While Sub Saharan Africa has the highest rate of female entrepreneurship across the world (27%), these businesses are typically one-woman enterprises with a small consumer base. Social enterprise She Leads Africa is helping solve the problem by identifying and training high-growth African female entrepreneurs. After a pitch competition with 400 applicants from over 30 countries, SLA founders Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osei have selected six early-stage entrepreneurs who will compete on September 26, 2015 for a $10,000 prize, direct access to investors and international media attention. Learn more about these dynamic ladies below and vote for your fan favorite!


Louisa Kinoshi (Beauty Rev NG)


Louisa Kinoshi

Louisa Kinoshi

Motto: “Mistakes are not failures, but specially prepared lesson plans to help you succeed in your next journey.”

About Louisa: Louisa Kinoshi is the founder of BeautyRevNG, a web and mobile community that celebrates modern African women and connects them to their favorite local and international beauty brands.

How does your idea differ from existing ideas or platforms on the marketplace? We are working on the first beauty shopping app in Africa. The BeautyRevNG iPhone and Android apps will enable women to read reviews, watch videos, post looks, share their beauty purchases with their friends and more. Our beauty experience centers will also replicate our users’ experience offline as well.

Why do you believe you should win this competition? BeautyRevNG is more than just a company its a movement. BeautyRevNG is a company that promotes the modern African woman and empowers her to look inwards for inspiration and to celebrate African influences in beauty. I started BeautyRevNG to revolutionize beauty in Africa! I dream of a day when other girls/women in Paris or Japan look at our African makeup style with our bright eyeshadows, bold lips, geles and beads and think “Wow, that’s dope!” Winning She Leads Africa makes a statement to the world that women on the continent are ready to start changing perceptions surrounding African beauty!

Kasope Ladipo-Ajai (OmoAlata)

Kasope Ladipo-Ajai

Kasope Ladipo-Ajai

Motto: “Growth is like the sky; LIMITLESS!”

About Kasope: Kasope Ladipo-Ajai is the founder of OmoAlata (McPeppers) Food Services Company, a Nigerian Food Service and Packaging Company which is focused on the production of hygienically processed and packaged local Nigerian soups, spices and Peppers. OmoAlata aspires to use its strong local brand identity to position an international product range that will sit in stores all over the world for Nigerians and other customers present in these markets. The OmoAlata Food Services Company desires to be Nigeria’s pioneer food packaging company providing easy to use pepper mix to the general public with operations in key markets across the country. In line with the company’s quality assurance policy, it desires to produce its pepper mix and spices through best practice processing techniques along with a functioning logistical approach to reduce time between processing and final purchase by the consumer.

How did you get the idea for your business? As owners of the OmoAlata brand, our global experiences from traveling to other advanced societies have exposed us to the possibilities of easy and convenient home meal cooking.

We realized that in the stores in these societies, many of the ingredients for cooking Nigerian meals are not produced or packaged from Nigeria. This awakened an urge to project Nigeria as a nation that can produce food merchandise which can compete in the international market space.

Looking at the Nigerian experience from the standpoint of the agricultural value chain, there is a huge gap in food packaging and storage. We have identified this as the hole our range of products will fill and further drive a sustainable and healthy local food packaging culture in the country.

To strengthen our new brand, we decided to start by selling an easily accepted product with a large consumer group, blended pepper. The pilot/test phase of OmoAlata’s peppermix was launched in September 2012.

Why do you believe you should win this competition? Food is a basic need of life. Proper cooking & eating habits promote healthy living. We at OmoAlata aim to provide solutions which promote healthy eating despite busy schedules.

Ngozi Opara (Heat Free Hair Movement)


Motto: “Do it well, or don’t do it at all.”

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Ngozi Opara

About Ngozi: Nigerian-born, US-based Ngozi is the founder and CEO of Heat Free Hair Movement. Heat Free Hair was created in 2012 to attend to the neglected market of women who had natural hair or wanted to be natural but were limited to protective styling options that required them to alter their hair texture for the purpose of blending with hairstyles that didn’t match their texture of hair. Their primary product is virgin human hair created to blend effortlessly with the different curl patterns and textures of a woman’s natural hair. The Heat Free Hair Movement expands beyond their products and focuses on the education of the natural hair community through seminars and instructional videos as well as events for natural women to network with other women alike.

What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about starting a business before you launched? There really isn’t anything I would go back and tell myself. I really do believe I was where I needed to be in life when I needed to be there. I learned the right lessons at the right time and because of that, I can stand comfortably and happily where I am today. Obstacles along the road I traveled served as building blocks and I’m truly thankful for my journey and the development of my business.

