In no particular order, meet the entrepreneurs who are making dramatic impact in social innovation worldwide.
Toyosi Akerele Ogunsiji, African Entrepreneur and Founder / CEO of Rise Networks
Akerele Ogunsiji is a respected inspirational leader celebrated for National Leadership in the service of a larger cause. She is a worthy alumnus of the United States Government’s Prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program for emerging Leaders. First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Michelle Obama described her in June of 2011 as one of her personal inspirations in a televised address to America.
Akerele-Ogunsiji , (born Oluwatoyosi Akerele, 8 November 1983) is a Nigerian, founder / CEO of Rise Networks, a leading social enterprise in Africa, with a deliberate interest in technology and its relevance to youth and education development across Africa.
Akerele-Ogunsiji received a 2nd Class Upper Bachelors’ degree in Civil Law from the University of Jos. She has also studied Strategic Management at Executive Level at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School. He obtained a Certificate in Youth Inclusive Financial Services from University of New Hampshire, Durham, USA. She holds a Certificate in Media Enterprise from Pan-African University. Akerele-Ogunsiji also holds an Executive Masters’ Certificate in Project Management from The Project Management College, UK. She has also studied Digital Marketing Strategy at the UK Institute of Digital Marketing.
She is an accomplished serial entrepreneur, Author and Public speaker. Toyosi’s thoughts on leadership are clear in her first book, and other writings and interviews.
Alloysius Attah, African entrepreneur and co-founder/CEO of Farmerline
At five years old, Attah’s parents divorced so he moved to stay with his aunt, who was a small-scale farmer. While staying in rural Ghana, he experienced the challenges small-scale farmers go through to produce food and support their families. Upon making it to college, he became determined to give back to the people who supported him.
Alloysius Attah, 27, Ghanaian, now leads Farmerline, a Ghanaian software company and social enterprise with offices in Kumasi, Ghana. Farmerline works with thousands of small-scale farmers in Ghana to increase access to agricultural information, productivity and income.
Farmerline has a full-time staff of 23. It builds mobile voice services that give prompt and improved agricultural information for small-scale farmers through their mobile phone. Farmerline uses its technology to connect farmers to markets, finance, weather forecast, new farming tips, inputs dealers and equipment services. This helps farmers to increase their yield and income. Their vision is to help small-scale farmers across Africa to become financially prosperous and more entrepreneurial in their farming ventures.
Fahad Awadh, Tanzanian, One of Africa’s Business Leaders and Founder, YYTZ Agro-Processing
Fahad Awadh is a 29-year old entrepreneur from Tanzania.
Growing up, Awadh attended St. Christopher’s, a private British school in Bahrain, where he lived for 8 years. Awadh got accepted to an International Business and Technology program at the age of 11. It was a foundational experience that instilled and nurtured in him an entrepreneurial spirit. He started learning about Accounting, Business Marketing and Entrepreneurial studies from a young age. By the age of 12 he had created a business with a product.
He went on to study Business Marketing at York University. While at university he started making t-shirts with two friends, Lavado Stubbs and Momarr Taal. They called it Malyka Clothing, which means Angel in Swahili. It was all about positive, powerful messages and it became popular in Toronto. They were distributing in Canada, The Bahamas and Gambia. He traveled to Bangladesh and secured a manufacturing contract to produce their pieces from the cut & sew stage. This gave them more creative control over the product and allowed them to expand their line.
Awadh has set up a cashew processing facility in Tanzania to bring international standards and traceability to the cashew nuts. He is the founder of YYTZ Agro-Processing, a cashew processing company that is adding value locally while creating jobs. The company’s flagship processing facility in Zanzibar has an installed capacity of 2,500 Tons per annum. YYTZ Agro-Processing recently raised a $500,000 investment to set up another facility in Mtwara.
YYTZ Agro-Processing wants to set itself apart from other cashew processing facilities. The focus of its cashew processing plant is to focus on high quality nuts and efficiency. By integrating the roles of processor and importer its able to offer the best cashews delivered to the door. YYTZ in-depth knowledge of raw nut quality and crop profiles allows it to offer the best product to its clients.
Gloria Michelle Otieno Muka, Founder of Recours Four Kenya Consultants Limited and One of the 2017 Worldwide Famous Business Entrepreneurs
Gloria Michelle Otieno Muka grew up watching her dad run his own business to the point where he became successful. She would often sit at his office doing her homework and watch how he would engage with his staff. He always told her to not be afraid of big numbers, which is something most entrepreneurs are sometimes scared of. She learnt earlier on that it is key to not compromise the business by charging too little.
Persistence, punctuality and consistency are also key traits that she managed to acquire earlier on as she watched her father. She admired this quality in him and she wakes up as early each morning. One thing she remembers is that she never saw him when he was down or even about to give up. Her entrepreneurial journey has not been easy, but she is not about to give up anytime soon.
Otieno Muka is now the chief executive officer/human resources consultant at Recours Four Kenya Consultants, Kenya, Africa. She started the R4 Kenya Consultants with $2,000 of her savings because she strongly believes in empowering youth in their careers. Her passion in the human resources sector was also driven by young students who join universities without making informed decisions.
Otieno Muka and the R4 Kenya team offer professional human resources services in consultancy, recruitment, training and staff outsourcing. The company’s clients include the World Bank Group, Kenya National Examination Council, United States Agency for International Development, the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline plc and Sportpesa.
