Sub-Saharan Africa

Melissa Menke

For Melissa Menke, 27, healthcare should be convenient. It should also have a reliable supply chain. But the Pharmacy and Poisons Board estimates an average 30% of drugs in Kenya are counterfeit. ‘The bottom 50% of the population have no access to registered healthcare centres.

Liz Forkin Bohannon

When Liz Forkin Bohannon graduated from high school, the world was her proverbial oyster. She studied journalism at university then took a job with a multinational communications firm. But something jarred. ‘As a student I cared passionately about the effects of extreme poverty on women. But I had no relationship with anyone living in such conditions. It struck me that the gap between my actions and my words was too big.’

Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola

According to LAWMA, the Lagos Waste Management Authority, Nigeria's most populous city produces 10,000 metric tons of waste every day. 'Much of this is not collected,' says Bilikiss Adebiyi, the entrepreneur steering Wecyclers. Her company offers waste collection and recycling services to the city's informal settlements, where an estimated 66% of Lagosians live. 'City garbage trucks often can't reach them due to bad road conditions. They park in the vicinity and wait for people to bring their trash. Disposing of it becomes pot luck!'

Julienne Ingabire & Elizabeth Scharpf

Elizabeth Scharpf, an American management consultant in pharmaceuticals and biotech turned entrepreneur, and Julienne Ingabire, a Rwandese businesswoman, have joined forces to co-found a business that tackles one of today’s enduring taboos: menstruation.

Nthabi Sibanda

When Nthabi Sibanda, 39, set out to teach her children their African heritage and native languages, she looked for books and resources and came up against a wall. ‘They were few and far between! And even those I did find were not great quality.

Lindsay Stradley

If someone had asked Lindsay Stradley five years ago whether she thought she’d be building toilets in the slums of the developing world, she probably would have looked incredulous. But Lindsay, 31, is a born problem-solver, so when she was presented with the sanitation problems in Kenya’s slums, where a lack of access to clean toilets causes health hazards and disease, she set about looking for the solution. ‘Sanitation options in slums range from pit latrines to public toilets – which are expensive and rare due to a lack of large plots of land,’ she says.

Nigest Haile

Mrs. Nigest is an activist in the promotion of women entrepreneurs, with particular focus to women exporters, both existing and potential/emerging exporters. She has 23 years experience working in the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Industry, at different capacities, where in the last 13 years of her position as Head of the Women's Affairs Department in the Ministry, she was able to work on proposing policy ideas and recommendations for the creation of a conducive and women entrepreneurs friendly business environment.

Lucy Kanu

Lucy Kanu has over 18 years of national and international corporate experience working in both the private and social sector. Lucy is an Ashoka Fellow and Commonwealth Fellow.

Ms. Kanu has led teams and facilitated not for profit initiatives in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders on issues bearing on agriculture, livelihoods, entrepreneurship and women empowerment. She continues to develop projects and strategies that engage people, institutions and multi-national corporations in Nigeria and West Africa as a whole.

Lorna Rutto

Plastic waste is a frequent blot on Kenya’s beautiful landscapes. In spite of a government ban on the use of plastic bags, which came into force in 2007 when Kenya was producing 48 million of them, plastic of all kinds and shapes litters the land or piles up in open tips.

Linda Ravenhill

VisualLive is a web-based video streaming company that markets three main products to transmit continuing adult education in developing countries, particularly for the healthcare industry: LiveCAST, a bundled webinar software; tCast, a webTV application; and mCast, a mobile adult application platform to reach people in areas with low or no bandwidth.

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