If the term Silicon Savannah sounds unfamiliar to your ears, it won’t for much longer. Mark Zuckerberg’s recent visit to Kenya and Nigeria officially put the continent on the tech world’s radar—the Facebook founder even went as far as to say that “the future will be built in Africa.”
In Africa as well the diaspora, women business leaders can be increasingly found at the helm of innovative ventures—here are the top 11 African and diaspora tech startups founded by women you need to keep an eye on in 2017 and beyond.
My Biz Marketer is a full-service digital marketing and analytics solutions provider based in Kenya—the firm helps small businesses improve their marketing efforts by leveraging the latest digital tools and techniques. The company was founded by Eunice Nyandat, a technologist focused on lending her product management skills to small-business owners.
Black Girls Code aims to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields. And what better way to start than with coding? Founder Kimberly Bryant wants to train 1 million girls of color from all around the world by 2040; so far, her company has already been duplicated in Johannesburg. And if her TED Talk is any indication of her drive to succeed, we will definitely be hearing a lot more from her in the coming years.
Similar to Black Girls Code, All Star Code equips young men of color with the skills to become better represented in the tech world. Founded by professional business journalist Christina Lewis Halpern, the organization’s aim is to give Black and Latinos in the U.S. access to professional and STEM educational resources.
Ijeoma Oguegbu’s Beavly is an elearning platform that enables learners to learn from top career professionals. The solution aims to find a solution on a small scale for a much larger problem that plagues most of Sub-Saharan Africa: how to realize monetary gains from the informal markets emerging in the region. Solving this issue would enable policy makers to gain control over these informal market, help reduce youth unemployment through the transference of skills, and help many women in the region find gainful employment, since most of the skills features on the website are practised by women in Africa.
As its name implies, She Leads Africa is a digital platform that encompasses all that is happening on the continent and in the Diaspora on the feminine front. The website—developed by Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osei— aspires to become the leading online destination for smart and ambitious young women in the region, offering engaging online content and pan-African events.
Recent statistics reveal that the family remittances from African expats far surpass the monetary aid provided by NGOs and the like. Tania Mukwamu’s MaxiCash capitalizes on this phenomenon with technology: the app allows users to send money to Africa direct, bypassing all of the traditional paperwork and high fees.
Marguerite Orane’s eponymously-named startup was founded to provide training for teams and individuals in strategic planning and other executive leadership skills. Originally from the Caribbean islands, Orane was the first in the region to transform her insightful blog entries into a book.
Vanderbilt alum and social entrepreneur Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola founded Wecyclers to address the problem of littering in Nigeria. The company is building a low-cost, sustainable waste collection infrastructure that focuses on three basic principles: reduce, reuse and recycle.
Renowned Techpreneur Rebecca Enonchong founded AppsTech as a full-featured support solution for Oracle enterprise products, namely Oracle Database and Oracle E-Business Suite. Costing less than a single full time DBA, the company’s managed service offerings consist of a highly experienced team of experts for managing Oracle environments. Cameroonian-born Enonchong was listed as one of the 10 Female Tech Founders To Watch In Africa in 2014 and is a founding board member of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN).
Angela Benton’s Black Web 2.o is an online platform that covers both mainstream and culturally relevant tech industry news, African-American tech news, and updates regarding African-American tech and new media executives, entrepreneurs, and influencers. Benton is also the founder and CEO of NewME Accelerator, a startup accelerator focused on increasing diversity in the technology industry.
Founded by Nana A. Y. Twum-Danso, a public health and preventive medicine physician, Maza is a healthcare logistics provider that aims to make health services and transportation services that are both accessible and affordable to rural dwellers.
These 11 women-founded tech startups are overcoming race and gender-based obstacles and inequalities to bring their products and services to market—be sure to keep an eye on these innovators and their offerings in 2017 and beyond.