There’s a rising tide of entrepreneurship sweeping across Africa, and our women are riding it vigorously. A growing number of African women are not settling to take up roles in the kitchen and in the other room. No, their ambitions are much more profound; They are setting out to write their own destinies – establishing remarkable enterprises that will transform Africa and reignite its economies.

Their products and services will soon dominate the global market, from a fashion designer in Kumasi to a makeup artist in Ibadan and a farmer in Bloemfontein, these are fifty of the Africa’s brightest women entrepreneurs getting set to take over from the likes of Mrs Folorunsho Alakija.

You may not know many of their names now and they may not be among richest people in Africa, but they could be the billionaires of tomorrow gracing Pleasures Magazine or other major magazine future covers.

We at Pleasures Magazine can’t wait to see their great exploits and the world cannot wait to buy from them as well.

Pleasures Magazine’s list of 50 of the more interesting and notable African women entrepreneurs to keep an eye on in the years to come.

From creatives, to tech gurus and medical scientists, here’s how these African women have revolutionised their communities through their innovative and sustainable businesses. They are breaking barriers, transforming industries and inspiring change on the continent. The listing presented is in no particular order.

  1. Portia Mngomezulu
    Vital Stats:
    • Business: Portia M Skin Solutions
    • Established: 2011
    Up-and-coming fact:
    Mngomezulu, registered her business with only one product to offer. She took her business from casual sales to friends, family and Facebook acquaintances, to an entire range now sold in some of the biggest retail stores in Southern Africa.
    A scholarship to study at the Gordon Institute of Business Science sponsored by Massmart changed her life on the same day she resigned from her IT job in 2014 to focus on her skincare business. Within a few months her product was in retail outlets countrywide. Today, she exports the marula-based Portia M Skin Solutions range to Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
    2. Olalade Abuta
    Vital Stats:
    • Business: Gracias Group
    • Established: 2016
    Up-and-coming fact:
    From making her mark in the movie industry to her bold statements on buying and selling, Olalade Abuta is now building a business empire of her own as she is one of the fast rising real estate entrepreneurs in the country. She is the CEO of Gracias Group, a conglomerate company active in construction, energy, hotel management and event planning company. The company also deals in Heavy Equipment and Industrial Machinery supplies. She reaches out the less privileged through her Gracias Foundation.
    3. Nthabiseng Ramaboa
    Vital Stats:
    • Business: Chef Nti
    • Established: 2014
    Up-and-coming fact:
    Ramaboa started off as a designer showing at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and boasting a trendy clothing shop in Melrose Arch. A few years of dramatic success were followed by a collapse – but she made a meal of it.
    Returning to her first love led her to culinary school and completing a course under Gordon Ramsay before starting her own blog and landing a TV show. Cooking also led Ramaboa to a lucrative culinary project, rebranding frozen yoghurt brand Mayo, followed by a beer pairing project with Flying Fish. Her brand has expanded recently with the launch of a new line of aprons called MaThato.
    4. Ntombenhle Khathwane
    Vital Stats:
    • Business: AfroBotanics
    • Established: 2011
    Up-and-coming fact:
    Third time was the good luck? charm for Khathwane whose first two business ideas were scrapped before her haircare company took off.
    While working in her government position of eight years, entrepreneurship called Khathwane and she attempted to embark into asphalt manufacturing then into stationery production. The capital outlay for both ideas was too much so she went back to the drawing board. In 2010 she entered and won the business plan competition Pitch & Polish, which earned her a trip to the US where she was advised by industry experts on product development. Today her full range of products is on national retailers’ shelves and she’s also exploring manufacturing shampoos and body washes for the hotel industry.
    5. Sunshine Shibambo
    Vital Stats:
    • Business: Cheri Yase Kasi
    • Established: 2015
    Up-and-coming fact:
    After one failed business, Shibambo got up and tried again – with just a laptop, cellphone, car and hustle-factor in hand. Today she’s running a game-changing marketing and advertising agency.
    Shibambo contemplated starting a business while taking a break from corporate, after resigning from her cushy corporate job and cashing in her package for an island holiday. The aim of Cheri Yase Kasi, which roughly translates to ‘Girl from the Township’, involves an unconventional way of tackling strategy, creativity, experiential events and marketing. Cheri Ya Se Kasi is known for pulling off the impossible and continues to secure big-name clients including Nestlé, SAB, Tiger Brands and the Bacardi group.
    6. Omoyeni Akerele
    Vital Stats:
    Business: Lagos Fashion and Design Week
    • Established: 2011
    Up-and-coming fact:
    Omoyemi Akerele is the founder and executive director of Style House Files, a fashion business development agency that primarily focuses on the Nigerian and African Fashion Industry.
    She launched the Lagos Fashion and Design Week and her creative development agency gives African brands the opportunity of showcasing on Pitti Immagine in Italy and the Lagos Fashion and Design Week
