Young African entrepreneurs are making a difference. They are taking more risks than ever before and building phenomenal businesses that address the challenges they face and create jobs in the process.

For the seventh year in a row, this annual ranking of Africa’s Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs puts some of the most exceptional young talent and innovators in the African business world today in the spotlight. These names were selected from over 650 emailed nominations, reviewed by a small team and approved by a panel of expert judges, to ensure that they earned their place in the ranking.

From the diverse backgrounds of real estate, financial services, manufacturing, media, technology, green technology, agriculture and fashion, the young African entrepreneurs selected are eager to make a difference on this continent. Some of the names below have appeared on this ranking in the past, but the majority are new.

Useful link: Africa Employer of Record

So here is the 2018 class of the Most Promising Young African Entrepreneurs Ranking (unordered), who are transforming Africa today.

  • Temitope Ogunsemo, Nigeria

Founder of Krystal Digital

Born in Nigeria 33 years ago, Temitope Ogunsemo is the founder of Krystal Digital, a fast-growing education technology company specializing in the creation, development, and deployment of customized, service-oriented software applications for educational institutions in Nigeria. The company was founded in 2010 in Lagos, and its flagship product is MySkool Portal, a web-based school data management system application that stores and archives school data and has been adopted by more than 50 public high schools in the country, with over 65,000 active student users. Krystal Digital now has more than 150 employees and annual revenues of more than $3 million (€2.4 million).

  • Nthabiseng Mosia, South Africa

Founder of Easy Solar

Nthabiseng Mosia, 28, is the co-founder and CFO (as well as marketing director) of Azimuth, better known as Easy Solar. This business venture has a social mission: it seeks to make clean energy cheaper for communities in West Africa that do not benefit from the national grid. It distributes and finances high-quality, affordable solar-powered devices through a rent-to-own system that works with “pay as you go” technology, where the user pays according to usage. This business model is supported by a trusted brand built on excellent customer service and a network of local agents willing to go to great lengths to ensure that solar energy is available to a wide range of underserved customers. Since launching its operations in 2016, the company has provided electricity to more than 40,000 people in the country. It has 35 workers and 40 agents, with outlets in 8 of Sierra Leone’s 16 districts. Today, Easy Solar has raised more than $2 million (€1.6 million) from investors such as Acumen, Gaia Impact Fund, Cordaid, the African Business Development Fund, MasterCard, and the SIMA Fund.

  • Oluwatobi Ajayi, Nigeria

Co-founder of Jetvan

Oluwatobi Ajayi, 30, is the co-founder and CEO of Jetvan Automobiles Limited, the largest seller of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in Nigeria. He began his career at Mercedes-Benz Nigeria, where he became a department manager (industrial vans) at age 24.

  • Paul Kihiko, Kenya

Founder of Wing It Nairobi Paul Kihiko, 30,  is the founder of Wing It Nairobi, the first and only fast food service that serves only chicken wings. Their first restaurant in Kenya’s Galleria shopping mall was a big success, with annual sales in the six figures. Last year, Wing It raised $75,000 (€61,000) from two investors for a minority stake in the Kenyan edition of Dragon’s Den. They are set to open a new restaurant this year.

Clare Louise