If you would like to break the barriers of discrimination or would like to overcome the challenges in starting, funding and growing a business, then follow these 101 game changers for inspiration on how you can hack entrepreneurship.
If you would like to learn from some of the brightest entrepreneurs from racially culturally diverse backgrounds, check to my Podcast, The Diversity All Star Podcast.
Ade Hassan is the founder of “Nubian Skin” nude skin-tone hosiery and lingerie for Women of Colour. Launched in October 2014, Nubian Skin has become an instant hit worldwide, including being worn by Beyoncé and her dancers during their Formation Tour. Ade continues on her mission to empower women of colour as her brand grows from strength to strength.
Adebayo Ogunlesi is the managing partner and Chairman at Global Infrastructure Partners, an infrastructure investment fund which owns 75 percent of London Gatwick Airport, acquired in a deal worth £1.51bn. He also serves as lead director on the director’s board of Goldman Sachs.
His success story dates back to his time at King’s College in Nigeria. He has also attended Oxford University, Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.
The Ghanaian-based fashion icon is best known for her luxury fashion brand, Christie Brown. She holds the enviable position of CEO, Creative Director and Head Designer of the highly acclaimed label. Her designs are Africa-inspired with a mixture of modern elements creating a chic luxury look in her products. She has a BA psychology from the University of Ghana.
Her biggest success has undoubtedly been the Christie Brown brand that she started at a young age of 21. It has been featured in top publications including Vogue Italia and Glamor Magazine.
Though he was born in Missouri, Akon spent much of his early childhood in Senegal, West Africa. There, he developed a musical foundation, later rising to become one of the biggest music icons in the United States and globally. Today he owns two major recording labels and is a successful businessman with various real estate and fashion investments.
He also has plans to bring solar power to rural Africa, ‘light to learn’ is an initiative geared towards tackling sustainable energy and education in Africa.
Alexander Amosu is a brand known best for its extravagant bespoke products from diamond encrusted iPhones to custom suits. But the man behind the name has an even more interesting story.He grew up in North London with little to spare in terms of money. His first job involved a paper round. Soon, he had ventured into mobile ringtones, a business that catapulted him into millionaire status.
From earning £10 a week, he now makes millions selling to the ultra-wealthy.
Worth around $12.9 Billion, Aliko Dangote is the richest man in Africa and number 51 on Forbes Billionaires list. The Nigerian-born tycoon does business in over a dozen African countries, specialising mostly in cement manufacturing. He also deals in flour and sugar and has plans to buy Arsenal.
Angela Benton is referred to by many as a Trail Blazer. She is the founder and publisher of Black Web 2.0, which sells itself as the top destination for African-Americans interested in technology. But her biggest accomplishment is the startup accelerator NewMe. The accelerator has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs get funding and kick start their businesses to success.
Ugandan-born Andrew Mwenda is one of the leading voices in Africa especially on matters to do with foreign aid, economic empowerment and governance. His main career is as a journalist. He has written for the Daily Monitor in Uganda and several international papers including The New York Times and Des Spiegel. He is currently the owner of the Uganda-based publication, The Independent.
One of his best known moments was when he gave a TED talk on the challenges of aid for ‘poor’ Africa.
Antony Pink is the Co-Founder & COO of Laundrapp, an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning collection and delivery service. Since launch, Laundrapp has secured over £10m in investments and operates in over 100 locations across the UK. Antony recently won the award for Consumer & Luxury Rising Star at the BBB Awards.
Bianca Miller rose to popularity during BBC’s televised competition, The Apprentice. She beat thousands of rivals to reach the finals where she presented her idea for nude tights for all skin tones. Though she did not win, she went ahead and launched her business. Today she is the proud owner of Bianca Miller London, which provides hosiery in all kinds of skin tones.
From her days living in Africa, Birame was a natural born black entrepreneur, always ready with innovative ideas to make some extra cash. On her journey to entrepreneurial prowess she has left a trail of successes including a music applications company and MyReceipts. Currently, she is the founder of FlyScan, INC, an interactive digital marketing platform. She is also a board director at Viggle Inc, a NASDAQ listed company.
