On Saturday, September 20th 10 female entrepreneurs from across the continent and diaspora competed for more than $30,000 in cash and prizes at the She Leads Africa Entrepreneur Showcase.

Each finalist had 5 minutes to pitch their businesses to an esteemed panel of judges which included a cameo appearrance from  Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote himself.

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The businesses were judged for marketability and scalability, among other attributes. More than 300 people filled the venue as dozens of angel investors and representatives from venture capital companies including Cardinal Stone, Kuramo Capital, Travant Capital, and Metis Capital Partners attended the event looking for investment deals with the next hottest startups.

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Cross-section of judges

Cross-section of judges

David Richards

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She Leads Africa Founders, Afua Osei (first left) and Yasmin Belo-Osagie (second right) pose for a photo with Aliko Dangote and on of the judges, Hakeem Belo-Osagie

She Leads Africa Founders, Afua Osei (first left) and Yasmin Belo-Osagie (second right) pose for a photo with Aliko Dangote and one of the judges, Hakeem Belo-Osagie

At the end of it all, 3 winners emerged:

In third place with a cash prize of $1000 was Thandos. Thandos provides a platform that empowers aspiring African artists to design women’s fashion footwear that is comfortable, convenient and affordable.

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Taffi Woolward (Thandos) fielding question from the panel of judges

Coming in second was Loue 1 Voiture, Morroco’s first online platform for reserving cars from big and small car hire companies. They went home with a $5000 cash prize.

Nour Drissi pitches Loue 1 Voiture

Nour Drissi pitches Loue 1 Voiture

Tastemakers Africa went home with the ultimate $10,000 cash prize. The startup is behind a mobile app dedicated to buying upscale, curated experiences on the African continent.

Members of Lagos Angel Network with Cherae Robinson

Members of Lagos Angel Network with Cherae Robinson (Tastemakers Africa)

Honorable mention: Fashpa.com an online retailing platform, dedicated to providing African consumers with access to fashion and lifestyle brands. (Nigeria)

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GT Bank provided the $10,000 prize for 1st place and $1,000 prize for 3rd place while FSDH Merchant Bank provided the 2nd place prize of $5,000. Huawei also announced the Huawei She Leads Africa Fellowship where 5 entrepreneurs from the She Leads Africa network will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Shenzhen and Shanghai, China to visit the Huawei campus. Nour Drissi from Loue 1 Voiture receieved that prize as selected by the judges.

Premium sponsors such as Etisalat, Africa Practice, Travant Capital and Forbes Woman provided in kind prizes while Laurent Perrier provided complimentary champagne, Eve and Tribe provided styling and makeup for all volunteers, and AfroCab provided free rides to the event.

Muyiwa Matuluko | Author

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