Eleven Kenyans enter Forbes Africa roll for enterprise


Eric Kinoti, the founder of Shade Systems East Africa, made it to the list for the second consecutive year. PHOTO | FILE

Eleven Kenyans have been named in the Forbes list of Africa’s 50 most promising entrepreneurs for 2015.

The entrepreneurs, all below 33 years, are drawn from diverse industries including advertising, technology and engineering.

“They’re creating jobs, paying taxes, igniting the entrepreneurial spark among their contemporaries and ultimately, playing pivotal roles in the continent’s renaissance. You can’t ignore them any more,” said Mfonobong Nsehe, who was involved in compiling the Forbes report.

Eric Kinoti, the founder of Shade Systems East Africa, made it to the list for the second consecutive year.

Shades Systems is a Sh91 million ($1 million) annual turnover company that manufactures military and relief tents, branded gazebos, restaurant canopies, car parking shades, marquees, luxury tents, wedding party tents canvas seats and bouncing castles across the region. 

Hasnain Noorani, the 32-year old chief executive of Pride Group, appeared on the list for championing the expansion of the driving school and car hire business he inherited from his father four years ago.

“He is widely credited with expanding that business into what is known today as the Pride Group, a Kenyan conglomerate that owns a portfolio of six three-star hotels across Kenya under the “PrideInn”’ brand, bakeries, restaurants, a tour company and other assets,” said Forbes.

Catherine Mahugu and Teresa Mbagaya were the only women from Kenya who made it to the list.   

Ms Mahugu is a co-founder of Soko, an online portal that displays artwork of various small traders further linking them to clients from all walks of life.

The portal eliminates the need for small traders to engage with middle men. The International Telecom Union (ITU) Young Innovators fellow is in charge of implementing new technologies.

Ms Mbagaya is the co-founder Econet Education offering, Econet Zero, EcoSchool and EcoSchool Academy education services in Zimbabwe.

EcoSchool Academy, the latest business, is an interactive mobile learning environment which provides 50 short courses covering a range of topics to its nine million subscribers.

Trushar Khetia, the founder Tria Group made an inaugural appearance on the latest list. The main arm of business, Tria Transit Media-- which he opened in June last year— deals in external and internal branding of buses.

The idea gives brands an alternative method of advertising. Tria Transit media uses matatus, the most popular form of transport in Nairobi, to reach out to consumers.


According to Forbes, the company has annual revenues exceeding Sh117 million ($1.3 million).

Mubarak Muyika, the founder of Zagace limited, was listed as the most promising young techpreneur at the age of 20. At 16 he founded Hypecentury Technologies, and later sold it at a six-figure deal.

Zagace is a cloud enterprise software that helps companies to manage accounts, payrolls, stocks in a simple suing Zag Apps.

Other entrepreneurs include Barclay Paul, the founder and chief executive of Kitale based Impact Africa Industries, which produces low cost pads for poor women in Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.

Kelvin Macharia Kuria, the founder of Sunrise tracking -- a vehicle security tech firm and Ronak Shah, the founder of Kronex Chemicals-- which manufactures low-cost household cleaning products, also made it to the list consisting of 16 new names.