Brigitha Faustin, Tanzanian, Founder, OBRI Company
The first three months after she started business , Faustin wasn’t 100% sure that her brand will survive the competition. She had limited perception of what her business is capable of! She chose to understood the core value proposition in her business model and demystified the workings of the business world. Finally, she found myself achieving more than what she have ever dreamed was possible.
Brigitha Faustin is a 29 Years old, Mother, Wife, social and business leader from Tanzania. A firm believer in the private sector as the best possible option for sustainable social and economic change in Africa.
Faustin is the founder of Fahari Yetu. Fahari Yetu is a youth led nonprofit company working in delivering projects that support Socioeconomic development in Tanzania.
She also co-founded “OBRI Trading Co. LLC” an agriculture company that sources, processes, packs and supplies unique range of food products. OBRI Company has empowered farmers who are under farmers associations in Tanzania by providing sustainable market channels for their produce. OBRI’s cooking oils are in retail outlets across the country.
Faustin said “running a business is like riding on a roller coaster.” in an interview with SLA (She Leads Africa).
Teta Isibo, Rwandan Founder, Inzuki Designs and One of the 2017 Worldwide Famous Business Entrepreneurs
“Teta’s story is one that could inspire many other young aspirant women entrepreneurs in Africa. She had a dream not only to build a business, but to also take it to the global marketplace. The Inzuki brand is definitely going places and is one to watch for the future.” said Melanie Hawken, LoA founder and editor-in-chief
Teta Isibo, 32, is the founder of Inzuki Designs. Isibo quit her job as an urban planner in Kigali to launch Inzuki, which means ‘bees’ in the local language.
Inzuki Designs is a young Rwandan brand specializing in Jewellery, accessories and Interior decor. Inzuki’s products typically fuse traditional craftsmanship and contemporary style to present a transcontinental finish. Isibo works with many local artisans that use their skills to translate Inzuki’s authentic designs into vibrant quality pieces sold all across Rwanda. Inzuki has grown into a popular Rwandan brand with a boutique in the Heart of Kigali City. It is now targeting international markets including the rest of Africa, and North America through distributors and an online store.
Lucia Bakulumpagi-Wamala, Ugandan, Founder, Bakulu Power and One of the 2017 Worldwide Famous Business Entrepreneurs
Bakulumpagi-Wamala was staying with her family in Gayaza when the Bakulu Power idea first came to her. As they drove to and from town she would look at the garbage on the street and wonder how to get rid of it. She grew up in Canada so seeing garbage on the streets wasn’t normal to her. What she found interesting was that the waste was primarily agricultural. She thought about making fertilizer then quickly scrapped that idea. She started to read everything she could about waste management, informal workers, deforestation and waste to energy. Lucia joined associations around those themes and talked to a lot of people. She gained a theoretical understanding of how to convert waste to energy and wanted to support women. Everything else has really been a series of miracles.
Lucia Bakulumpagi-Wamala, 34, is the Founder and CEO of Bakulu Power, a Ugandan renewable energy company.
Bakulu Power is currently developing 3 solar mini-grids on islands off Lake Victoria and a clean cooking fuel (biomass) production plant on a refugee camp in Western Uganda. Bakulu Power invests in the renewable energy sector. They design, make, own and run energy infrastructure. They are a young team with bold visionary ideas. Bakulu Power’s engineers and researchers are some of the brightest in Uganda. Uganda is a young country; about 77% of its population is under 30. By providing access to and hands-on involvement in the emerging renewable energy industry, Bakulu helps power Uganda’s tomorrow.
Rajiv Mehta, Kenyan, Founder of Tangerine Investments and One of the 2017 Worldwide Famous Business Entrepreneurs
Mehta attended junior & high school in Kenya and then college and started studying business management and marketing in university but actually never completed his education and one of the major reasons was not being able to afford to complete his university.
Growing up Mehta always had an interest in advertising and always thought he would one day have his brand on a billboard, just that the outcome is that he now puts people’s brands out there on his billboards and street poles.
Rajiv Mehta is the founder of Tangerine Investments, an advertising firm that uses public transit vehicles to market leading consumer goods in Kenya.
Tangerine, founded in 2008, has clients such as Kenya Airways, Pizza Inn, Subway and Coca Cola HP among others. Tangerine currently services 500 plus companies including multinationals and local companies. Tangential reach is in any city in the country that the client needs so they work on client’s needs and make sure they try to get them what they are looking for. They have revenue of over $1 million annually for the outdoor advertising company. Apart from that they have diversified and got into other countries and businesses like Large format printing.
Oprah Winfrey, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist
Oprah Winfrey (born January 29, 1954) is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Dubbed the “Queen of All Media”, she got ranked the richest African-American, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and is North America’s first multi-billionaire black person. Several assessments rank her as the most influential woman in the world. She got awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama and honorary doctorate degrees from Duke and Harvard in 2013.
Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. She has stated that during her childhood and early teens she got molested and became pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy. Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. Her emotional ad-lib delivery eventually got her transferred to the daytime talk show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.
Credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication, she popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show genre pioneered by Phil Donahue, which a Yale study says broke 20th century taboos and allowed LGBT people to enter the mainstream. By the mid-1990s, she had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality. Though criticized for unleashing a confession culture, promoting controversial self-help ideas, and an emotion-centered approach, she is often praised for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others. From 2006 to 2008, her endorsement of Obama, by one estimate, delivered over a million votes in the close 2008 Democratic primary race.
Also published on Medium.