Take a look at how these African entrepreneurs turned limitations into opportunities, by creating innovations that are changing so many lives!
The resourcefulness of these five innovative African entrepreneurs is mind blowing
Across Africa, a wave of young entrepreneurs are creating and innovating in some really exciting ways. Here are five inspirational examples of African ingenuity at its best.
1. Mabel Suglo: Ghanaian social entrepreneur is passionate about alleviating poverty ??
Mabel Suglo is the co-founder of the Eco-Shoes Project, an initiative that helps artisans with disabilities make marketable shoes from used tyres and recycled cloth.
Eco-Shoes is Ghana-based social enterprise that reinvests in the environment by upcycling waste into something of greater use and value. The aim is to empower and transfer the skills of shoe making to people with disabilities to hand-make shoes from truck tyres, fabric scraps and other sustainably sourced raw materials, thus providing employment to people who otherwise would be out of a job or below the poverty threshold.
The initiative has multiple benefits in the wider community: By selling durable and versatile footwear made from up-cycled tyres and fabric waste, Eco-shoes creates jobs which benefit people with disabilities and the communities in which they live, while inspiring people to get creative about re-using materials, extending their life-cycle, and at the same time contributing to waste reduction.
2. Thato Kgatlhanye: Repurpose Schoolbags ?? THE UPCYCLED SOLAR-POWERED BACKPACK
The brainchild of Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane, Repurpose Schoolbags are a social innovation in Africa, made from up-cycled plastic bags and intergrated solar technology, enabling students to study after dark.
Repurpose schoolbag is an upcycled solar-powered schoolbag that addresses more than one issue
Repurpose Schoolbags bring together recycling, solar energy and education for children. Designed to do more with less, they are made from 20 recycled plastic bags. There is a built-in solar panel that charges on the walk to and from school, which later transforms into a light for children to study after dark. Added reflective material on the bag makes it more visible when walking on the street.
Features of the Rethaka Repurpose Schoolbags:
Choice Not Charity From carrying their books in a plastic bag or having no schoolbag at all, by giving a child a Repurpose Schoolbag, it helps to make a change to that child’s life by encouraging that child to commit to staying in school.
Light to Read After Dark Because every Repurpose Schoolbag is fitted with a portable solar panel that turns into desk lamp providing up to 12 hours of light for reading & doing homework.
Safety While Walking to School The Repurpose Schoolbag design integrates retro-reflective material that effectively increases the visibility of children as they walk to school in the early morning, especially during those dark winter morning months.
Rethaka Repurpose Schoolbags now employs 20 people and is planning to expand production to include children’s rain jackets made out of 100% recycled material.
3. Mohamed Awale: Suave Kenya ??
This Kenyan entrepreneur upcycles old clothes into uniquely eye-catching and functional bags. Suave Designs is the brainchild of stylish young indie-entrepreneur Mohamed Awale. After working in various corporate jobs after university, Mohamed decided to stop working for the man and start working for himself. He rented a small workshop in the notorious River Road area of Downtown Nairobi and hired three craftspeople and starting making prototypes. Suave Designs has now found a successful niche in creating colourful backpacks, satchels and laptop sleeves made from recycled fabrics.
Suave is a brand that manufactures a range of everyday utility bags The products undergo high standards of craftsmanship to bring out the exquisite look using a blend of up-cycled materials like tweed, wool, cotton, herringbone, linen, denim mixed with leather and other locally available fabrics.
4. Taofick Otoya: The Queen’s of Africa
Taofick Okoya couldn’t find a doll that looked like his daughter, so he decided to do something about it.
The Queens of Africa program is dedicated, through the use of books, dolls, comics, music and animation series, to help empower children of African descent to be confident and mature ethically.
The dolls and accessories are designed, through fun and engaging materials, to subconsciously promote African heritage. Developed by entrepreneur and philanthropist Taofick Okoya, the program has reached tens of thousands of children across Africa contributing significantly to education programs, particularly in Nigeria.
5. Angel Adelaja ?? Farming Without Soil
Angel Oluwayimika Adelaja is one name gradually becoming synonymous with innovation in Agriculture, in Nigeria and Africa, say Outrepreneurs.com in an in-depth article. A nominee of the World Economic Forum Top Female Innovators in Africa, Angel is Founder and Executive Director of Fresh Direct Produce and Agro-Allied Services.
Though Angel is trained as an Epidemiologist (a scientist who studies causes of disease outbreaks, in order to treat existing diseases and prevent future outbreaks), she has always loved agriculture and wanted to promote opportunities available in the agriculture sector in Africa. This passion has led Angel to initiate hydroponic farming in Nigeria. Now, what is hydroponic farming?
Hydroponic farming entails growing crops by using mineral nutrient solutions in water solvent, thus doing away with soil, or reducing the need for it. According to Angel Adelaja, this modern and innovative farming technology is resilient to climate change and provides superior nutritional value and faster growth at limited cost of input.
Angel believes with hydroponics, the farmer is unaffected by the seasons and adverse weather conditions which, historically, have given rise to severe food insecurity in Africa.
Her social enterprise venture, Fresh Direct, manufactures, installs and markets customised hydroponic fodders and vegetable systems which help small and medium holder farmers have access to a high quality, cost-effective and sustainable method of farming. This method also helps to conserve land and soil nutrients.
How to Invent a Product: 12 Steps (with pictures)
Are you convinced to create an incredibly popular life-changing product? Then don't wait! Take these simple steps to make your very own invention and get it out on the markets and create world changing products!