The Gateway to Africa's Startup Ecosystem
The Gateway to Africa's Startup Ecosystem

IWD Special – Top Women Founders-Executives Making Waves in the African Startup Ecosystem

International Women’s Day is set apart to celebrate all women globally for their remarkable efforts and contributions to improving the world. It’s been said that women are the backbone of society, the strength of families, and the architects of the future. This retort concisely encapsulates the crucial role women play in modern development.

This year’s IWD theme is “Inspire Inclusion.” The theme was selected as a call to encourage increased women’s acceptance in traditionally male-dominated fields and roles, particularly in leadership positions. Against this backdrop, we’ll be spotlighting 10 African women who are redefining the status quo, taking charge, and inspiring inclusions with their tremendous results as entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders in Africa. These are women founder-executives who are making waves and reshaping the African startup ecosystem.

Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson – Founder/CEO, Healthtracka

Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson is a visionary entrepreneur with a remarkable interest in African healthcare systems. She single-handedly built and currently leads Halthtracka, a Nigerian health tech startup focused on decentralizing medical diagnostic services in Africa. The startup offers at-home health screening kits that allow users to run complete tests or take specimens at home which are then picked up by healthracka agents and taken to laboratories for examination. 

Under Ifeoluwa’s leadership, Healthtracka has grown tremendously, participating in the Techstars Toronto accelerator. The company has also gone through multiple funding phases and recently secured $1.5 Million in seed funding. Most importantly, the company has impacted the lives of many Africans.

Ifeoluwa believes people should be proactive about understanding and taking action on their health – That’s why she has tailored Healthtracka to provide seamless health-tracking services for Africans.  Her dedication to improving healthcare in Africa shows in her efforts and achievements over the past few years.

Tebogo Mokwena – Founder and CEO of Akiba Digital

Tebogo Mokwena is the textbook definition of a technology enthusiast/entrepreneur applying technological solutions to real-world problems. She has an extensive career as a technologist, having started her career as a software engineer before transitioning into advanced analytics. 

Tebogo founded Akiba Digital and Float to provide tech solutions and services for institutions across various industries in Africa. She currently leads Akiba Digital as its CEO. 

Akiba Digital is a pioneering data aggregation company leveraging artificial intelligence and data to provide advanced financial intelligence solutions for individuals and corporate organizations in Africa. The company seeks to help Africans become more financially astute. 

Through the years, Tebogo has consistently displayed her passion for solving African problems. This is obvious in how she has led Akiba Digital to become an impactful force in the African financial industry.  

Sarah Menker – Co-Founder & CEO at Gro Intelligence

Sarah Menker is a visionary entrepreneur and passionate advocate for sustainability and social impact. Menker has a background in finance and commodities trading but transitioned into agriculture to revolutionize food production and address food security challenges in Africa.

Sarah Menker co-founded Gro Intelligence, a leading agricultural data analytics company that seeks to help farmers make accurate forecasts and better farming decisions. Under her leadership, the company has pioneered the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to aggregate, analyze, and visualize agricultural data from diverse sources worldwide. This has enabled stakeholders across the agriculture value chain, from farmers to policymakers to investors, to make more informed decisions and mitigate risks in a rapidly changing climate.

Thanks to Menker’s strategic vision and commitment to innovation, Gro Intelligence has emerged as a trusted partner for governments, corporations, and NGOs seeking actionable insights into agricultural markets, weather patterns, and supply chain dynamics.

Sarah Menker’s results are amazing and her pioneering work continues to inspire others to harness the technology for positive social change and development.

Zineb Drissi-Kaitouni – Co-Founder/CEO, DabaDoc

Zineb Drissi Kaitouni is a visionary entrepreneur who’s leveraging technology to improve healthcare accessibility in Africa. She started her professional career in 2003 as a financial analyst with Goldman Sachs before moving on to becoming a startup founder and CEO.

Zineb co-founded DabaDoc with Driss Drissi in 2014 with a mission to assist health professionals manage patient pathways and interactions. However, the company has since grown to offer more consolidated solutions including patient record management, and remote consultations through video conferencing. 

Under her leadership, DabaDoc aims to improve access to healthcare as well as the management of medical appointments for patients and doctors in MENA. She led the startup to tremendous success, getting close to eight million users and over 10000 health professionals on its platform.

 Zineb has received notable international recognition for her work, including the first prize in global innovation for science and technology in 2014. Zineb is committed to seeing healthcare access improve across Africa and consistently gives her all to make it happen.

Nelly Chatue-Diop – Co-Founder & CEO Ejara

Born and Raised in Cameroon, Nelly Chatue-Diop is an entrepreneur and computer scientist combining IT, blockchain tech, and data analysis to improve financial systems in French-speaking Africa. 

Nelly is the co-founder and CEO of Ejara, an investment and savings solutions company aiming to democratize access to modern financial tools and give people opportunities to invest easily and affordably in several assets whether in fractional shares or cryptocurrencies. Ejara also provides savings solutions via mobile money systems in addition to its free financial education courses.

