Business Concept Challenge is open to all institutions of learning, training and development on the African continent. Student teams must consist of two to five members, where at least two must be enrolled at an African institution at the time of the competition. Interdisciplinary teams are encouraged.

Each participating team must have a mentor to work with. Mentors will help guide teams and enrich the learning experience. The ABCC aims to build a community platform for learning–not just a competition but an opportunity for mutual support.

GBSN Membership is not required to participate. There is no charge to participate in the competition.

Competition Prompt

Identify a locally-relevant community need or challenge related to Agenda 2063 and sustainable development. Frame the problem or need and develop a creative, viable and practical business concept to address that community need or challenge.


Student Teams will engage in a three-phased project development process where their business concepts are evaluated and scored by a designated Investor Expert, who delivers critical feedback to improve their business concepts. Projects will be accepted that properly identify and define a local challenge and a business idea that addresses the problem. For project inspiration, check out last year’s Top 5 Projects!

Phase 1

Each Phase will request specific information. Faculty Mentors should be working with students throughout the phases. The top 5 projects will advance to the Finals Round.

Phase 1

Problem Statement
Identifies and describes either a deficiency, dysfunction, or a gap between the current state and the desired one when it comes to a product, service, production process, infrastructure, etc. Good problem statements are centered on the product users and get to questions about what, why, when, and how they are affected or impacted.

Industry Analysis
Built on initial consumer research used to develop the problem definition, a good business concept also depends on having a solid understanding of the potential overall demand for what the product/service offers or does differently. It is also important to consider the industry dynamics and barriers, including comparable businesses, their geographies, relative sizes, strengths, etc.

Investor Experts will provide feedback on the Phase 1 submission prior to Phase 2.

Phase 2

Concept Illustration
Clearly describes/illustrates how your business concept will be introduced. Key questions addressing such as: how does your business concept improve society? How does it relate to one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? What is the source of competitive advantage?

Getting to market requires an integrated plan describing how, when, and where you’ll implement your concept and how it will be delivered. For example, how will you reach your target audience? How will you deliver on the promise articulated by the concept? The go-to-market plan is tactical in that it specifies how the concept will be implemented, sold, distributed and protected.

Investor Experts will provide feedback on the Phase 2 submission prior to Phase 3.

Phase 3

Final Submission
In Phase 3, students will submit their final business concept, incorporating feedback provided by the Investor Expert in Phases 1 & 2. This will be the last chance to make any changes to the business concept.

Recorded Pitch
Prepare a pre-recorded pitch presentation to submit in Phase 3. Each member of the team must play a part in the pitch. Teams are free to be creative with visual aids, like graphics, slides, video footage, music, etc. The pitch should be no longer than 5 mins long. Submit a .mp4 file.

Investor Expert Evaluation

Investor Experts review the final Phase 3 submission of the Business Concept and Recorded Pitch, and provide the judges with an overall evaluation.

Finals Round

The top teams will be identified based on Investor Experts scores. These top teams will advance to the finals round where each team will deliver a LIVE pitch presentation to the international panel of judges. A live Q&A session will follow each pitch presentation.

LIVE Pitch Presentations & Q&A Session:

  1. A 10-minute video pitch delivered LIVE to panel of judges.
    • LIVE pitches will be recorded and uploaded to the GBSN competition webpage. 
    • All team members must participate in the LIVE pitch to qualify for the prize. Participation is defined as a minimum of 1 minute of speaking during the presentation.
  2. A 15-minute Q&A with the judges.
    • Judge and team participation will be moderated by a GBSN staff member to keep time and ensure equal distribution of participation between judges and teams.
    • The LIVE Pitch Presentation and Q&A portion will be recorded and broadcasted LIVE for the public to watch. 

Students will be judged based on…

Problem Framing:

  • Does the team showcase evident research in their solution development and framing of the problem? Is it a viable problem that can be solved by the solution presented? Are there new insights that were previously unknown?


  • How is the problem relevant to the SDGs/Agenda 2063? Does it make sense in the context of the community?

Business Potential:

  • Is the solution feasible in the selected represented region? Does it include a feasible business growth model?


  • Does the team provide convincing rationale to the actual innovation?  Is the solution innovative? 

Presentation (for live pitches ONLY) Q&A:

  • How effective and cohesive was the presentation? Are the students able to answer additional questions? Are all aspects included in the presentation? 
  • Additionally: Style of presentation, was it well-rehearsed and easy to follow?



