Africa is seeing rapid growth of entrepreneurs, start-ups and technological innovation. Never before has the continent seen such fast moving development.
Women are playing a huge part in this.
Africa is the only region in the world where more women than men choose to become entrepreneurs. Ghana has one of the most developed start-up climates with many organisations geared towards helping new entrepreneurs.
Across all industries women are breaking the traditional stereotypes proving that in the field of an entrepreneur, talent is more important than gender.
We put together the Top 10 Ghanaian Female Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders to watch in 2020.
1. Abiola Bawuah: CEO of United Bank for Africa (UBA)
Bawuah has beaten all odds by becoming the first woman CEO of the United Bank for Africa(UBA). Her intelligence and attention to detail placed her in this high ranking position since 2014. She is currently the Regional CEO of UBA West Africa 1, consisting of six countries.
“Abiola joined UBA as the Deputy Managing Director in 2013 and by dint of hard work, she was elevated to the position of Managing Director and CEO in less than a year. This has led to many recognitions including “Best Bank” award in Risk Management, as well as big ticket contracts for the bank in Ghana. UBA Ghana saw a profitable increase in balance sheet size as well as an enlarged ATM network under her leadership.”-UBA Ghana
Abiola has earned multiple qualifications from Harvard Business School, Columbia; University of New York, INSEAD and Institut Villa Pierrefeu in Switzerland.
2. Akosua Annobil: Founder, AfricaBiz2020 and Tech In Ghana
When it comes to women leading in the Technology industry Akosua Annaobil is on the top list. She is the Founder of @AfricaBiz2020 (AB2020) & @TechInGhana(London & Accra), Co-Lead @TLAAfrica and Global Communications Consultant. A UK-grown; Africa-focused individual, Annaobil has worked with and consulted for Ghana’s Ministry of Communications; the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce, ITU Telecom World in South Korea (Ghana Pavilion), The Global African Investment Summit (Westminster), and many others.
“Akosua Annobil is a multifaceted, award-winning communications expert with over 15 years experience in international public relations, event organisation and digital media. Her diverse experience also includes fundraising, product launches, and the coordination of events and stakeholder partnerships across the public and private sectors in the UK and Ghana.”- http://futureofghana.com/project/akosua-annobil/
3. Ivy Barley: Founder, Developers in Vogue
Ivy Barley is a Tech Entrepreneur, whose focus is to shape a “world where more African women will be daring enough to lead in in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields.” She was named as one of the 50 Most Influential Young Ghanaians in 2017. Ivy is the co-founder of Developers in Vogue, an organization that trains females in the latest technologies and connects them to real-time projects and jobs.
Follow her in her journey to empower women around the world Ivy Barley!
“I’m either teaching girls how to code at @devinvogue or I’m traveling the world with my laptop. That’s a simple life.”
4. Afua Boahemaa Owusu: Executive Director of Star Microinsurance
Afua Boahemma Oswa is the Executive Director of the first Microinsurance Company in Ghana established in 2008. Prior to her current position she worked at Glico as the Deputy Technical Manager. She earned her first degree in Mathematics from the University of Cape Coast (Ghana). Afua also holds an M.Sc. in Actuarial Science from Heriot Watt University, Scotland.
Starmicro Insurance is dedicated to serving the low income households with an affordable and suitable range of microinsurance products.
5. Jacqueline Shaw: an entrepreneur in the fashion and textile industry of Ghana
Africa Fashion Guide is an organization of fashion Pioneers ran by Jacqueline Shaw. Africa Fashion is a social enterprise and fashion sourcing agency. Jacqueline aims to introduce the colorful and unique fashion of Africa to people around the globe, while helping entrepreneurs start and build sustainable fashion businesses in Africa. She has worked and designed for well known companies, such as PUMA, Russell Athletic, Ocean Pacific, Fila and Chilli Pepper and many others.
