5 African Female Founders Everyone Should Know

Article 5 African Founders
The time is right to be a female fonder in Africa. In 2018 the overall amount of startup investment nearly quadrupled. The number of fundraising transactions has also been skyrocketing. Each year the numbers the previous ones by large. Indeed, in Africa female founders have the highest rate compared to all women entrepreneurs in the world, Southeast Asia & Pacific having 11%, Middle East female entrepreneurs land at 9% and fempreneurs from Europe and Central Asia make up only 6%. In other words, the African continent has great potential as well as many hidden startup gems waiting to be discovered. For instance, here are 5 African female founders worth following.

Jasmine Samantar – Founder of Samawat Energy, Somalia

Jasmine Samantar is an entrepreneur from East Africa. She studied in France and UK political economy, specializing in conflict zones from the African continent. After that, she focused on creating a bridge between renewable energy and affordability. Samawat Energy is a female-founded renewable energy company. The company provides affordable, off-grid, solar home solutions to residents in Somalia through the use of micro-leasing, rent-to-own system.

Farah Emara - Co-Founder of FreshSource, Egypt

Farah Emara has extensive experience with startups. First, she completed her BSc in Business, Economics, Development & Policy in the UK. Then she followed by a Masters in Management at London School of Economics. Afterward, she worked in P&G as the Head of the Strategic Communications Department and was awarded the Obama Young African Leaders Prize.

Her startup FreshSource is a fresh alternative in Egypt to obtaining fresh fruits and vegetables. Launched in 2019 out of Cairo by Farah and Omar Emara, FreshSource has built a strong network of thousands of producers and hundreds of businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, online retailers, and traditional retailers supplying them with their fresh fruit and vegetable needs. The company is scaling at a rapid pace and is now serving major customers across 11 Egyptian cities. Learn more about FreshSource.

Neema Iyer - Founder of Pollicy, Uganda

Neema Iyer is an artist and a technologist. She founded Pollicy, an award-winning feminist civic technology collective based in Kampala, Uganda. Furthermore, Neema is the co-host of the Terms and Conditions podcast, a Senior Fellow on Trustworthy AI with Mozilla Foundation, and is on Facebook/Meta’s Global Women’s Safety Advisory Board. Moreover, she was recently a Practitioner Fellow at Stanford’s Digital Civil Society Lab.

Her startup Pollicy is an award-winning East African feminist civic technology collective. The work and research of Pollicy span across the use and implementation of data and technology to engineer social change. Pollicy implements projects through which Africans can take back control of their data. The Pollicy team of professionals is driven by the mission to advance how data is conceptualized, used, and reproduced for the development of fair societies. Learn more about Pollicy.

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Diarra Bousso - Founder of DIARRABLU, Senegal

Diarra Bousso is an Entrepreneur, Creative Mathematician, and Multidisciplinary Artist born in Dakar, Senegal. Initially, Diarra started her professional career on Wall Street as a Structured Products Trader. Later she became an Asset Finance Analyst. She has launched several startups since 2013, notably DIARRABLU with the aim to celebrate her African heritage while empowering local artisan communities. 

The brand’s mission is to iterate for sustainability while highlighting the African continent’s rich colors and unique patterns through practical and versatile pieces designed using mathematical concepts or algorithms. Innovative creative mathematics through the use of algebraic graphs and geometric transformations to create iconic prints are the end results.

The majority of the pieces are produced in Dakar, Senegal, and the brand’s ethos is focused on sustainability, wanderlust, tradition, and algorithms. Diarra has showcased her collections during New York and Paris Fashion Week and represented Senegal at World Fashion Week Paris. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Forbes, CNN and The New York Times among others. Learn more about DIARRABLU.

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu - Founder of soloRebels, Ethiopia

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is an Ethiopian female founder. She was born and raised in the Zenabwork. To clarify, it is a total area of Addis Ababa, one of the most impoverished and marginalized communities of Ethiopia. Growing up Bethlehem saw that Ethiopia had plenty of charity “brands” but not a single global brand of its own. Thus, she set out to change all that. Most importantly, tapping into her community’s and the nations’ rich artisan wealth and heritages, Bethlehem set about reimagining what footwear could be.

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu founded soleRebels in 2005 as a way to blend her Ethiopian community’s creative artisan talents with the traditional ‘barabasso’ (Ethiopian recycled tire) shoe. As a result, the product is unique and original footwear, driven by the ethos of ethical production, sustainable materials, and maximum comfort. Learn more about soloRebels.

Rising number of ArficanFemale Founders

In conclusion, the numbers of African female founders are rising continuously in recent years. They make up the highest percentage rate among all women entrepreneurs around the world. African female founders unite modernity with tradition. The strive to create an affordable as well as sustainable life on the African continent is at the heart of many female entrepreneurs. Science and fashion oblige the rules of traditions in order to be integrated into the life there. Many African female founders receive funding for example from programs such as Women Entrepreneurship For Africa. The future holds many unknowns but the ever-growing female founders network in Africa remains to this day a constant.

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