Meet the BIC Africa Acceleration Programme for Women Entrepreneurs 2024 Cohort

Maria da Conceição Sebastião Afonso was born in the Mabor neighborhood, Luanda, Angola. In 2021, she founded Kifrutas project, a fruit shop specialized in natural juices and vitamins, seeing the opportunity to explore the dehydrated fruit market. She began her education at a local school , where she completed primary education. In high school, she attended the Menonite College between 2000 and 2002. Due to financial difficulties, she moved to Caxito, Bengo, to complete high school in Economics. In 2007, she entered higher education in Accounting and Management in the province of Uíge. Concurrently, she was a Management of Business trainer and later hired by Sonangol as a financial assistant, becoming a Budget and Cost technician. She completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Accounting and Management. She taught Economics from 2011 to 2018 and became an Accountant in 2013. She founded a cosmetics company in 2017, closed in 2021. In 2019, she opened her own minimarket, closed in 2023.

Solange Monteiro is from Angola. She is the Founder and Executive Director at I.MK, a company that specializes in Marketing Consulting and Training. With more than15 years of work experience, Solange is working on strategic marketing since 2012 before that she had extensive work experience on tax consultancy and customer services in Angola and Portugal.

Jihane GUY, founder of Wutamu, the First Soap House of the Comoros, is a dynamic young woman of Comorian origin. Having previously worked at UNICEF for 10 years, she values independence of thought and the freedom to make her own choices. She brings a unique perspective as a Comorian entrepreneur committed to social impact. Her experience in advocacy and his passion for sustainability are reflected in his company. Inspired by the need for natural soaps to treat her daughter’s allergies, she is motivated by her vision to create locally sourced wellness products. His career is rooted in family values and his passion for his country. As a mother, wife, daughter and multilingual world citizen, she remains faithful to her values in all aspects of her life and continues to fight for a better world, in accordance with her convictions.

Nissay Bacar, 33, is a married mother and passionate about entrepreneurship. With a degree in sales management, she founded her business Yatech with the help of two friends and her husband. Her commitment to entrepreneurship stems from Her desire to leave a mark on the history of the Comoros, to bequeath a legacy to Her children and community, and to contribute to access to quality local food. Determined to make lasting and inspiring changes in her community, she refuses to remain passive in an air-conditioned office and is fully committed to the development of her business. Despite her modest savings and the help of her friends, she managed to establish her business and rise to major challenges. Her adherence to capacity building programs, such as those of the APILE project, has allowed him to improve Her knowledge and perspectives. Driven by a thirst for learning and unfailing determination, she is convinced that with additional intellectual support, especially from the BIC Africa community, she will be able to fully realise her dream of moving her company to new heights. Her commitment to the quality and accessibility of local dairy products reflects Her vision of positive change for Her community and country.

Wani Joana KAHASHA is from DRC.  In 2020, She founded EPICES DU KIVU, a company dedicated to farming and processing local spices. Inspired by the rich biodiversity of the Kivu region, we embarked on a mission to elevate indigenous spices to global prominence while empowering local farmers. As a female entrepreneur, She forged a path blending my passion for engineering with business acumen. With a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Master’s in Engineering Business Management. She honed her skills in optimization and process improvement. Her journey in the corporate world took her through breweries and mining, where she garnered invaluable experience in operations, supply chain management, and strategic planning. Drawing from these diverse industries, She envisioned a venture that would not only be profitable but also socially impactful. Through meticulous attention to quality and sustainable practices, EPICES DU KIVU commitment to fair trade and community development resonates with consumers, fostering loyalty and trust.

Ruth KIND is a passionate entrepreneur, from Republic of the Congo, leading the cosmetics brand Elhen. Her entrepreneurial journey began with the launch of her brand from scratch, a rewarding experience marked by the growth of the business and positive feedback from my clients. Her passion for innovation and commitment to quality drive every aspect of her work. Outside of my business, I find inspiration in sports and cooking. She has a graphic design, social media, and photography skills that enrich her entrepreneurial endeavors, and work as a freelance social media manager.  Despite challenges such as limited financial resources and the impacts of Covid. She remain committed to pursuing her mission with creativity and determination, ready to tackle new challenges.

Hanan Ahmed who was born and raised in Addis Ababa, founder of Han’s Reusable Sanitary, is the first hand victim of period shaming during her high school years, After working for international airlines for almost six years, she returned to Addis Ababa and decided to explore her creative side by making modest wear clothing in India. The concept of Han’s With Care emerged during the pandemic when the fashion industry faced challenges. Hanan saw an opportunity to contribute to society and began making face masks for the hearing impaired and face shields for the Ethiopian Doctor Association. The satisfaction she derived from giving back to her community was immeasurable. Hanan firmly believes that no girl should miss school due to her period and that no elderly person should feel ashamed or embarrassed due to circumstances beyond their control. She is committed to designing products that not only offer economic benefits and promote good health but also protect the environment by reducing plastic waste, which takes hundreds of years to decompose. With a deep sense of care and compassion, Hanan leads the charge in ensuring that her products are meticulously crafted with the utmost attention to detail by a team of skilled women. Her company, Han’s Reusable Sanitary Manufacturing, embodies her commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of women and the elderly.