Brandon Carter is a leading fitness instructor, nutritionist and lifestyle coach. He has trained numerous athletes and models as well as thousands of people online. With an inspiring message of hard work and never giving up, Brandon Carter has helped numerous people achieve their fitness goals. He has worked with top brands including Nike and Adidas. Currently, he runs his own company, Bro Labs, providing fitness vitamins and supplements.
Cathy Hughes is one of the greatest African American media personalities. Born in Nebraska in 1947, she was already a teen mum at 16 years of age and a wife at 17. She later divorced. In the 1980s she founded Radio One and bought the radio station, WOL-AM, though this brought on financial difficulties causing her to lose her home and car. Radio One has gone on to become a huge success and Cathy Hughes was recently honoured by Howard University with a school named after her.
Camille A Brown
Camille Brown, a highly accomplished dancer and choreographer, started dance training at a very young age. Her successes with dance companies, universities and at Broadway have seen her receive numerous awards including a TED Fellowship. She is currently the founder and owner of Camille A. Brown & Dancers, a dancing company.
Chakabars Clarke is a London-based personal trainer. Today, Chakabars is best known as the founder of weight training movement, Spartanfam. An accomplished athlete himself, Chakabar focuses on bodyweight training when working with other people, especially the youth.
Charmaine Hayden & Lina Naima
Born in Wisconsin in 1954, Chris Gardner has gone through some tough times. He was at one time homeless while raising his son. But today, he is a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and motivational speaker. His life story is told in his own memoir, The Pursuit of Happyness, which was later made into a movie.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda’s name is synonymous with captivating African stories and unabashed feminism. The famed Nigerian novelist has excelled at capturing the spirit of Africa and expressing it through captivating poems and stories. She was born in Enugu, Nigeria in 1977. She is a well-known feminist and has given a TED talk on the topic. Some of her most famous works include Half a Yellow Sun and Americanah
In a field traditionally dominated by men, Clarisse Iribagiza stands out as an ultra-successful female entrepreneur in the Rwandan technology sector. Her company, HeHe Limited, is one of the leading mobile technology companies in Rwanda. She also helped found The iHills in 2011, a startup network aimed at helping tech startups in the country. In 2012, she won a $50,000 USD prize on the business reality show, Inspire Africa.
Corvida Raven was raised in Miami and by eighth grade, she was already blogging. At 19, she started the blog SheGeeks.net, to spread important tech information to other people. She is also a speaker, beloved for her ability to translate tech into simple plain language. Her efforts are aimed at empowering women, the youth and people of colour. She has been given several awards by Fast Company and Black Weblog.
He is better known by his stage name, 50 Cent. After surviving a serious shooting in the year 200, Curtis Jackson has gone on to become a successful rapper and businessman. He has ventured into business with deals in fashion, drinks, music, books, headphones and apps. In 2015 however, he filed for bankruptcy with more than $30 million in debt. But this has not stopped Curtis from continuing to producing the hit TV series, Power.
David Fasanya and Gabriel Barralaga
The duo are spoken word poets most famous for their beach body talk at a TEDYouth event in 2012. Both are accomplished poets based in New York and doing regular performances. David Fasanya was born in Nigeria but later moved to Brooklyn, New York. He has won several awards for his works including Urban Word and Art Initiative.
Daymond is one of the top investors on Shark Tank, the popular ABC reality show. To date, he has invested over $8 million dollars in Shark Tank projects. () Away from TV, he is a successful entrepreneur with an estimated net worth of $250 million. One of his biggest successes has been in the apparel industry where he founded and still owns the brand FUBU.
Dentaa is an entrepreneur, actress, TV presenter, producer, manage, philanthropis. She is also the founder of the GUBA (Ghanaian UK Based Achievements) Awards, a non-profit organisation designed to showcase and celebrate the achievements within the British-Ghanaian community. She has won many awards, including an MBE for her work with GUBA.
The Peebles Corporation is the largest real estate development company in the US owned by an African American. That owner is none other than Roy Donahue Pebbles, better known as Don Pebbles.
Born in Washington in 1960, he entered the real estate market in 1979. Even in his early 20s, he had already found success notably serving as chairman of Washington’s real estate tax appeals board. Today, his main focus is on Pebbles Corporation, which manages a multi-billion dollar portfolio of luxury developments.