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30 Quotes From Leading African Women Entrepreneurs To Start Up Your 2015

30 Quotes From Leading African Women Entrepreneurs To Start Up Your 2015

ENTERPRISE54 – Lionesses of Africa is an emerging website dedicated to spotlighting and celebrating African women entrepreneurs. To kickstart 2015 off on a truly inspirational note, the online media platform has shared its Top 50 Inspiring Quotes from some of Africa’s leading women entrepreneurs. We have culled 30 out of these which we have found striking, motivating

ENTERPRISE54 – Lionesses of Africa is an emerging website dedicated to spotlighting and celebrating African women entrepreneurs. To kickstart 2015 off on a truly inspirational note, the online media platform has shared its Top 50 Inspiring Quotes from some of Africa’s leading women entrepreneurs. We have culled 30 out of these which we have found striking, motivating and enlightening with the hope that they would immensely benefit you too as you continue on your own entrepreneurial journey in the new year.

  1. “I knew what I wanted in life and I worked day and night to achieve it, and here I am.” – Tabitha Karanja is founder & CEO of  Keroche Breweries – Kenya’s monopoly and gender busting beer brewer
  2. “If you have a crazy idea, go for it! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.” – Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is founder and Managing Director of soleRebels, the world’s fastest-growing African footwear brand and the only Fair Trade-certified footwear company in the world


sole rebel

Bethlehem is her U.S store

  1. “My advice to women all the time is: If you want a certain future, go out and create it. Conquer your fears as that is what enslaves most women.” – Divine Ndhlukula is founder SECURICO Security Services in Zimbabwe, and the queen of Africa’s security industry
  2. “Everything is possible. Impossible just takes a little longer.” – Wendy Ackerman is a co-founder and an Executive Director of Pick n Pay Stores, and widely respected as the doyenne of South African retail
  3. “Taking an idea that’s on paper or in your head and moving it forward into real, tangible action is the true spirit of entrepreneurship.” – Njeri Rionge is one of very few women pioneers in the ICT sector on the African continent and co-founder of internet service provider Wananchi Online
  4. “Nineteen people may love your work, but the twentieth one will hate it and will tell you so; you cannot allow that to affect you. That may sound trite, but there is huge risk in letting criticism get you down.” – Carrol Boyes is the iconic South African designer who built a global brand with Carrol Boyesthe company she founded in 1991, combining her artistic flair and talent in sculpture to create an extensive range of distinctive homeware products
  5. “The most important thing is to trust your inner instincts. Look at what you respect; who you respect and who you believe in.” – Angela Dick is founder and CEO of Transman, the largest privately owned, temporary employment service provider in South Africa
  6. “If I can change the life of one person it makes a whole difference because behind that person there is a whole family. It’s a family, it’s a society, it’s Tanzania.” – Victoria Kisyombe founded SELFINA in 2002 taking the lead role as pioneer of micro-credit in Tanzania through micro-leasing to widows and young women
  7. “Have a vision and passion. Be courageous, focused and disciplined. Lastly, persist… it’s definitely not easy.” – Monica Musonda is the founder of Java Foods, a food processing company based in Zambia with a mission to revolutionize the eating habits of the youth market by offering them affordable and nutritious food options made from local products


Java Foods CEO Monica Musonda

Java Foods CEO Monica Musonda

  1. “When you are starting out, grow organically and take it slow. Don’t fall into the trap of taking out high interest loans and getting into unmanageable debt.” – Janet Rhys is co-founder of Charlotte Rhys, South Africa’s leading luxurious bath, body and lifestyle range, supplying leading hotels across the world
  2. “My greatest wish is to see a global community where our society is embracing internet technology to positively change lives and improve the efficiency of work done in our offices.” – Dorcas Muthoni is founder of Openworld Ltd, a market leading computer software company she established in Kenya when she was just 24 years old
  3. “Hopefully consumers will begin demanding finished products from Africa, a place typically only considered for raw materials.”Yodut Ekland is founder of Bantu Wax a fresh and trendy beachwear brand making waves around the world, and proudly ‘Made In Africa, by Africans’, sustainably & fairly
  4. “We need to create an environment that would drive creativity. Do not be afraid to test new things.  We must be creative, ensuring we are a step ahead of competition.” – Kofo Akinkugbe is recognised globally for her entrepreneurial success story and strong business track record as founder & CEO of SecureID Nigeria Ltd a market leader in smart card technology and digital security
  5. “Women in Africa do not need charity to finance the issue. Control of the resources that they create is the issue, and respect in the financial sector is the issue.” – Jennifer Riria is group chief executive of Kenya Women Holding a microfinance, banking and insurance group that works with 900,000 women – she is widely regarded as the entrepreneur who empowered Kenyan women
  6. “We need to build our own national social networks and not be dependent on those coming from mainly the USA. We need to build home grown social media networks.” – Uche Pedro is founder of BellaNaija.com, a company that develops and delivers exciting online content aimed at Nigerian and Pan-African audiences – Africa’s diva of online media
  7. “I am guided each day by these three questions: ‘What are you fixing?’ ‘What are you making?’ and ‘Who are you helping?'” – Juliana Rotich is an inspirational Kenyan technologist & social entrepreneur and co-founder of Ushahidi a company with a mission to change the way information flows in the world and empower people to make an impact with open source technologies


