June 18, 2020

10 Black Business Titans to Watch

The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the important role that business leaders in Africa can play to improve society.

Since various countries implemented lockdown measures, business leaders were at the forefront of doing their part, from donating masks to donating millions of dollars to combat the virus.

As the continent continues to emerge from lockdown measures, business leaders will be called upon to spearhead the economic recovery.

These leaders are the next Titans in their respective industries. They have been growing their various businesses and are now poised to emerge as the next generation to help the continent prosper.

Kevin Okyere, Springfield Group

Black Business Titans

Kevin Okyere is the founder and CEO of Springfield Group, a Ghanaian energy conglomerate involved in trading and transporting hydrocarbons, terminaling and storage, gas stations, and oil exploration. The conglomerate owns 82% interest and operatorship in the block which covers 673 square kilometres in the Gulf of Guinea’s Tano Basin. His company is the first Ghanaian company to venture into oil exploration.

Okyere studied Accounting at George Mason University,in the United States. After his degree, he worked briefly with his sister before establishing Westland Alliance Ltd, a telecoms company. The company later diversified into cell towers and value-added services (VAS). In 2006, he saw the shortfall of storage facilities for petroleum products in Tema, Ghana after working with a business acquaintance that supplied crude oil and condensates to the Tema refinery. Afterwards, he founded Springfield Energy to tap into the opportunity and got a Petroleum Product import license.

Victor Asemota, SwiftaCorp

Black Business Titans

Victor Asemota is a serial entrepreneur and investor who founded various companies. He currently serves as a board member and advisor to leading technology companies and investment firms across Africa. He is alsoAlta Global Ventures Partner in Africa.

Asemota has given back to back to the community byco-foundering the African Diaspora Mentorship and Investment Network. An initiative that is committed to the growth and mentorship of the next generation of talent on the continent. He volunteers as a global mentor for the Google Launchpad startup community and the Interaction Design Foundation where he is the continent manager for Africa.

Dozy Mmobuosi, Tingo International Holdings Inc

Black Business Titans

Dozy Mmobuosi is the founder and Group CEO of Tingo International Holdings Inc, a global company with a footprint in telecommunications, remittance, healthcare, and agriculture sectors in various countries. Dozy’s entrepreneurial pursuit started during his first-degree programme at the Ambrose Ali University as a show promoter.

Dozy was part of the team that built the first mobile payment platform in Nigeria. He also co-founded NaijaFans, a defunct Nigerian-focused social media site. With Tingo Holdings, Dozy created Nwassa, a holistic platform that connects every player in the agriculture value chain by allowing farmers to sell their farm produce in large quantities to buyers within and outside Africa

Under Dozy’s leadership and vision, Tingo International Holdings Inc, has continued to expand the group’s business into new markets including the United Kingdom and United States.

Shola Akinlade, Paystack

Black Business Titans

Sola Akinlade’s Paystack is one of the leading names driving the financial technology industry in Africa.n. Akinlade and Ezra Olubi founded Paystack in 2015 in a bid to allow merchants to receive funds from anyone, anywhere in the world. Paystack would become the first Nigerian company to be accepted into Silicon Valley-based incubator, Y Combinator.

Before founding Paystack, Akinlade worked as a Management Trainee with Heineken shortly after his degree. He also co-founded Klein Devort, the company behind Precurio, an Intranet collaboration platform that was used by organisations in more than 40 countries. With Paystack, Akinlade and his team have attracted investment from international companies like Visa Tencent Holdings, Stripe, among others.

Jason Njoku, iROKO

Black Business Titans

Jason Njoku is a Nigerian serial entrepreneur and investor who has remained one of the top digital Media & Entertainment names in Africa. Njoku co-founded iROKOtv which has been dubbed the Netflix of Africa. Before iROKO, Njoku has tried his hands on a couple of other ventures which include a Magazine publishing platform, a T-shirt business, a web design company, among others.

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Njoku is also one of the brains behind ROK Studios, a movie making company that was later acquired by Canal+ in the largest media acquisition in the West African region. Njoku also co-founded Spark for a $2 million investment vehicle for Lagos-based internet startups in 2013. Some of the startups that Spark invested in were, a drink distribution company; (now PropertyPro), a property online letting platform and, an online hotel booking platform.

Jessica O. Matthews, Uncharted Power Inc

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Nigerian-American Jessica Matthews is the founder and CEO of Uncharted Power Inc, a full-service energy and data infrastructure technology company. Her company is behind Soccket, a soccer ball that can be used as a power generator which was invested when Matthews was 19. Matthews was among the 10 Most Power Women Entrepreneurs as compiled by Fortune Magazine in 2011.

Currently listed on 11 patents, Matthews has her first degree in Psychology from Harvard University before getting an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is on the board of a couple of organisations.

Jon Gosier, Southbox Entertainment

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Jon Gosier is the founder and a general partner of Southbox Entertainment, a film development and production firm. Gosier is the Chief Information Officer of Musicjungle, a platform that is changing how music is licensed for film, TV, podcasts and media.

Gosier is the brain behind Audigent, a platform that provided artists like Camila Cabello, Eminem, Post Malone, Blake Shelton, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Shakira, Rihanna, Jay-Z, and other entertainers with new ways of understanding audience data. While living in the landlocked country of Uganda, Gosier co-founded a couple of organisations, one of which is a network of tech innovation hubs that now reaches over 90 cities in Africa. He also founded Appfrica, a tech consultancy that served the continent and went on to stimulate more than $100 million in economic activities, creating jobs and deploying capital.

Tope Awotono, Calendly

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Tope Awotona is the founder and CEO of Calendly, a scheduling tool that has served close to 30 million people across the globe. Prior to establishing Calendly, Tope worked with IBM, Vertafore, Dell EMC, and Perspective Software. His other ventures before the online appointment scheduling platform include a data website and an eCommerce platform.

In 2012, he saw the gap in the online meeting scheduling sector which birthed Calendly which officially launched a year later to address the challenge. And the company has become the fastest-growing company in scheduling automation, serving millions with simple, yet powerful software to schedule meetings without stress.

Vusi Thembekwayo, MGF Venture Partners

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South African Vusi Thembekwayo is an acclaimed business mogul and global speaker. At 25, Vusi ran a ZAR400mn division in a ZAR17bn multi-national and today is widely regarded as one of the most disruptive forces in venture capital in Africa. He was amongst the youngest directors of a listed company in South Africa and currently holds several board seats..

In 2014, he founded MGF Venture Partners, with the aim of developing a robust innovation, education and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa. Vusi also starred as a Dragon investor on the African edition of the popular reality TV series, Dragon’s Den in the same year. Vusi has been acknowledged as one of the most influential venture capitalists in Africa.

Nneile Nkholise, 3DIMO

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Lesotho-born Nneile Nkholise is a Mechanical Engineering and Social Entrepreneur, founder at 3DIMO, a Sport Tech company. Nneile started her career with the iMED Tech Group whilst undertaking her Master’s at the Central University of Technology, South Africa. According to Nneile, ‘establishing iMED Tech was to prove that women have the power and potential to run business within the medical technology sector’.

Her current company, 3DIMO focuses on the detection of sports injuries, prevention, and rehabilitation. She is creating digital models for athletes that are analyzed, observing what happens when athletes train to predict injuries.