With Nelly’s management, Ejara has grown tremendously, finding its way into several African countries including Gabon, Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo, and Benin. The company’s solution currently boasts over 60,000 regular users and has managed to raise more than $2 Million to aid its rapid development.

Nelly’s brilliance has always been obvious from a young age, as she consistently topped her class in and also won notable awards while in school including a scholarship. Now she’s putting the brilliance to excellent use, leading one of the most impactful startup companies in Africa.

Miishe Addy – Co-founder & CEO, Jetstream Africa

Miishe Addy is the co-founder and CEO of Jetstream Africa, a cross-border e-logistics company that helps African businesses book and monitor their logistics operations. The company also provides financing, insurance, and other trade support services for its clients online.

With Addy’s leadership, the company is helping African businesses track and control their own cross-border supply chains. To scale its solutions, the company has raised over $13 million which is a testament to investors’ confidence in the company and Addy’s leadership. 

Addy previously worked at the management consulting firm Bain & Company and the Pan-African incubator MEST Africa, where she served as a Startup Mentor and Business Fellow. Recognizing her leadership and entrepreneurial prowess, the Project Management Institute named Addy one of the “50 Next Generation Leaders to Watch” in 2020. She has also been featured on CNN and by the Oxford Business Group.

Fara Ashiru Jituboh – Co-founder & CEO/CTO, Okra

Fara Ashiru Jituboh is a tech genius and goal-oriented entrepreneur leveraging her technological astuteness to develop revolutionary fintech and digital solutions for businesses. She has over 10 years of experience scaling products and digital solutions. For organizations

Fara is the brain behind Okra, a Nigerian fintech solution that facilitates secure, real-time financial information exchange. The platform connects user accounts to banks, enabling them to monitor and manage their finances from a central app.  

With Fara’s technical leadership, Okra develops tools that enable businesses to achieve full digital transformation with their finances. She has led the company to raise over $ 4 million in equity investments.

Through her career in the tech space, Fara has developed technologies for other companies including AXA Mansard, Airtel, and Sanofi Pharmaceuticals. She currently boasts mastery of over 20 computer programming languages which she puts to good use as the CEO/CTO of Okra.

Tomilola Majekodunmi – Founder & CEO, Bankly

Tomi is a savvy entrepreneur with in-depth knowledge of finance and wealth management. She’s combining her understanding of the financial industry with technology to provide revolutionary solutions and reshape the landscape of financial services in West Africa.

Tomilola is the founder and CEO of Bankly, a Nigerian financial technology company that develops digital technology solutions for underserved populations to store and move cash conveniently. 

Under Tomilola’s leadership, Bankly has grown and expanded its financial services. The company reached a significant milestone recently when it launched its MFB with several new products aimed at further enhancing financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Tomilola has 10+ years of experience in the financial industry, she started her career as a financial analyst at Meristem Wealth Management Limited. She then went on to obtain her MBA at the SP Jain School of Global Management in Singapore.

Cynthia Wandia – Co-Founder & CEO, Kwara

An electrical engineer by training, Cynthia Wandia is a visionary builder with a passion for solving problems. Cynthia is putting her skills and passion into action, building digital solutions for credit unions.

Cynthia co-founded and currently leads Kwara, a Kenya digital finance solution for informal communal savings systems such as “Ajo” and “Susu” from Nigeria or “Cham” and “SACCOS” in East Africa. The solution helps circular savings groups transition from manual bookkeeping to digital solutions to improve their operations.

Under Cynthia’s leadership, the company has expanded across East Africa, it aims to enable the 3 billion under-served people to globally to achieve financial stability. The company has raised over $3 million in capital and currently serves more than 100,000 users representing over 4000 savings and credit cooperatives.

Wandia holds a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering which she obtained from Yale University. She also co-founded and served as the CEO of ASTRA Innovations between 2014 and 2017 before moving on to developing Kwara.

Odunayo Eweniyi – Co-founder & COO, Piggyvest

Odunayo Eweniyi is a Nigerian entrepreneur and computer engineer with a passion for solving real-life problems using technology. She has a particular interest in financial technology and she’s playing a pivotal role in revolutionizing the way Nigerians approach savings and investment.

Odunayo co-founded PiggyVest, a Nigerian startup with a digital solution that enables users to save, invest, and manage their finances seamlessly. 

Under Odunayo’s operational leadership, PiggyVest has experienced remarkable growth, becoming one of the most trusted and widely used financial platforms in Nigeria. Her dedication to providing accessible and user-friendly financial services has earned PiggyVest numerous accolades and recognition within the fintech industry.

Through her leadership and vision, Odunayo Eweniyi has not only transformed PiggyVest into a household name but has also made a significant impact on the financial landscape of Nigeria, empowering individuals to achieve their financial goals and build a brighter future for themselves and their families.

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