The 2017 AWP Network Power List

Be the change. Be Inspired. Be you.

Recognizing (40) African women with powerful, inspiring, and influential voices.

Introducing Africa’s leading women! 

At the AWP Network, we aim to encourage more African women with powerful voices who will continue to create programs and policies that support the development and growth of African women and girls.

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  1. Africa’s First Olympic Bobsled Team (Nigeria) relentless, focused and determined: Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga – are the first African, the first Nigerian bobsled team to ever qualify for and compete in the Winter Olympics. The team raised funds to participate in the Olympics using GoFundMe. They did not just meet their  fundraising goal but were also able to sign a sponsorship deal with VISA. The AWP Network is proud of these women for inspiring the next generation of women and girls and for showing the world that ‘impossible is nothing.’
  2. Sabetha Mwambenja (Tanzania) is the first woman general manager and CEO in Tanzania’s banking sector. Currently, she serves as the managing director and chief executive officer of the Covenant Bank for Women Tanzania Limited, where she facilitates small business growth for women entrepreneurs through innovative financial products and services.
  3. Funke Opeke (Nigeria) is Chief Executive Officer of Main One Cable company, a privately owned company with an open access 7,000-kilometer undersea high-capacity cable submarine stretching from Portugal to South Africa with landings along the route in Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria. Opeke is also founder of Main Street Technologies. Prior to founding her company, she served as the Chief Technical Officer for MTN Nigeria.
  4. Gail Makenete (Lesotho) is the second deputy governor of the central bank of Lesotho, a position she has held since January 2012. Prior to this appointment, she served as the director of financial markets at the Bank. Makenete serves as a member of the Gender and Women’s Financial Inclusion Committee (GWFIC) of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI).
  5. Wendy Luhabe (South Africa) is an entrepreneur, author, and pioneer. She previously served as the jury president for Sub-Saharan Africa for the Cartier women’s initiative award. Luhabe is currently chairperson of Vendome SA, the Industrial Development Corporation, and the International Marketing Council.
  6. Susan Mashibe (Tanzania) is founder and executive director of VIA Aviation. She is a FAA certified commercial pilot and an aircraft maintenance engineer. Mashibe is the first woman with both qualifications in Tanzania. She also serves as Director of the Kilimanjaro Aviation logistic Center.
  7. Irene Ovonji-Odida (Uganda) is chief executive officer of the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers. She is recognized as one of the pioneers of legal aid and public legal education in sub-Saharan Africa. Ovonji-Odida also serves as the chairperson for Action Aid International and was recently appointed to a UN High-Level Panel on illicit financial flows from Africa.
  8. Linah Mohohlo (Botswana) played a key role in one of Africa’s most successful economies as former governor of Botswana’s central bank. She is a member of the Commission for Africa and the Africa Progress Panel.
  9. Dambisa Moyo (Zambia) serves on the boards of several companies to include Barclays Bank, Chevron and the Barrick Gold corporation. Prior to this, she worked at the World Bank and Goldman Sachs. Moyo is an author and an international economist who analyzes macroeconomic and global affairs.
  10. Ruth Oniang’o (Kenya) is a leading academic expert in Food Security and Nutrition. She founded the African Journal for Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development – a peer-reviewed journal on agricultural development in Africa. Oniang’o is also founder of the Rural Outreach Program, an NGO focused on improving the lives of those in rural areas.
  11. Almaz Negash (Eritrea / United States) is founder of the African Diaspora Network (ADN), which hosts the annual African Diaspora Investment Symposium, an event focused on helping investors and entrepreneurs in the diaspora connect with one another. Negash also serves as the senior managing director of Step Up Silicon Valley, a social innovation network and anti-poverty laboratory utilizing disruptive, research-based strategies to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity in Silicon Valley.
  12. Elizabeth Elango Bintliff (Cameroon) is chief executive officer of Junior Achievement Africa, a well-known organization providing business and economic education to young people. Prior to this appointment, she served as the vice-president of Africa programs at Heifer International.
