5 AFRICAN FEMALE FOUNDERS AND TECHPRENEURS MAKING IT BIG

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Today, we focus on Africa’s female techpreneurs. In a field that is widely dominated by males, these young and vibrant women are championing the cause of the African woman. We celebrate them.

  1. NKEMDILIM BEGHOFounder and CEO Future Software Resources NigeriaNkemdilim Begho is the Managing Director of a leading IT solution provider in Nigeria, she co-created Futuresoft’s i-Connect Project, an ICT4D initiative focused on education, which won the 2012 Etisalat Prize for innovation and the AR-CSR™ 2013 Sustainable Solutions Showcase. She serves as a Board Member and Jury Member of the World Summit Youth Award focused on the implementation of technology in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.Nkem came back to Nigeria after studying abroad and completing her National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) and later established Future Software Resources Nigeria Ltd, a company that has been around for six years now; When asked Nkem how and why she started, she said “Before I did my NYSC, I was working for a technology start up company who was working for Linux Company and working there, I realised that I had loads of ideas and needed to push it out there. I did my NYSC at a company called Specialised Outsourcing and I was in charge of developing a recruitment data base for them. I wanted to see how working in Nigeria would be. A friend of mine suggested I join in doing hosting and website design so I spent some time writing my business plan and I started telling people that I met what kind of work I do.”

    People find it weird when I tell them I am into ICT, their first impression is that I am either into entertainment, marketing or the likes…they always get shocked when they find out I am opposite of what they think. I really do not believe this should be so though. I remember while in the university, I and my other friend would wear our heels and our schoolmates just couldn’t put it together and my idea has always been ‘who says a techy girl can’t be fashionable?” she says.

  2. RAPELANG RABANAFounder and CEO, Rekindle LearningShe has been named to Oprah’s 2012 ‘O’ Power List, one of Forbes’ Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs 30 under 30, is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and has been mentioned by CNN as Africa’s “Marissa Mayers”. However, this Botswana born serial entrepreneur’s greatest achievement is not in the awards or the accolades, impressive as they are. She has managed to epically disrupt the tech space by introducing high end innovative software through Yiego Communications, an innovative Cape Town based company that developed some of the world’s earliest mobile VoIP applications.Rapelang recently founded an education technology company-Rekindle Learning, which employs mobile devices in tailoring methods of learning to each and every one of its users. The learning applications apply the latest learning pedagogies to ensure that learning actually happens and knowledge is built up, right at the palm of the hands. Rekindle Learning was profiled in the McKinsey report Lions go Digital: The Internet’s transformative potential in Africa as a ‘striking innovation’ in mobile learning.
  3. CLARISSE IRIBAGIZA
    Co-founder and CEO of Hehe LimitedA graduate of the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, Iribagiza worked with other young ICT entrepreneurs to launch The iHills, Rwanda’s tech start-up network. A techpreneur with a purpose to empower and mobilize the birth of an active and vibrant tech scene in Rwanda.Clarisse Iribagiza is the CEO of HeHe Limited, a leading mobile technologies Company founded in 2010, Rwanda. HeHe limited is now at the forefront of the mobile technological revolution, providing powerful new ways for businesses and organizations to reach their audience fast, affordably and conveniently.She studied Computer Engineering and Information Technology at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.
    In 2011, she together with other young ICT entrepreneurs launched The iHills, Rwanda’s tech start-up network, founded on the simple premise that Rwanda can be the birthplace of the next big thing in technology. The iHills continues to provide mentoring, access to finance and markets for tech start-ups in Rwanda.
    Clarisse is also the winner of the East African entrepreneur reality TV show, Inspire Africa Season 1 where she walked away with 50,000USD.
  4. FEYI OLOPADEFeyi Olopade
    Founder and CEO CancerIQFeyi is the Founder and CEO of Cancer IQ Inc, a care management platform developed to help streamline increasingly complex decisions in oncology – improving access to specialty care at lower costs. The web based data application analyzes complex data to inform decisions on translational research, treatment options for patients and aids the development of enhanced personalized prevention, treatment and care plans for patients and their families.A former investment banker at Credit Suisse, Feyi Olopade realized an opportunity to bring a merge of technology and innovation into the healthcare industry. The concept behind her vision is not new in the world of analytics – using big data to discern patterns and make better decisions. However, in an ever growing and dynamic healthcare industry, this has started to become the basis of competitive advantage, especially in the provision of treatment and care.CancerIQ is now a portfolio company of Rock Health and member of the 5th class. Feyi has both a BSc and MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
  5. REBECCA ENONCHONG
    Rebecca EnonchongFounder and CEO AppsTech
    Rebecca Enonchong (born 1967) is a Cameroonian born technology entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of AppsTech and is best known for her work promoting technology in Africa.Enonchong has been a recipient of various awards from organizations such as the World Economic Forum. Forbes listed her as one of the 10 Female Tech Founders To Watch In Africa during 2014. Her company, an Oracle Platinum partner, offers a diverse range of enterprise software products and services including implementation, training and application management services for large and medium-sized companies. Enonchong also serves as an advisor/mentor to several African tech startups and is also the founder of the Africa Technology Forum, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting technology in Africa.

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