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Nigeria tops list of 6 African female innovators for 2017 (see list)

Six dynamic young women have been recognized as Africa’s top female innovators in 2017.

These women are innovators from a range of field including agriculture, health, solar power and others. They are from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.

South Africa and Nigeria had two winners each while Kenya and Uganda had one winner each.

They will be contributing to discussions and generating action plans that will boost entrepreneurship in Africa at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa taking place in Durban, South Africa.

The winners are:

1. Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja – Fresh Direct, Nigeria

She is the founder and Executive Director of Fresh Direct Produce and Agro-Allied Services. It is an indigenous agricultural production and processing company that bring together communities and advanced technology to provide exquisitely grown organic fruits, vegetables and meats and processed end products.

She has pioneered stackable container farms and helped urban populations reduce stress on land use and also gain access to high-quality produce. According to company, its organic urban farms use less water and land than conventional farming while producing a 15 times higher yield.

2. Temie Giwa-Tubosun – LifeBank, Nigeria

She is one of the young ladies in Nigeria working hard to change things in the health sector. She is the founder and CEO of LifeBank which is deploying the latest in digital supply chain thinking to deliver blood and other high-value medical products to hospitals and health centres.

Using an app, LifeBank provides records of blood banks available all over Lagos, which allows health centres to find the relevant blood types and order for delivery. It also ensures health workers get the life-saving inputs they need before they even arrive at the hospital.

3. Esther Karwera – Akorion, Uganda

She is a software developer, energetic entrepreneur and co-founder of Akorion Company limited. Akorion is an ICT company which aims at improving the livelihood of smallholder farmer, reduce costs of transaction and increase efficiency along the agricultural value chain in Uganda.

Akorion has developed software that integrates smallholder farmers into digital value chains, helping them sell directly to agribusinesses. The company’s growth is supported by a network of village-based service providers.

4. Darlene Menzies – FinFind, South Africa

She is a technology innovator with firsthand experience in what it takes to start and grow a business. She has used this experience to develop practical, easy-to-use software tools for small businesses.

FinFind is a one-stop solution for access to finance for small business, which aims at helping SMEs and start-ups secure financing. It brings together the providers and seekers of SMME finance with a focus on readying small businesses to access finance. The company has been able to improve entrepreneurs’ access to vital capital and help lenders identify a pipeline of quality loan leads.

5. Aisha Pandor – SweepSouth, South Africa

Since she founded SweepSouth in June 2014, the company has created employment opportunities for 3,000 domestic cleaners. SweepSouth is an online technology platform for booking, managing, and paying for domestic cleaning services within a few minutes from your laptop, phone or tablet.

Clients are connected with domestic cleaning professionals who go through a rigorous interview process and are experienced. Think of it as the “Uber of cleaning”.

6. Charity Wanjiku – Strauss Energy Limited, Kenya

She is the CEO and co-founder of Strauss Energy, a startup which deals in renewable energy solutions. Strauss Energy manufactures, sells and installs 2-in-1 Stima roofing tiles with integrated solar cells to affordably tap solar energy from the estate roofs, and have the solar power evacuated back to the national grid. Its proprietary solar roofing tiles are able to undercut conventional solar tiles by 30 percent.

This is the second year the WEF is running this competition. The search was initiated to demonstrate the positive role that women are playing in helping drive growth, create employment and prepare the region for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The criteria for the challenge required entrants’ companies to be less than three years old, be earning revenue for at least a year, and have proven innovation and positive social impact.

Five winners were selected from the 2016 #WEFAfrica Forum’s challenge to find Africa’s top women innovators.

Last year’s winners were inspiring women working on everything from solar-powered vending carts to paperless health insurance.

So who will be the 2017 #WEFAfrica2018 Innovators in Africa?