  13. Aishah Ahmad (Nigeria) was recently appointed Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Prior to this, she was Head of Consumer and Privilege Banking at Diamond Bank. Ahmed also recently served as the chairperson of the executive council for WimBiz, an organization focused on addressing issues affecting women professionals in business and corporate bodies, with a particular attention on promoting and increasing women’s roles in corporate governance and leadership.
  14. Eniola Aluko (Nigeria/England) is a footballer who plays forward for Chelsea Ladies FC. She is also founder of Crescenda Sport, an organization providing internships and vocational experiences in the global sports industry to undergraduate and postgraduate students.  Aluko helped to expose the extent of discrimination and racism in the Football Association as she courageously gave her testimony of bullying, harassment, and racism to the select committee on culture, media, and sports in England.
  15. Polo Leteka (South Africa) is a co-founding shareholder of Identity Partners, Alitheia Identity Managers, and IDF Capital. IDF Capital invests in women entrepreneurs and women-led businesses.
  16. Ethiopia Habtemariam (Ethiopia / United States) is president of Motown Records and president of Urban Music/Co-Head of Creative at Universal Publishing Music Group. She is the 2017 recipient of the Mark of Excellence prize at the African Diaspora Awards.
  17. Osayi Alile (Nigeria) is chief executive officer of ACT Foundation, a subsidiary in partnership with Access Bank. Prior to this, she led the FATE Foundation and worked as the Vice President of Programs at Junior Achievement.
  18. Phanice Nkwamboka (Kenya): is the chief executive officer of Eye on Africa, a pan-African public affairs organization highlighting development and showcasing investment opportunities across sub-Saharan Africa. Nkwamboka has advised several presidential candidates across Africa and has campaigned for President Alassane Ouattara and Akinwunmi Adesina of the African Development Bank.
  19. Ilwad Elman (Somalia): is a Somali-Canadian social activist who works at the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in Mogadishu. Elman also runs Sister Somalia, the country’s first program for supporting victims of gender-based violence. The center provides counseling, health and housing support for women in need.
  20. Dorothy Njamze (Nigeria) is an actress and activist. Her, Edu Ene-Okoro, Justina Etim and Amarachi Jessyforth won a lawsuit against the Nigerian government in the ECOWAS court for a gross violation of their rights to dignity. They were abducted and assaulted sexually, physically, verbally and unlawfully detained from January 2011 and March 2013 by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board and other government agencies, to include the police and the military. In collaboration with other civil society organizations, they were awarded 18 million naira against the federal government of Nigeria.
  21. Peace Hyde (Ghana/Britain) is founder of Aim Higher Africa, a non-profit focused on enriching the quality of education for students in Ghana by incorporating the use of ICT. Hyde is also the Forbes West Africa Correspondent and Head of Digital Media and Partnerships for Forbes Africa.
  22. Molara Wood (Nigeria) is a writer, author, journalist and critic, who is described as ‘one of the eminent voices in Nigeria’s Art space.’ Wood previously served as a judge for the Etisalat Prize for Literature. She is on the advisory board of the Aké Arts and Book Festival and a participant at many literary events including the Lagos Book & Art Festival.
  23. Adaku Ufere (Nigeria) is a feminist, blogger and lawyer who specializes in regulatory compliance, contract negotiation and contract administration with a focus on oil, gas, and power. She is the youngest African and first Nigerian to win the African Legal Attorney of the Year award.
  24. Imelme Umana (Nigeria / United States) was recognized Person of the Year at the African Diaspora Awards. She is the first black woman to be elected President of Harvard Law Review.
  25. Judith Owigar (Kenya) is founder of Juakali and president of Akirachix, a platform focused on supporting African women in technology ecosystem. Owigar is a coder, blogger and tech enthusiast.
  26. Nshuti Lucy Mbabazi (Rwanda) is passionate about expanding access to digital and financial services throughout Africa. She currently serves as the group manager of Push Payments – Transnational Incorporated. Prior to this role, she worked as the Country Manager for Visa in Rwanda and as the Policy and Strategy Advisor for the Rwanda Development Board and ICT Department. Mbabazi is at the forefront of promoting and encouraging young women to pursue careers in technology.
