Top 30 African entrepreneurs under 30
Forbes has released 2016’s “Africa’s 30 under 30”– its annual list of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs.
Forbes journalist Kerry Dolan explained: “Forbes Africa spent months looking for the best this continent has to offer. Research coupled with nominations from our readers brought the number to 250 potential under 30s.
"We worked for weeks, verifying and investigating, to whittle it down. We favoured entrepreneurs with fresh ideas and took into account their business size, location, potential, struggles and determination.”
Here, in no particular order, are Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs according to Forbes:
Joel Macharia, 29, Kenya
Founder: Abacus (financial services)
Isaac Oboth, 26, Uganda
Founder: Media 256 (video production)
Kelvin Doe, 19, Sierra Leone
Founder: K-Doe Tech (charity for young innovators)
Andrew Mupuya, 24, Uganda
Founder: YELI Paper Bags Limited
Magau Seshoene, 27, South Africa
Founder The Lazy Makoti (packaging and manufacturing)
Mogau Seshoene, 27, South Africa
Founder: The Lazy Makoti (cooking)
Sulley Amin Abubakar, 29, Ghana
Founder: Zaacol (green energy company)
William Elong, 23, Cameroon
Founder Will&Brothers (IT innovation and competitive intelligence)
Michael Muthiga, 29, Kenya
Founder: Fatboy Animations
Edwin Bruno Shayo, 29, Tanzania
Founder: Smart Codes
Fatoumata Ba, 29, Senegal
Barclay Okari, 24, Kenya
Founder: Impact Africa Industries
Mark Doumba, 29, Gabon
Co-Founder: CLIKAFRIK Group
Obinwanne Okeke, 28, Nigeria
Founder: Invictus Group
Siya Beyile, 22, South Africa
Founder: The Threaded Man
David Asiamah, 28, Ghana
Founder: Agro Mindset
Vital Sounouvou, 25, Benin
Inga Gubeka, 28, South Africa
Founder: Indalo Décor
Prince Boadu, 28, Ghana
Co-Founder: MapTech Logistics
Uneku Atawodi,28, Nigeria
Founder: Bamboo Green Concepts
Alex Muriu, 29, Kenya
Founder: Farm Capital Africa
Emmanuel Bonoko, 26, South Africa
Founder: EBonoko Holdings
Momarr Mass Taal, 28, Gambia
Founder: Tropingo Foods
Hanta Tiana Ranaivo Rajaonarisoa, 24, Madagascar
Founder: Flore Aroma
Nadav Ossendryver, 20, South Africa
Founder: Latest Sightings
Trushar Khetia, 29, Kenya
Founder: Tria Group
John Armah, 24, Ghana
Founder: Orios Group
Kelvin Macharia Kuria, 25, Kenya
Founder: Sunrise Tracking
Nkosana Mazibisa, 27, Zimbabwe
Founder: Mazibisa Inc.
Nana Opoku Agyeman-Prempeh,28, Ghana
Hellen Dausen, 29, Tanzania
Founder: Nuya’s Essence
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.