Africa’s Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs: Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 For 2015

As seen on Forbes

Guest post by Forbes Africa. Edited by Tshepo Tshabalala

We have selected 30 for the future in a number of key fields that drive economic growth. You may not know many of their names now, but in 20 years they could be on the cover of FORBES AFRICA with their story of multi-million-dollar success. We hope so. For now, look, debate and work out who is most likely.

Nominees came from readers and the FORBES AFRICA team; they were decided upon by a selected panel of judges from across Africa. In charge of it all, fittingly, an under 30 himself, one of our journalists Tshepo Tshabalala. Months of research yielded a list of 150 young hopefuls. We worked for weeks, verifying and investigating, to whittle it down. We favored entrepreneurs with fresh ideas and took into account their business size, location, struggles and determination.Senior editors then debated and argued over the final 30. We find this list exciting, thought provoking and forward looking. We hope you will too.

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Mubarak Muyika

20, Kenya  | Founder, Zagace Limited

Muyika was orphaned at the age of 10, thrived at school and turned down a scholarship to Harvard to become an entrepreneur. When he was 16, he founded Hypecentury Technologies, a web hosting company. He sold the company two years later to Wemps Telecoms in a six-figure deal. Muyika’s new venture, Zagace, which has raised funding from local investors, is a cloud enterprise software that helps companies manage inventory such as accounting, payroll, stock management, marketing and many more all bundled in a simple and easy to use format called Zag apps.

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Bheki Kunene

27, South Africa | Founder, Mind Trix Media

Few young entrepreneurs in Africa have survived being accused of murder and a collision with two cars that cracked his skull. Kunene has. He created eight jobs and a profit with his website-building company, Mind Trix Media, in Cape Town where he was born-and-bred. The company does business with the big names in South Africa and as far afield as Italy, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Angola.

On a Sunday morning, in December 2009, not long after Kunene launched the business, came a knock on the door of his mother’s house in Kayelitsha that could have spelt the end.“I opened to two men in suits. I thought they were from a church, but they were detectives who said someone had seen me committing a murder the night before. I took them into my mother’s garage and showed them a load of T-shirts I had printed the night before and said this is what I was doing. But they arrested me and locked me up in police cells,” says Kunene. The budding entrepreneur spent a week in the cells in Gugulethu before police found the real murderer and let him go.

“All they said was ‘sorry you can go now,’” he says.

Four years later, disaster struck again in Gugulethu, this time on the main road. A car hit Kunene knocking him into the path of another heading the other way. It cracked his skull and smashed one of his legs. He spent three months in hospital and is on medication. Kunene survived to prosper, a lesson to entrepreneurs that if it doesn’t kill you, or imprison you, it makes you stronger.

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Affiong Williams

29, Nigeria | Founder, Reelfruit

ReelFruit, founded, in March, 2012 is an emerging fruit processing company focused on packaging and branding and processing of locally, and quality fruit products.The first product is a range of dried fruit snacks and nuts. The products are currently stocked in over 80 stores in Nigeria. ReelFruit is an award-winning brand, winning both an international Women In Business Competition in the Netherlands, as well as an SME exhibition (Creative Focus Africa) in Lagos, Nigeria.

Williams is trying to expand her nut business into the lucrative airline market. She is raising capital to build a factory on the outskirts of Lagos next year. “I hope to be on the cover of FORBES AFRICA in five years’ time,” she says.

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Emeka Akano

28, Nigeria | Co-Founder, Founder2Be

Finding your perfect match is never easy but Akano and his co-partner, Chinedu Onyeaso, have made it easier through Founder2Be. The cupids of commerce introduced a match-making service for business owners in Africa. Like online dating, a deal is just a click away. These Nigerians are not strangers to entrepreneurship; the two cofounders also started Entarado, a web development company empowering small businesses with web and mobile solutions.


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