Kalkidan Eshete is the founder and CEO of Hager Pesticide factory in Ethiopia. She graduated from Bahir Dar university in Bachelor of science degree in Chemical Engineering. Her aspiration is to solve the so called “Elephant in the room’’ kinds of problems where every society lives with the problem that suffers them the most. Seeking a challenging and fast-paced role where I can leverage my skills and experience to make a significant impact.

Maerege Fiseha is a dedicated, hardworking, friendly and proactive Entrepreneur, Industrial Engineer with good innovation and leadership skill while being founder and CEO of Start-up company called Engocha Engineering semi automatic injera baking machine manufacturing satrtup company for over 2 years in Business Incubation and Techno-Entreprenurship Center (BiTec) at Bahirdar Institute of Technology campus and get National Award from Ministry of Labor and Skills , get recognition from Bahirdar University and delegate participant in YALDA i-boot camp program 2024 in South africa, University of Pretoria.

Mikal Afewerki is the founder of Azmara Solar Baking Mitad that spearheading groundbreaking research to develop an advanced solar-powered stove with unparalleled efficiency, harnessing data science skills for precise data collection and insightful analytics. In addition, She is a full-Stack Web Developer and Mechanical Engineer with 5 years of experience in Engineering design and project supervision. Adept at leveraging design software, CAD, and Python in the field of machine learning to drive innovation. She excel in creating captivating websites that seamlessly blend creativity with technical expertise to deliver comprehensive solutions. Experienced in overseeing projects from conception to implementation, ensuring seamless execution and successful outcomes. She is committed to continuous growth.

Louisette Nina IHARIMALALA, is the founder and CEO of a private school and an institute of agribusiness training Le Capricorne from Madagascar. With experiences in a career as a university teacher, embodies a commitment to education and rural development. She brings a strategic vision to her company, emphasizing innovative education and the strengthening of rural communities. Through strategic partnerships and innovative educational programs, she creates opportunities for youth in rural areas, while promoting sustainable agricultural entrepreneurship. Her own experience as the founder and CEO gave her a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities in these fields. Her determination to create a better future for rural areas is evident in her actions, including encouraging educational innovation and supporting local economic development. Nina’s passion for these causes is reflected in her daily work, where she continuously seeks to make a positive impact in her community and beyond

Mbolatiana RAKOTOARIMALALA is the visionary founder and CEO of Met’O, a trailblazing company based in Antananarivo – Madagascar that challenges traditional gender roles in the workforce by empowering women in the metalwork and custom furniture industry. As a proud Malagasy enterprise, Met’O stands as a testament to breaking barriers and creating formal employment opportunities in rural areas. With a strong background in communication, Mbolatiana has led impactful projects in youth employment, public health, and sustainability. She has served as a Communication Manager for YALI Madagascar and on the YALI Regional Advisory Board, contributing to youth empowerment in Southern Africa. At the Fonds Malgache de Formation Professionnelle, she promoted continuous training and managed international collaborations. Fluent in Malagasy, French, and English, Mbolatiana is a dynamic leader whose efforts drive economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social change, marking her as a crucial asset to global entrepreneurial and community development initiatives.

Jannie Nadia RATSIMBA EP RABEJAONA a dedicated female entrepreneur, from Madagascar, committed to addressing cleaning and waste management challenges. In 2019, she founded M-LamiNaH, a cleaning and tidying service, with the aim of providing families and companies with trusted housework assistance to enhance their serenity and comfort. Through M-LamiNaH, she delivers reliable cleaning and gardening services, with a focus on creating decent job opportunities, particularly for women in precarious conditions. Nadia’s advocacy aims to promote responsible waste practices, consumption habits, and cleanliness, alongside advocating for policy reforms to enhance waste management infrastructure. Her overarching goal is to contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future for her community and country, firmly believing that cleanliness is a crucial step towards national development.

Joëlle Andrianarijaona is the founder and CEO of Inclusiv Academy from Madagascar. Inclusiv Academy is a professional training center specialized in the reorientation towards digital professions. Founded in 2020 to respond to the growing demand for digital skills. Her journey began with a vision to create decent job positions for young Malagasy people, to foster Economic Growth and to bring a qualitative Education Aligned with SDGs. She witnessed the growing demand for digital skills and recognized the importance of providing accessible education to bridge this gap inspired her to establish a solution to these problems. Though perseverance and dedication, she turned this vision into reality through Inclusiv Academy as a beacon of opportunity and inclusion in the digital education landscape. Her mission is to empower individuals from all walks of life with the tools they need to thrive in the digital age.

