Africa is home to some of the most exciting startup hubs in the entire world. The continent has taken the global technology sector by storm with an impressive number of creative ideas and brilliant minds. Recently, Forbes published an article detailing the accomplishments of some of the most promising young business leaders in Africa. The article speaks to the rapidly growing potential of the entire content. Following are a few of the entrepreneurs that the article highlighted for their innovative ideas, as well as some other worthy additions to the list:
- Kosi Yankey of Ghana
Working with the Business Development Sector of Engineers Without Borders, Kosi Yankey has spearheaded the creation of agribusiness training programs for people around the continent through unique Mobile Business Clinics. She serves as the chief executive officer of Nuba Foods and Commodities, a business that she founded to bridge major gaps between farmers and industry in West Africa. The company sources raw materials from small farmers and supplies them to area industries. In addition, Ms. Yankey is involved in the development of microfinance through banking institutions based in the United Kingdom and the United States.
- Uche Pedro of Nigeria
The chief executive officer of Bellanaija, Uche Pedro rose to prominence with a blog that she created in 2006. The blog, which draws more than 10 million page views each month, has solidified her position as the most influential blogger in Nigeria. She has used her influence to develop Ballanaija into a leading fashion, lifestyle, and entertainment blog.
- Tom Osborn of Kenya
Many entrepreneurs in Africa have turned to online technology to launch their businesses, but Tom Osborn instead chose to focus on sustainability. He founded the company GreenChar, which engineers charcoal briquettes for burning from agricultural waste for cleaner stoves. Mr. Osborn established his company with less than $1,000 in startup capital. GreenChar has since received more than $100,000 in philanthropic and investor support for a product that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. In the near future, the company plans to expand its distribution channels to reach nearly 7 million customers. Osborn, who was a finalist for GMin Innovate Kenya in 2013, is currently an Echoing Green fellow.
- Doug Hoernle of South Africa
Doug Hoernle founded Rethink Education, which has revolutionized the lives of many high school students in South Africa. The company focuses on creating and distribution high-quality math and science content. To date, Rethink Education has reached more than 500,000 South Africans. Mr. Hoernle and his team plan to bring the curriculum to Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria in the near future.
- Julius Shirima of Tanzania
At the age of just 25, Julius Shirima leads the micro-venture capital fund Darecha in Tanzania while also working toward his high school diploma. Darecha works with young, innovative thinkers to help them translate business ideas into profitable ventures. Mr. Shirima aims to connect Tanzanian entrepreneurs with both financing and business training. The Darecha network, which includes more than 5,000 people, has witnessed the launch of several successful businesses. Shirima won the Commonwealth Youth Award in Excellence in Development Work in early 2015.
- Catherine Mahugu of Kenya
Understanding the importance of economic empowerment for artisans, Catherine Mahugu co-founded Soko, an online platform for handcrafted fashion accessories for artists around the world. The platform, which facilitates direct purchases, earned $700,000 in investment capital from an investment firm based in Dubai. At Soko, Mahugu leads initiatives to increase the scalability of the product and implement novel technological solutions. She is an International Telecom Union Young Innovators fellow.
- Best Ayiorwoth of Uganda
At 19, Best Ayiorwoth founded Girls Power Micro-Lending Organization, a microfinance company that focuses on helping mothers and their daughters. The organization, which offers small monthly loans to women in northern Uganda, is quickly expanding. As a stipulation of their support, women must send their daughters to school. Over the course of only three years in operation, the organization has helped hundreds of women to start and grow their own businesses. The year after founding the organization, Ayiorwoth won $25,000 as the recipient of the Anzisha Prize in support of her efforts.
- Jean Bosco Nzeyimana of Rwanda
The founder of Habona Ltd., Jean Bosco Nzeyimana engineers ecologically sustainable fertilizers and biomass briquettes. He received the National YouthConnekt Young Innovator award last year that included a prize of more than $4,000. In addition, he has won the African Innovation Prize and the INDIAFRICA Business Venture contest. With a recent loan from a British investor, Nzeyimana is close to opening a biogas production center.
- Abiola Olaniran of Nigeria
Abiola Olaniran founded Gamsole, a Nigeria-based gaming company that has received backing from the 88mph seed fund. In only three years of operation, the company has developed games with more than 9 million downloads from local and international customers. Gamsole primarily develops games for Windows-based smart phones. Some of the company’s most popular games include Timberman, Toy Rush, and Toon Jump.