Why do you believe you should win this competition? I personally believe there is not enough attention placed on the beauty/ haircare industry on business platforms. In a time where tech, healthcare, and social entrepreneurship are driving movements all over the world, often times the haircare and beauty industry are overlooked. Heat Free Hair provides a product that can help aid in the mental and emotional health of black women and I feel that more women need exposure to our company. Aside from that, I believe we have a solid business model that can add value to the markets we enter and a sustainable growth model. I’ve worked really hard on our product and I’m very proud of it. I believe it would be great to bring the HFH experience to the continent of Africa.

Brenda Katwesigye (InstaHealth)


Brenda Katwesigye

Brenda Katwesigye

Motto: “If you are going to do it, give it your best and see it through to the end.”

About Brenda: The sole East African in this year’s competition, Brenda Katwesigye is the founder of InstaHealth, a startup based in Uganda whose vision is to create the finest and most reliable health technologies for individuals living in Africa. The InstaHealth mobile application enables anybody with a feature phone or a smartphone to access a doctor instantly. It uses geo-location and an interactive voice response (IVR) system to instantly connect users to health centres, specialists and ambulances.

How did you get the idea for your business? This idea grew from a medical project I worked on at the university that involved the use of ICT in health. While working on the project, I took a trip to Moroto ( a rural area approximately 500 km from the capital) and I fell sick. Finding a hospital or even a doctor was a big challenge and thats when the idea of InstaHealth sparked.

Why do you believe you should win this competition? I believe that Instahealth is an impactful business. With the prize money, we will be able to have more people use this service and our goal is to ultimately save lives, even if its just one.

Imoteda Aladekomo (Heels in the Kitchen)

 

Imoteda Aladekomo

Imoteda Aladekomo

Motto: “Success is when preparation and opportunity meet and failure only occurs when you stop trying.”

About Imoteda: Imoteda is the Head Chef at Heels In the Kitchen and also the creator of the show of the same name Heels in the Kitchen. Heels in the Kitchen is a food service company that offers private chef services, event catering and private classes. They are also creating a TV show that breaks cooking down for viewers into simple steps that can easily be accomplished while looking fabulous. With lots of celebrity guests and a focus on viewer interaction, the show is bound to be an extremely engaging hit.

How did you get the idea for your business? I’ve always been interested in cooking and watch a lot of the Food Network. I become bothered by the lack of diversity in cooking show hosts and wondered why with such a rich culture that is truly centered around food, there was no real Nigerian representative on tv. With my experience as a makeup artist I’m very comfortable with the glam life and I thought it would be interesting to have someone fully glammed up on the kitchen teaching recipes. Especially with the Nigerian owambe culture.

Why do you believe you should win this competition? My idea is a great one. The television industry is a largely untapped one in Nigeria and there has never been a better time to release a show like this. The streams of income are clear and the potential for expansion is huge. That being said I think all the other women in the competition are great and I have been inspired by all of them in so many ways. A win for one of us is truly a win for all. I feel blessed and validated that I have made it this far in the competition.

Kambili Ngozi Ofili-Okonkwo

(Kamokini)


Kambili Ngozi Ofili-Okonkwo

Kambili Ngozi Ofili-Okonkwo

Motto: “Success is when preparation and opportunity meet and failure only occurs when you stop trying.”

About Kambili: My name is Kambili Ngozi Ofili-Okonkwo and I am the designer and founder of KAMOKINI. KAMOKINI is an African swimwear & accessories brand that designs stylish swimsuits that provide coverage while flattering the African physique

Why do you believe you should win this competition? I believe KAMOKINI should win this competition because it really has changed my life and has the potential to do the same for others. Majority of people have body related insecurities and society takes it for granted that we do not all look the way we want when we are half naked in public. With funding and the right partners, KAMOKINI will be able to alleviate some of these issues and winning this competition is just the start.

How does your idea differ from existing ideas or platforms on the marketplace? The focus in KAMOKINI is different. Most swimwear out there either focus solely on fashion trends best suited for models or on practicality that exudes maturity beyond most women’s aspirations. Our purpose at KAMOKINI is to create swimsuits that meet practical needs such as better coverage, increased support and tailoring to fit the wide range of African body types whilst simultaneously ensuring our designs are aesthetically pleasing with our blend of fabrics, cuts and bold colours.

Why do you believe you should win this competition? I believe KAMOKINI should win this competition because it really has changed my life and has the potential to do the same for others. Majority of people have body related insecurities and society takes it for granted that we do not all look the way we want when we are half naked in public. With funding and the right partners, KAMOKINI will be able to alleviate some of these issues and winning this competition is just the start.


Learn more about She Leads Africa by visiting their website or following the organization via social media.

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