African entrepreneurs have emerged, challenging traditional notions of wealth and success. These millionaires have built their fortunes not through the typical means of business, such as finance, technology, or real estate, but rather by doing odd jobs and providing essential services to their communities.
From street vendors to garbage collectors, these African entrepreneurs have found unique and innovative ways to turn their humble occupations into profitable ventures.
In this article, we will look at some African millionaires who have made huge success doing odd jobs.
Sandra Aguebor – Certified Mechanic
Sandra Aguebor is a Nigerian entrepreneur and mechanic who rose to fame for breaking gender barriers in the male-dominated field of mechanics in Nigeria.
Her journey to becoming a successful mechanic started after when fascinated by the work the mechanics were doing and decided to learn the trade. However, she faced a lot of discrimination and skepticism from people who believed that mechanics was a man’s job.
Undeterred, Sandra persisted and became a certified mechanic eventually and quickly gained a reputation for her excellent workmanship and professionalism.
Sandra founded the Lady Mechanic Initiative which trains sexually abused and underprivileged women to become mechanics and fend for themselves The organization provides training, mentorship, and apprenticeship opportunities to young girls and women who are interested in becoming mechanics. The organization has trained over 700 female mechanics in Nigeria and has expanded to other African countries.
She has received numerous awards and recognition for her work, including the CNN Hero Award and the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award.
Jeanne Tarrant (Frog Lady)
Dr. Jeanne Tarrant is a well-known conservation biologist and amphibian expert who has dedicated her career to protecting endangered frogs and other amphibians. Her work has gained international recognition and she has become a leading voice in the field of amphibian conservation.
Jeanne’s work focuses on the conservation of threatened amphibian species in South Africa and beyond. She has conducted extensive research on frog behavior, ecology, and conservation, and has worked with local communities, government agencies, and conservation organizations to develop strategies for protecting these species and their habitats.
Her work has gained international recognition. She has also been featured in numerous documentaries which have helped to raise awareness about the importance of protecting these vulnerable species.
In 2020, she received the prestigious Whitley Award or ‘Green Oscars’ for her commendable work on the conservation of South Africa’s precious amphibians. Her team Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), South Africa, are working diligently to ensure that these creatures do not disappear from the ecosystem.
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is an Ethiopian entrepreneur and the founder of the shoe company, soleRebels.
Bethlehem founded SoleRebels with the aim of creating a sustainable and eco-friendly shoe company that could provide employment opportunities for the local community. She started the business with just five employees, making shoes by hand using traditional Ethiopian techniques and locally-sourced materials.
The company quickly gained popularity for its unique and colorful designs, which were inspired by traditional Ethiopian footwear. Bethlehem’s commitment to sustainability and fair trade practices also helped to set soleRebels apart from other shoe companies.
Today, soleRebels has grown into a global brand with over 200 employees and stores in several countries.The company continues to prioritize sustainability and social responsibility, using eco-friendly materials and providing fair wages and benefits for its workers.
In 2014 Bethlehem was named as one of CNN’s “12 Female Entrepreneurs.
Lorna Rutto is a Kenyan entrepreneur who founded EcoPost, a company that produces sustainable plastic lumber from recycled plastic waste. Her company creates employment opportunities for people in low-income areas by training them to collect and sort plastic waste.
EcoPost collects and sorts plastic waste, which is then processed into plastic lumber used for construction, fencing, and other applications. The company has created jobs for over 300 people, including waste collectors, technicians, and salespeople.
Rutto has gained international recognition for his efforts to provide an alternative solution to plastic waste management in Kenya.
Andrew Mupuya is a young Ugandan entrepreneur who is best known for founding YELI Paper Bags, a company that produces paper bags from recycled materials.
Mupuya noticed that many shops in his local area were still using plastic bags, despite a government ban on their use. He saw an opportunity to create a more environmentally friendly alternative, and decided to start producing paper bags.
The company produces thousands of paper bags every day and has become a leading supplier of paper bags in Uganda. Mupuya has been recognized for his entrepreneurship, winning several awards including the Anzisha Prize in 2012, a major award given to young African entrepreneurial leaders who take the initiative to address critical needs in their communities.
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