Here is Jacqueline’s advice to young women looking to venture into the fashion world shared by sheleadsafrica.org
- Network: Build a strong community of people, supporters, mentors and those with the skills you don’t have
- Always be willing to learn, be humble and know that real wisdom comes from acknowledging that you don’t know everything
- Grow a steel spine because there’s a lot you will have to overlook and ignore. Many opinions could make or break you but the key is to believe in yourself
- Read up on everything to do with your craft whilst perfecting it because as a mentor once told me, “The best leaders are the biggest readers”
6.Selassie Atadika: An Artisan Chocolatier
Selassie Atadika company is taking the truffle to a whole new level. Selassie Atadika, is the founder of Midunu Chocolates. Selassie quotes “I enhance the value of local ingredients, showcase lost or forgotten treasures, tell the stories of culinary custodians who keep our heritage alive through preserving, and share the delectable cuisine of the African continent.”
Midunu Chocolates are artisanal handcrafted chocolates; made with Ghanaian cocoa, they feature the flavors and essences of Africa.
Entrepreneurship runs through Selassie’s blood, as she comes from a multi-generational lineage of entrepreneurs. Her maternal grandmother,and mother both were hard working business women. Her parents left Ghana due to civil unrest and political issues, and subsequently started a legal practice in the US through hard work.
Selassie holds a Master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s degree in geography modified with environmental studies from Dartmouth College.
During an interview with lionesses of africa, she was asked “What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?”
“It is very important to understand your ‘why’ before you begin your entrepreneurial journey. Think deeply about it and write it down. Put a reminder somewhere you will see it on a regular basis. There are a lot of twists and turns which will happen as you progress along your path. When things are going well, you won’t seek the reminders. But there will be those ‘other’ days when you will need that nudge to help you get out of bed. The real sign of an entrepreneur is falling to the ground and being able to get yourself up, time after time. It can be a bittersweet journey, but you are the master of your destiny!”
7.Emma Maame Efua Tandoh: Founder of Love Ankara
As the founder of one of Ghana’s largest footwear brands; Love Ankara, Emma Maame Efua Tandoh has introduced the colorful fabric and prints of Africa innovatively. She wants the world to know that fabric and prints are more than just clothes in Africa; it signifies the core of who Africans are- Creative, Confident, Colorful and Authentic!
Love Akara was founded in 2017. Emma encourages other women to forget the odds and just go for it as the future of our continents rests with hard working WOMEN around the world.
8.Korkor Kugblenu: The Founder of Body Butter Co.
The Founder of Body Butter Company is not behind any other women entrepreneur in our list. Korkor Kugblenu is a woman who gives the secret of African beauty through her company. The Body Butter Company,founded in 2011, researches, manufactures and markets indigenous, 100% natural beauty solutions to the sub-Saharan African woman.
Korkor Kuglen got into entrepreneurship by accident as she was working as a copywriter for 3 years. She began marketing shea butter-based products, but soon had the idea to produce her own products, with no artificial additives that solved natural beauty issues for women around the world.
9. Caroline Esinam Adzogble- Entrepreneur,Philanthropist, Investor
Caroline Esinam founder of IAES Africa,IAES Africa, Potters International College, Admission in 30 Minutes, Everyday Travels and Tours, Caroline Technology Solutions, President of Caroline University and the Mercy Heart Foundation.
In 2016 she was named Ghana’s Youngest Entrepreneur at Age24, she established her reputation in the Education space as the youngest female to own and run an Accredited International College. Caroline has been praised for releasing a game-changing app Admission in 30minutes to simplify and fast track the student application and admission process.
Caroline Esinam Adzogble, follow her and get inspired.
10. Deloris Frimpong Manso- Media Mogul, Entrepreneur, and Humanitarian
Deloris Frimpong Manso, born June 24, 1982, popularly known as “Delay”, is an entrepreneur, television and radio show host, and Women’s Advocate in Ghana. Delay started her broadcasting career at the age of 17. Her entrepreneurial journey goes back to 2012 where she introduced the Delay Mackerel in tomato sauce after her own showbiz name, Delay. In 2015, in an effort to grow her brand, Delay introduced tomato paste and sardines on the market, and now offers a larger range of products.
Her early life was difficult as she became an orphan as a teenager. Being left with the responsibility of taking charge of her two younger siblings. In 2018, Delay was honored with the Women Empowerment Award at the 3G Awards, in recognition of her feminism and championing the course of women in society.
The role of women in different sectors shouldn’t be downplayed. African Women are leading the way and taking more positions of influence and power. These women are intelligent, bold and determined. Not backing down from a challenge and determined to push their businesses forward to the highest level they can. They Inspire everyone while paving the way for more women run businesses.