North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in the west, to Egypt’s Suez Canal. Popularly called “the Magreb” (West) region by the Arabs, the United Nations list North African countries as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, and disputed Western Sahara as North African countries.
Many nations in the region have social practices that have been repressive to the female gender for centuries. But increasing access to education, the emergence of pioneering female “models,” mobilization of women as a group in the anti-colonial struggle, postcolonial state feminism and then a shift towards women’s participation in organised groups have made them more visible.
As technology continues to revolutionalise the world’s systems, more women in North Africa are taking up important roles as Founders and Co-Founders of startups in the region. We found the majority of them in Egypt.
Below is Ventures Africa’s inexhaustive list of female tech founders in North Africa:
1#Sophia Alj (Morocco, Chari)
Sophia Alj is the CO-Founder and Chief Operating officer (COO) of Chari, a Moroccan-based B2B e-commerce and fintech platform.
Chari is an e-commerce and fintech app for traditional retailers in French-Speaking Africa allowing them to order any consumer goods they sell and get delivered for free in less than 24 hours. Chari is also a financial services provider for these retailers, offering them microloans.
The startup has raised a total of $6.4 million in funding over 6 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Oct 2, 2022, from a Series A round.
2# Fatma Ibrahim (Egypt, KIWE)
Fatma Ibrahim is the Co-Founder and CEO of Kiwe, an Egypt-based fintech cum social payment app targeting the unbanked segment in the North African country.
Kiwe is a peer-to-peer money exchange app that allows its users to transfer money to each other in real time. Asides from electronic money transfer the digital platform provides for individuals, it also helps small businesses and startups with a simple and cost-efficient payment process.
Ibrahim Co-Founded the startup in March 2021 alongside Omar Kamel and Mohamed Khalifa.
3#Aida Kandil (Morocco, MyTindy)
Founder and CEO of MyTindy, a Moroccan online marketplace that connects Moroccan artisans with international customers. It allows you to discover a range of beautifully handcrafted Moroccan art and design, from vintage rugs to exclusive jewellery to kitchen utensils.
The platform currently works with over 350 local artisans and ships to 40 countries.
4#Anisha Sekar (Egypt, MoneyHash)
Anisha Sekar is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer (CPO) of MoneyHash, a super-app that wants to provide access to all payment and fintech services across the Middle East & Africa (MEA) on its platform.
MoneyHash is the open payment infrastructure built for unlimited growth and innovation. The startup has raised a total of $3 million in funding over 2 rounds. According to Crunchbase, its latest funding was raised on February 14 (2022) from a Pre-Seed round. As CPO, Sekar is working to build a better open financial infrastructure to help scale up businesses in the MEA region and beyond.
5# Amel Saidane (Tunisia, Betacube)
Amel Saidane is the Co-Founder and CEO of Betacube, a Venture Building platform that is on a mission to create an ecosystem of tech innovation where Tunisians and international talent can connect with the world, create successful businesses and lead the digital transformation of specific industries.
Founded in 2019, the wants to create the next wave of successful B2B tech startups in Tunisia. Saidane is a technopreneur, ecosystem builder and digital transformation expert. She is also president of TunisianStartups and a board member in international digital transformation networks.
6# Ahella El Saban (Egypt, Exits.me)
Ahella El Saban is the Co-founder & Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Exits.me, an Egypt-based investment and eCommerce startup. The tech startup is a regional digital investment marketplace where individuals and business owners can buy and sell companies.
In September, Exits.me raised a $1 million Pre Seed from Baseeta Investments Holding and Mawelni Holding.
El Saban is also the Founder and CEO of Lumas, a market research company which helps with human capital development through specialized training, research & corporate services that help youth, entrepreneurs and businesses reach their maximum potential.
7#Lydia Schoonderbeek (Egypt, Source Beauty)
Lydia Schoonderbeek is the Founder and CEO of Source Beauty, Egypt’s first beauty e-commerce platform. The startup is an informed beauty e-commerce platform that seeks out the best skincare, makeup, fragrances, and health products.
Founded in 2016, Source Beauty acts as a hub of information for Egyptian women, providing them with the choice to choose local alternatives to their self-care routines.
It mostly works with female start-ups to help broaden the community of businesswomen in the beauty and wellness industry in Egypt while creating an opportunity to get their brands known to more female customers.
8 & 9# Rasha Rady and Doaa Aref (Egypt, Chefaa)
Rasha Rady and Doaa Aref are the Co-Founders of Chefaa, a pharm-tech startup that provides an end-to-end healthcare experience. Chefaa helps chronic patients order or schedule and refill their recurring medicine irrespective of location or income status while.
Chefaa is AI-powered and HIPAA compliant, thus, it offers compliant, ethical and patient-centric services to users through several services, including its main platform and an app.
Doaa Aref, who serves as the CEO of the startup an advertising and e-marketing strategist with experience that spans two decades. On the other hand, Rasha Rady, the COO of the startup, is a Paediatrician and Lecturer of Paediatrics at Cairo University.
10#Amira El Gharib (Egypt, Orcas)
Amira El Gharib is the Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Orcas, a Cairo-based Ed-tech startup that provides kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12) pupils with live one-on-one tutoring sessions, both online and in-person. More so, it delivers self-paced learning environments to complement the learning experience.
El Gharib oversees the daily operations of the company and manages sales teams. She also oversees employees’ productivity and communication channels while optimizing marketplace efficiency and incentives strategy among many other tasks.
11#Yasmine Henna (Egypt, Sympl)
Yasmine Mohamed Henna is the Co-founder / Chief Commercial and Product Officer of Sympl, an Egyptian eCommerce startup that allows merchants to sell products and services directly to consumers on short-term and interest-free repayment plans. Co-Founded alongside Mohamed El-Feky and Karim Tawfik.
Henna has close to 10 years of commercial experience in both telecommunication and fintech, with a focus on product marketing for consumer segments. Before launching Sympl, she was one of the co-creators of eCommerce platform, valU, where she led the growth & segments team. Yasmine has also led multiple functions within valU including product development, call centre, sales, e-commerce, and promotions.
12#Houda Bakir (Tunisia, Historiar)
Houda Bakir is the Founder and CEO of Historiar, a mobile application for cultural tours in Tunisia. The startup uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality to promote cultural tours through its mobile application.
The startup was awarded Best EdTech Solutions Provider in 2021 by the MEA Markets, a quarterly publication dedicated to researching and publicising the major moves and events as they happen across the entire Middle East & Africa region.