  27. Pauline Mujawamariya-Koelbl (Rwanda/Switzerland) is director of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). She is a Bellagio/PopTech Catalyst, a joint initiative between the Rockefeller Foundation and PopTech, which brings together a global community of innovators and thought leaders from different fields to share insights and work together to create lasting change. Mujawamariya-Koelbl also sits on the board of the Flame Tree Initiative, an NGO focused on using ICTs to address the digital divide through collaboration with African universities.
  28. Lola Omolola (Nigeria/Chicago) is founder of ‘Female in Nigeria’, an empowerment group on Facebook with over one million members. The group highlights the voices of women around the world and was created to be a safe space to discuss the stories and struggles about life, love, sex, family and career.
  29. Toyin Odulate (Nigeria) is country director of Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition and founder of Olori Cosmetics – a hair, bath, body and beauty product line created with the best natural ingredients available in Africa. Odulate is recognized as one of the pioneers of organic beauty products in Nigeria.
  30. Marlise Montcho (Benin) is a telecoms engineer and president of FemTICDev, an organization focused on supporting women and girls in Benin by equipping them with the I.T. skills needed to become important actors in the technology ecosystem. Montcho is a YALI fellow and a Moremi Initiative ‘Emerging Women Leader.’
  31. Eunice Baguma Ball (Uganda/United Kingdom) is founder of the Africa Technology Business Network, a platform established to build a bridge between the tech communities in the United Kingdom and Africa. Her London-based social enterprise works to drive growth and impact in the African tech ecosystem by enabling investments, skills exchange, and collaborative opportunities. Ball also launched #HerFutureAfrica – a program helping to put women at the forefront of innovation in Africa by supporting them to create high-impact businesses.
  32. Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin (Nigeria) is founder of Pearls Africa Foundation, an organization that facilitates opportunities for vulnerable young girls in Nigeria. She is also creator of #GirlsCoding Nigeria, an initiative that equips, mentors, and trains girls from underserved communities in functional I.T. skills for the purpose of economic independence.
  33. Glory Edozien (Nigeria) is a blogger and the convener of  ‘9to5Chick’, a platform created to enable young women advance their careers by connecting them to accomplished executives as mentors and to discuss strategies for rising to the top.
  34. Blessing Effiom Egbe (Nigeria) is a leading Nollywood producer and content producer. She is also chief executive officer of B’Concept Network Productions.
  35. Oluwaseun Ayodeji Owosobi (Nigeria) is executive director of the Stand to End Rape Initiative, a youth-led not-for-profit organization raising awareness for, and working to end all forms of rape through education, supporting survivors, and changing community perceptions towards sexual violence and abuse in Nigeria. Owosobi also organizes the HERE Exhibition, which uses photography to share the stories of survivors.
  36. Ink Eze (Nigeria) is founder of, a platform created to share African traditional styles and fabrics. With the AsoEbiBella platform, BellaNaija Weddings has gained international prominence and has become Africa’s foremost wedding media brand with millions of followers across several platforms.
  37. Uneku Atawodi-Ekun (Nigeria) is general manager of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Ghana. She is also recognized as ‘Nigeria’s Polo Queen.’
  38. Esther Ijewere (Nigeria) is a Vital Voices Leadership Fellow, an activist and founder of Rubies Ink Initiative for Women and Children, an organization that organizes projects to include, the Walk Against Rape, Women of Rubies, Project Capable, Rubies Ink Media and the College Acquaintance Rape Education Workshops.
  39. Moiyattu Banya (Sierra Leone/United States) is a feminist, writer, activist, and founder of the Girls Empowerment Summit. Banya is passionate about getting young girls out of poverty. Her platform, the Girls Empowerment summit was established to build the leadership capabilities and skills of young girls in Sierra Leone.
  40. Bidemi Zakariyau (Nigeria) is an entrepreneur and founder of LSF|PR, a public relations consulting firm with core competencies in corporate communications, consumer and lifestyle brands. Zakariyau also founded The Luxe Digest, a pan-African luxury content platform. She handles the day–to-day management of LSF|PR and leads her team to create the communications strategy for clients. She is winner of the 2017 LaPriga Rising PR Practitioner of the Year Award.