GBSN invites student teams to join a group WhatsApp chat, which will be used to better respond to questions and technological problems in a more efficient manner. That being said, student teams are expected to respect this collaborative communication process. No team is permitted to persistently message or call GBSN staff members, and respect is to be given to all questions and dilemmas. Student teams are free to leave the chat at any time or mute. No student or student team is allowed to privately message a GBSN member via WhatsApp, unless prompted by a GBSN member. If private messaging is needed, please email that staff member separately. GBSN reserves the right to remove any one from the chat based on professionalism and behavior. If the behavior persists, the team will be removed from the competition.

Please Note: Due to different timezones, GBSN is allowed 24 hours to respond to messages – email, WhatsApp, or otherwise.


Correct email addresses are required for all students on the team and the email must be functioning in order to participate in the Challenge. This email must also be the same email that the team recorded in the Student Team Application form. If an email is not correct, please immediately message the GBSN team. This is also how the GBSN team will be communicating important updates during the competition process.

Terms and Conditions

Unethical behavior, including but not limited to plagiarism or academic dishonesty, will automatically lead to the disqualification of the team, as well as banning from future competitions for a period of time to be determined by GBSN, and notification of the academic representatives of the school.

Intellectual Property (IP) Considerations: 

  • The competition and its judges will not sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and teams requiring non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) should not participate. 
  • All sessions of the competition are open to the public and will be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include radio, television and the Internet. 
  • Any data or information discussed or divulged throughout the competition should be considered information that will enter the public domain. 
  • All affiliates and the organizers of the Competition may make photocopies, photographs, video recordings and/or audio recordings of the presentations including the business plan and other documents, charts, media or other material prepared for use in presentation at the Competition.
  • The above entities may use the materials in any book or other printed materials and any digital or physical medium that they may produce, provided that any profits earned from the sale of such items is used by these entities solely to defray the costs of future GBSN Africa Business Concept Challenges. These entities have non-exclusive world-wide rights in all languages, and in all media, to use or to publish the materials in any book, other printed materials, video or other medium, and to use the materials in future editions thereof and derivative products. 

Withdrawing From the Competition: 

When a team completes the Application, approved to participate and accepts their invitation to compete, they are committing to participation in both rounds. If a team withdraws after accepting the invitation to participate, the team and sponsoring university will be subject to disqualification from competing in the 2024 Africa Business Concept Challenge and will no longer be eligible to receive the prize. If your team withdraws from the competition, you are still eligible to apply for future student competitions.

Disbursement of Cash Awards – Post Competition: 

The first place team will receive a $5,000 USD cash award. The funds will be issued to the represented university/college in care of the Faculty Mentor. There are no exceptions to this policy.

If the funds are issued to the sponsoring university, it is up to the university/college/faculty mentor to manage disbursement of the funds to the team. Student teams are encouraged to consult with their university regarding their university’s disbursement policy. At least one team member must be present (logged-in) at the virtual award ceremony event on Wednesday, April 24th to win.

University Participation and Faculty Mentor Involvement

Team projects must be developed and submitted under faculty (mentor) supervision. Ideally, projects will be developed for credit in a regularly scheduled course or as an independent study. All content of a team’s project must represent the original work of members of the team. Faculty mentors are required to register with the event. The faculty mentor must, on behalf of the university, attest to the eligibility of the team, their adherence to the rules and guidelines and acknowledge potential penalties for violations and infractions.

Schools will not be charged a fee to participate in the experience. Any local expenses associated with the teams, if any, are the responsibility of the school.

Each participating school must provide one faculty mentor for every team it enters in the Challenge. Mentors will help guide teams and enrich the learning experience. One of our objectives is to build a community platform for learning; this is not just a competition but also an opportunity for mutual support.

Teams must consist of two to five members, where at least two must be current students at an African institution at the time of the competition. Interdisciplinary teams are encouraged. Student teams and faculty mentors must have internet access to participate.

Please note, the Student Team Application form encourages each team to submit a brief summary of the challenge or need identified and the product or solution idea to develop in the competition.

Investor Expert Expectations

Investor Experts (IEs) serve pivotal role throughout the competition. Investor Experts are expected to maintain neutrality and objectivity among assigned teams. IEs should offer equivalent levels of feedback to all assigned teams and should evaluate all teams objectively, regardless of where the team is located or who they are associated with. The GBSN staff should be immediately notified of any conflicts of interest in IE-student team pairings. IEs should also notify the GBSN staff immediately should any circumstances arise that prevent their participation through the duration of the challenge.

Lastly, any business dealings with teams is strictly prohibited during the competition. If an IE wishes to connect with a team after the competition, that is absolutely welcomed upon the consent of both parties.