A number of young Africans are taking matters into their own hands are creating social enterprises that serve their community and bring a meaningful change to their society. These growing crop of young entrepreneurs are set to transform the continent and rewrite its future. They are making unprecedented changes and improvements to Africa, and people across the continent are feeling their effects.
In this slideshow we highlight some of the top young African entrepreneurs to watch out for.
This slideshow is an updated version of one posted Nov. 8, 2013
Jonathan Liebmann, South Africa
Real Estate developer, CEO of Propertuity
This 28-year-old is the managing director of Propertuity, a South African Real Estate development company that headed up the Maboneng Precinct project, a lively cultural district in Johannesburg. The area used to be a crime-ridden neighborhood of abandoned industrial buildings, before Liebmann introduced art galleries, artist studios, retail spaces, offices and artist studios. He is credited with breathing new life into the neighborhood -and economy.
Lorna Rutto, Kenya
Green Tech Entrepreneur, Founder, EcoPost
Rutto’s company EcoPost produces environmentally friendly fencing posts made from recycled plastic waste instead of the standard timber. The company has received international praise for finding an alternative waste management solution to Kenya’s major plastic waste problem.
Kimiti Wanjaria & Ian Kahara, Kenya
Founders, Serene Valley Properties
Both Wanjaria and Kahara are in their late 20s, and are half of a four-person powerhouse of real estate developers. Serene Valley Properties builds and sells houses to Kenya’s burgeoning middle class and is also the brains behind the Sigona Valley project, a $4.2-million gated residential community outside Nairobi.
Evans Wadongo, Kenya
Chairman, Sustainable Development for All, Kenya
Wadongo introduced a safer, cleaner light source when he made his solar-powered LED lantern, the mwangabora. These are replacing smoky kerosene lamps and firelight in rural Kenya, and even bringing light to rural areas that have no electricity. His organization, Sustainable Development for All, helps fund an initiative that is teaching Kenyans how to make their own solar lanterns and sell them.
Cosmas Ochieng, Kenya
Founder, Ecofuels Kenya
Ochieng’s company Ecofuels Kenya produces environmentally friendly biofuels as well as organic fertilizers made from renewable local sources such as the croton nut. Ochieng is 26 years old, and is bringing international attention to the powerful energy resources in Africa.
Joel Mwale, Kenya
Founder, Skydrop Enterprises
At a shockingly young age of 20, Mwale heads up SkyDrop, a rainwater filtration and bottling company that offers low-cost purified drinking water, milk and other dairy products in Kenya. Starting in 2009, today the company provides jobs to more than 20 people.
Opeyemi Awoyemi, Olalekan Olude & Ayodeji Adewunmi, Nigeria
Jobberman is Nigeria’s largest job search engine and aggregator. Going live in 2009, today the site enjoys more than 50,000 unique users daily looking to use the simple but innovative technology to job hunt. Jobberman is one of the few and lucky Nigerian companies to receive venture capital backing.
Ashley Uys, South Africa
Founder, Medical Diagnostech
Uys’ company is changing the face of South Africa’s medical community. Medical Diagnostech develops and markets low-cost, dependable medical test kits for malaria, pregnancy, syphilis and HIV/Aids for South Africa’s rural communities living in poverty. The company’s Malaria pf/PAN test kit can reportedly detect all strains of malaria and give results within 30 minutes.
William Kamkwamba, Malawi
At the age of 14, Kamkwamba created an electricity-producing windmill made from junkyard scraps. He built the original product to provide a reliable water source to his family’s farm, but eventually built a windmill with a bicycle dynamo, a chain ring, a tractor fan, rubber belts and bamboo poles that energizes two radios and four light bulbs. Since then, the young inventor has worked on a windmill to help irrigate his entire village.
Andrew Mupuya, Uganda
Founder, Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments
Using $18 collected from family and friends, Mupuya started his career by making paper bags and selling them in his community. In 2010, Mupuya registered his company and became the owner of the first locally registered paper-bag and envelope-producing company in Uganda. Today, Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments (YELI) provides jobs to around 15 Ugandans and is the main supplier of paper bags and envelopes to local hospitals, retail outlets and other businesses.
Mark Essien, Nigerian
Mark Essien, 31, is the founder of Hotels.ng, Nigeria’s and West Africa’s largest hotel booking website. The online portal allows users from all over the world to book rooms from a selection of over 8000 hotels. The company has so far raised more than $1.4 in funding from investors.
Duran De Villiers, South African
Villiers, 30, is the founder of SteadiDrone, a South Africa-based company that develops and manufactures advanced small unmanned drones for a wide range of applications and industries. The company had 2014 revenues of more than $1.2 million.
Rex Idaminabo, Nigerian
Founder, Achievers Media
Idaminabo, 29, is the founder and CEO of Acheivers Media, the organization which hosts the popular African Achievers Award, an annual event that recognizes individuals and organizations that have distinguished themselves in their contribution towards the growth and development of Africa. The event generates in excess of $1 million in sponsorship revenue annually. He is also the co-founder of Young CEO’s Business forum.
Eric Kinoti, Kenyan
Founder, Shades System East Africa
Kinoti, 30, is the founder of Shades System East Africa, a $1 million (annual sales) company that manufactures military and relief tents, branded gazebos, restaurant canopies, car parking shades, marquees, luxury tents, wedding party tents canvas seats and bouncing castles across the region. The company’s biggest clients are non-governmental and humanitarian organizations.
Uche Pedro, Nigerian
Pedro, 30, is one of Nigerian most popular new media entrepreneurs. BellaNaija, the Nigerian lifestyle, entertainment and fashion website which she founded, attracts more than 10 million page views every month from readers all across the world.