In recent years, African female founders have been on the rise, breaking barriers and changing the narrative of what it means to be a businesswoman in Africa. These women are founders of innovative and groundbreaking startups, driving economic growth, and challenging gender stereotypes in the process. It is important to highlight and recognize the work of these trailblazing female entrepreneurs who are making a significant impact in various industries across the African continent.
African female entrepreneurship is crucial to the continent’s economic development and prosperity. Women make up over 50% of Africa’s population, yet they are often marginalized and excluded from accessing financial resources, education, and opportunities. Despite these challenges, African women are defying the odds and creating their own opportunities. These female founders are solving real problems, creating jobs, and driving innovation in sectors such as healthcare, technology, agriculture, finance, and more.
By recognizing and supporting these female founders, we can promote gender equality, reduce poverty, and empower communities across Africa. This list is a celebration of the diverse talents and achievements of African female entrepreneurs, and it is a call to action for more investment, mentorship, and support for female entrepreneurship in Africa. These 15 African female founders represent some of the most innovative and influential entrepreneurs in Africa today, each bringing unique perspectives and ideas to their respective industries.
1. Ada Osakwe – Nigeria
Ada Osakwe is the founder of Agrolay Ventures, an investment firm that supports early-stage startups in the agriculture and food industry. With over 10 years of experience in investment banking and private equity, Ada has become a trailblazer in the African food industry. She is also the founder of Nuli, a healthy food restaurant chain in Nigeria that promotes healthy eating and lifestyle.
2. Dr. Ola Brown – Nigeria
Dr. Ola Orekunrin is the founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, a medical evacuation service that provides critical care and transportation services across West Africa. With a background in medicine and aviation, Dr. Ola is a true innovator in the healthcare industry in Africa. She has also been recognized as one of Forbes’ top female tech founders in Africa.
3. Gugu Kheswa – South Africa
Gugu Kheswa is the founder of Hello Africa Travel. Hello Africa Travel is an online platform for customers to plan and book African travel.
4. Aisha Pandor – South Africa
Aisha Pandor is the founder of SweepSouth, an online platform that connects homeowners with trusted and vetted cleaners in South Africa. Aisha’s background in mathematics and computer science helped her create a platform that solves a real problem in the South African market. She has also been recognized as one of Forbes’ top female tech founders in Africa.
5. Hilda Moraa – Kenya
Hilda Moraa is the founder of Pezesha, a peer-to-peer lending platform that connects borrowers with lenders in Kenya. With over 10 years of experience in finance and technology, Hilda has become a leader in the fintech industry in Africa. She is also a member of the advisory board of the African Women in Fintech and Payments (AWFP) organization.
6. Eloho Omame – Nigeria
Eloho Omame is a co-founder andppartner at TLcom Capital and co-founder and general partner at FirstCheck Africa, a firm that supports startups in the technology industry in Africa. The start-ups in Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, and Kenya that are part of FirstCheck Africa’s investment portfolio are run by female founders and specialise in financial services, healthcare, education, and retail and commerce. She is dedicated to supporting the remarkable female entrepreneurs of Africa in their efforts to create successful businesses through FirstCheck Africa.
7. Doreen Estazia Noni – Tanzania
Doreen Estazia Noni is the founder of Eskado Bird, a fashion and lifestyle brand that celebrates African culture and heritage. With a passion for African fashion and design, Doreen has created a brand that is both unique and empowering. She has also been recognized as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Africa. She is also a talk show host, television producer, advocate for social change, nutrition and mental health enthusiast, motivational speaker, and owner and operator of Tanzania’s 102.5 Lake FM radio station in Mwanza.
8. Affiong Williams – Nigeria
Affiong Williams is the founder of ReelFruit, a healthy snack company that produces and sells dried fruit and nut snacks in Nigeria. With a background in finance and a passion for healthy living, Affiong has created a brand that promotes healthy snacking and supports local farmers. She is also the CEO of the finance company, Paga. She has also been recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs in 2015.
9. Christelle Kwizera – Rwanda
Christelle Kwizera is the founder of Water Access Rwanda, a social enterprise that provides clean water solutions to rural communities in Rwanda. With a background in civil engineering and a passion for sustainability, Christelle has become a leader in the water and sanitation industry in Africa.
10. Nneile Nkholise – South Africa
Nneile Nkholise is the founder of iMed Tech, a medical technology company that specializes in 3D printing for breast prostheses. With a background in mechanical engineering and a passion for healthcare innovation, Nneile has created a product that is not only affordable but also accessible to women who have undergone mastectomies.
11. Rebecca Enonchong – Cameroon
Rebecca Enonchong is the founder of AppsTech, a global provider of enterprise application solutions. With over 20 years of experience in the technology industry, Rebecca has become a leading voice in the African tech industry. She is also the founder of the Africa Technology Forum, a platform that brings together African tech entrepreneurs and investors.
12. Temie Giwa-Tubosun – Nigeria
Temie Giwa-Tubosun is the founder of LifeBank, a medical logistics company that delivers essential medical supplies to hospitals and clinics in Nigeria. With a background in global health and a passion for improving healthcare access, Temie has created a solution that has saved countless lives in Nigeria. In 2014, the BBC listed her as one of the 100 Women Changing the World.
13. Njeri Rionge – Kenya
Njeri Rionge is the founder of Ignite Consulting, a business consultancy that supports SMEs in Africa. With over 20 years of experience in business and entrepreneurship, Njeri has become a prominent figure in the African business community. She is also the co-founder of Wananchi Group, a leading provider of broadband internet and pay-tv services in East Africa. She is listed in Forbes as one of Africa’s Most Successful Women.
14. Baratang Miya – South Africa
Baratang Miya is the founder of Girlhype, a non-profit organization that provides tech education and mentorship to girls in South Africa. With a background in computer science and a passion for empowering young women, Baratang has created a platform that equips girls with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the tech industry.
15. Juliet Ehimuan – Nigeria
Juliet Ehimuan is the country director for Google Nigeria and the founder of Beyond Limits Africa, an organization that provides mentorship and training for young women in technology and entrepreneurship. With over 20 years of experience in the technology industry, Juliet has become a leader in the African tech community. She has also been recognized as a United Nations Social Good Summit Global Ambassador. In August 2011, she was listed in Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women In Africa.
These 15 African female founders are just a few of the many women who are making a positive impact on the African continent through their entrepreneurship and innovation. They represent a diverse range of industries and backgrounds, but they all share a common thread of resilience, passion, and a desire to create positive change in their communities. Their stories serve as inspiration for other women who aspire to become entrepreneurs, and their success is a testament to the potential of female entrepreneurship in Africa.