Entrepreneurship is becoming a global force to be reckoned with, and continents like Africa and South America are no exception.
“Africa’s young entrepreneurs keep moving the needle,” says Forbes. “They are taking more risks than ever before and building phenomenal businesses that are tackling problems and creating lots of jobs in the process.”
Here at Loom, we get excited to see the creativity and resourcefulness that comes from each of the communities we partner with around the world. We recognize the need for training in social enterprise and entrepreneurship, as well as business coaching, to leverage the potential of business to create sustainable, thriving communities. In that line, here are ten innovative business ideas that are inspiring us right now.
- SheSays: SheSays is an award-winning global organization focused on the engagement, education and advancement of women in the creative industries.Founded in 2007, they have presence in 40 cities around the world with an estimated 40,000 members.
- Optima Energia: Enrique Gomez-Junco is a Mexican entrepreneur focused on energy efficiency and is the founder and CEO of Optima Energia. Optima Energia has helped many throughout Mexico to reduce their energy consumption and help minimize their environmental footprint.
- Glowork: Glowork is formed by young Saudi entrepreneurs that aim to bring empowerment to women and increase diversity in the Saudi workforce.
- Easy Solar: Easy Solar is a for-profit enterprise with a social mission to make clean energy affordable to off-grid communities in West Africa. The business distributes and finances affordable, high quality solar-powered devices on a rent-to-own basis enabled by Pay-As-You-Go technology.
- SafeBoda: 29-year-old Ugandan entrepreneur Ricky Rapa Thompson is a co-founder of SafeBoda, Uganda’s ‘Uber’ for motorcycle taxis. He has been instrumental to growing Safeboda into a large community of over 1,000 riders who have come to embrace technology through the SafeBoda app.
- Swvl: Swvl is a premium mass transit system that provide buses to every neighbourhood in Cairo. It allows people to share a ride in a van or bus during morning and evening commutes for a fixed flat fare with no surge pricing. Through an app, one can book a ride at an affordable rate.
- Verdant: Verdant offers solutions to support farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain for improved food production using novel technologies. The company offers mobile agricultural extension, market information, managerial support, and access to financial services to smallholder farmers.
- Tangerine Investments: An outdoor advertising firm that uses public transit vehicles, litterbins and street poles to market leading consumer goods in Kenya. Tangerine, which was founded in 2008, has clients such as Kenya Airways, Pizza Inn, Subway and Coca Cola HP among others.
- Tugende: Tugende finances motorcycle taxis in East Africa to empower people previously considered to be too risky for credit. They’ve kickstarted financial independence for over 17,000 motorcycle taxi drivers (boda bodas) in Uganda.
- Food4Education: Food4Education provides subsidized nutritious meals to primary school children to improve nutrition education outcomes. By catering meals to companies to make a profit, they can then subsidize the same nutritious meals for children who need them.
For more inspiration on up-and-coming entrepreneurs, check out Forbes’ list of the “30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs In Africa 2018.” Turns out, necessity just may be the mother of invention after all.