Six South Africans have made the 2015 Forbes list of the 30 most promising African entrepreneurs under 30.
Brand South Africa reporter
Months of research have whittled down Forbes shortlist of 150 entrepreneurs nominated by readers and editorial team to a list of just 30. The final 30 were decided by a panel of judges from across the continent.
“We worked for weeks, verifying and investigating, to whittle it down,” said a statement from Forbes Africa. “We favoured entrepreneurs with fresh ideas and took into account their business size, location, struggles and determination.”
Forbes Africa called the list “thought-provoking and forward-looking”. The list applauds successful companies across a number of sectors, but there is a strong technology influence – 17 of the companies headed by these entrepreneurs are either tech-based or have technology as their base, such as through apps or online platforms.
Besides the six South Africans, there are five from Kenya, five from Nigeria, three from Uganda, two each from Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Ghana, and one each from Mali, Malawi, Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Rwanda.
South Africans on the list are:
Bheki Kunene, 27, founder of Mind Trix Media: Mind Trix Media is a creative design company based in Gugulethu, Cape Town. He created eight jobs and a profit with his website-building company. According to Forbes, Kunene had a difficult start. He was falsely accused of murder and suffered a skull fracture in a car accident. Kunene survived to prosper, a lesson to entrepreneurs that if it did not kill you, or imprison you, it made you stronger, said Forbes Africa. That he managed to overcome these odds and build a powerful company earned him a place on the list.
Doug Hoernle, 25, founder of Rethink Education: Rethink Education was established in an effort to make current technology more useful in the schooling system. “We saw the gap in the market where you find people paying R100 000 a year in school fees and yet they still struggle with fractions,” Hoernle said.
Rethink’s platforms give pupils access to high school mathematics and science content in a chat-styled interface via mobile phones and the web. To date, Rethink Education has distributed maths and science content to more than 500 000 South Africans and is launching in Nigeria, Ghana and Zimbabwe.
Julie Alexander Fourie, 28, founder of iFix: Fourie started iFix in 2006 from his residence room at Stellenbosch University. The company repairs broken and faulty Apple products and Samsung smartphones, and employs 40 people across the country. iFix services more than 4 000 clients a month through its branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
Ludwick Marishane, 25, founder of Headboy Industries: While still in high school, Marishane developed DryBath, “a gel that does all the work of a bath without water”. After school, he founded Headboy Industries, through which he released the product.
The idea for DryBath was inspired by a friend of Marishane’s who was too lazy to bath. “Why doesn’t someone invent something that you can put on your skin and then you don’t have to bathe?” asked the friend. Marishane, born in Limpopo, was voted the best student entrepreneur in the world by the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation and Google named him as one of the most intelligent young brains in the universe.
Max Hussmann, 29, founder, Elegance Group: Hussmann’s aviation business, Elegance Group, includes Elegance Air, sport consulting and aviation consulting. He was born in Accra and grew up in Germany, but now lives in South Africa.
Elegance offers “the hour package flying principle” with chartered airlines, where companies are able to buy bulk hours of 25 to 50 hours and use them when it suits them. Hussman is also a 2016 swimming Olympic hopeful.
Rupert Bryant, 29, co-founder of Web Africa: At just 14, Bryant dropped out of school and started running his own web development company. Two years later he became the co-founder of Web Africa, one of South Africa’s biggest internet service providers.
Web Africa, today an $11-million (R133.5-million) a year business, was started with no money. In 2014, Bryant relaunched Accommodation Direct, an online tourism business that specialises in short-term accommodation rentals.
Young Africans to watch
The other top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs, in alphabetical order, are:
- Abiola Olaniran, 26, Nigeria, founder, Gamsole
- Affiong Williams, 29, Nigeria, founder, Reelfruit
- Alain Nteff, 22, Cameroon, founder, Gifted Mom
- Ali-shah Jivraj, 27, Uganda, chief executive, Royal Electronics
- Arthur Zang, 27, Cameroon, founder, CardiopadZang
- Bankole Cardoso, 26, Nigeria, co-founder, Easy Taxi Nigeria
- Best Ayiorworth, 23, Uganda, founder, Gipmo
- Catherine Mahugu, 27, Kenya, co-founder, Soko
- Clarisse Iribagiza, 26, Rwanda, founder and chief executive, HeHe Labs
- Clinton Mutambo, 25, Zimbabwe, founder, Esaja.Com
- Ellen Chilemba, 21, Malawi, founder, Tiwale
- Emeka Akano, 28, Nigeria, co-founder, Founder2Be
- Issam Chleuh, 28, Mali, founder and chief executive, Africa Impact Group
- Joel Mwale, 22, Kenya, founder, Skydrop Enterprises
- Kennedy Kitheka, 25, Kenya, founder, Funda
- Mubarak Muyika, 20, Kenya, founder of Zagace Limited
- Ola Orekunrin, 29, Nigeria, medical doctor and founder, The Flying Doctors
- Raindolf Owusu, 24, Ghana, founder, Oasis Websoft
- Ronak Shah, 27, Kenya, founder, Kronex Chemicals Limited
- Sangu Delle, 28, Ghana, founder, Golden Palm Investments
- Senai Wolderufael, 28, Ethiopia, founder of Feed Green Ethiopia Exports Company
- Stephen Sembuya, 28, Uganda, co-founder, Pink Food Industries
- Takunda Chingonzoh, 22, Zimbabwe, co-founder, Neolab Technology
- Verone Mankou, 28, Republic of Congo, tech entrepreneur, founder and chief executive, VMK
Source: Forbes Magazine
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