10 African Women Business Owners Recognized For Their Innovation And Entrepreneurship

Written by Peter Pedroncelli
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At a time when water scarcity is a serious issue, Kenyan Beth Koigi has developed a technique for harvesting water from the atmosphere to provide affordable, clean drinking water for off-grid communities.

She is one of the 10 African women business owners who are being recognized for their innovation and business savvy.

These women are being recognized by the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (Awief) through the 2018 Awief Awards.

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The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum is a leading female entrepreneurship conference and exhibition, bringing together over 1,200 female entrepreneurs, thought leaders, industry experts, academics, development organisations, and investors in an effort to accelerate the growth of women-owned businesses.

Based in Cape Town, the forum has organised awards for the last two years, with major sponsors including South African bank, Nedbank, and global oil and gas company, Shell.

With nominees for the awards coming from South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Tunisia and Morocco, this list is representative of women entrepreneurs throughout Africa.

Here are 10 African women business owners recognized for their innovation and entrepreneurship.

Nomso Faith Kana

South African Nomso Faith Kana was awarded the Young Entrepreneurs Award for her efforts in running a fibre-optic cable manufacturing company called Sun n Shield Technologies. Despite being a a nuclear scientist by trade, she is thriving as an entrepreneur in the ICT and broadband infrastructure sector in South Africa, according to her LinkedIn.

Juliana Rotich

Kenya entrepreneur Juliana Rotich is the owner of BRCK, which develops a rugged mobile wifi hotspot device that gives people in remote areas access to the internet. The startup managed to raise over $172,000 with their initial Kickstarter campaign before a $1.2 million investment helped to put them on the map, according to Schwabfound.

Elorm Goh

Nominated in the Agri-Entrepreneur category, Ghanaian Elorm Goh is the owners of Agrisolve, an agritech company that engages with smallholder farmers through technical development, empowering the farmers by using technology to attain higher yields and incomes while improving access to markets.

Emma Dicks

Emma Dicks is the South African co-founder of CodeSpace, a Cape Town-based business aiming to educate people from all walks of life in various tech subjects such as coding, robotics, web development and social innovation, thereby increasing gender, racial and socio-economic diversity in the tech industry.

Beth Koigi

Winner of the Tech Entrepreneur Award, Beth Koigi from Kenya has engineered a technique for harvesting water from the atmosphere in order to provide a new source of affordable, clean drinking water for off-grid communities. Majik Water is a potential game-changer for countries across the globe, as water becomes an increasingly rare resource. The innovation is powered by solar energy and uses non-toxic desiccant materials to generate water from the air, according to CleanLeap.

African women business owners
Beth Koigi won the Tech Entrepreneur Award for her business, Majik Water. Photo – Twitter

Benji Coetzee

South African Benji Coetzee is the founder of logistics marketplace Empty Trips. Through machine learning and smart matching algorithms, the EmptyTrips platform creates a marketplace where shippers, agents, and transport carriers can connect, bid for cargo, find transport assets to move their cargo, and even store or insure it for faster logistics, better economics, and a significantly lighter carbon footprint, according to Forbes

Faith Kimeu

Faith Kimeu is a Kenyan entrepreneur and the owner of Dial A Pad, a platform that allows for women to manage their periods in a holistic way while simultaneously creating access to affordable sexual reproductive health products and services, which can be purchased through the app via mobile money, according to HerBusiness.

Darlene Menzies

South African Darlene Menzies’ company FinFind explains and aggregates all sources of small and medium business finance, improving access to capital for entrepreneurs and assisting lenders in the identification of quality loan leads. In a country where some small businesses struggle with capital requirements, FinFind is making that process more efficient and intuitive, according to Lionesses of Africa.

Jane Kagiri

Jan Kagiri is the Kenyan entrepreneur behind Creative Edge Solutions, a company that operates within a number of industries including construction, web design, computer supplies, graphic design and structured cabling and network setup. She was nominated for the Young Entrepreneur Award in recognition of her achieving so much with her company at 35.

Lorna Rutto

Kenyan Lorna Rutto, who was a nominee for the social entrepreneur award, owns EcoPosts. The company uses 100 percent recycled plastics to make aesthetic, durable and environmentally friendly plastic lumber for use in applications ranging from fencing to landscaping.