While there are only a tiny handful of under-30 entrepreneurs who have succeeded in building million-dollar businesses, there is a rising number of young Africans who are building fast-growing companies in food manufacturing, engineering, technology, hospitality, and any other industry you can think of. They are creating jobs, paying taxes, igniting the entrepreneurial spark amongst their contemporaries, and ultimately, playing pivotal roles in the continent’s renaissance. You can’t ignore them anymore. We acknowledge the Kenyans who have made it to the top 30;
1. Khetia Khetia,28, is the founder of Tria Group, a Kenyan outdoor transit advertising firm that uses public transit vehicles to market leading consumer goods in Kenya. Tria, which was founded in 2013, already has annual revenues exceeding $1.3 million.
2. Catherine Mahugu, 27, is a co- founder of Soko, an online destination platform for shoppers to discover handcrafted accessories from all over the world and purchase them directly from the designers and artisans. In 2013, the company raised $700,000 from a Dubai-based investment firm. At Soko, Mahugu leads innovation to foster new scalable and appropriate solutions. She is an International Telecom Union (ITU) Young Innovators fellow.
3. Teresa Mbagaya, 28, co-founder Econet wireless previously worked at Google on its Education team and partnered with the Emerging Markets Outreach team to provide free open source education materials to emerging markets. In 2013, she joined Econet Wireless as the youngest executive to found and lead Econet Education. Since joining Econet, Teresa has launched 3 education services in Zimbabwe with further aims for international expansion: Econet Zero targets 5 million Econet Broadband subscribers offering them free access to 50+ education websites including Coursera, EdX, Wikipedia, Codecademy and others; a global first for any Mobile Network Operator in scale. EcoSchool targets all tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe, an education platform that provides on-the-go, affordable, and reliable access to world-class educational content via the EcoSchool tablet. Recently, the business launched EcoSchool Academy to all 9 million subscribers, an interactive mobile learning environment which provides 50 short courses covering a range of topics. Econet Education has reduced the costs for Medical Students in Zimbabwe, providing tablets on which they can access their text books at significant savings.
4. Mubarak Muyika,20, Founder Zagace Limited and is one of Kenya’s most promising young tech entrepreneurs. When he was 16, he founded Hypecentury Technologies, a web hosting company. He sold the company two years later to Wemps Telecoms in a 6-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.
5. Hasnain Noorani, 32, CEO Pride Group inherited a small driving school and car hire business from his father only four years ago. He is widely credited with expanding that business into what is known today as the Pride Group, a Kenyan conglomerate that owns a portfolio of six 3-star hotels across Kenya under the ‘PrideInn’ brand, bakeries, restaurants, a tour company and other assets.
6. Kelvin Macharia Kuria, Kenyan Founder, Sunrise Tracking Kuria, 23, is the founder of Sunrise Tracking, a Nairobi-based vehicle security tech firm that offers GPS tracking, CCTV and ability to turn engines off remotely via SMS.
7. Eric Kinoti, 30, is the founder of Shades System East Africa, a $1 million (annual sales) company that manufactures military and relief tents, branded gazebos, restaurant canopies, car parking shades, marquees, luxury tents, wedding party tents canvas seats and bouncing castles across the region. The company’s biggest clients are non-governmental and humanitarian organizations. Based in Nairobi, Shades System exports its products to Somalia, Congo and Rwanda.
8. Ronak Shah, 27 year old Asian-Kenyan is the founder and CEO of Kronex Chemicals Ltd, a fast-growing manufacturer of low-cost household cleaning products such as dishwashing liquids and multi-purpose detergent targeted at Kenya’s lower class.
9. Barclay Paul, 23, is the founder of Impact Africa Industries, a company that produces low cost sanitary pads for poor women in informal settlements Kenya three years ago and he now sells the pads to as far as Uganda and South Sudan. The company is located in Kitale, a small town in Western Kenya and has 23 employees, 15 of whom are women who help in production and distribution of the sanitary pads.