Being an entrepreneur, it sounds amazing doesn’t it? In theory, entrepreneurship sounds awesome. You’re in control of you own destiny, working hours, and you can work from anywhere in the world.
But as any entrepreneur will tell you, starting your own business can be a scary, lonely and a personally demanding experience. All risk and responsibility is firmly placed on your shoulders. You can either buckle under the pressure or become stronger with the weight of expectation. With limited resources, and often inadequate infrastructure, the entrepreneurial journey can be even more challenging for African entrepreneurs who must harbor the true spirit of entrepreneurship by being extremely resourceful and innovative in their approach.
During the last decade, Africa has become one of the hottest spots for business investments. The continent boasts and hosts some of the best entrepreneurial minds in the world. These visionaries and game changers are creating enterprises that will lead the way for Africa’s future.
In no particular order, here are my pick of 10 African entrepreneurs to Watch in 2015.
1. Tebogo Ditshego, South Africa
Founder, Ditshego Media
Last year, Forbes Magazine listed him as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs under 30. He is the CEO of Ditshego Media, which is one of the few large black owned PR firms in Africa. Justine, Vodacom and O.R. Tambo International Airport are some of the most prestigious clients of his firm. Ditshego is also the Chairman of the South African Reading Foundation.
2. Opeyemi Awoyemi, Olalekan Olude & Ayodeji Adewunmi, Nigeria
The trio founded Jobberman, Nigeria’s single largest job placement website. Jobberman went live in August 2009. The number of companies using the site to find employees has grown from about 40 in 2009 to some 35,000 today. Through simple, yet cutting-edge technology, Jobberman helps link qualified personnel to the right job opportunities. Although the company is firmly established in Nigeria and Ghana, huge growth is anticipated in 2015, which will see them establish their brand throughout Africa.
3. Ludwick Marishane, South Africa
Founder, Headboy Industries Inc.
Ludwick invented the product named “DryBath” which is designed to change sanitation in poverty-stricken regions. He invented it when only 17 years old and quickly patented it – thus becoming the youngest patent filer in South Africa. Today, he is the founder of Headboy Industries. In 2011, he was named by Google as one of the twelve brightest young minds in the world. He is a Bachelor of Business Science and has done a major in Finance & Accounting frm the prestigious University of Cape Town. In the year 2011, at the Global Champion of the Global Student Entrepreneurs Awards, he was adjudged the best student entrepreneur on the globe.
4. Ashley Uys, South Africa
Founder, Medical Diagnostech
She is the founder of Medical Diagnostech, a reputed company, which brings out a powerful malaria test kit that is able to detect reportedly all malarial strains and suggest within ½ hour whether the treatment provided for malaria is effectual. The company develops and sells reliable and inexpensive medical test kits for HIV/AIDS, malaria, syphilis and pregnancy for the poor people in the rural areas of Africa.5.
5. Senai Wolderufael, Ethiopia
Founder, Feed Green Ethiopia Exports
Senai is the founder of the Addis Ababa-based outfit “Feed Green Ethiopia Exports Company”, which is into the manufacturing and exporting of famous spice blends in Ethiopia such as Berbere, Korarima, Mitmita and Shiro. The firm was launched in 2012 to serve mainly to the needs of Ethiopians in the Europe and the U.S, but with significantly growing demand for Ethiopian spices, the company also began to export to new markets inside Africa. Only women are employed in this company.
6. Christian Ngan, Cameroon
Founder, Madlyn Cazalis
Christian is the founder of the Madlyn Cazalis, an African company that sells handcrafted bio-cosmetic items and is into the production of soaps, masks, scrubs, creams, natural lotions and body oils. The products of the firm are sold and distributed across over thirty chemist stores, retail outlets and beauty institutes in Cameroon as well as other adjacent nations in Central Africa. Ngan has also founded a miniscule financial advisory firm, named GoldskyPartners Advisory, in Cameroon.
7. Ronak Shah, Kenya
Founder, Kronex Chemicals
Ronak is the founder of Kronex Chemicals Ltd, which is a fast-growing producer of affordable home cleaning products. Ronak founded the company in January 2013 and it manufactures 2 items – a multi-purpose detergent and a dishwashing liquid. The products are enjoying an increasing demand in the lower middle-class of Kenya.
8. Winifred Selby, Ghana
Founder, AfroCentric Bamboo
Selby, a Ghanaian national, is the founder of Afrocentric Bamboo Limited, a company that manufactures and markets bicycles made from bamboo. Afrocentric Bamboo bicycles are produced exclusively for the local market and are priced at $100. Selby is a finalist of the 2014 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award.
9. Femi Oye, Nigeria
Founder and CEO, Green Energy and Biofuels
He is also the Co-Founder/CEO of SMEFUNDS and recipient of World Youth Leader’s Award, Renewable Energy Senator, Conference speaker, IT visionary, Business and Social Entrepreneur. His biggest venture Green Energy & Biofuels currently has approximately $1.5 million USD available from a $4 million Series A equity round. Femi is currently leading the way in providing alternative energy for the active working population in Africa
10. Simeon Ononobi, Nigeria
Simeon is the founder of SimplePay Payment Gateway, which allows any business or consumer with an email address to securely, conveniently, and cost-effectively send and receive payments online. SimplePay has recently received funding from Seedstars, a Swiss based Venture Capital Firm, so expect huge growth from this company in 2015, which will further highlight and confirm Simeon’s credentials as a technology entrepreneur.
I’ve shared 10 African entrepreneurs who will stand out in 2015. Use these people as inspiration to achieve your own entrepreneurial dreams
Do you agree with this list? Are there any entrepreneurs that you think we have missed out, and should be on the list?