AWP Network 2013 Power List 

AWP Network 2014 Power List

AWP Network 2015 Power List

AWP Network 2016 Power List







































9 Entrepreneurs Join the Jobs for Youths in Africa Initiative

The Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative aims at creating 25 million jobs and impacting 50 million youth over the next ten years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs.

PYAG members are:

  • Ashish Thakkar, CEO, Mara Group, Tanzania (Chair);
  • Uzodinma Iweala, award-winning author, Nigeria;
  • Mamadou Toure, Founder / CEO, Africa 2.0 / Ubuntu Capital, Cameroon;
  • Vanessa Moungar, Human and Social Development Director, AfDB and member of President Macron’s Presidential Council for Africa, Chad;
  • Francine Muyumba, President, Panafrican Youth Union, Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • Jeremy Johnson, Co-founder, Andela, USA;
  • Clarisse Iribagiza, CEO, Hehe, Rwanda;
  • Ada Osakwe, CEO, Agrolay Ventures, Nigeria;
  • Monica Musonda, CEO of Java Foods, Zambia.

President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina, has launched the Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) to provide insights and innovative solutions for job creation for Africa’s youth, as outlined in the Bank’s Jobs for Youths in Africa Strategy.

The Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative aims at creating 25 million jobs and impacting 50 million youth over the next ten years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs. It is currently the largest effort going on for youth employment in Africa today.

The advisory group, inaugurated on the sidelines of the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan on Monday, November 27, will work with the Bank to create jobs for Africa’s youth.

“This is a huge opportunity for Africa. If we fix the youth unemployment challenge, Africa will gain 10-20% annual growth. That means Africa’s GDP will grow by $500 million per year for the next thirty years. Africa’s per capita income will rise by 55% every year to the year 2050,” Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) said at the inauguration of the Group.

Learn more here: Jobs for African Youths 

























Cornell Student, Kanyinsola Obayan to Establish Creative Arts School in Nigeria

Kányinsọ́lá Ọbáyàn is a doctoral candidate in Africana Studies at Cornell, an Ivy League research university in Ithaca, New York where her research examines the relationships between the Lagos startup ecosystem migration and the larger urban environment. Obayan is also founder of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Orísun Collective Inc., which holds summer camps in the creative arts for secondary school students in Lagos, Nigeria. She is passionate about arts and culture, social entrepreneurship, and economic development on the African Continent.

How did you come up with your business name? 

For my business, I wanted a name that reflected my passion for the African culture. I also wanted something meaningful. After a brainstorming session with my father, I came up with the name Orisun, which means ‘the source’ or ‘beginning’ in Yoruba. I then spoke with several individuals who would later become members of my team and the “collective” part was later added on to it.

Who or what inspired you to start this idea? 

December 2015, I was having brunch with some friends and I had informed them that I would like to start a school for the creative arts in Nigeria within the next seven to ten years. My friends were very supportive but at that time it was simply an idea and I didn’t know how to implement it. However one friend in particular, who is now an advisory board member gave me the push I really needed to start. He encouraged me to work on the idea right away. He said, “why don’t you start a summer camp in the meantime to get the traction you need until you can afford to build a school.” And that was how Orisun Collective was born.

Who is your target market?  

My target market is secondary school students ages 10 to 17.

How have you financed the idea?

As a nonprofit, we have mainly relied on crowdfunding, individual donations, and grants. Right now, we are pursuing different funding methods to include: monthly giving programs as well as integrating a price structure for the students while offering reduced or free tuition for the economically disadvantaged.

What is your competitive edge?

There are many summer camps in Lagos that focus on the creative arts, we are however unique because of the emphasis on access and equity for all. Our program model foregrounds the necessity of diversity and inclusion by serving public and private secondary school students. We are also in the process of reconfiguring our program model to incorporate more technology and hands-on experiential knowledge.

What is the long-term plan for this idea?

We plan to expand the camp into a four-week residential summer experience for students across Nigeria. We also intend to implement an internship or apprenticeship component, which will provide interested students with hands-on experience. Lastly, we hope to transform the summer camp program into a premier secondary school for the creative arts for students across the continent and the Diaspora within the next seven to ten years.

What challenges have you faced?

One of the main challenges that we face as a nonprofit is in regards to the funding and sustainability of the program. Traditionally, nonprofits rely on individual donations, corporate donations, and grants. These methods can be very difficult especially for smaller nonprofits. Consequently, we are looking beyond these methods and thinking more creatively about new processes that can be integrated and implemented, to ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of the organization.

