10 most innovative companies in Africa according to Fast Company
The African-based business magazine, Fast Company, has released its list ranking the top 10 most innovative companies on the continent for 2019.
The magazine selected its top businesses based on the companies that are “making the most profound impact on both industry and culture.”
The Cape Town-based company uses drone and satellite data to protect farmers with pest and disease management systems.
9. Ovamba Solutions
The company aims to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa by providing them with short-term capital from its headquarters in Washington DC, US.
8. The Sun Exchange
“We identify perfect roof spaces basking in sunshine for you to get solar cells installed upon at the click of a button,” claims the Cape Town-headquartered company.
7. Yego Innovision
The business is aiming to regulate motorcycle traffic in Rwanda with its platform. The company was licenced by the government last year after a trial run with 840 motorbike taxis in 2017.
6. Talamus Health
The LA-based firm offers an “easy to use and yet comprehensive interface” which aims to improve efficiency in patient care.
5. Farm to Market Alliance
Kenya’s Farm to Market Alliance is an amalgamation of eight leading agro-businesses that educate, equip, and empower around 1.5mn smallholder farmers. The organisation aims to connect the farmers to commercially viable markets.
4. Sanku Project Healthy Children
Based in Tanzania and the US, the project “scale[s] technology and business solutions that put lifesaving nutrients into the food that hundreds of millions of malnourished people eat the most.”
Flare provides support to emergency response teams in Kenya through software infrastructure.
The company describes itself as “the complete payment solution to thrive in the global economy.” The firm has two global offices – one in San Francisco, US, and one in Lagos, Nigeria.
1. African Leadership University
Located in Mauritius, the university claims to be “pioneering a fresh approach to higher education in the 21st century”. The establishment offers undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education programmes.
“We're taking businesses from local to global using financial technology,” Olugbenga GB Agboola, Founder of Flutterwave, informed CNN.
“We're more than just a payments company, we are in the business of growing businesses, hence it feels good to see recognition for what we do in payments and beyond.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.