Training Afrikan entrepreneurs to become catalysts for digital transformation

A group of 29 founders and co-founders of platform-based startups in the e-commerce, logistics, FinTech, Big Data, or tourism industfounders across Afrika participated in the eFounders Fellowship programme in Hangzhou, China where Alibaba is headquartered. The entrepreneurs are from 11 different Afrikan countries

The eFounders Fellowship is part of a pledge by Jack Ma, Alibaba Group’s Executive Chairman and UNCTAD Special Adviser for young entrepreneurs and small business, to empower 1,000 entrepreneurs from developing countries over a period of 5 years.

“Together with UNCTAD, we want to empower Africa’s young entrepreneurs to not only succeed in their own ventures, but to return home and demonstrate to others how to build inclusive business models for the digital era,” said Ma.

Both Ma and Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, spent time with the fellows during their time in Hangzhou. The participating fellows were selected through an application process which saw hundreds applying from across Afrika.

“With this third cohort of young entrepreneurs, UNCTAD and Alibaba are helping a new generation of business leaders to make the most of the opportunities opened up by the ecommerce revolution,” said Dr. Kituyi.

Some of the fellows include the following.

Rwanda

  • Leah Uwihoreye, founder of Golden Thoughts, an ecommerce platform for local manufacturers, primarily female artisans, to sell their products.

+Muhirwa Clement, founder of Uplus Mutual Partners, a fintech company specializing in peer-to-peer mobile payments

Kenya

  • Nancy Amunga, founder of Dana Communication, a logistics platform offering courier services for ecommerce platforms in Africa.

  • Caroline Wanjiku, founder of Daproim Africa, a social enterprise that offers affordable volume data management services to research firms, governments and companies. Daproim Africa also provides data management training and job opportunities to university graduates in Africa to help them to develop relevant skill sets.

  • Other Kenya based entrepreneurs in this class include Gladys King’ori of ZOA Tech, Caroline Kariuki of Sarai Afrique Fashion House, Mwai Mworia of M-Paya, Alloys Meshack of Sendy, and Daniel Yu of Sokowatch.

Nigeria

  • Tochukwu Uwakeme, founder of KemResource, an ecommerce company that connects rural farmers to buyers around the world.

  • Chijioke Dozie, founder of OneFi, a fintech company that offers underbanked and unbanked customers in West Africa access to loans and payments through an android app using machine-learning to assess the credit-worthiness of customers in real time.

  • Other Nigeria-based entrepreneurs include Malik Babalola of Gloo, and Olugbenga Agboola of Flutterwave.

South Africa

  • Arnaud Blanchet, founder of Shopit, an ecommerce company that enables South African mom and pop store owners in townships and rural areas to compare prices at wholesalers and buy at the best price.

  • Roy Borole, founder of Thanga, an artificial intelligence studio which develops AI tools to help brands target consumers by helping them tell more compelling stories for use on social media.

  • The other South Africa-based entrepreneur is Basson Engelbrecht of Hoorah Online Shops.

Zambia

  • Bright Chinyundu, founder of Kodipay, a fintech company which includes Broadpay, a payment system offering money transfers, bill payments and currently developing agent banking services.

  • Other Zambia-based entrepreneurs include Chinedu Koggu of ProBASE and Njavwa Mutambo of Musanga.

Egypt

  • Hany Girgis, founder of Masry Market, an online platform helping consumers find local alternatives to everyday products at competitive prices while supporting local SMEs.

  • The other Egypt-based entrepreneur is Hatem Ayoub of Tripdizer.

Uganda

  • David Gonahasa, founder of Roundbob, an online travel and experience booking platform which seeks to help Africa’s growing middle class find affordable travel options.

  • Other Uganda-based entrepreneurs are Nielsimms Sangho of Intership and Francis Nkurunungi of Xente.

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