Yvette Ishimwe, Founder and CEO of IRIBA Water Group (https://IRIBAWaterGroup.com) (Rwanda), is one of the finalists of the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) 2021 competition (https: // AfricaBusinessHeroes.
The Tyhe Foundation has announced this year’s top 10 finalists who will also take the stage in the Grand Final in November for their final pitch to win a share of a US $ 1.5 million prize pool.
The ten entrepreneurs – half of whom are women – were selected from over 12,000 applicants in 54 African countries and went through several stages of judgment and evaluation. With an average age of 32 years, the top ten represent companies operating mainly in 7 African countries: Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda. Their businesses span key sectors such as agriculture, beauty, education, energy, food and beverage, logistics, manufacturing, media and entertainment, and retail. 80% of the finalists operate their business in rural areas. Through their businesses, these exceptional entrepreneurs generate positive impact and create opportunities for their communities.
“It’s Africa time! We have been continually impressed by all of our 2021 Top 10 finalists, especially their diversity and the strength of their companies. The Top 10 is truly inspiring and a testament to the talent, resilience, innovation and passion of African entrepreneurs. Amid the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we remain unwavering in our efforts to identify, support and spotlight African entrepreneurs who are driving positive growth for their communities, ”said Jason Pau, Executive Director of ‘International, Jack Ma Foundation.
“This is my 3rd year as a semi-final judge so I have seen a total of 60 entrepreneurs pitching. In my opinion, they are all already heroes just by reaching this point. Each year the competition gets more difficult for entrepreneurs, but it is also more difficult for us judges to choose our top 10. I wish the 2021 Top 10 good luck for the next phase of the competition and congratulations to our heroes. Commented Rene Parker, Director at R Labs and ABH semi-final judge.
“It was an absolute pleasure to judge the ABH semi-finals again this year. The quality of semi-finalists continues to be high. It was extremely difficult to shortlist the last 10 because every entrepreneur was so inspiring. They have demonstrated the resilience, passion, imagination and traction we need from our entrepreneurs here in Africa. I can’t wait to follow their success! added Fred Swaniker, founder of ALU and ABH semi-final judge.
In November, Africa’s Business Heroes will host its grand finale in a virtual format, and the top ABH 2021 prize winners will be announced in due course. The coming weeks will see the finalists refine their arguments and take advantage of the in-depth training, learnings and insights they have accumulated during their ABH journey. Meet the 2021 Top 10 finalists here:
Ghirmay Abraham, Founder, Aptech Africa (https://AptechAfrica.com) (Uganda)
Ghirmay was born in Eritrea and studied mechanical engineering at the University of Asmara before starting to work in the renewable energy sector. He started Aptech Africa with only an investment of $ 20,000. Working to provide electricity and water to people across Africa, Aptech has grown into a multinational corporation operating in seven African countries.
Navalayo Osembo-Ombati, Co-Founder and CEO, Enda Athletic (https://Endasportswear.com) (Kenya)
Navalayo hails from a town in Kenya that has produced generations of the world’s best long-distance runners. To maximize the social impact in Kenya through sport, Navalayo founded Enda Athletic, a Kenya-made running shoe brand that creates jobs, invests in local communities and drives economic development through exports. She graduated from the London School of Economics.
Oghenetega Iortim, Founder, Gricd (https://Gricd.com) (Nigeria)
Oghenetega is an Information Communications Engineer with a BA from Covenant University. Oghenetega has been dedicated to solving health and food accessibility issues through technology. Through his startup Gricd, he builds cold chain facilities to solve storage problems in the agriculture and health sectors.
Yvette Ishimwe, Founder and CEO, IRIBA Water Group (https://IRIBAWaterGroup.com) (Rwanda)
IRIBA Water Group is a social enterprise that offers innovative drinking water solutions. Its founder Yvette holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a YALI Mandela Washington Fellow and has been honored by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in recognition of the impact that IRIBA has brought to the community.
Charlot Magayi, Founder and CEO, Mukuru Clean Stoves (https://MukuruStoves.org) (Kenya)
When Charlot’s two-year-old daughter suffered a severe burn from a traditional stove, Charlot was brought in to provide safer cooking technologies. She founded Mukuru to help keep children safe, as well as reduce fuel consumption and domestic air pollution. Charlot is Echoing Green Fellow and has been recognized by Global Citizen, the World Bank and AWIEF.
Khadija Mohamed Elbedweihy, Founder, PraxiLabs (https://Praxilabs.com) (Egypt)
Khadija received her PhD from the University of Sheffield on Human Machine Interaction and User Experience. True to her belief in embracing technology to improve education and enable equal opportunities, Khadija founded and currently operates PraxiLabs, which makes virtual science labs accessible to educational institutions and schools.
Chidi Nwaogu, Co-Founder and CEO, Publiseer (https://Publiseer.net) (Nigeria)
Chidi Nwaogu is a technology entrepreneur and software developer. He is the CEO of Publiseer, a digital content distribution company that helps independent and underserved African creatives make a living. He is a recipient of the Swiss Government’s Migration Entrepreneurship Award 2020, and is also Acumen Fellow, Alibaba eFounders Fellow, Westerwelle Fellow and French-African Young Leader.
Ikenna Nzewi, Co-Founder and CEO, Releaf Marketplace Nigeria (https://Releaf.africa) (Nigeria)
Ikenna graduated from Yale University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and co-founded Releaf while still in college. Releaf is an agricultural technology company that develops hardware and software solutions to drive the industrialization of food processing in Africa.
Violet Amoabeng, Founder and CEO, Skin Gourmet (https://SkinGourmet.com) (Ghana)
Violet graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration, with a specialization in marketing, supply chain management and accounting. In 2014 Violet created Skin Gourmet with GHS 145 (US $ 45.00). Skin Gourmet is now distributed in over 17 different countries and Violet has been featured in Glitz and EMY Magazine as an emerging industry leader.
Ketsheaphone Jacob, Founder and CEO, The Bulb World (https://bit.ly/3FgGU1u) (Botswana)
Ketsheaphone is the founder and CEO of The Bulb World, an LED lighting manufacturing company. Ketshephaone is passionate about helping young start-ups and giving back to communities through The Bulb World’s CSR initiative, which aims to illuminate public boarding schools to provide learners with a brighter learning environment.
For more information on the Top 10 2021, please visit the official ABH website. Follow ABH on Twitter (https://bit.ly/3iy5Ojv), LinkedIn (https://bit.ly/3uLw5Q7), Instagram (https://bit.ly/3isp0yP) or Facebook (https: // bit. ly / 3mgC8Za) to join these dynamic and inspiring entrepreneurs as the Grand Final approaches.
To watch the final Top 10 pitches from 2020, log onto YouTube where a four-episode series (https://bit.ly/3B5ko9g) on the Africa’s Business Heroes 2020 competition route is now available.