Over the past year How we made it in Africa wrote about numerous entrepreneurs doing interesting things on the continent. Below is a selection of the year’s most interesting interviews of the year.
1. Ian Cox, founder, Lorry Boys
Ian Cox, the founder of Lorry Boys, is an adventurous entrepreneur. Born in the US, his company does business in South Sudan, a country which only gained statehood in 2011. His business entails selling and delivering heavy-duty vehicles to clients in Juba and surrounds. From his base in Nairobi, Kenya, he imports motor vehicles for onward shipment to clients in South Sudan.
He first settled in Zambia where he worked for a feeding programme. In 2005, after a short spell as hotel manager in Rumbek, South Sudan, he decided to venture out on his own. A random request by a friend to help him sell his Toyota Land Cruiser; turned out to be a successful launch pad. Cox supplies Toyota Land Cruisers and trucks ideal for South Sudan’s rugged terrain.
2. Danson Muchemi, founder, JamboPay
Danson Muchemi quit his job five years ago to start an e-payment business from a cyber café. Today he runs Kenyan-based electronic payments provider JamboPay, that services over 1,500 merchants in Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal. Muchemi says he “has a craving for challenges” and believes in handling the “hard bits first”.
3. Arthur Zang, founder, Himore Medical
Arthur Zang of Cameroon, is a budding inventor known for his innovation in the medical field. He invented the Cardio Pad, reputed to be Africa’s first medical tablet. This device enables health workers in far-flung areas to conduct cardiac tests and remit results to specialists through mobile phones. Once the product is commercialised, his company, Himore Medical, plans to sell each device for US$3,000-$3,500.
4. Dr Betty Gikonyo, CEO, The Karen Private Hospital
Dr Betty Gikonyo, CEO of The Karen Private Hospital in Nairobi, a facility she co-founded with husband Dan, doesn’t believe in limiting herself to a single pursuit in life. A cardiologist and surgeon by training, she practiced her craft for many years, describing the experience as a springboard that enabled her to open her eyes to other opportunities. In 2006, she fulfilled a 20-year dream by opening The Karen Private Hospital.
5. Sizwe Nzima, founder, Iyeza Express
Sizwe Nzima is founder of Iyeza Express, a logistics company with a fleet of bicycles. It delivers chronic medication to patients in the Khayelitsha township of Cape Town. The idea arose from personal experience of having to spend many hours waiting to collect medication at public facilities. This frustrated him and he knew there were more people who felt the same way.