    Omoyemi attended the University of Lagos where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Law. She proceeded to the University of Warwick where she received a master’s degree in International Economic Law. She worked at Olaniwun Ajayi a Nigerian law firm & Co from 2000 to 2003 prior to becoming a fashion designer. She was the fashion editor for a Lifestyle magazine called True Love.
    7. Thato Kgatlhanye
    Vital Stats:
    • Business: Rethaka
    • Established: 2013
    Up-and-coming fact:
    A new breed of a business woman in Africa, who has been publicly earmarked by Bill Gates as one of the entrepreneurs to watch on the African continent.
    From plastic pollution to issues of education and poverty, Thato Kgatlhanye’s latest solution is a combination of the main problems facing South African children today. Rethaka’s innovative backpack is crafted from recycled materials and fitted with a solar panel that charges up during the day so that it can be used as a light for studying after school. This also ensures the safety of children subject to early morning walks to school in the dark. Listed as one of Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 in 2017, Innovator of the Year by Forbes Women Africa in 2016 and a CEO Global Leader of Tomorrow honouree, Kgatlhanye aims to continue to drive social change, present sustainable solutions and inspire others.
    8. Nothando Moleketi
    Vital Stats:
    • Business: ReWare
    • Established: 2015
    Up-and-coming fact:
    Identifying a gap in the market for reliable, certified, quality pre-owned leading-brand smartphones launched Moleketi into entrepreneurship, leading to a partnership with one of SA’s leading retailers.
    Making smart technology available to a wider South African audience and making a positive impact on the environment by keeping smartphones in people’s hands and out of toxic landfills are Moleketi’s main aims behind the business. She plans on expanding ReWare, first with an eCommerce platform, then a flagship storefront, followed by expansion within the continent.
    9. Allegro Dinkwanyane
    Vital Stats:
    • Business: Orgella Media
    • Established: 2011
    Up-and-coming fact:
    She says she has never submitted a CV in her life – and why would she when at 28 she’s a media mogul on the rise and owner of nine registered companies under the Orgella banner.
    Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs led to a desire to never work for anyone after completing her journalism qualification. At 21 Dinkwanyane was a CEO. Her company started out as an entertainment blog, but grew into brand management, social media marketing and PR campaigns. The Forbes 30 Under 30 honouree’s company represents celebrities in the entertainment industry, does work for corporate clients. Orgella also has a charity and property division.
    10. Sandra Mwiihangele
    Vital Stats:
    • Business: Kiyomisandz Beauty Products
    • Established: 2015
    Up-and-coming fact:
    Cosmetic chemist Sandra Mwiihangele hails from Namibia, and while working at a cosmetic manufacturing laboratory in Cape Town, she acquired the tools needed to launch an advanced cosmetic company with a difference.
    At 11, she won the Namibian Expo of Young Scientists competition. She had developed a top-quality matte lipstick. Today her cosmetic and toiletry company – which she says was a life-long dream – has earned the 2015 National Commission on Research, Science & Technology innovation grant and the 2016 Development Bank of Namibia innovation award. Mwiihangele has plans to export her products to international markets.
    11. Shakeela Tolasade Williams
    Vital Stats:
    • Business: Sade Hair
    • Established: 2013
    Up-and-coming fact:
    Shortly after quitting her job to pursue opportunities in the hair extension industry, Williams made over £20,000 hopping from shop to shop meeting different clients all over London.
    Williams already has a reseller in Canada, who has been with the company since 2015, and another in Sierra Leone. She has single-handedly held over three events in London and in Lagos, Nigeria, bringing together new and local businesses to exhibit at her event. She hopes to further expand in Nigeria by 2018. She has employed four members of staff since opening her boutique in 2013 and done a turnover of £150 000 within her first two years.
    12. Patience Maame Mensah
    Vital Stats:
    • Business: Self Indulgence Limited
    • Established: 2015
    Up-and-coming fact:
    Mensah capitalised on her own needs by bootstrapping her multi-service provider, that’s on its way to making Ghanaian history.
    When Mensah started her home-management agency, she provided nannies and home caregivers for the elderly and eventually branched out into at-home beauty services and relaxation therapy. Her idea stemmed from her own challenges as a working student with no time to clean her home or attend to her self-care needs. Self Indulgence Limited currently offers three different home-based services through one provider, but its future plans involve an outdoor health spa and Ghana’s first aged-facility centre.
    13. Rachel Sibande
    Vital Stats:
    • Business: mHub
    • Established: 2013
    Up-and-coming fact:
    Upon her return from the Young Africa League of Nations Programme in Chicago, USA in 2012, Sibande was inspired to launch Malawi’s first tech incubator a year later.
    Not only is the entrepreneur a computer scientist and recognised technology advocate; the founder of mHub, an incubator for innovators and emerging entrepreneurs, was named one of Africa’s 30 most promising entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by Forbes in 2016. Sibande says she expects to absorb over 5000 young technology enthusiasts across Malawi by 2019, creating a ripple effect to fellow youths as they create opportunities for others through their enterprises.

14. Nneile Nkholise
Vital Stats:
• Business: iMed Tech
• Established: 2015
Up-and-coming fact:
Medical engineer Nkholise was introduced to 3D printing technology in 2013 while conducting research for her Master’s degree. She hopes to 3D print 1000 prosthetic breasts for 1000 mastectomy patients, by October 2018.
The social innovator’s vision is to transform healthcare in Africa, and she’s well on her way since the launch of her medical innovation startup which produces prosthetics for cancer patients and burn victims. Nkholise is the recipient of numerous awards including the presidential award for Science, Innovation and Technology at the 2017 South African Youth Awards. In 2016 she was named one of Africa’s top female innovators at the World Economic Forum.
15. Nelisiwe Masango
Vital Stats:
• Business: Bear Run Investments
• Established: 2013
Up-and-coming fact:
A Pursuit of Happyness movie marathon saw Masango abandoning her dreams of becoming a brain surgeon, despite qualifying, and going down the path of investment. Starting her business with no capital taught her the value of networking and money management.
In 2017 she was awarded the Frost & Sullivan African Growth Innovation & Leadership Award alongside founder and CEO of Discovery, Adrian Gore. She represented South Africa at the 2017 World Forum for Responsible Economy in Lille France, discussing how entrepreneurship and financial literacy are required to build and sustain an effective global economy. Masango has expanded her business interests by launching recruitment agency Gentle Hands Agency and ‘FeFine’ (Females with Finances). She also plans on starting her own charity, which she anticipates will require her to become a dollar millionaire – something she says she’s working on.
16. Sheila Afari
Vital Stats:
• Business: Sheila Afari Group
• Established: 2012
Up-and-coming fact:
Sheila Afari started her public relations company with no PR background, just an entrepreneurial hunch that she could succeed in this field.
A 2017 nominee for Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards, Afari has built a name for herself for the communications work she has done building the brands of some of Africa’s biggest personalities with her PR company, Sheila Afari Public Relations. She has serviced clients in territories such as the UK, New York, Los Angeles, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Mozambique, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and South Africa. With well-developed advancements in opening up satellite offices in New York and Ghana, Afari is someone to look out for as she sets to position African brands on a global scale.
17. Samke Mhlongo
Vital Stats:
• Business: The Next Chapter Wealth Partners
• Established: 2017
Up-and-coming fact:
Mhlongo’s experience as a global specialist bank and asset manager for seven years at a leading private bank led her to being an independent wealth coach, corporate speaker, media commentator, writer, and financial inclusion advocate.
Described by CNBC Africa as a personal finance goddess, she has also established a Pan-African following after hosting a She Leads Africa webinar titled Managing your money and Investments (one of their most viewed webinars to-date); hosting a booked-out event in Nairobi titled Redefining the narrative around Women & Wealth Creation, and going on a successful media tour to Nigeria where she was featured on a number of TV, radio and magazine platforms. She currently serves as the youngest board member of state-owned mineral research technology agency MINTEK, and sits on its Audit & Risk Committee.
18. Kelebogile Mabunda
Vital Stats:
• Business: KLM Publicity
• Established: 2013
Up-and-coming fact:
Mabunda started the business with only enough money to register it and moved back home to work in her parents’ living room. Five years later KLM Publicity is fully-functional and operating from the heart of Sandton.
When she started KLM Publicity Mabunda had no clue what the business world entailed, all she knew was how to do the job and that she had a dream, she says. After several unsuccessful interviews, she received a twitter message from a lady in New York looking for a publicist. This request sparked the idea of KLM Publicity, which today works with amazing brands including Africa’s biggest artist and businessman, Kiernan Forbes (better known as AKA) and beloved Bryanston restaurant, GEMELLI Cucina Bar.
19. Aisha Pandor
Vital Stats:
• Business: SweepSouth
• Established: 2012
Up-and-coming fact:
SweepSouth was started using capital from pension funds and savings with a staff complement of four domestic workers in 2014, to being funded following a prize-winning pitch at the SiMODiSA Startup SA tech conference. Today it employs 4000 women.
The startup entrepreneur, whose PhD in Genetics won the 2011 South African Women in Science Award, was only employed for two years before deciding to venture into entrepreneurship. The concept behind the SweepSouth app is similar to Uber and Airbnb. It was brought to life by Pandor and her husband’s struggle to find a domestic worker and eventual meeting with women from an agency who spoke of their dissatisfaction. So the couple cashed in their pension and savings and launched the app which now has 4000 women working for the company. SweepSouth is set to expand into gardening, plumbing and electrical services.
20. Karabo Mathang-Tshabuse
Vital Stats:
• Business: P Management
• Established: 2007
Up-and-coming fact:
At 21 years old, Mathang-Tshabuse noticed that there were very few soccer agents and saw the gap as an opportunity to start her own business.
Mathang-Tshabuse is the first African female FIFA-accredited soccer agent, but it took her two attempts at the Fifa exam in order to obtain her accreditation. P Management represents about 40 players, and has played a role in the success of players including Orlando Pirates’ Mbongeni Gumede and Banyana Banyana’s Amanda Dlamini. She is currently studying full-time towards a postgraduate LLB degree with the goal of growing her company into the country’s biggest sports law agency.
21. Israella Kafui-Mansu
Vital Stats:
Business: MGL Naturals
• Established: 2009
Up-and-coming fact:
A highly inspiring Ghanaian entrepreneur, Israella Kafui-Mansu is making cosmetics and bodycare products from natural ingredients such as coconut, shea butter and fruit.
She started the business in 2009 after she left university and couldn’t find a job and today, Israella Kafui Mansu has built MGL Naturals into one of the planet’s fastest growing African cosmetics brand and a unique natural skin and hair care products to emerge from a developing nation. She has created job opportunities, and empowered her community and country, whilst presenting a galvanized, dynamic face of African creativity to the global market.

22. Shingai Nyagweta
Vital Stats:
• Business: KuNa Kids
• Established: 2009
Up-and-coming fact:
Being ahead of the market and losing the inspiration behind her children’s clothing line didn’t stop Nyagweta from launching a successful fashion business – both online and in Melville’s trendy 27 Boxes, also coming soon to Cape Town.
Nyagweta went from working with a veteran fashion designer, who encouraged her to start her own business, to launching an online store when SA wasn’t ready. After almost going back to being an employee in the corporate world, enrolling in a programme at the Branson School of Entrepreneurship helped her stay the course. Today she’s opening a second location and looking to export to Europe – starting with Spain, London and Germany.
23. Rebecca Donkor
Vital Stats:
• Business: Makeup Ghana
• Established: 2016
Up-and-coming fact:
Rebecca Donkor is the CEO of Makeup Ghana, a social enterprise creating a unifying platform for makeup practitioners, makeup brands, beauty retailers and beauty content creators in the fast-growing makeup and beauty industry in Ghana. Makeup Ghana executes its mission through Advocacy & Consumer Education; Training & Capacity Building; Consulting & Advisory Services; Events (Trade Shows, Conferences, Networking).
Earlier in her career, Rebecca has held various management positions in both the creative industry and the hospitality industry. She has served on many boards and committees, including the University of Ghana Alumni Council and the University of Ghana Alumni Fundraising/Dinner Dance Committee.
Her exceptional event management expertise elevated her to management of several prominent events in the public and private sectors, including events for several Ghana Club 100 companies.

24. Vere Shaba
Vital Stats:
• Business: Shaba & Ramplin Green Building Solutions
• Established: 2012

Up-and-coming fact:
The mechanical engineering graduate resigned from her job in 2016 and founded a company that uses the Integrated Green Design approach in engineering.
Tired of the assumption that as a mechanical engineering professional couldn’t also be a green building consultant, Shaba opened her own consulting firm specialising in engineering, green buildings and interiors services. The 29-year-old multi-award winning engineering entrepreneur was selected as one of 10 Top Women in Engineering for the annual Standard Bank Topco Top 100 Women in Business & Government, Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans for Environment, the Kingdom of Netherlands’ Inspiring 50 Women in South Africa in STEM, and most recently, has been selected as a finalist for the inaugural Gauteng Premier’s Women Excellence Awards for Young Achievers.

25. Radia Adama Saani

Vital Stats:
• Business: MoonTouch Travel Ltd
• Established: 2017
Up-and-coming fact:

Radia Adama Saani is the CEO of MoonTouch Travel Ltd, one of the leading travel and tour companies in Ghana.
Starting out with Ghana Airports Company Ltd and later became a cabin crew with Kenya Airways Ltd. Aside advancing her career in the aviation and travel industry; she is also academically excellent in the sector. She holds Master’s degree in International Hospitality & Tourism Management from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. She also had her first degree in similar field from Université Abdel-Malek Essaadi, in the Kingdom of Morocco which makes her very fluent in both French and English languages. From childhood she had always desired of becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Africa and beyond. She is a great networker and has built a strong entrepreneurship & marketing skills in Max International which has assisted her in building a strong business empire in the travel industry since 2017. Radia is one of the fast rising young female entrepreneurs in Ghana. Her passions are; entrepreneurship, aviation, and diplomacy.

26. Portia Masimula
Vital Stats:
• Business: Karisani IT Group
• Established: 2013
Up-and-coming fact:
Masimula’s software development house specialises in piloting innovation and creativity to collaborating with an overseas company for a project for US-based global satellite television channel ESPN.
Seeking excitement came with its challenges when Masimula left her full-time corporate position in favour of being a small business owner in the market, competing with established giants. Karisani currently employs four people and plans to expand into the rest of the continent from its offices in Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
27. Monalisa Molefe

Vital Stats:
• Business: Art Form Factory
• Established: 2016
Up-and-coming fact:
The former luxury brand marketer waded through 10 months of due diligence on the bespoke framing business she bought as her first attempt at business ownership. Her unusual entrance into entrepreneurship has helped her carve a niche market.
To differentiate her business from the 1000+ framing businesses in Joburg alone, Molefe used her work experience and went the luxury service provider route. And it worked. She’s on her way to building a strong footprint on the continent, focusing on the sports framing business. Innovative processes she’s using include patented bubble frames for sports memorabilia to cater to 3D items (like she did with Usain Bolt’s running shoes in 2016).
28. Charity Annan Adupong
Vital Stats:
• Business: Meannan Foods
Established: 2006
Up-and-coming fact:
Entrepreneurs come from all sorts of circumstances and for Charity she defrayed her s from watching her single mum selling veterinary products to pay her school fees and sometimes had to give out goods to local farmers in exchange for their farms proceeds which she would later sell. Therefore it’s not surprising that Charity chose the same field of business as her mother after graduating from college.
She moved on to found Meannan Foods, a food producing company that is one of the largest supplier of Eggs in West Africa which currently supplies to over 30 retailers in Ghana – including the South African retails giant Shoprite, Game , Shell, Maxmart , Melcom, Marina Mall etc. The company also produces a range of pre-cooked and ready to eat food such as Cashew, Palm Oil, Peanut Butter, Tom Brown, Corn grits amongst others.

29. Freda Francis
Vital Stats:
• Business: OASIS Medspa
• Established: 2014
Up-and-coming fact:
A Chief Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the Health, Wellness and Fitness industry. Freda is skilled in Management, Customer Service, Retail, Strategic Planning, and Entrepreneurship. Strong business development professional.
In 2014 she founded OASIS Medspa, a corrective skin care clinic and luxury day spa, which is dedicated to helping people achieve a flawless complexion and healthier looking skin. The clinic is equipped with the state-of-the-art corrective skin care to men and women of color and it draws clients from within and outside Nigeria.
30. Zanele Matome
Vital Stats:
• Business: Basadi Underground Contractors
• Established: 2008
Up-and-coming fact:
Matome went from teen mom to varsity drop-out to business owner and then employee. By the time she started her construction company she was prepared to break the mold of the typical mining industry player.
Despite challenges such as struggling to relate to her industry peers and employees, and issues with securing funding initially, today Basadi employs 13 staff. Matome plans to expand her workforce, along with the services offered by her company. This diversifying of services will prepare her company when incidents like platinum strikes occur, which have in the past hurt her business operations.
31. Ayisha Hussein Baba Yara
Vital Stats:
• Business: A233 apparel 
• Established: 2015
Up-and-coming fact:
Ayisha Hussein Baba Yara attributes her decision to start a fashion line to her love for fashion designing from infancy. As a teenager she used to make clothes for her dolls from old socks till she eventually enroll into a fashion school.
As a young start-up owner, Ayisha founded A233 apparel in 2015, a clothing line for women wears, although she started with the production of African prints clutch bags but later moved into matching clothes production. A year on, she added Yasmin Yara, a kid’s collections and these she does on her own. From designing to manufacturing to marketing and client liaison. Today Ayisha’s special focus on custom orders makes her designs sought-after in a niche market.
32. Lucy Agwunobi
Vital Stats:
• Business: Arredo by TRT
• Established: 2010
Up-and-coming fact:
With a Master’s in architecture in hand and zero capital, Agwunobi and her husband started their made-to-order furniture business. Today the company has acquired its own facilities and employs over 25 full-time employees at its offices in Lagos and factory in Abuja.
While working in an industry dominated by male players is a challenge, Agwunobi has high hopes for Arredo by TRT, including taking their furniture from Nigeria to the world. Through her company’s innovation, technology and unique craftsmanship she aims to change the face of “Made in Nigeria” to the rest of the world.
33. Rapelang Rabana
Vital Stats:
• Business: Rekindle Learning
• Established: 2013
Up-and-coming fact:
A computer scientist by profession, Rabana devised Rekindle Learning after realising the learning opportunity in people’s compulsion to check their phones.
Starting out at 22 with Yeigo Communications as co-founder, Rabana cemented her reputation in the tech industry by pioneering innovations in mobile VoIP and IP communications. Rabana was featured on the cover of Forbes Africa, named Entrepreneur for the World by the World Entrepreneurship Forum, selected as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum and was invited to join their annual meeting in Davos, all by the age of 30. She currently sits on various boards while supporting other businesses as a consultant and was recently appointed as BCX’s Chief Digital Officer.
34. Irene Akoto
Vital Stats:
• Business: CK56 Hair Sense
• Established: 2015
Up-and-coming fact:
Irene went from a humble beginning at a local TV station in Ghana, Metro TV as production assistant through the system, as camerawoman , editor, producer, director, production manager, switcher , programmer and a content designer to an influential entrepreneur. She founded CK56 Hair Sense – a haircare and beauty salon.
What started as a natural haircare range has expanded into a popular hair salon that prides itself as one of the best in town. Since its inception, CK56 Hair Sense has not only expanded from a product range to a salon, but now has a retail arm in the form of which stocks an array of beauty and hair brands. Irene is also a co-owner of the popular Michael Ice Reds Pub and a partner at Soar Company LTD, a project management consulting company.
35. Dabola Lawson
Vital Stats:
• Business: Dabola Cosmetics
• Established: 2016
Up-and-coming fact:
Dabota Lawson , a former model and actress, she was crowned Miss Nigeria United Kingdom in 2009. Dabota attended Vivian Fowler Memorial College, Lagos before moving on to England for her college and university education as well as her postgraduate degree. She is a graduate of Financial Economics from the University of Leicester, and then did a Chartered Management and Accountancy course in London School of Business and Finance. She entered into and won the Miss Nigeria UK pageant after her university education.
After her retirement from modeling, she founded Dabota Cosmetics, a beauty brand that specializes in high quality cosmetic makeup product with an extensive color selection. Dabota is also the Founder and CEO of BILLIONAIRE WIFE (BW) LIMITED, a lifestyle company that comprises three main lines: BW Home Accessories, BW Women’s luxury fashion accessories (including Billionaire Wife luxury lifestyle boutique)

