According to this report by the United Nations, Africa’s sustainable growth is heavily dependent on how well Africans can use tools like technology to fight multidimensional vulnerabilities.
People all across the continent are taking their experience, skills, and network, and using them to build purpose-driven solutions for the continent. From Aisha Husseini, who is making digital tools more accessible, to Nomsa Makgabenyana, who is helping marketers better understand the African market. In the past years, the African startup scene has witnessed a sharp rise in the number of founders using technology to innovate and profer solutions to African problems.
This list features fifteen founders creating impactful solutions across the continent that you should pay attention to.
1. Marie-Reine Seshie
Marie is the CEO/co-founder of Kola Market. She has over a decade of experience on the continent, driving results for SMEs and startups. She has over five years of experience in the banking sector and has also worked as a management consultant for SMEs.
Marie’s startup, Kola Market helps SMEs grow well. They are a B2B platform that leverages data science methods and other digital tools to provide consistent sales, smart inventory insights and blended finance to SMEs across Africa. Their goal is simple: help SMEs sell out their inventory and grow their income. For Marie, SMEs are the key to unlocking the immense potential of Africa. She sees an Africa where small businesses are growing rapidly and profitably, driving employment and growing the GDP of African economies. Instead of taking loans that end up killing their businesses, they’re able to grow sustainably, cost-effectively, and profitably.
2. Aisha Husseini (Nigeria)
Aisha Husseini has over seven years of experience in consumer lending and trade in the African technology ecosystem. She is a 2x founder, having previously led the startup, Mobile Waiter, and worked at Cars45 and Autochek Africa.
Aisha’s startup, Keza Africa is a smartphone financing platform that allows people to buy smartphones and pay in instalments. They want to make digital work tools more affordable for people, by enabling Africans to pay in monthly instalments for their devices.
3. Olusola Amusan (Nigeria)
Olusola, who has a background in software engineering is the co-founder and CEO of Vesti. He is a two-time founder and has experience designing learning curriculums for top banks and universities.
Vesti is a finance and legal software platform that provides financial payments and settlement of migration-related fees, enabling users to move from one place to another and transfer money. With Vesti, anyone who wants to migrate can find information & financial services like government payments, savings & health insurance. Users can also create virtual cards and pay hundreds of migration merchants.
4. Nomsa Makgabenyana (Botswana)
Nomsa Makgabenyana is an MPhil (Inclusive Innovation) candidate at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town and founder of Seriti Insights.
Seriti Insights is a marketing technology that addresses the fact that Africans don’t always express themselves in perfect English. They mix languages, create “sayings” that
are constantly changing, and share our experiences with brands, products, and services, especially on social media platforms. Their product: The Seipone.ai SaaS is able to
give marketers, brand builders, and product owners, true insights and sentiments of the
African consumers in real-time, regardless of the language they express themselves in.
Seriti is currently looking to raise a pre-seed round to enable them to scale into East Africa.
5. Chineye Ochem (Nigeria)
Chineye is the co-founder and COO of Tyms Africa. She’s a Chartered Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner, with over six years of experience in accounting and finance.
Chineye’s startup, Tyms Africa, helps businesses with cash flow management and short-term cash flow financing. They have a product, Tyms Book, which is an automated bookkeeping and accounting platform that makes it easy and seamless for businesses to keep adequate financial records and generate financial reports.
Chineye is passionate about using her skills and experience to solve financial problems for businesses because she believes this is a way to contribute towards improving the standard of living of Nigerians and Africans.
6. Naledi Magowe (Botswana)
Naledi is the co-founder of Brastorne. She has an unwavering commitment to closing the digital divide for rural African communities and her startup Brastorne has transformed the lives of over two million Africans through mobile solutions that empower the rural poor in Africa with knowledge, resources, and connectivity. With extensive experience in T4D projects, strategy, and communications, Naledi has been recognised as a thought leader on the global stage, inspiring audiences and winning numerous awards for her remarkable achievements.
Her startup, Brastorne, connect the unconnected to the world by providing the rural poor in Africa with equitable access to the internet, markets, information and community without smartphones or data bundles.
7. Ope Onaboye (Nigeria)
Ope is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO of Renda. He has 10 years of experience spanning different sectors and is also the founder of Incite Enterprises Group of companies.
Renda is an online platform that makes it easy for e-commerce businesses to operate and access logistics services. They don’t just help you find a dispatch rider, they focus on all of the other bulk logistics services like procurement, warehousing, inventory management, freight and so much more. They have built a network of over 300 drivers, and 90+ warehouses and are currently available in 10 cities.
