Two women-led projects from Kenya selected finalists in 2019 AWIEF awards

Pan African entrepreneurship and innovation non-profit, the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF), has announced the finalists in its annual awards to celebrate women leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa. Among the 22 finalists are two women-led projects from Kenya – Njia Empowerment Organisation (by Mary Inzofu) and Mukuru Clean Stoves (by Charlot Magayi) – all nominated in the ‘Empowerment Award’ category.

With the aim promote excellence in entrepreneurship and innovation amongst women-owned businesses in all sectors and across all 54 African countries, AWIEF which celebrates the five-year anniversary of its benchmarking annual Conference and Expo this year. The awards will take place on the last evening of the two-day event, October 29-30, 2019, in Cape Town.

“Women-owned businesses are a vital part of our African economy and the women of Africa are our most valuable, untapped resource,” commented Irene Ochem, AWIEF founder and CEO. “Each year the entries to the AWIEF Awards grow in number and this response signifies the importance of recognising and celebrating women in Africa for their achievements and contribution to Africa’s economic and sustainable development.

“Women-owned businesses are growing on the continent and are a vital part of Africa’s future and contributing to the fact that seven out of 10 of the fastest growing economies in the world, are to be found in Africa. Africa is rising and we must make sure the women of the continent, the backbone of our communities and our families, are given the opportunities to rise as well,” said Ochem.

A total of 22 women founders and entrepreneurs have been selected as finalists, from different African countries, across 8 different categories. The AWIEF awards panel of judges is made up of industry experts and thought leaders spread across the continent.

Birgitta Cederstrom, Frost & Sullivan’s Business Development Director for MEA and this year’s Head Judge for AWIEF Awards said: “This year’s AWIEF Awards programme has offered a host of equally inspirational and terrific female entrepreneurs and innovators, driving growth for Africa”.

“The judging panel has had some very busy weeks where we reviewed over 200 shortlists for consideration and we are delighted to see the high standard and quality of entries coming through to AWIEF. This is one of the most robust and independent jury based Awards programmes that currently is offered in Africa, and we are thrilled to support female entrepreneurs with a worthy recognition as well as good PR and Media exposure,” commented Cederstrom. “We are hoping that investors are signing up for the upcoming Award Programme Subscription that will be launched in 2020 to help identify the best female start-ups in Africa across key industries such as AgriTech, FinTech, Chemicals and Healthcare,” said Cederstrom.

The finalists for the 2019 AWIEF Awards are:


  • Beatrice Haule, AfriAgric Products (Tanzania)
  • Lola Alli, Lagos Executive Cardiovascular Clinic (Nigeria)
  • Ola (Orekunrin) Brown, Flying Doctors (Nigeria)


  • Caroline Corbett, SmartBlade (South Africa)
  • Rebecca Enonchong, AppsTech (Cameroun)
  • Diane Temogne, Engineering Consulting and Services (Cameroun)


  • Sizani Ngubane, Rural Women’s Movement (South Africa)
  • Efua Asibon, Dislabelled (Ghana)
  • Laurence Esteve, Zip Zap (South Africa)


  • Shantelle Booysen, Elim Spa Products (South Africa)
  • Evelyn Namara, Vouch Digital (Uganda)
  • Caroline Pomeyie, ProFish (Ghana)
  • Affiong Williams, ReelFruit (Nigeria)


  • Mary Inzofu, Njia Empowerment Organisation (Kenya)
  • Nambula Kachumi, WeCreate (Zambia)
  • Charlot Magayi, Mukuru Clean Stoves (Kenya)


  • Kapasa Musonda, Mangishi Doll Co. (Zambia)
  • Genet Kebede, Paradise Fashion (Ethiopia)
  • Abby Ikomi, House of Irawo (Nigeria)


  • Kristine Pearson, Lifeline Energy (South Africa)
  • Oumou Sangaré, Festival International du Wassulu (Mali)
  • Joke Silva, LUFODO Group (Nigeria)

“Our finalists were rigorously assessed in terms of the sustainability of their businesses, as well as the documented or prospective impact on community development and the economy,” explained Ochem.

The AWIEF Awards winners will be announced at a gala dinner on 30 October 2019, following on from the 2019 AWIEF Conference and Exhibition taking place on 29-30 October 2019 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town. The theme this year is: ‘Enhancing impact: digitalisation, investment and intra-Africa trade’.

“AWIEF remains Africa’s number one voice in driving the agenda for women’s leadership in business. The AWIEF brand has grown tremendously over these few years through the sustained support of our trusted partners, local and international, underscoring the great values of AWIEF programmes and projects in accelerating women entrepreneurship as a catalyst of inclusive economic growth,” Ochem added.

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