What five (5) things have you learned since starting this idea?

  1. Value people. Businesses are only as good as the communities they impact and the communities who support them.
  2. No experience—good or bad—is ever lost. Remember that it is just an opportunity that life presents for growth, personal or organizational.
  3. Value Hard work. Your gifts alone will not make room for you. But your gifts and hard work will make room for you.
  4. Be humble. True leadership is not about power. It is about service. It is about having a heart for people in need and caring about their stories.
  5. Self-care is necessary. Knowing when to step away for some time will make you more productive.

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What five (5) things do startup entrepreneurs need to know?

  1. Network, Network, Network! Startup entrepreneurs need to become expert networkers, who confidently seize every opportunity to build meaningful relationships.
  2. Seek knowledge. Seek knowledge and inspiration because this process will help you to refine your ideas.
  3. Keep the big picture in mind! In the startup phase, it is very easy to get bogged down with tiny details that come with building something new. Although focusing on the details are important, you should also remember the big picture, as it will serve as an overall filter for you.
  4. Be flexible and open. Flexibility is key especially when you are working with a team of people. You cannot do any of this alone. It is important to make sure that people have a voice and their voices are heard, listened to, and valued. Being open ensures that your team members play an integral role in helping you to actualize your vision.
  5. Be fearless. Do not let the fear of rejection or the unknown, limit you before you even start. Once you start, do not let fear stop you from achieving your mission. Have faith and be confident in your purpose as an individual and in your organization’s mission to society.

What advice do you have for youths looking to start an idea but say ‘there is no money’?

Start small, think big. Identify the core aspects of the idea and begin with that. You will be surprised at how far that will take you.

How do you think African youths can continue to support each other?

African youths can support one another by creating collaborative communities where resources, expertise, and inspiration can be shared.

How many jobs have you created so far?

We have created about 20 jobs so far.

How has technology enhanced your business? 

Technology is integral to our business. Operating with a small team requires that we make efficient use of our time. With technology, we are able to save money by utilizing user-friendly platforms or outsourcing to freelancers for more skilled work. Our website and social media platforms has been instrumental in raising awareness for our brand.

How can we support and improve innovation in Africa? 

By passionately and intentionally pursuing our purpose in service of the African Continent. No contribution is too small or insignificant.

Learn more about Orisun Collective here:

Website: Orisun Collective 

Instagram: Orisun Collective

Facebook: Orisun Collective

Twitter: Orisun Collective 


















Meet Winners of the Orange Social Venture Prize for Africa and the Middle East

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For the seventh year in a row, the Orange Group recognizes innovative projects that further development within the region. The objective of the prize is to stimulate entrepreneurial initiatives that use new technologies to meet the needs of people in Africa and the Middle East.

Open from February to June 2017, the call for applications received nearly 1,200 innovative project entries, which was 60% more than 2016. These projects illustrate the diverse ideas from local entrepreneurs and the potential of ICT in the development of Africa and the Middle East. Amongst the 49 local winners, 11 projects were selected and submitted to a jury made up of professionals, investors, external organizations and Orange organizations. The three winners will receive bursaries of €25,000, €15,000 and €10,000 and the Special Content Prize winner will receive €5,000. The finalists of the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize will also enjoy priority support for six months from the NGO Grow Movement and Orange experts.

The winning projects are:

1st prize was awarded to Manzer Partazer in Madagascar: The objective of the Malagasy startup is to reduce food waste by sharing excess food from restaurants, hotels or supermarkets with partner organisations such as orphanages and disadvantaged populations. A collaborative platform will allow direct communication between different stakeholders.

2nd prize was awarded to City Taps in Niger: CityTaps has developed a solution which bridges the gap between water services and the most disadvantaged citizens: a pre-payment service which includes a smart water meter and billing software. The beneficiaries use their mobile to prepay for running water with any mobile phone, at any time, for any amount, which improves their household budget.

3rd prize was awarded to in Tunisia: is a website based on the freight exchange principle. It links up senders, whether private individuals or companies, with transport and transit professionals in Tunisia. The senders publish adverts describing their needs and receive free quotations from carriers, movers, and international transport companies and customs forwarding agents.

