Most Innovative Young African Entrepreneurs

By Keren Mikva Published: May 2, 2014, 9:20 am

Forbes recently compiled a list of the most promising young African entrepreneurs for 2014, looking at innovators under age 30 who took the initiative to come up with solutions for socio-economic problems, vehicles to advance African culture through the world, business opportunities for their fellow citizens, and more. The following 10 innovative young African entrepreneurs are a sampling from the list. The complete list can be found here.


Senai Wolderufael, Ethiopia

Senai Wolderufael, 27, founded Feed Green Ethiopia Exports Company in Addis Ababa. The company focuses on exporting Ethiopian spice blends throughout the world. Initially it was a response to demand from the Ethiopian diaspora in North America and Europe, but has found popularity around the world as the demand for unique spices such as shiro, mitmita, and berbere grows.

Issam Chleuh, Mali

Malian Issam Chleuh founded Africa Impact Group as a means to invest in socially and environmentally motivated ventures. Chleuh, a former Ernst & Young senior associate, uses his group to foster startups, advisory services, news outlets, nonprofit organizations, and more.

Uche Pedro, Nigeria

BellaNaija founder Uche Pedro created the media company as a platform to showcase the best of Nigeria’s fashion and entertainment, and it has quickly become one of the most popular websites in the country, averaging 10 million page views every month. The 29-year-old created the opportunity to share Nigerian culture with the world.

Barclay Paul, Kenya

Barclay Paul’s Impact Africa Industries creates affordable sanitary pads for low-income women in settlements throughout Africa. Though the company initially served the poor neighborhoods of Kenya’s informal settlements, he has begun to export his product to neighborhoods in Uganda, South Sudan, and beyond. Impact Africa Industries’ employees are more than 50-percent female, and the company has become a prime example of how small innovation can translate into meaningful social and economic change.

Sangu Delle, Ghana

Sangu Delle’s Golden Palm Investments is young, but the company has become a promising source of growth financing across Africa, particularly in healthcare, agribusiness, construction, real estate, and technology. Delle, 27,  also helped co-found cleanacwa, a nonprofit that helps ensure clean water access in poor Ghanian neighborhoods.

Jonathan Liebmann, South Africa

Liebmann’s real estate development company, Propertuity, has helped turn one of Johannesburg’s most neglected neighborhoods into a thriving mixed-use district. Once a blighted area, Maboneng is now home to artists, retail and offices spaces, and residences. Liebmann, 29, is looking to do the same in other abandoned areas throughout the country.

Khaled Shady, Egypt

Khaled Shady is the proud creator of Mubser, a new technological tool to help blind people navigate safely. Linked with a Bluetooth headset, Mubser feeds the wearer infrared data through a 3D camera that lets them know where obstacles may lie.

Joel Mwale, Kenya

Joel Mwale, though just 21, has already moved on from his first venture and begun a new one. He’s the founder of Skydrop Enterprises, a company that specializes in rainwater filtration and bottling to ensure a pure drinking water supply. He sold the majority stake to an Israeli firm back in 2012. The young entrepreneur has turned his attention to education, starting Gigavia, a website that socially connects students and educators.

Ashley Uys, South Africa

South African Ashley Uys began Medical Diagnostech to provide affordable and convenient healthcare to low-income communities. The company specializes in developing reliable test kits for a variety of deadly diseases including malaria, syphilis and HIV/AIDS, marketing them to the country’s rural poor who may be unable to access medical services.

Arthur Zang, Cameroon

Arthur Zang’s Himore Medical Equipments company has changed the medical world by miniaturizing heart examination equipment to allow it to be used easily in rural locations. The Cardiopad is a touch-screen tablet that can perform electrocardiograms remotely and transfer the data to specialists in established locations. This allows rural Cameroonians to access medical examinations without having to travel extraordinary distances to hospitals in urban areas.

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