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Turning Tide: Women Entrepreneurs in Africa

They are dynamic, innovative and successful. These are African women entrepreneurs. Have they achieved greatly? Yes, and are contributing to the economies of their countries. They are indeed turning the tide in Africa by stamping their authority in business.

The series was produced with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The first 13 episodes feature Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda entrepreneurs. 

The series was launched in Ethiopia and has been screened to audiences across the globe and broadcast in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda and across Africa on M-Net.


The Transporter

Coco Pundugu – Rwanda

As the proprietor and Chief Executive Officer of Panache Ltd, Coco Pundugu admits that making that first step was a difficult decision. However, despite the initial challenges, Panache has made her mark in the competitive clearing and forwarding business in the eastern and central Africa regions and is exploring possibilities of expanding its presence in the global scene. 

“I want to give back. When I was in a refugee camp, someone fed me .”

The Coffee Connoiseur

Emebet Tafesse – Ethiopia 

Emebet Tafesse is at the helm of two companies – ZEBAD General Import and Export and ERKAB Transport and Consultancy Service. ZEBAD exports Ethiopian coffee, renowned the world over for its superior quality, to the global market. ERKAB provides clearing and export services for traders using the port of Djibouti. 

“Without working together, we cannot think about development and growth.”

The Brand Promoter

Eva Muraya – Kenya 

Eva Muraya is the Chief Executive Officer of Color Creations Ltd., a company that produces state-of-the-art advertising and promotional merchandise through the development of a wide range of screen-printed and embroidered products. The company serves a wide range of clients with innovative and creative visibility material.

 “Our ability to be above board can be what will turn the day for the woman in enterprise.”

The Designer

Genet Kebede – Ethiopia

Genet Kebede is a highly regarded fashion designer and the proprietor of Paradise Fashion in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. By specialising in production of the finest Ethiopian hand woven wear, Genet has brought a unique product into the fashion industry while promoting the special skills of traditional Ethiopian weavers. Apart from Paradise Fashion, Genet works in partnership with two friends in a garment manufacturing company, GMM Garment P.L.C.

“I think Africa has got something beautiful and something that is not yet seen outside Africa. We have to be strong enough to show what we have.”

The IT Specialist

Gilda Odera – Kenya

Skyweb Technologies Ltd, All About Kids, All About Marketing – Kenya Gilda Odera is the contented owner of four businesses all offering diverse services – marketing, children’s play areas and information technology services. Always keen on spotting business opportunities, Gilda has developed her simple business ideas into thriving enterprises. Through sheer determination, Gilda has scaled the corporate ladder and won recognition in Kenya and beyond.

“Never say you can’t do something: try it and even if you fail, try again.”

The Communicator

Grace Achire Labong  – Uganda

Grace Achire Labong is the proprietor of Vantage Communications, a public relations and communications company based in Kampala, Uganda with branches in Tanzania and Rwanda. Vantage Communications focuses on developing and building brands, actively managing corporate reputations and helping organisations increase awareness of their services and products.

“We should remove the shackles of Africanness because in Africa, service delivery can be as good as anywhere else.”

The Social Entrepreneur

Joy Ndungutse – Rwanda

Joy Ndungutse’s business idea has transformed the lives of rural women in her country. Starting with only seven women, Gahaya Links now brings together thousands of women who weave traditional baskets and utility items for the export market. The unique creations bear the distinctive character of traditional Rwandan designs made by hand, using a centuriesold technique.

“The women’s voice is being heard in this country, and it is being appreciated.”

The All Rounder

Julian Adyeri Omalla – Uganda Julian Omalla has excelled in manufacturing, farming, construction and export trade. Apart from marketing her Cheers products, she is also the sole distributor of Rwenzori bottled water in South Sudan. Facing challenges and applying correct principles to deal with them, Julian has put Delight Uganda Ltd in a strategic position. The company has a bright future that comes with immense growth and bigger dreams.

“Business is like a wheelbarrow. No matter how steep the hill is, you must push it until you reach the top.”

The Manufacturer

Khadija Simba – Tanzania

Khadija Simba from Tanzania was one of the first women in her country to venture into business. She established Kays Hygiene Products as a response to her constant search for quality sanitary pads. The vision for her company includes transforming it from its status as a family business into a corporate entity and diversifying into other areas of business.

“Stay focused. Stay true to yourself.”

Beauty Care Expert

Mulumebet G/Sellassie – Ethiopia

Mulumebet G/Sellassie is one of the pioneers of the beauty care industry in Ethiopia. In fulfilling a life long dream, Mulu started Byogenic Beauty Spot, Addis Ababa’s first beauty centre, which occupies a special place in her heart. As her business grew, she realized the need to start a training centre to offer courses on the specialised services as this expertise was not readily available in Ethiopia.

“Come forward and be an example to other people.”

The Leather Crafter

Nalina Rupani – Kenya

Nalina Rupani started small utilising her savings and today, the exclusive leather handbags and accessories she makes under the Adelphi label are sold in various outlets in Nairobi. Although the company manufactures mainly for the Kenyan market, Nalina is well aware that the eventual growth she desires for her company will require her diversification into other markets.

“I believe, in life, we can aspire to be anything we want to be as long as we set our minds to it.”

The Brand Builder

Nyokabi Njuguna – Kenya

Nyokabi Njuguna’s business is to help entrepreneurs position themselves in the competitive environment. Marketing Strategies and Solutions provides a range of services to suit the individual needs of its clients. Previously a manufacturer of utility items, Nyokabi followed her heart and plunged into the unfamiliar consultancy field.

“Business is hard work, team building and networking.”

The Weaver

Rahel Zewde – Ethiopia

Rahel Zewde is the proprietor of K Design, a business that dates back 50 years. The company specialises in garments and accessories exclusively made from Ethiopian hand woven fabric. The K Design label has gained wide recognition because of the superior quality of the company’s products.

“To be successful in business, it has to be something you know and love to do.”