Young entrepreneurs are changing the face of Africa. I set out to produce a list of the 30 Africans under 30 years old who are making the most dramatic impact across the continent. To do so, in November I enlisted an outside panel of 12 judges from across Africa to help identify this group of outstanding entrepreneurs and innovators under the age of 30.
Cut across Real Estate, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Media, Tech, Green tech, Healthcare, Agriculture and Fashion, the 30 young African entrepreneurs, disruptors and innovators featured on this list are impatient to change Africa. Together, they represent the entrepreneurial, innovative and intellectual best of their generation.
They’re solving problems like healthcare and electricity shortages, proffering innovative solutions to waste management, building virtual and physical communities and creating lots of jobs. A few of them are manufacturing the foods we love, designing exquisite clothing for our women and some are developing some cool apps for mobile phones across Africa.
Of course, this list is by no means official or exhaustive, but this is the closest you’ll get to a definitive list.
A round of applause for Africa’s 30 Under 30 – the continent’s best young entrepreneurs, today’s disruptors and tomorrow’s brightest stars:
1. Jonathan Liebmann, South African
Real Estate developer, CEO of Propertuity
Liebmann, 28, is the Managing Director of Propertuity, a South African Real Estate development company and the brains behind the construction of the Maboneng Precinct, a thriving cultural district in the east side of Johannesburg’s CBD. Once a neglected and deteriorating neighborhood housing abandoned industrial complexes, Liebmann transformed Maboneng into a vibrant urban mixed-use community complete with Art galleries, artist studios, retail spaces, offices and artist studios.
2. Patrick Ngowi, Tanzanian
CEO, Helvetic Solar Contractors
Nine years ago, Patrick Ngowi, 28, received a small loan from his mother to start off a business. He started off selling Chinese mobile phones, but when he discovered that a tiny fraction of Tanzanians enjoyed any access to stable and reliable electricity, he knew he had to rectify that problem. Ngowi set up Helvetic Solar Contractors Limited, a company that is a pioneer in the supply, installation and maintenance of solar systems throughout the Northern Circuit of Tanzania. Helvetic Solar Contractors is the first company in the Northern Circuit to cater for Solar needs. The company did about $3 million in revenues last year.