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Game changers under 30

Forbes Africa, on June 4, released its 30 under 30s fourth series. For the first time, inspired by the growing number of young men and women entrepreneurs, it expanded to bring in 30 game-changers, all under the age of 30, in three sectors – business, technology and creative. Below are the young men and women who took the top spots under this series

1. Gilbert Eugene Peters, 29, Zimbabwe

Peters, Spindex Media’s founder, started by buying and selling satellite dishes in Harare. Together with the two workers he employed, they installed more than 2,000 satellite dishes. All this before he was 19 years old.

The demand waned and Peters went into formal employment as a graphic designer. At 21, armed with $300 (Sh 30,269), he registered Spidex Media with the hope of addressing the need for faster advertising and design services in 24 hours.

Today, Spidex has offices in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia. It is one of the largest advertising companies in Zimbabwe with a majority market share in the financial sector handling brand portfolios worth more than $870 million (Sh 87.8 billion).

2. Emmanuel Ademola Ayilara, 29, Nigeria

LandWey Investment Ltd is a real estate development and management company with a turnover of more than $14 million (Sh1.4 billion) per year. Ayilara started the company with just five employees.

Today, they employ 42 full-time staff, 370 realtors and 16,000 consultants. Ayilara’s journey to entrepreneurship started when he was in school. His first stint was at a coaching centre in Abeokuta, Ogun State in Nigeria. The business failed.

3. Wesley Beneke, 29, South Africa

Beneke grew up in an entrepreneurial family. His mother taught him that running a business was possible as she was an entrepreneur herself.

The founder of WCB Construction has employed 40 permanent staff, has in excess of 150 contract staff and has deals worth more than $12 million (Sh1.2 billion). He counts the Western Cape government and the South African Roads Agency among his clients.

4. Sihle Ndlela, 28, South Africa

Ndlela, together with Simphiwe Majozi are the co-founders of Majozi Bros Construction. This construction company started from humble beginnings and went on to become one of the leading construction companies in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

Ndlela and Majozi met on a cold call, formed a friendship and went into business together. The two saw a gap in the township construction market. The business grew quickly and their clients now range from malls to residential estates.  They were awarded a $105 million (Sh 10.6 billion) project alongside Australian WBHO Construction Company as a partner.

5. Akinwande Durojaye, 28, Nigeria

While at Covenant University, Durojaye saw the need for a printing and branding business. He started doing business as an intermediary between the students’ association and the print world. In 2014, he used this experience to start JustBrandIt, a printing, branding and advertising agency.

The Information and Communications Engineering graduate is also the founder of FixMyRide, a fleet management company which manages different taxi hailing platforms like Uber, Taxify and Oga Taxi. He employs 13 full-time staff and about 210 contracted drivers. Combined, the companies turn over $1.2 million (Sh 121.1 million) each year.

6. Mwiya Musokotwane, 28, Zambia

Musokotwane co-founded a tech startup while pursuing his Master’s. The business failed. At 23, he had a dream to build a mega city. Armed with lessons from the first business, he worked tactfully.

At 24, he left his job to pursue it. With the help of his family, he founded Thebe Investment Management. The company is the owner and developer of Nkwashi, a 3,100 acre mega-project in Lusaka, Zambia. By age 25, he had generated $1 million (Sh 100.9 million) in cash flow.

7. Yannick Nzonde, 29, DRC

Five years ago, Nzonde founded ATI Groupe, a construction company, with $478 (Sh48,228) he earned from renting out his friend’s BMW that he had borrowed for a weekend.

He is also the founder of Mulundu Investment Holdings, which houses ATI Groupe and Chi Groupe, management consulting firms. Mulundu Investment Holdings turns over a million dollars (Sh 100.9 million) in revenue each year.

8. Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed Falalu, 28, Nigeria

Falalu saw an opportunity to make money when he realised Nigeria consumes about seven million metric tonnes of rice and only produces 2.7 million metric tonnes, forcing the country to spend more than $2 billion (Sh201.8 billion) in imports.

With a total annual capacity to produce more than 5,000 metric tonnes, he founded FaLGates, a rice mill producing a variety of rice products. They employ 30 people in Kaduna and more than 150 people at their anchored farms in Niger and Kebbi. They turned over about $450,000 (Sh 45.4 million) in 2017.

9. Nomvula Mhambi, 29, Zimbabwe

When her mother could not afford to take her to university because of the economic and political downturn in Zimbabwe, Mhambi registered a catering and events management company at age 19. She was later invited to work on a concert that featured Akon and Sean Paul. It opened doors.

She saw a gap in the advertising industry and founded Disruptive Innovation, a full service media communications and advertising social enterprise. She was selected for the Young African Leaders Initiative where she won a $25,000 (Sh2.5 million) grant towards her restroom advertising pilot project.

10. Gisela van Houcke, 27, DRC

While working as the head of legal at BBOXX Ltd in Kigali, Houcke founded Zuri as a hobby in 2015 when she struggled to find quality hair extensions.

When she sold extensions worth $50,000 (Sh 5.1 million) in a few months, she turned the hobby into a business. By end 2016, Zuri Luxury Hair had sold hair worth more than $100,000 (Sh10.1 million) across the DRC and Rwanda online.

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