Onyinyechi Chikere is the Co-founder and Operations Manager of Clozetsales, a circular fashion brand that leverages its marketplace, circular resources, and online campaigns to redistribute and repurpose fashion waste while providing alternative income opportunities for women in her community. With her Bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Environmental Management from the University of Uyo and a certificate in Circular Fashion Design, Science, and Value in a Sustainable Clothing Industry from Wageningen University & Research. Chikere’s entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking have earned her numerous recognitions and accolades, including being named one of the Top  X-WOMEN Championing Sustainable Solutions in Africa 2024, Recipient Google SME Funds 2023.  Africa Climate Stories Fellows 2023. Top Future Females Entrepreneurs in Africa, She won 2022 YouTube Shorts Challenge. She has also been recognized as an AFRICA NXT speaker on Circular Fashion, one of the Top 100 Enterprising Women by Bumpa, and a Top 30 Sustainable Solutions Entrepreneur in 2022. Chikere’s commitment to social and environmental impact, coupled with her entrepreneurial drive and strong leadership skills, make her an excellent candidate for investment opportunities. Her experience in driving innovative projects, developing impactful campaigns, and empowering women through sustainable initiatives position her as a valuable asset to any team focused on social and environmental impact.

Adaeze Menekpugi is a dynamic young African leader hailing from Nigeria. As the Co-founder of Services Limited, a pioneering professional family care company based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, she has passionately spearheaded initiatives to enhance maternal health for over six years. She is deeply committed to advocating for maternal health, a cause she champions through her business by providing essential postpartum care services to families across Nigeria. Under Her leadership, Services Limited has become a beacon of hope, ensuring the health and well-being of mothers and their infants. Through innovative strategies and unwavering dedication, her efforts have significantly contributed to the reduction of neonatal deaths and mitigated long-term health challenges faced by women due to inadequate postpartum care. Moreover, her business serves as a platform for empowering women, offering them opportunities for professional growth and economic independence through employment and comprehensive training programs. Her exceptional contributions to the maternal health landscape have garnered global recognition, including acknowledgment by the United States Government through their flagship program, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beyond her entrepreneurial endeavors, Adaeze is a certified HR professional and a dedicated UN SDSN Climate champion.

Grace Amuzie, is the founder of Isrina Schools, a passionate advocate for inclusive education, embarked on her remarkable journey at just 15, providing educational support to underprivileged children in her community. Her commitment to education’s transformative power led her to establish Isrina School, which offers affordable education to over 200 children, bridging the gap for those facing economic disparities. Grace’s personal experiences drive her determination to ensure that every child, regardless of their background, has equitable access to quality education. Beyond the classroom, she champions environmental sustainability through her Recycles Pay Project, empowers youth through the Mentor Me Program and tackles educational challenges with the B2SchProject. Grace’s dedication extends to leadership roles, heading Isrina School and leading Divine Stead Foundation’s impactful initiatives and has volunteered for countless organizations. As a certified Microsoft Educator, she enhances learning experiences with a service-oriented mindset. Her inspiring journey and commitment to inclusive education have garnered accolades, including the Savvy Prize for Impact-Driven Entrepreneurs and an Eloy Award nomination for Social Entrepreneurs.

Mrumun Agbir (Dr.) is the founder of Vet Trail Animal and Agro Enterprise. She is visionary professional dedicated to bridging the gap between veterinary medicine and public health. Armed with a Master’s in Public Health and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from Usmanu Dandiyo University Sokoto, where she graduated as the best student in Avian Medicine, she demonstrates exceptional commitment to excellence. Throughout her career, Dr. Agbir has exhibited unwavering dedication to holistic health solutions, particularly in addressing shared infections between humans and animals. As the Abia State Coordinator for a health strengthening initiative, she led transformative efforts in polio eradication. Dr. Agbir’s leadership was instrumental in establishing and coordinating health committees at the state-level, 17 Local Government Areas, and over 800 wards across the state. She engaged stakeholders ranging from government officials to community leaders and health workers, ensuring comprehensive involvement in health initiatives. Her strategic vision and hands-on approach ensured the successful planning and execution of vaccination campaigns, significantly contributing to the state’s immunization coverage. In her role as a Management Support Technician for the Measles Campaign, Dr. Mrumun Agbir continues to make significant strides in advancing holistic health solutions, driven by her unwavering dedication to improving the well-being of both humans and animals alike.

