Dr. Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun: Co-Founder & Chairperson The United Africa Group – The Winning Mindset, Defying the Odds to Build a Multi-Billion Dollar Conglomerate.
On this weeks episode, I chat with Dr. Martha...
We made it to the end of season 1! Yay!!!
In Season 1, i interviewed 20 incredible female entrepreneurs from 10 different African Countries and in this final episode i reflect on my 3 main takeaways: why women start businesses, building a legacy business and the challenge of access to finance. I also reference some episodes to highlight my points. In addition, i talk about the special series we ran in honor of Fathers Day – Lessons and Legacy which is available on our website www.africanbusinessstories.com and coming soon to all podcast platforms.
Aisha Ayensu is the Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Christie Brown a fashion house based out of Accra, Ghana. An award winning fashion designer, Aisha started Christie Brown in 2008, in her final year of university, naming the company after her grand mother who was a seamstress and her inspiration. Christie Brown has grown to become an internationally recognized fashion brand manufacturing women’s apparel and accessories primarily inspired by African art and culture.
Barkue Tubman-Zawolo: Founder & CEO, MBL Intl. Group – Liberia’s Boss Lady, A Serial Entrepreneurs Journey To Impact and Results.
Barkue is the Founder and CEO of MBL International Group – a boutique International consulting and creative agency. The grand-daughter of the late President Williams V.S Tubman Liberia’s longest serving President, she left Liberia for the United States following a coup. Between 1997 and 2007, Barkue, working in a male dominated industry, set up and ran one of the few female led artist management companies – Miss Boss Lady Entertainment – she managed and worked on the management team of some of the most successful international artists at the time.
Nokwazi Mzobe: Founder & CEO Matoyana – Supporting Survivalist Entrepreneurs, From Consulting to Content Creation.
Nokwazi Mzobe is the founder and lead consultant at Matoyana, an entrepreneurship & sustainability focused consulting firm in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is also an author, coach and adjunct lecturer. Her first book, The Small Business Handbook, is a guide created for start-up and early stage businesses. It is available in English and isiZulu. She also creates content for her business blog, as well as other platforms.
Ehime Eigbe-Akindele: Founder & CEO Sweetkiwi – Pioneering Frozen Yoghurt in Nigeria and Taking The Brand Global
Ehime started making her own frozen yogurt when she realized most available brands weren’t as healthy as they claimed and created her clean-label recipe which brought about the birth of Sweetkiwi in 2011. This journey took her from Texas to Nigeria, where she opened 3 physical store locations.
She has created flavors for and led partnerships with many exciting brands such as Moet & Chandon, Pepsi, Guinness, Baileys to name a few. In 2017, Ehime moved to the DC area and was accepted into the Union Kitchen food accelerator to launch her delicious Whipped Greek Yogurt in grocery stores, most recently she launched in Whole Foods Market.
Joycee Awosika: Founder & CEO ORÍKÌ – The Path to Impact, From Agro-Beauty to Business Process Guru.
Joycee Awosika is the Founder and CEO of ORÍKÌ. In pursuit of purpose, Joycee left her job with Constellation Energy, a Fortune 100 company in New York and moved to Nigeria in 2011. She held a few roles in the power sector including serving as the Technical Adviser on Research, Analysis and Informatics (Performance Monitoring) to the Honorable Minister of Power. Working in the public sector wasn’t all she had imagined it to be so she decided to pursue her passion and launch an agro-beauty company. She launched ORÍKÌ in 2015, the first and only all natural farm to skin brand to operate a fast-growing premium product & wellness spa on the Continent. ORÍKÌ has developed 6 spas in four years and distributes products globally. Based on her experience and success, she has set up a new business called SOAR. SOAR is an operations and business process consultancy that works closely with businesses and individuals for sustainability, consistency and standards.
Petua & Joseline Kateeba: Crest Foam Limited – Second Generation Business, A Successful Succession Story
On the show I interview a mother-daughter duo. Petra and Joseline Kateeba. We talk about executing an effective succession, bouncing back from loss and what scaling means to a second generation Ugandan business.
Mrs Petua Kateeba is the Co-founder and a shareholder in Crest Foam Limited. She trained as a midwife and co-founded the company with her late husband in 1984. Following her husband’s death in 1992, she stepped into the leadership role and led Crest Foam from a small market player to a #1/#2 market leader. During her tenure, Crest Foam was named one of the Top 50 Brands in Uganda by Private Sector Foundation in its Proudly Ugandan campaign; she also won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from UWEAL. In 2015, she handed over the reigns to her daughter Joseline.
Flora Mutahi is the Founder & CEO of Melvin March International owners of Kenya’s largest flavored tea brand. In 1995, Flora heard about the planned deregulation of the tea industry in Kenya. She saw this as an opportunity and with very little industry knowledge and resources, she decided to go into the tea business. While enjoying a cup of tea one day, she had a light bulb moment and discovered a gap in the market. This led her to create Kenya’s first flavored tea brand – Melvins Teas. Today, the product range has expanded to include not only flavored teas but herbal and fruit infusions.
