30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs In Africa 2016

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Identifying African entrepreneurs below the age of 35 who are building thriving million-dollar businesses is not as difficult as it used to be. There is an incredible wave of entrepreneurship transforming economies on the continent and young Africans are increasingly catching the entrepreneurial bug, creating remarkable businesses that are solving critical socio-economic problems, while creating job opportunities and building considerable wealth. And you should take notice.

Every year since 2011, I have assembled a group of accomplished African entrepreneurs, Business Journalists, thinkers and thought leaders to randomly name 30 of the continent’s most exceptional young entrepreneurs below the age of 35. The people featured on this list are building remarkable companies in food manufacturing, engineering, technology, hospitality, and other industries. They are incredibly motivated, pan-African in their thinking and ultimately nurse global ambitions.

Meet 30 of Africa’s most promising and inspiring young entrepreneurs- the continent’s brightest stars and the harbingers of tomorrow’s prosperity.

Simbarashe Mhuriro, Zimbabwean

Founder, OurSun Energy (Private) Ltd

31-year-old Simbarashe Mhuriro founded Oxygen Africa in 2009 as an investment advisory company to help facilitate foreign investors in Zimbabwe. In 2013, Oxygen Africa partnered with Swiss-based Meeco Group, a renewable energy company, to establish Oursun Energy Zimbabwe – a joint venture Independent Power Producer that specializes in the development, building, owning, and operating of utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) energy projects in Zimbabwe. OurSun Energy has raised $7 million and is currently developing two 5MW grid-connected solar plants in Zimbabwe.

Ntombenhle Khathwane, Swazi
Founder, AfroBotanics

Swazi-born entrepreneur Ntombenhle Khathwane, 32, is the founder of AfroBotanics. AfroBotanics, which Khathwane established in 2010, is a Johannesburg-based company that manufactures premium haircare products using African botanical oils and other natural products and formulas to care for the hair and limit damage as to the barest minimum.

Olatorera Oniru, Nigerian

Founder, Dress Me Outlet

Olatorera Oniru, 28, is the founder of Dressmeoutlet.com – a Nigerian e-tailer of fashion products, health & beauty products and home-goods. Dressmeoutlet stocks more than 1,000 products from premium designers globally. Dressmeoutlet ships worldwide and currently has customers in different states across Nigeria, Uganda and the United States of America. The company now employs more than 20 full-time employees and has funding offers from notable investors including Nigerian investor Tony Elumelu.


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    Bonolo Ramokhele, South African

    CEO, LeoFortis Group

    Ramokhele, 29, is a co-founder of LeoFortis Group, an investment holding company with investments spanning commodity trading, energy, telecommunications, engineering, and mining with a presence in South Africa, Kenya, Zambia and South Sudan.

    Thato Kgatlhanye & Rea Ngwane, South African

    Founders, Repurpose School Bags

    South African entrepreneurs Kgatlhanye and Ngwane, 22 and 23 respectively, are the founders of Repurpose School bags. Repurpose collects and recycles plastic waste into school bags for poor South African students. The plastic bags feature a solar panel in the flap which get charged when the students walk to and from school. These charged solar panels help to provide lighting at night to the students to study.

    Lee Grant, South African

    Founder, Leegra

    Lee Grant, 32, is the founder of Leegra, a South African field marketing and promotions company engaged in sales, merchandising, promotions, product development and strategy. His company services a diverse range of blue-chip clients and multinationals from banking and insurance to fast-moving consumer goods and healthcare.

    Samuel Malinga, Ugandan

    Founder, Sanitation Africa

    Continued from page 3

    The 26 year-old Ugandan agricultural engineer won the Tony Elumelu Prize for Business at the 2015 Future Africa Awards. His company, Sanitation Africa, has developed a full-cycle sanitation system that starts with a local, low-cost yet hygienic modular latrine and ends with the conversion of sludge into cooking briquettes and agricultural manure.

    Vanessa Zommi, Cameroonian

    Founder, Emerald Moringa Tea

    When her mother was diagnosed of diabetes, Zommi, 21, set out to find alternative treatments to keep her mother healthy. She soon discovered the medicinal moringa oleifera tree which grew in her region, and discovered that the moringa leaves could reduce blood sugar levels to treat diabetes among other medicinal qualities. She partnered with moringa farmers who supplied her with the leaves and processed the leaves into moringa tea which she put into tea bags. Emerald Moringa, the company she founded, sells this tea across Cameroon.

    Neo Ramaphakela, South African

    CEO, Seriti sa Bosotho

    Ramaphakela, 32, is the founder of Seriti sa Basotho, a fast-growing construction company. He began the company in 2011 as a gate-making company but grew it over the last few years into a general facility management firm in South Africa. Seriti Sa Basotho has built several houses in South African townships and also handles painting, plumbing, paving, roofing, plastering, ceiling and renovations.

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    Mutoba Ngoma, Zambian
    Founder, Tapera Bio Industries

    After studying aeronautical engineering in the United Kingdom, Ngoma, a 31 year-old Zambian entrepreneur returned home to seek his fortune in the renewable energy business. He started Tapera Bio Industries Limited in 2009, a business which is focused on the production and promotion of biodiesel fuel and derivatives of vegetable oils. The company also processes vegetable oils into natural soaps, washing paste and organic shampoo.

    Hilda Moraa, Kenyan

    Co-founder, Weza Tele

    Moraa, 27, is the founder of Weza Tele, a Kenyan fintech startup that provides a number of value added mobility solutions in commerce, supply chain, distribution and mobile payment integration. In May 2015 Afb, a Ghanaian financial services group, acquired the company for $1.7 million.

    Eugene Mbugua, Kenyan

    Founder, Young Rich TV

    The 25-year-old Kenyan is the founder of one of Kenya’s most successful television production companies. His company, Young Rich Television Limited, produces two of Kenya’s most popular TV programmes – ‘Young Rich’ – a weekly show that profiles young, successful Kenyan entrepreneurs, and ‘Get In The Kitchen’- an extremely popular cooking show. Both shows have aired for 9 and 4 seasons respectively, command viewership in the millions, and have sponsorship from several blue-chip companies in Kenya. Mbugua also owns My Yearbook Limited, a company that produces yearbooks and publications for companies, schools and governments. A real-estate company he owns is also developing a 188-unit hostel project to provide housing for students of Kenya’s Egerton University.

    Jamie Pujara, Kenyan

    Founder, BuyRentKenya

    Pujara, a 33 year-old Kenyan entrepreneur is the founder of BuyRentKenya, one of Kenya’s most popular property listing sites. In 2015, South African online media firm One Africa Media acquired a stake in the company. The site, which Pujara founded in 2012, reports 150,000 visitors every month and has more than 15,000 listings of residential and commercial properties.

    Tyrone Moodley, South African

    CEO, Midbrook Lane (Pty) Ltd

    Moodley, 30, is the CEO of Midbrook Lane (Pty) Ltd, a private investment firm. The Johannesburg-based firm typically invests in 7 to 12 private and publicly listed companies at a time with the aim of holding the investments over a minimum period of 10 years. Moodley also serves as a non-executive director of Conduit Capital, a JSE-listed investment company, making him one of the youngest serving board members of a company listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange.

    Rachel Sibande, Malawian

    Founder, mHub
    30-year-old Sibande of Malawi is the founder of her country’s first technology hub. mHub, which she launched in November 2013, is an incubator for technology startups with a special focus on building young technology entrepreneurs through training, skills development and mentorship.

    Nadeem Juma, Tanzanian

    Co-founder, AIM Group

    In 2004, and at the age of 19, Tanzanian serial entrepreneur Nadeem Juma founded Efulusi Africa, a software development company that develops custom software with a focus on mobile finance apps and aggregation. Efulusi is credited for developing and deploying Tanzania’s first mobile banking platform. In 2014, Juma, now 31, founded AIM Group, a leading digital agency in the East African country. AIM Group now has 25 employees and has some of Tanzania’s most prominent brands as clients.

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    Mike Chilewe Jr, Malawian

    Owner, Star Radio Malawi

    Chilewe is the son of one of Malawi’s most prominent and successful businessmen, Mike Chilewe. But the younger Mike is charting his own path and cutting his teeth as a media entrepreneur. In 2015, Chilewe Jr, now 26, acquired Star Radio Malawi, a floundering private radio station based in Lilongwe. With the help of media consultants and experts, he has been restructuring the station and is gradually building Star to become one of Malawi’s most successful radio stations.

    Kelvin Nyame, Rashad Seini and Kofi Amuasi, Ghanaians

    Co-founders, MeQasa

    MeQasa, one of Ghana’s leading online real estate classifieds businesses, was founded in 2013 by Ghanaian entrepreneurs, Kelvin Nyame, Rashad Seini and Kofi Amuasi, who are all graduates of the tech entrepreneurship training program at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) based in Accra, Ghana. MeQasa provides a free service that helps brokers, landlords and other real estate industry professionals to conduct business efficiently online, while simplifying the search experience for prospective tenants and buyers. Last October, MeQasa secured a $500,000 investment from Frontier Digital Ventures, a global VC firm headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    Ogunlana Olumide & Chukwuwezam Obanor, Nigerians

    Founders, PrepClass

    Olumide and Obanor, both 24, are the founders of Prepclass- a Nigerian academic solutions provider offering online test prep software, full-length tests, and a Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) experience similar to that of Nigerian university pre-entry exams. PrepClass also provides personalized home tutors in Lagos, Nigeria, skilled at meeting individual academic needs. The company has been funded by CRE Venture Capital and the Venture Garden Group.

    Kasope Ladipo-Ajai, Nigerian

    Founder, OmoAlata

    Ladipo-Ajai, 29, is a co-founder of OmoAlata – a Nigerian brand that processes and packages local Nigerian spices and peppers. Its flagship OmoAlata Peppermix which is a blend of fresh organic tomatoes, onions and peppers has been favorably received in the Nigerian market. Kasope Ladipo-Ajai was the winner of the 2015 She Leads Africa Pitch Competition.

    Yasmine El Baggari, Moroccan

    Founder, Voyaj

    22 year-old Moroccan entrepreneur Yasmine El Baggari is the founder of Voyaj, an online platform that matches hosts and travelers who want to share an authentic, local experience. Voyaj, still in beta, allows members to create a profile that includes a video post where they describe their interests and what they have to offer during a journey.

    Aisha Ayensu, Ghanaian

    CEO, Christie Brown

    Aisha Ayensu, 30, is the founder and Head Designer of Christie Brown, an internationally acclaimed luxury women’s fashion label that subtly infuses modernism into carefully selected traditional African fabrics to create awe-inspiring dresses with a transcontinental finish.

    Trushar Khetia, Kenyan

    Founder, Tria Group & Society Stores
    Khetia, 29, is the founder of Tria Group, a Kenyan outdoor transit-advertising firm that uses public transit vehicles to market leading consumer goods in Kenya. He is also the founder of Society Stores, a fast-growing Kenyan retail chain with 5 outlets.

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    Anda Maqanda, South African

    Founder, AM Group

    29-year-old Maqanda owns the AM Group – a provider of engineering solutions, focusing mainly on Engineering Consulting, Design and Construction of Electrical Overhead Power Lines, Renewable Energy, Automation and Research and Development.

    Abiola Olaniran, Nigerian

    Founder, Gamsole

    Olaniran, 27, is the founder and CEO of Gamsole, a Nigerian gaming company, Olaniran founded the company in 2012, and it has venture backing from 88mph, a Kenyan seed fund. The company’s games now have more than 9 million downloads both locally and internationally on the Windows Phone store.

    Clarisse Iribagize, Rwandan
    Founder, HeHe Ltd

    Iribagize, 27, runs Kigali-based mobile technology company HeHe Limited, which builds custom mobile applications for businesses, provides 24/7 online and offline support and cloud storage services. Iribagize founded the company in 2010 after winning a $50,000 grant from Inspire Africa, a Rwandan TV entrepreneurial contest. Iribagize’s clientele includes a number of government agencies in Rwanda.
  • 2stepz_ahead
    2stepz_ahead Guests, Members, Writer, Content Producer Posts: 32,324 ✭✭✭✭✭
    i love reading ? like this...but then i always come back to the IC and wonder how many people here have the ability to do the same if not better...

    just look at the range of ideas...

    its not all glitz and glamour...but still success
  • Busta Carmichael
    Busta Carmichael Members, Moderators Posts: 13,161 Regulator
  • Olorun22
    Olorun22 Members Posts: 5,696 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Black people need to invest in african development. Hell I even tried to look up investment opportunities in africa but I just don't have alot of cash and connection
  • Karl.
    Karl. Members Posts: 8,015 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Looks like AJ from 106 & Park.
  • jniam
    jniam Members Posts: 623 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Suprised there werent more Nigerians on the list but thats a side note.

    Lots of growth in SubS. Africa. What pleases me most is that the growth and innovation is being created and funded (for the most part) by Africans.

    Not every industry in Africa has to be commodity based. There are other industries, the gov'ts need to wisen up and prop up thier people.
  • yellowtapesport
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  •   Colin$mackabi$h
    Colin$mackabi$h Members Posts: 16,586 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thats inspiring