For applying serial entrepreneur skills to disrupt Africa’s telecom biz
At a time when most teens have only a hazy vision for their future, Ashish Thakkar dropped out of school and used US$5,000 to launch his first IT business. “I’ve always had this weird ambition of becoming an industrialist—and I wanted to make that a reality,” he says.
Fast-forward two decades, and Thakkar’s company, Mara Group, employs more than 8,000 people across 19 African countries, in sectors spanning manufacturing, financial services, real estate and agriculture. And a nonprofit offshoot is centered on mentoring young entrepreneurs—paving the way for others to more easily emulate the path he blazed. But the big buzz is around Mara Phones, Thakkar’s latest venture that looks to disrupt the telecom biz across the continent.