Although much of Africa counts as an emerging market, it still has plenty of businesses and people growing rapidly. Almost every state has a number of entrepreneurs that are influencing their countries’ economies. Local founders with bright ideas are the future of change in both their communities and Africa as a whole.
Entrepreneurship also can be a chance for women to become economically independent. Women are well represented in the success stories that Africa keeps producing. Curious to find out more? Keep reading to find out the African entrepreneurs that will shape the continent’s future.
The one making an impact
The aptly named Impact Industries, founded by Barclay Okari when he was 19, is making a real difference. His work is making reusable, cheap sanitary pads. Today, they are distributed in Kenya and Uganda. Many rural girls and women in Okari’s home country of Kenya suffered from lack of access to this basic necessity. The entrepreneur landed on the idea when he became a teacher and noticed how many girls were missing class around the time of their period. With some seed money from his parents, along with some savings, he created Safi Pads.
The marketing whiz
Fatoumata Ba started Jumia, a retail platform, in Ivory Coast. It exploded and grew under her watch. The site had hundreds of thousands of visitors and purchases in the tens of thousands. After her success, she headed the Nigerian arm of the company, which has a dominant market share in e-commerce on the continent. She also facilitated partnerships with thousands of brands and sellers. All of this, she did even before turning 30.
Today she is the chief marketing officer of Jumia, overseeing the group in 23 countries. She is also on the company’s executive committee. Her responsibilities cover both online and offline marketing and public relations.
The Harvard un-graduate
Nominated for an award for the best young entrepreneur in Africa, Mubarak Muyika’s story is an inspiring one. At the age of just 16, he sold his web hosting company Hypecentury for six figures to a large telecom company.
After that, he turned down a scholarship to study at Harvard University to continue his entrepreneurial journey. What makes his work so remarkable is he was orphaned at age 10. Now he lives in Silicon Valley, where he runs Zagace, his software company. Using a format called Zag apps, it enables companies to run their accounting, human resource and stock management, and marketing all in one place.
The luxury guru
Listed as one of Africa’s 50 women to watch, Monalisa Molefe bought and revamped a framing service in South Africa. She did her research for almost a year before she began her journey. Her choice to position it as a luxury service was the beginning of a lucrative niche journey. She uses new-age materials like a bubble frame to frame three-dimensional items. Her area of choice is sports framing, which includes things like Usain Bolt’s running shoes.