Four Africans have been listed among the 28 entrepreneurs selected for the Bloomberg New Economy Catalyst class of 2022.
Bloomberg New Economy Catalyst is a distinctive global group of breakthrough innovators, visionaries, scientists, policymakers and entrepreneurs, who are inventing possibilities for a more inclusive and prosperous world. Launched in 2021, the community is both a celebration of and launchpad for ideas, providing access to a growing think tank of influential leaders and opportunities.
These 28 individuals from 16 different countries and regions will convene regularly in the coming months and at the fifth annual flagship Bloomberg New Economy Catalyst, this November in Singapore.
Stephanie Flanders, Senior Executive Editor for Economics and Government at Bloomberg and Editorial Chair of New Economy said that "the new class are brilliant innovators and thinkers who are reshaping economies and societies with their bold ideas - and their determination to put those ideas into practice. They've been selected for the tangible impact they have each had already - and for what they might collectively achieve in the future as a dynamic global community."
Meet the Bloomberg New Economy Catalyst from Africa
"We look for visionaries at every stage of their journey – from promising start-ups to unicorns as well as policy-makers and thought leaders driving the global conversation," Bloomberg said. The Africans in the 2022 class include: Wemimo Abbey, Odunayo Eweniyi, Olugbenga Olubanjo Olufemi and Gregory Rockson.
Wemimo Abbey, co-Founder and co-Chief Executive Officer at Esusu
Wemimo Abbey co-founded Esusu to use data to eliminate the racial wealth gap driven by the role that credit and housing play in financial stability and wealth accumulation in the United States. Abbey immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria at age 17.
Rent is often the largest household expense, especially among the poor. But for more than 90% of American tenants, monthly rent payments aren’t factored into credit scores—which makes it hard for renters to ever buy a home even if they pay on time month after month. Esusu bridges this gap by reporting rent payments to the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian—helping renters establish and improve their credit profiles.
In January, Esusu raised $130 million in a Series B fundraising round with a valuation of $1 billion, placing it as one of the very few black-owned unicorns in the U.S.
Odunayo Eweniyi, co-Founder and COO of PiggyTech Global Ltd
Odunayo Eweniyi is a computer engineer, entrepreneur and co-founder of PiggyVest—the first ever online app for personal savings and investment in West Africa—Piggyvest reportedly has 4 million users and more than $200 million in assets under management.
Eweniyi also co-founded FirstCheck Africa, an angel fund for women entrepreneurs. She is a board member at Village Capital and a venture partner at Rally Cap Ventures.
Related Article: PiggyVest co-founders selected as Endeavor Entrepreneurs
Olugbenga Olubanjo Olufemi, Founder and CEO of Reeddi
Olugbenga Olubanjo Olufemi, is a Nigerian engineer. He founded Reeddi, a hardware-as-a-service company that charges consumers a small daily fee to easily access a reliable supply of off-grid electricity from renewable energy sources anytime, anywhere.
Reeddi Inc. currently serves more than 600 households and businesses monthly in Nigeria and has been recognized by organizations including MIT, Stanford, Cisco, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), World Energy Council, and the German Energy Agency.
Gregory Rockson, co-Founder and CEO of MPharma
Gregory Rockson is a Ghanaian entrepreneur. In 2013, Rockson co-founded MPharma to support the African healthcare systems with programs that transform community pharmacies into primary healthcare centres, which today reach more than 100,000 patients each month. A separate software offering helps those pharmacies increase efficiency by collecting user information for predictive analysis of the centre’s needs.
In January, mPharma raised $35 million in a Series D round to embark on pan-African expansion and launch an e-commerce platform. mPharma had acquired a 55% stake in Uganda’s Vine Pharmacy in October 2021, two years after it bought Kenya’s Haltons Pharmacy for $5 million — that marked mPharma’s launch into East Africa. The World Economic Forum also named mPharma as one of the 100 most promising Technology Pioneers of 2021.
With their selection, Bloomberg provides a platform to scale and accelerate Catalyst's ideas by providing networking opportunities. They will also benefit from visibility, awareness and recognition across Bloomberg's multi-channel network reaching hundreds of millions; gain insight and perspective into cutting-edge technologies and high-level policy and finance, and receive peer-to-peer leadership and mentoring throughout the year.
In the 2021 inaugural class, the following Africans were selected—Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, the Mayor of Freetown in Sierra Leone; Alloysius Attah, a Ghanaian and co-founder and CEO of Farmerline Group; Abasi Ene-Obong, founder and CEO of 54gene and Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, a Ugandan and Founder of Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab.