Africa is brimming with precocious entrepreneurs. The continent is becoming a hot-bed for innovation, with new start-ups and tech hubs hatching at a dizzying pace, emerging from the chaotic dynamism of Kampala, the golden beaches of Cape Town and everywhere in-between.
You may not have heard of these enterprising men and women but Forbes have picked them out as 15 of the most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa right now. Which young buck would you rather have as a boss?
— Forbes Tech News (@ForbesTech) June 15, 2015
Founder, Zagace Limited
Orphaned at the age of 10, Muyika went on to thrive at school but decided to turn down a scholarship at Harvard to become the exciting entrepreneur he is today. At just 16 Muyika founded web hosting company Hypecentury Technologies, selling it on two years later to Wemps Telecoms in a six-figure deal. His latest venture is Zagace, a form of cloud-based enterprise software helping companies manage accounting payroll, stock management, marketing and more.
Affiong founded ReelFruit, a fruit processing company focussing on packaging, branding and the processing of quality local fruit products, in 2012. Her products have found their way into over 80 stores in Affiong’s native Nigeria and ReelFruit is now an award-winning brand, winning both an international Women In Business competition in the Netherlands and an SME exhibition (Creative Focus Africa) in Lagos, Nigeria.
Akano and co-partner Chinedu Onyeaso came up with an interesting concept for their project Founder2Be – a matchmaking service for business owners in Africa. Nicknamed the “cupids of commerce”, Akano and Onyeaso also kickstarted Entrado, a web development company providing SMEs with web and mobile-based solutions.
Founder, Gifted Mom
Alarmed by the high death rate of newborns and pregnant women in his community, Nteff developed a mobile app to solve the problem. By helping teenage mothers and health workers to calculate due dates, the app has led to a 20% increase in the antenatal attendance rate for pregnant women in 15 rural communities and has 1,200 pregnant women and mothers as beneficiaries. Nteff plans to reach 50,000 pregnant women and mothers before 2016 and 5 million across the continent by 2017.
Olaniran’s Nigerian gaming company Gamsole is going from strength to strength. Founded in 2012, the business has already attracted venture backing from 88mph, a Kenyan seed fund. Aged just 26, Olaniran has overseen the development of games that have been downloaded over nine million times.
Co-founder, Neolab Technology
Despite being only 22, Chingonzoh has the air of a man who has been doing business for decades. The innovative tour de force founded Neolab Technology, an award-winning start-up developing pioneering technology tailored to emerging economies. Chingonzoh calls Neolab a “start-up factory” and the ambitious entrepreneur is planning to help create and launch 100 disruptive, sustainable companies in and around Africa by 2020.
29, South Africa
Co-founder, ISP Web Africa
School drop-out Bryant has been running his own web development company since he was 14-years-old. He is now chief operating officer of Web Africa, one of South Africa’s biggest internet service providers. Despite starting the company without a single rand in his pocket, Bryant has built Web Africa into a $11 million a year business.
Chief Executive, Royal Electronics
Jivraz started his entrepreneurial journey aged 17, when he and an electronics technician hit on the idea of repairing and manufacturing television sets, radios and DVD players for cash. This led to the pair starting up Royal Electronics in 2005. Less than a decade later and Jivraj’s company is now one of six in East Africa bringing in annual revenues of $15million. In the decade ahead, Jivraz plans to expand into foreign currency earning cash crops, like maize and green chilies. He is also hoping to help construct new homes for low income earners in Uganda.