Forbes Africa earlier this year released another list of 30 most promising young entrepreneurs. Rightly branded the most talked about list the magazine publishes, this list is the only sort of prophecy that makes sense. It identifies bright sparks and encourages conversations about all the right things that make Africa tick. The full 30 under 30 list can be found on the Forbes Africa Website but here the focus is on the young women who featured this year.
Allegro is a 27 year old South African who is the brains behind Orgella Media. Yes, you guessed rights! Orgella is Allegro spelt backwards. Now doesn’t that remind you of media mogul Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo? Allegro says Oprah inspired the name and we are hoping Orgella follows the unbelievable trajectory of Harpo which has made Oprah one of the richest women in entertainment. So far so good for Allegro whose company started as an entertainment blog and has now become a public relations, charity and property investment company. Orgella is taking over.
Jokate barely made it onto the list as she was almost 30 at compilation but that does not make her achievements any less impressive. Here is a young Tanzanian lady who used her personal savings and a soft loan from Africa’s youngest billionaire, Mohammed Dewji, to build her company, Kidoti Company. The company designs and manufactures synthetic hair extensions, sandals and bags. Mwegelo told Forbes, “So far we have managed to roll out around 60,000 hair pieces in the market with prospects of doing tenfold better once we establish our own factory in the region.”
These are serious goals and we’d be stupid to even dare doubt her. Shine on Mwegelo!
Let us talk junk. Let us talk magicians who can make treasures out of the junk you throw away. Kampesi is a Malawian miracle worker who sees potential in your trash bins and can forge out chandeliers, side lamps and coffee tables from recycled material. Mwayi’s journey is said to have started in High school when she would take junk and remould it into exquisite accessories for her room. People identified her potential and Mwayi Kampesi’s In-House Interiors was conceived. She now does interior décor and rebranding for companies among other things. Got junk? Call Kampesi!
Tanzania has another juggernaut on the list. Shuma, a 28 year old founder of Lavie Makeup Studio is the one reason you might allow your daughter to apply any make-up at all. Shuma started out as cabin crew for Fastjet airline before quitting to found Lavie Makeup Studio. Celebrities and brides now know Upendo is their go to girl. Beauty is an industry, and Shuma is shaking it up!
Did we just say beauty is an industry? Sandra from Namibia would also agree as her Kiyomisandz Beauty Products company is right at the centre of the activity. Sandra has always been a fired up young woman, having won the gold medal at the Namibian Expo of Young Scientists competition at just 11. 18 years later, her company is manufacturing toiletry and cosmetics, and even providing services to those who want to make their own. Sandra is onto something big and the world will know about her! Revlon and team need to stay on their toes.
Fierce. Thato Kgatlhanye is fierce. She founded her company, Rethaka at 18 and at just 24, her company is supplying its products to big names like Standard Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Red Bull. It also exports to Namibia, Turkey and the United Kingdom with plans to expand to 24 African countries. What does the company make? Good question. Rethaka produces recycled schoolbags that are said to double up as solar powered lights children can use to study at night. South Africa has given the continent a gift with a heart for people and a mind for money.
Shaleen Manhire Nullens
Zimbabwe has a say in the future and her voice is none other than Shaleen, the 29 year old founder of Conquered Events. The company was founded after Nullens failed to find a wedding planner in 2014. Talk about necessity being invention’s mother! Nullens also founded Conquered TV and Under Africa Petroleum as well as Celebs 4 Change, an NGO encouraging celebrities to give time to charity.
She is 29. By 21 she had a master’s degree in foreign philosophy and linguistics. She started her business at 22. She must be superhuman! Glodik’s Diva Slimming and Aesthetics Centre now has two headquarters in South Africa, her home country. Forbes also says they have opened 65 salons across South Africa in the last five years.
Edikan is just 29 but she has seen more in the business world than other people will ever experience. She was forced to make tough decisions and evolve to stay relevant. She resisted her father’s insistence that she get a job as an electrical engineer and built Oleander House against all odds. Edikan was selling a weight loss supplement which was to later flood the market and threaten to kill off her business but she would not be brought to buckle. Instead, she created her own products and today she is still in it to win it. Talk about resilience!
Shakeela Tolasade Williams
Shakeela, like Edikan is a 29 year old Nigerian on the cusp of something big. Through Sade Hair, her hair extension selling concern, Shakeela has joined a big industry that will reward her risk-taking and aggressive business approach. She already has a reseller in Alberta, Canada and in Sierra Leone. At this rate, nothing can stop her influence from extending her hair extension business all over the world.
Africa’s young women are bringing the fire and the world needs to watch out.