The Special Orange Content Prize was awarded to Génie Edu in Cameroon: This is an e-learning platform which aims to help students having problems by providing online video courses. The startup wants every student, including those in remote areas, to have access to high-quality courses at a very low cost, anytime and anywhere.

Internet users were also invited to choose their “User Favourite” project. This project automatically qualified for the international final. This was the Malgasy project Majika – which received over 2,800 votes out of 12,242 votes online. Majika is a social company aiming to facilitate economic development conditions in rural zones. It is based on two areas: access to renewable electricity and support for rural entrepreneurship. Majika works on an autonomous and ecological power plant in the village of Ampasindava.

















Founder of AWP Network Joins the Host Committee for the African Diaspora Awards

Mary Olushoga, Founder of the AWP Network will join the host committee for the 7th Annual African Diaspora Awards set to take place in New York on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017.

The African Diaspora Awards will honor the new breed of African diaspora leaders, activists, designers and businesses solving the problems of today and tomorrow. The nominations over the years, has featured a cross-section of organizations, startups, and young talents.

The initiative celebrates innovation, creativity and enterprise amongst Africans in Diaspora aged 22 – 45. It has produced over 60 winners and over 1,550 nominees since its first edition in 2010.  There are 13 categories in all—ranging from Person of the Year, Advocate of the year, Entrepreneur of the year and more—and they’re judged by a sterling selection of designers and business leaders.

Learn more about the event here: ADA2017

Other members of the committee are:

Bette Mengesha
Saran Kaba Jones
Georgie Badiel
Rotimi Ogundeyin
Emmanuel Ohuabunwa
Mary Olushoga
Jessica Etsile Rapoo
Folake Eniola
Melissa Adeyemo
Mamadou Samba



























Meet Winners of Demo Day in Hargeisa

Innovate Ventures, the leading Somali tech and business startup accelerator launched in partnership with VC4A, Telesom, and the Work in Progress! Alliance, had their second cohort of 10 startups from Somaliland and Somalia graduate from their program. This year’s accelerator saw over 400 applications received, building on the traction of last year’s program. The seed investment given doubled from $15,000 last year to $30,000.

The Innovate Accelerator is a 12-week program created to support and fund the next wave of Somali startups. Mentorship and training was provided by domain experts and entrepreneurs and four startups from the programme received $30,000 in investment from Innovate Ventures Fund.

  • First place winner: Bilan Baby, a startup that sells baby furniture, accessories and baby clothing as well as maternity products.
  • Second place winners: SAMS, an agritech marketplace for farmers and buyers, Almijet – digital printing company.
  • Third place winner: Brandkii, an online marketing and advertising startup





























Check Out What These Young Entrepreneurs Are Up to! The AWP Network Congratulates Winners of the 2017 Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition

The AWP Network congratulates winners of the 2017 Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition. 

Winners of the Competition were announced on October 21, 2017 at the Entrepreneurship Summit in Berlin, Germany. Mary Olushoga, Founder of the AWP Network served as a judge at the event.

The Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition is a global program and an online platform to mobilize youth-led innovations for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Co-organized by the Goi Peace Foundation (GAP Key Partner), Stiftung Entrepreneurship and Digital Experts United, the Competition invites young entrepreneurs (age 15-35) from around the world to submit their innovative ideas and projects with a societal impact, which champions and implements one or more of the 17 SDGs.

Best Ideas Category
Grand Prize winner: EDU-CELL – Afghanistan
Second Prize winner: NovFeed – Tanzania + People’s Choice Award winner
Third Prize winner: GadaaUniverse (GU) – United Kingdom
Best Projects Category
Grand Prize winner: BHOGIP – The senseperspective bracelet for people with visual disabilities – Nicaragua
Second Prize winner: EDUPAY – Ghana
Third Prize winners: 1. Preventing Childhood Malaria – Brazil + People’s Choice Award winner
                                      2. Cities Controlling App – Ethiopia










Meet the 20 Startups Accepted into the World Bank Group Digital Acceleration Program

Twenty (20) of the most promising African digital startups will take part in the XL Africa residency, the flagship initiative of the business accelerator launched last April by the World Bank Group’s infoDev program. From Nov. 6-17 in Cape Town, the entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from their mentors and peers, increase their regional visibility, and get access to potential corporate partners and investors.

