Two Nigerians are listed among most innovative African women

Six people were selected this year compared to five from 2016, with two winners each for Nigeria and South Africa while Kenya and Uganda are represented by one person each.

A woman strikes a pose with the WEF logo

The 27th edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa just came to a close in Durban, South Africa.

Selected winners of the WEF 2017 search for the continents’ top female innovators have been announced and they will be participating in discussions and generating action plans aimed at boosting entrepreneurship in Africa.

Six people were selected this year compared to five from 2016, with two winners each for Nigeria and South Africa while Kenya and Uganda are represented by one person each.

“We want Africa’s top female tech entrepreneurs to join us so we can celebrate them as role models and so they can help governments and policymakers create conditions for others to flourish,” said Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum, according to Ventures Africa.

Here are WEF’s top female innovators in Africa for 2017:

Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja (Fresh Direct, Nigeria) — She’s the brains behind Fresh Direct, a company pioneering stackable container farms thus helping urban areas in Nigeria get access to top-quality produce and reducing the need to import vegetables in the same vein. Check out her interview at Pulse here.

Temie Giwa-Tubosun (LifeBank, Nigeria) — Apart from being an awesome person (you should meet her), Temie also quit her comfortable dollar-paying job to start LifeBank, a company that is using technology to hack supply chain problems associated with the delivery of blood and other high-value medical products to hospitals and medical centres. She has been endorsed by Facebook Founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg as one of the Africans that will ‘change the world.’

Esther Karwera (Akorion, Uganda) — Esther’s company develops software that smallholder farms into digital value chains, giving them the ability to sell directly to agribusinesses. Akorion has secured a network of over 42,000 farmers — majority of whom are village-based service providers — since it launched in 2015 in Uganda.

Darlene Menzies (FinFind, South Africa) — Darlene’s company tackles one of Africa’s biggest business problems: helping SMEs and startups secure financing. FinFind has been able to help lenders identify quality loan leads and improve entrepreneurs’ access to much-needed capital by aggregating all sources of SME finance.

Aisha Pandor (SweepSouth, South Africa) — Since it was founded in June 2014, Cape Town-based SweepSouth has created employment opportunities for about 3,000 domestic cleaners. Aisha’s company, which is Silicon Valley-backed, uses sophisticated algorithms to match its customers with cleaners (called “SweepStars”) thus helping to alleviate the status of cleaners in South Africa.

Charity Wanjiku (Strauss Energy Limited, Kenya) — The solar roofing tiles made by Charity’s company are able to undercut conventional version by as much as 30%. Strauss Energy has already established itself in its local market and is looking to scale up. The company recently completed a project at a school where it was able to cut the electricity bill down by 30%, ensuring uninterrupted teaching.

A big toast to the women making Africa proud! Do you think anyone else should have made the list? Let us know who they are in the comments below.

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