It was American football coach, Vincent Lombardi that said, “Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” Today, there are many young Africans blazing trails across the continent and globally –  new breed, cosmopolitan Africans, shaping Africa’s future. Their social/business activities in one way or the other illuminates the potential that will shape the business and economic future of Africa.

Ventures Africa has identified 13 young Africans who have contributed to shaping the future of the continent and the world at large; through their activities and businesses, these global leaders, entrepreneurs, CEOs and intellectuals are young, talented and with proven genius in their distinctive fields.  To cap it all, they are all under 35 years! In no respective order, here are 13 Young African Business/Economic Leaders to look out for in 2013.

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder/Managing Director SoleRebels,

Ethiopian-born entrepreneur Bethlehem Alemu, 32,  launched her company in Zenabwork, a small village on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia in 2004 as a means of creating jobs for the people in her community by turning their unexploited artisan skill to a worldwide eco-sensible product. Today, the company she started out of necessity is the world’s first Fairtrade Certified footwear by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and she has since expanded her business to other continents.

In 2012, the Ethiopia-base entrepreneur opened the company’s first stand-alone store in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city. She has since opened three more with the goal of opening about 30 outlets all together.

Bethlehem is globally recognized to have built a world-class brand from the scratch while empowering her community and country. She projects the company’s global retail roll-out will add $15-20 million in revenue by 2015.

The accounting graduate was been honoured as a Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum, 2011 among other accolades. She received the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the 2012 World Economic Forum on Africa which this year took place in Ethiopia.

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