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Just days after attending a 11-day training programme run by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Chadian tech entrepreneur Andreas Koumato says he’s learnt to look at his business in a new light.
“Before we were focused on pleasing the investors, but now I see the importance of putting our customers first, then my employees, then the investors,” said Koumato, who is the founder of Mossosouk, an ecommerce platform based in Chad.
Koumato was one of 29 tech entrepreneurs from 11 African countries who participated in the third cohort of the eFounders Fellowship in Hangzhou, China between 19 and 29 June. The programme is run by ecommerce giant Alibaba and UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).
The initiative is part of pledge by Ma, who is also an Unctad Special Adviser for young entrepreneurs and small business, to empower 1000 entrepreneurs from developing countries in five years — including 200 from Africa.
The eFounders Fellowship is part of Jack Ma’s pledge to empower 1000 entrepreneurs from developing countries in five years
Ma said: “Together with Unctad, we want to empower Africa’s young entrepreneurs to not only succeed in their own ventures, but to return home and demonstrate to others how to build inclusive business models for the digital era”.
Over the course of two weeks, the attendees met with Alibaba’s executives and local practitioners to learn from their experiences in ecommerce, payments, logistics, cloud computing, marketing, cross-border trade and innnovation to identify lessons that can be applied to their own markets.
The 29 (pictured above) are founders of platform-based ventures in ecommerce, logistics, fintech, big data or tourism. They are:
Algeria: Taoufik Mousselmal of Maisonmaligne, an ecommerce platform using artificial intelligence (AI) tools to feed and optimise its catalogue into different marketplaces (like Amazon and Cdiscount), and is looking to establish partnerships with manufacturers based in North Africa.
Cameroon: Cedric Atangana of Wecashup, a Pan-African payment platform that enables online merchants to accept all the 155 mobile payment channels available in Africa through a single platform.
Chad: Andreas Koumato of Mossosouk, an ecommerce platform that connects buyers and sellers with a fast home delivery service and innovative local payment methods.
Egypt: Hany Girgis, founder of Masry Market, an online platform helping consumers find local alternatives to everyday products at competitive prices while supporting local small businesses.
The other Egypt-based entrepreneur is Hatem Ayoub of travel agency marketplace Tripdizer.
Kenya: Nancy Amunga, founder of Dana Communication, a logistics platform offering courier services for ecommerce platforms in Africa.
Caroline Wanjiku, founder of Daproim Africa, a social enterprise that offers affordable volume data management services to research firms, governments and companies.
Other Kenya based entrepreneurs in this class include fintech founders Gladys King’ori of ZOA Tech, Mwai Mworia of M-Paya, as well as Caroline Kariuki of Sarai Afrique Fashion House, Alloys Meshack of delivery platform Sendy, and Daniel Yu of Sokowatch.
Nigeria: Tochukwu Uwakeme, founder of KemResource, an ecommerce company that connects rural farmers to buyers around the world.
Chijioke Dozie, founder of OneFi, a fintech company that offers underbanked and unbanked customers in West Africa access to loans and payments through an android app that uses machine-learning to assess the credit-worthiness of customers in real time.
Rwanda: Leah Uwihoreye, founder of Golden Thoughts, an ecommerce platform for local manufacturers, primarily female artisans, to sell their products.
Muhirwa Clement, founder of Uplus Mutual Partners, a fintech company specialising in peer-to-peer mobile payments.
South Africa: Arnaud Blanchet, founder of Shopit, an ecommerce company that enables South African mom-and-pop store owners in townships and rural areas to compare prices at wholesalers and buy at the best price.
Roy Borole, founder of Thanga, an artificial intelligence studio which develops AI tools to help brands target consumers by helping them tell more compelling stories for use on social media.
The other South Africa-based entrepreneur is Basson Engelbrecht of Hoorah Online Shops.
Tunisia: Sadok Ghanouchi of E-Taxi, a taxi platform that provides service to customers through a digital transportation marketplace.
Sami Tounsi of Monresto, a last-mile logistics platform connecting customers with local vendors and independent drivers in a one-stop shop marketplace for on demand services.
Uganda: David Gonahasa, founder of Roundbob, an online travel and experience booking platform which seeks to help Africa’s growing middle class find affordable travel options.
Zambia: Bright Chinyundu, founder of Broadpay, a fintech company which includes Broadpay, a payment system offering money transfers, bill payments and currently developing agent banking services.
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Read more: Five things I learnt from Jack Ma and why Africa’s tech future is bright
Featured image: 2018 eFounders Fellowship cohort