8. Blandine Umuziranenge (Rwanda)
Blandine is the founder and CEO of Kosmotive, a social enterprise that focuses on improving menstrual, maternal and child health in Rwanda and throughout Africa. She has twelve years of experience combining IT, Social Entrepreneurship and Circular Business Modeling with an ambition to pave menstrual freedom for girls and women in Africa.
Kosmotive provides access to menstrual, maternal and child health information through their eHealth platform and Helpline, as well as manufacturing and distributing women’s hygiene products, mainly KosmoPads reusable sanitary pads for investing in girls’ education, women’s health and the planet; one pad at a time.
9. Jennat El Guennouni (Morocco)
Jennat is the co-founder of JobBee. She grew up in Morocco and then worked in Europe for 10 years before coming back to her home country. Initially trained as an industrial engineer, she switched careers, got trained as NLP practitioner and reconnected with her passion: behavioural science. In her free time, she loves reconnecting with nature, practising yoga, playing sports and reading about human psychology.
Jennat’s startup, JobBee is an HR Tech start-up on an inspiring mission to unlock African tech talent. JobBee helps scaling tech companies hire vetted remote developers more efficiently and also helps developers to grow their careers within international companies.
10. Nyambogo Jennifer (Kenya)
Jennifer is the CEO and co-founder at Mawu Africa. She has vast experience in fintech and e-commerce leading creative vision, ideation, strategy, and execution. Jennifer is also passionate about telling African stories and currently work with a gifted group of African creatives to showcase their work online and make it easily accessible to global buyers.
Mawu is an online marketplace helping global buyers discover and buy from Africa’s best craftspeople. They’re digitally connecting Africa’s best craftspeople with global consumers.
11. Pauline Kariuki (Kenya)
Pauline is the co-founder & CTO at Mawu Africa. She’s also an IT expert with over five years of experience in product management and e-commerce. She’s also passionate about using technology to create an impact in our society.
Mawu is an online marketplace helping global buyers discover and buy from Africa’s best craftspeople. They’re on a mission to showcase exceptional goods made by talented craftspeople throughout Africa and make them easily accessible to global consumers.
12. Chikodi Ukaiwe (Nigeria)
Chikodi is the co-founder of Salad Africa, a startup working to provide employees with financial services and benefits, beyond what they typically can access with their paychecks. Chikodi is a two-time founder with about ten years of experience building solutions in Africa.
Salad Africa has features like Salary On Demand, which provides employees access to their salaries even before PayDay.
13. Agness Mollel (Tanzania)
Agness Mollel was born and raised in Tanzania. She is a Lawyer by profession and a co-founder of Mipango Fintech. She is highly driven to make an impactful change by creating products that empower women and youth indifferent sectors.
Mipango app is an AI-enabled personal finance app that enables customers to keep track of their cash, mobile money, and bank transactions. The customers are also able to create and track their budget, goals, savings and investment. Through the data they collect, they give them personalised financial advice that speaks to their needs.
14. Oare Ehiemua-Ochui (Nigeria)
Oare is the Founder and CEO of LaborHack, and she is passionate about building a new economy for artisans. In my spare time, I like to travel, explore historical cities and try new food!
LaborHack is a digital platform serving as a proxy for construction businesses looking to access a pool of trained, tested, and vetted skilled workers available on demand for projects. They provide experienced and vetted artisans on demand to fulfil your business and home care service needs. All artisans on Laborhack are OPL Academy certified and must meet OPL Academy’s rigorous training standards for soft skills, professionalism, and high-quality finishing.
15. Joyce Mbaya
Joyce is the co-founder & CEO of Zydii, a workforce upskilling solution providing accessible, transformative digital training that’s designed for Africa. She has been a full-time entrepreneur for over ten years. Prior to launching Zydii, she designed and developed a personal development framework which she published as a book – GIBÉBÉ: imaGIne, BElieve, BEcome.
Zydii provides accessible, transformative digital training that’s designed for African businesses. They provide a workforce upskilling solution with African and relatable digital courses, that can be accessed both online and offline (USSD & SMS).
For most SMEs in Africa, training their teams was a privilege that seemed reserved for corporates and enterprise clients that could afford it. This didn’t seem fair to Joyce, as she believes that being able to train teams with the right skills is crucial for the growth and success of any business, which is why they’re passionate about making it possible for the majority of African businesses to affordably train their teams with culturally relevant African courses.