36. Kemi Lewis
Vital Stats:
• Business: KLS Natural
• Established: 2013
Up-and-coming fact:
Kemi Lewis – Lawyer and Chartered Secretary turned Natural Hair stylist is the Creative Director of Nigeria’s pioneer Natural Hair salon – KLS Natural Beauty Bar. Starting in August 2013 with 2 chairs and 2 stylists, she has grown the business to 2 locations, a current staff strength of 16, a Natural product line, a beard line and Natural hair training services.
Mainly self taught, she holds a diploma in Hair Dressing from the Opral Benson Beauty Training Institute and has attended several hair courses both here and abroad. A firm believer in continuous education and training, she is currently undergoing a Hair Stylist Course at the L’Oreal Hair Training Institute.
Her love for and passion for healthy natural hair, has seen her speaking at various events and on radio shows, showcasing the beauty of natural hair. She has also at various times contributed to several publications including TW Online and The Guardian on Sunday.
37. Tsholo Wesi
Vital Stats:
• Business: International Convention Solutions
• Established: 2012
Up-and-coming fact:
It took 10 years of Wesi knocking on the doors of government and developmental agencies to acquire a 13-year-old industry giant.
Wesi runs a venue and events management company called International Convention Solutions (ICS) servicing clients from Government to private sector through conferences, festival and activations. In 2017 ICS acquired a 51% share in the 3D Group, the largest exhibition infrastructure and design stand-building company in southern Africa. In addition to her business, Wesi and her business partner Puseletso Ndzilili run a 100% black woman-owned ACDC Express franchise in Kimberley.
38. Theo Mothoa-Frendo
Vital Stats:
• Business: Uso
• Established: 2017
Up-and-coming fact:
In an industry dominated my multinationals, the pharmaceutical expert and doctor launched a brand that earned her the nickname ‘the doctor of melanin-rich skin’.
After spending 10 years as a medical director for sub-Saharan Africa for pharmaceutical firm Roche, Mothoa-Frendo developed Uso during her MBA studies at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg. Uso was launched in 2017 with a week-long pop-up shop in Sandton City where women were offered skin consultations with qualified skin therapists. Her time in sub-Saharan Africa has earned her contacts she intends on leveraging as she grows her brand. Mothoa-Frendo already sells Uso in neighbouring countries through its online store.
39. Ngozi Opara
Vital Stats:
• Business: Heat Free Hair
• Established: 2012
Up-and-coming fact:
Ngozi’s story is of a woman entrepreneur with a passion for natural hair combined with the entrepreneurial drive to start a business providing natural hair extensions, plus a movement to educate and inform women on how to care for their natural hair.

Ngozi Opera is the founder of Heat Free Hair, the first manufacturer of Virgin Hair exclusively created to blend with African American textured, kinky, and curly hair. The company provides hair extensions in the form of wefted hair, clip-in extensions, and wigs. The Heat Free Hair Movement expands beyond the company’s products and focuses on the education of the natural hair community through seminars and instructional videos, as well as events for natural women to network with other women alike.
40. Mokgadi Mabela
Vital Stats:
• Business: Native Nosi
• Established: 2015
Up-and-coming fact:
Aiming to become Africa’s biggest beekeeping business in over 20 years is no easy feat, but Mabela is well on her way to realising her expansion plans from 140 beehives in 2017 to 650 in 2018.
Crowdfunding is how she launched her business venture three years ago when she discovered the need for new entrants into the industry to ensure SA’s food security. To raise the R1.2 million needed for her desired growth, Mabela again turned to crowdfunding. The campaign, hosted by The People’s Fund, required a minimum contribution of R1 200, which is how much one new hive costs.
41. Sibongile Sambo
Vital Stats:
• Business: SRS Aviation
• Established: 2014
Up-and-coming fact:
Sambo’s pioneering spirit led to the launch of South Africa’s first 100% black female-owned aviation services company.
Although she initially started SRS as a provider of private aviation services to local and international clients, the company has since expanded its offering to include maintenance, sales and fleet management services to private jet owners. Sambo also seeks to increase the number of women in aviation through mentorship.

42. Tam de Vries
Vital Stats:
• Business: South Africa’s Ultimate Brand Ambassador
• Established: 2012
Up-and-coming fact:
De Vries started with an idea for an annual leadership and mentorship programme for women designed to empower, mentor and create brand and social awareness and the journey of the SAUBA participants was filmed as a documentary (docu-series) and broadcast on DStv.
SAUBA is a national programme that interlinks social and corporate sectors while creating opportunities to uplift communities and benefit local charities. It is all about actioning the spirit of Ubuntu and contributing to community and nation building.

43. Constance Mapule Bhebhe
Vital Stats:
• Business: Connie Transform
• Established: 2016
Up-and-coming fact:
Aiming to have African girls represented in the make-up market, Bhebhe launched her cosmetics company featuring six high-quality, long-lasting lipsticks, which today number 16 shades available through 20 distributors nationwide, as well as in Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia.
Originally a fitness fanatic, the gap in the local cosmetic market made Bhebhe change gears when the Zimbabwean relocated from Canada to Africa. In addition to being a make-up mogul, by the age of 23 she was already a published author of two books offering advice and inspiration to women on establishing a successful life.
44. Phendu Kuta
Vital Stats:
• Business: Unlabelled magazine
• Established: 2014
Up-and-coming fact:
Kuta attributes her decision to take a leap and launch online youth culture magazine Unlabelled, to being resilient, positive, determined, authentic and calm.
After working as a visual merchandiser for retail clothing brand Mango, managing a blog and interning as a writer at Fashion Week, Kuta felt that the media wasn’t authentically representing young Africans – and so she launched Unlabelled to change that. Her media company has expanded to offering photography, art and creative direction, styling and photoshoot production. Unlabelled’s accolades include the Design Indaba Emerging Creative award in 2016, a nomination for Young African Publisher of the year by Creative Nestlings in 2015, and Kuta was selected as part of Superbalist 100 – a list of 100 young South African influencers and game changers.

45. Linda Mabhena-Olagunju
Vital Stats:
• Business: DLO Energy Resources Group
• Established: 2011
Up-and-coming fact:
Mabhena-Olagunju’s 100% black woman-owned energy company has developed and successfully bid on three projects under Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
The LLM graduate is also the founder of the Renewables and Energy Forum in South Africa. In 2015 she was selected by ESI as one of the 50 Most Influential People in African Power and the 2015 Forbes Woman Africa Best Emerging Entrepreneur Award. In Mabhena-Olagunju received the 2016 All Africa Business Leadership Award (Young Business Leader of the Year – Southern Africa). She has also served as the special advisor to the Minister of Energy in South Africa.

46. Nobesuthu Ndlovu
Vital Stats:
• Business: Burgundy Fly
• Established: 2008
Up-and-coming fact:
Initially launched as a single store in Soweto’s Maponya Mall, the business has multiplied into four boutiques across Johannesburg.
In an effort to ensure that South African designers are able to make a sustainable living from their love and talent, Ndlovu and her business partner, Nhlanhla Ndlovu established Burgundy Fly’s first boutique in Soweto, with no retail background. Voted ‘Best Emporium Supporting Local Production’ by Flux Trends and Marie Claire, the business’ success is based on their ability to save as much money as possible to enable the business to expand without having to get into debt, they say.
47. Regina Luki Kgatle
Vital Stats:
• Business: Educade
• Established: 2013
Up-and-coming fact:
Born into a family of entrepreneurs, Kgatle won her first medal when she was 10 years old, at the regional Eskom Young Science Expo, encouraging her to help her parents expand on their arcade business through game development.
Educade was part of the Berlin Game Week, showcasing at the AMAZE festival and Kgatle had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco, at GDC (considered the Oscars of the gaming industry), where she was named International Ambassador and received an award from Oculus. She says her highlight thus far has been a nomination for a UN award, alongside Kofi Annan and former president, Thabo Mbeki.
48. Selina Bebaako-Mensah
Vital Stats:
• Business: Selina Beb
• Established: 2012
Up-and-coming fact:
After a brief career as a broadcast journalist, Selina saw a need to follow her passion for fashion especially accessories, so she founded Selina Beb, a fashion brand that specializes in top of the range items for men, women and children.

She produces amazing bags, comfortable footwear, beautiful jewellery and modern accessories and modern accessories using vibrant Ankara prints. The products are sold all over the world including Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, U.K., Italy and the United States.
49. Lilian Muhammed
Vital Stats:
• Business: Londre Tan
• Established: 2015
Up-and-coming fact:
Lilian Muhammed’s obsession with bags led to a trip to a leather tannery that changed her life. Her business has 5 divisions in the bag industry. Londre Tan which produces luxury leather bags; LDT Secure Solutions a business that manufactures tamper evidence security bags and seals for money and high valuables handling; LDT Packaging manufacturing smart reusable shopping bags; LDT Branding Solution, a business that specialises in text printing & laser marking; LDT Foundation, a charity that distributes free school bags to disadvantaged children.

50. Freda Anegbe
Vital Stats:
• Business: Panto Interiors
• Established: 2014
Up-and-coming fact:
Freda Anegbe is a Design Entrepreneur, passionate about creating the awareness, interior designs and ultimately the environment that promotes wellbeing and improve quality of living. Coming from a society that pays little attention to the environmental impact on wellbeing, she continues to rise above the challenges with a strong vision, carving a niche in the design industry.
In 2014, she founded Panto Interiors, an internationally recognized interior design firm, bridging a gap in the market for affordable and creative design services. Through Panto Interiors, she also implements design-related social projects to sensitize people to the impact of design on wellbeing and productivity. “I believe everyone deserves a beautiful, healthy, and creative interior space, regardless of their social class and income”. 
Freda is an executive member of the Interior Designers Association of Nigeria (IDAN) – where she oversees their public relations in the FCT region, she is a member of the International Academy of Design and Health, and an executive member of the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF).

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