In the East African business circles, few entrepreneurs shine brighter than Njeri Rionge. She is one of Kenya’s most successful and revered serial entrepreneurs; she has co-founded several multi-million dollar companies in quick succession. One of such companies is Wananchi Online, a leading Internet service provider which has gone on to become one of East Africa’s leading cable, broadband, and IP (Internet-based) phone company.
Rionge started her first business at the age of 19, selling yoghurt at schools in the capital city of Nairobi. She went on to sell clothes and run a few other small businesses. Today, she is one of the pioneer women investors in Africa’s IT sector. Wananchi Online is East Africa’s first mass-market internet service provider which has grown to become the region’s leading internet company.
Over the years, Rionge has established a host of other thriving businesses, including Ignite Consulting, a flourishing business consultancy; Ignite Lifestyle, a healthcare consultancy; Business Lounge, one of Kenya’s largest startup incubators; and Incite, a booming digital marketing agency.
Despite her busy schedule, her passion to impart knowledge in young entrepreneurs have not been hindered; the serial entrepreneur shares her passion through Ignite Consulting, which she currently runs as a coaching, strategy facilitation, and skills training centre. Through which she shares her skills with young entrepreneurs in her country, helping them grow their own businesses.
Rionge is passionate about growing businesses and igniting potentials, she believes in Africa as the next economic frontier. She has over 26 years of leadership and change management experience, working with SMEs and entrepreneurs to grow indigenous businesses that can be scaled across Africa. She is also a motivational speaker and life coach, passing on her wisdom and experience to upcoming entrepreneurs.
Rionge, who’s in her late 40s, shows no sign of letting up on entrepreneurship. She is passionate about Africa’s position as the next big economic miracle and wants to contribute to the capacity of the continent to reach its full potential.
Her advice when inspiring upcoming entrepreneurs is to be resilient. Resilience, she believes, or having a strong backbone that can handle challenges, is the key to successful entrepreneurship.