Yoadan Tilahun: Founder & CEO, Flawless Events – When Passion Meets Opportunity, Turning a Side Hustle into a Business
Yoadan Tilahun is the founder & CEO of Flawless Events. A corporate events company based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Yoadan went to the United States for college and for 15 years did not visit her home country. On a family trip to Addis in 2007, she felt so at home she never went back. A friend knowing she did events as a side business in the United States, asked her to help organize a conference and Flawless Addis Ababa was born!
Amal Hassan is the Founder and CEO of Outsource Global. A leading business process outsourcing company based in Nigeria and serving countries in Africa, the United States, UK and Japan. Her passion to unlock Nigeria’s development potential through technology-driven innovation and value addition led her to build, capitalize and restructure a series of technology-related businesses that succeed in developing talents and creating employment for young Nigerians.
Valerie wanted to do things differently. She told herself she was young, didn’t have the funds and needed more experience. Passion said no! So she quite her job, sold everything she owned raising $10,000. With that seed money she started Niyel, a campaigns and advocacy firm based in Dakar, Senegal. It’s been 12 years since she took that leap and we explore the journey so far.
Monica Musonda is CEO & Founder of Java Foods, a Zambian based food processing company. Java Foods first product was “eeZee Instant Noodles”, which has become Zambia’s leading instant noodle brand. Java Foods also manufactures and distributes eeZee Supa Cereal (a fortified instant cereal/porridge).
Her experience working with one of Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs gave her the impetus to start her own business and in 2012, she moved back to Zambia and set up Java Foods. In a country where the landscape is dominated by foreign multinationals, Java Foods is a Zambian business run by a Zambian woman. Monica is one of a few Zambian women involved in manufacturing/agro-processing at a scalable level.
Nichole Yembra: Founder and Managing Partner, The Chrysalis Capital – Journey to Funding African Tech Companies
Nichole Yembra is the Founder and Managing Director of The Chrysalis Co which houses The Chrysalis Capital, a $15M African tech fund and The Chrysalis Advisors, a financial, investment, and strategy firm. Previously, she was the Chief Financial Officer for a PE Backed $80M fintech holding company and served as Managing Partner of its investment arm.
The African creative industry includes music, film and fashion and is attracting a lot of attention from investors. My guest, Roberta Annan and I will explore this in the context of her business journey from a pre-med education to a career in development, building and utilizing a solid network to wealth creation. A rich story with a lot of life lessons.
Africa has the highest concentration of female entrepreneurs, accounting for almost a third of all businesses on the continent. It’s safe to say we are a continent of strong women! That said, women continue to face enormous institutional and systematic challenges as well as gender violence. Women seem disadvantaged from the jump.
In addressing these issue, the burden had rested disproportionately on women. What role do men have to play? The ability to shift entitlement and using privilege for good required intentionality. We discuss these in my upcoming podcast interview with Mrs. Ifeoma I. Idigbe.
Vivian Nwakah is the Founder and CEO of Medsaf a tech enabled pharmaceutical distribution company based in Lagos, Nigeria. Vivian was born and raised in the United States and as part of her MBA, she moved to Nigeria for an internship in 2013 and never left! Medsaf was set up in 2016 and connects a fragmented supply chain to provide transparency to pharmaceutical companies and provide authentic drugs to hospital, pharmacies and patients. In 2019 Medsaf won the Seedstars Malaria Challenge, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Mo Abudu is the Founder and CEO of EbonyLife Media, Africa’s first Global Black Entertainment and Lifestyle network. She is a talk show host, TV producer, human resource management consultant, media personality, entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. The first African to chair the International Emmy Awards Gala, first African to be awarded the Cannes Medallies d’Honneurs and described by Forbes as Africa’s Most Successful Woman.
Amanda Cotterman is the Founder and Managing Partner at Equalife Group, a Venture Debt company based in Nairobi, Kenya. With a background in finance and after having run two previous businesses in Kenya, she realized there wasn’t enough debt financing in Africa. Using her own money, she started on a journey to build out the venture-debt eco-system in Africa.
Amanda’s African Business Story is one dedicated to providing access to finance and helping businesses in Africa scale
“O” Adeyemi is Head of Global Partnerships & Expansion at Flutterwave, a Fintech company founded in 2016 and focused on making it easier to transact and do business across Africa – users are able to make international payments in their local currencies.
This interview was done prior to the COVID-19 global shutdown. Ndidi’s story of resilience and grit remains inspiring in these uncertain times. She continues to use her voice and expertise to support businesses and communities on the Continent. You can read an op-ed she wrote recently – bit.ly/2Wa5yMH
Welcome to African Business Stories a new podcast hosted by Akaego Okoye. The show features the stories of resilient African female entrepreneurs building and running businesses in Africa. Women who against all odds stay winning.