The residency will conclude with the XL Africa Venture Showcase, a regional event organized in association with the African Angel Investor Summit, in which the entrepreneurs will present their business models to a select audience of corporations and investors. With support from African investment groups, XL Africa will help the start-ups attract early stage capital between US$250,000 and US$1.5 million.

Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these start-ups specialize in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B.  All companies provide a digital product or service currently available in one or more African markets and show potential to scale across the region.  XL Africa is funded by the governments of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and administered by the World Bank Group with implementation support from IMC Worldwide, VC4A, and Koltai & Co.

The selected start-ups are:

  • Aerobotics (Data, South Africa)
  • Asoko Insight (Data, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, United Kingdom, and Nigeria)
  • Coin Afrique (Marketplace, Senegal and Benin)
  • Edgepoint Digital (Jamii) (FinTech – Insurance, Tanzania)
  • Electronic Settlement Limited (FinTech, Nigeria)
  • Lynk Jobs Ltd. (HR, Kenya)
  • MAX (Transport, Nigeria)
  • ogaVenue (Venue Platform, Nigeria)
  • Ongair (SME Services, Kenya)
  • (FinTech, Kenya)
  • Prepclass (EdTech, Nigeria)
  • Printivo (Printing, Nigeria)
  • Rasello Company Ltd. (SME Services, Tanzania)
  • Rensource (Energy, Nigeria)
  • Sendy Ltd. (Delivery, Kenya)
  • Snapplify (Publishing, South Africa and Kenya)
  • Sokowatch (Delivery, Kenya)
  • TalentBase (HR, Nigeria)
  • Timbuktu (Travel, South Africa)
  • Tizeti Network Ltd. (Connectivity, Nigeria)













Founder of AWP Network wins award at AWIEF 2017

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Mary Olushoga, Founder of the African Women Power (AWP) Network won the empowerment award at the recently concluded AWIEF conference, which took place in Cape Town, South Africa. AWIEF, which stands for the Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum is a Pan-African initiative and platform created to bring attention and focus to the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit the African woman possesses while exploring obstacles that may stop her from breaking down barriers and prevent her from reaching her maximum potential in society.

Irene Ochem, Founder of AWIEF states, “entrepreneurship is indispensable to the economic development of a nation and innovation is a key factor for business growth. Having an innovative approach creates more opportunities for business success. Entrepreneurship when combined with innovation creates a powerful tool for unlocking potentials that will foster the financial and economic empowerment of the African woman. We are indeed delighted and honored to present this award to Mary Olushoga for her work towards supporting and empowering the African woman.”














Business Tips from Latifat Balogun – Founder of Hatlab Ice Cream Delite

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  • Look for what makes your brand stand out, then build on it and be the best at it.
  • People do not come to work for you but for themselves. They only work for you if you have earned their respect or give them a meaningful incentive, not because you give them orders.
  • While gut feelings play a key role in making a right or wrong decision, it is important to still do a proper feasibility study before embarking on a project.
  • Try to avoid paying in full for supplies, negotiate opportunities to pay in installments. This helps achieve more in less time using other people’s funds.
  • When the business is small it is easy to manage staff and the enthusiasm they bring to the business. But when you grow, you have to deal with work issues but also issues outside the workplace.

Latifah states, Sweet success like this doesn’t come without a lot of discipline and a willingness to invest in yourself. Latifat wants women especially to understand this. “Women face a lot of barriers to owning a business in Nigeria, factors like lack of capacity, skills, and structure that affect how we raise capital and compete favorably. But why should anyone be willing to invest in your business when you are not willing to do so yourself? When you’re looking for finance, you must be able to demonstrate the need to use your own funds before asking for help. I’ve resorted to selling my jewelry to meet down payments. What is the economic value of anything if you cannot put it to use when needed? We are what we make of our dreams. Nothing is impossible if only we can try and are willing to make sacrifices to get there.”

You may learn more about Latifah here: SheInspiresHer



































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