Hamdi Mohamed is the founder of Kheyraat Honey from Somalia. She is a professional Somali woman with expertise Environmental sciences and Agriculture who thrives in farming, business management, and entrepreneurship named Outstanding Employee of the Year for promoting and empowering women in business; concurrently serving as Secretary of Somali Women in Business founded Kheyraat Honey; demonstrated sustainable farming methods; and promoting community empowerment through fluency in language and a variety of skills in coaching, business development, and strategic planning.

Hafsa Abdiaziiz Mohamed is the founder Sisters Store is an online retail platform. Sisters store is the ultimate online destination for women’s and children’s fashion. We offer a carefully curated selection of trendy clothing, stylish shoes, and accessories. Whether you’re a fashion-forward woman looking for the latest trends or a parent searching for adorable and comfortable outfits for your little ones, we have you covered. Our online platform provides a seamless shopping experience, with easy navigation, secure checkout, and fast shipping. Discover fashionable clothing, find the perfect pair of shoes, and complete your look with our stylish accessories. Elevate your style and dress your whole family in fashion-forward outfits with sisters store. The store’s mission is to empower women by offering them a platform to discover and purchase products that enhance their lifestyle and express their individuality. Sisters Store strives to create a community where women can find inspiration, support, and a sense of belonging. As the founder, Hafsa Abdiaziz Mohammed is driven by her passion for entrepreneurship and a desire to expand Sisters Store’s reach globally. Through strategic marketing, partnerships, and continuous improvement, she aims to make Sisters Store a go-to destination for women seeking stylish and essential products.

Kholofelo Hope Nengwenda is the founder of Cartridge Depot (Pty) Ltd adn a determined entrepreneur born and raised in Limpopo, South Africa. She has carved a remarkable path in the business world through her passion for sustainable entrepreneurship and commitment to community impact. Graduating with a BSc degree in Geology, Ocean and Atmospheric Science from the University of Cape Town (2012) and furthering her education at Wits Business School (2018) and the University of Pretoria GIBS (2021), Kholofelo’s academic pursuits laid the groundwork for her entrepreneurial journey. Kholofelo’s academic achievements reflect her dedication to continuous learning and her unwavering pursuit of excellence in entrepreneurship. Kholofelo’s entrepreneurial journey began in 2014 with the establishment of her first business venture, Household Maids & Cleaning Services. The company was inspired by the challenges she faced when relocating from Limpopo to Mpumalanga and struggling to find domestic assistance. The company then grew to be registered as Mukhoni Cleaning Specialists which now provides cleaning services and domestic worker placement, and within a short span, the company had created employment opportunities for approximately 50 people. Among the 50 workers employed by Nengwenda, 35 are permanent. Her company has also made it possible for close to 20 household domestic workers to be placed.

Kgabiso Sephai is the founder and director of KgabisoPalesa Consulting (KP Cons) and KgabisoPalesa Cares (KP Cares). KgabisoPalesa Consulting (KP Cons) a projects, energy and information technology consulting company that specialises in project development, project & programme management, lighting assessment, energy efficiency auditing, energy performance assessment & advisory, information technology consulting, information technology infrastructure, information technology outsourcing and e-waste management. KgabisoPalesa Cares (KP Cares), a non-profit company and Public Benefit Organisation (PBO), with a focus on socio economic development through student academic sponsorship, renewable energy skills development, green economy skills placements, green economy enterprise development programmes. Kgabiso as a role player, has extensive experience in the Information, Communication and Technology, Built Environment, and the Energy sector, with over 10 years’ experience. She specialises in project planning, project management, PMO setup and strategic management, information technology, energy and built environment consulting. Kgabiso is a Certified Project Management Professional with the Project Management Institute and holds an Honours in Electrical Engineering from the Multimedia University in Malaysia, a Postgraduate Diploma in General Management and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Gordon Institute of Business Science..

Rutendo Mugadza is is a registered lawyer by profession, a holder of a Masters in Intellectual Property and a tech enthusiast who is passionate on raising awareness on the importance of Intellectual Property and building several legal tech solutions to accelerate access to Justice and access to legal services. She is the founder and CEO of ProveIt and Zimbabwe Innovation and Legal Technology Association(ZILTA), association aimed at empowering law students and law professionals on the importance of Technology in the law field as well as educating on alternatives to the traditional law career and building and incubating legal technology solutions. She was recently nominated as a finalist in the female Innovator of the year category at the Africa Tech Festival Awards 2022 and won the Socio-Tech Innovator of the year Award at the Ignite Youth Awards 2022 and listed as one of the Most Influential Female Lawyers in Africa by the Courtroom Mail 100 SHID as well as one of the 100 Most Influential Leaders in Technology and Telecommunications by the Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa.

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