Juliana Rotich presenting an innovative internet provider BRCK to a TED audience

Juliana Rotich presenting an innovative internet provider BRCK to a TED audience

  1. “Do not be afraid to try. Fail. Fail again. Fail better. He who takes all the risks, takes all the rewards.”  – Maira Koutsoudakis is an internationally acclaimed interior architect and founder and CEO of the Life group of companies and Life Interiors, Architecture and Strategic Design
  2. “I learned through working with the UN that the greatest return on investment comes not from ‘fixing’ a problem but from shaping new mindsets amongst youth, …. I wanted to help forge mindsets that are not limited by current circumstances, but can re-imagine and re-create new possibilities.” – Anne Githuku-Shongwe is founder & CEO of AFROES Transformational Games a visionary creator of mobile phone edu-tainment for young Africans
  3. “Don’t be afraid of criticism, research shows that in cases of men and women with the same type ‘A’ personalities, a man will always be seen as a go-getter and ambitious and the woman will be seen as bitchy and loud; understand it and move on.” – Ethel Cofie is founder of Edel Technologies, a Ghanaian tech entrepreneur and a pioneering member of a “Women in Tech” group working to form an African alliance of female technologists 
  4. “If you start to see more successful businesses that are playing on a global level, the story of Africa will begin to change” – Tara Fela-Durotoye is a Nigerian-born lawyer turned Africa’s leading beauty and makeup entrepreneur – she founded House of Tara at the age of 20 in her living room



House of Tara founder Tara Durotoye

  1. “Start at the bottom. You need 100% passion, 100% guts and a total belief in your vision and your determination to succeed. Be prepared to put in crazy work hours and all kinds of sacrifices, but most important.. NEVER GIVE UP!” – Bev Missing is founder of RAIN who create handmade bath & body products and homeware from natural ingredients with African origins, using craftspeople who care for the environment.
  2. “Failure is necessary for any learning curve. Failure makes you stronger, bolder, and less scared of taking risks.” – Nkemdilim Begho is founder and Managing Di­rector of Future Software Resources Limited, an IT solutions provider focused on online solutions, e-learning and IT security – a leading lady of Nigeria’s tech sector
  3. “I have a philosophy; I question my intention, why am I living in this world? It is tough, and it gets lonely. The harder you work, the lonelier it gets.” – Sibongile Sambo is a pioneering woman of South African aviation and founder and Chief Executive Officer of SRS Aviation Ltd., the first 100 percent black, female-owned aviation services company in South Africa
  4. “I have often also relied on my gut instinct to guide me in business, the times I haven’t, have been unfortunate.” – Jenna Clifford is a world-renowned jewellery designer who founded Jenna Clifford Designs back in 1992 and has crafted unique jewellery pieces for business icons and celebrities around the world
  5. “….the best thing about female entrepreneurs is that they have an inborn responsibility toward society and aspire to help others and enjoy doing it.” – Lorna Rutto is a Kenyan eco-preneur and founder of EcoPost, a social enterprise created in response to the need to find alternative waste management solutions to Kenya’s huge plastic waste problem
  6.  “True success is about a passion to create a better world, live a life that you can look back on and be truly proud of.”– Dr. Ola Orekunrin is a medical doctor, helicopter pilot and  healthcare entrepreneur founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, West Africa’s first Air Ambulance Service
  7. “To improve innovation in Africa, we need to invest more in education. You cannot innovate when you do not have a good education.” – Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola is a Nigerian entrepreneur and innovator, and founder and CEO of WeCyclers an award winning social enterprise
  8. “In my experience, women tend to create a collective around them and then it is ‘let’s go into battle together’. For me, it is this type of collaborative, collective thinking that is useful in this industry, an industry full of innovation.”  Emma Kaye, founder and CEO of Bozza, a plug & play solution for African musicians, poets & film makers to promote and sell their digital content
  9. “Entrepreneurs in Africa could also take it upon themselves to serve as role models by taking time to talk to young people in school and in other programs so the students can understand what entrepreneurship is and begin to consider it as a career path.” – Anne Amuzu is co-founder and lead product developer of Nandimobile Ltd., a young and vibrant technology startup based in Ghana
  10. “If success means living with joy, contentment, and doing great things with my talent, then failure is the opposite of success. It means not living with joy, contentment, or using my skills and gifts. Failure would also mean not pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and not daring to try new things and ideas.” – Oreoluwa Somolu Lesi is founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre a Nigerian organisation working to empower girls and women socially and economically, using information and communication technologies

We wish all Lionesses of Africa an inspirational, successful and creative year ahead in 2015!


Adegoke Oyeniyi

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