All the African Startups Chosen for Alibaba Founder Jack Ma’s eFounders Initiative Entrepreneurship Training Programme

Updated on 9 July 2018

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Roy Borole with Thanga co-founder, Ryan Dick

The third cohort of the eFounders Initiative Entrepreneurship Training Programme took place . The programme is an initiative by Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, China’s e-commerce giant, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Ma, who is the executive chairman and UNCTAD Special Adviser for young entrepreneurs and small business pledged to empower 1,000 entrepreneurs from developing countries in five years, with 200 coming from the African continent.

In November last year 25 other African entrepreneurs participated in the programme.  The entrepreneurs were not only exposed to founders and top level executives at Alibaba, but the programme also offered capacity building for the entrepreneurs on all things e-commerce, from use of big data, inventory management and rural commerce to logistics and mobile payment systems.

Here are the startups of the 2018 eFounders class by country

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.
  • Basson Engelbrecht of Hoorah Online Shops, an ecommerce platform.


  • 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, Uplus is a social payment platform for Africa which enables people to exchange money easily and create money posts using their mobile phones across the border.


  • 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. Daproim Africa also provides data management training and job opportunities to university graduates in Africa to help them to develop relevant skill sets.
  • Gladys King’ori of ZOA Tech, a fintech company.
  • Caroline Kariuki of Sarai Afrique Fashion House, fashion label.
  • Mwai Mworia of M-Paya, provides a lending platform for lenders.
  • Alloys Meshack of Sendy, an on-demand delivery startup.
  • Daniel Yu of Sokowatch, an ordering and delivery network for small shops.


  • 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 using machine-learning to assess the credit-worthiness of customers in real time.
  • Malik Babalola of Gloo, an ecommerce startup.
  • Olugbenga Agboola of Flutterwave, a technology platform that allows businesses to make and accept payments anywhere in Africa.

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