Ashish J. Thakkar

Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Mara Foundation

Ham Towers 3rd Floor, Kampala, Central Region, Uganda
Mara Foundation
Wrong Ashish Thakkar?

Last Updated 11/6/2017

General Information

Employment History

Relationship Manager  - HDFC Bank Ltd

Area Head- Super Premium Cards  - HDFC Bank Ltd

Customer Service Executive  - DCB Bank's Profit

Manager- Corporate Sales  - Ichibaan Honda- GMS group

Customer Service Executive  - DCB Bank Limited


MD of Mara Group  - 


Co-Founder  - Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Limited

Member  - World Economic Forum

Global Advisory Board  - Dell Inc.

Team Member  - Common Market For Eastern And Southern Africa

Team Member  - Commonwealth Business Council

Board Member  - The Africa Center

Board Member  - SDG Center for Africa

Advisor  - African Development Bank

Board Member  - Council of Dell Center for Entrepreneurs

Co-Founder  - LSEEMF

Member  - Young Global Leader

Member  - Global Agenda Council on Africa

Founder  - Toyosi Akerele CEO Rise Network

Founder  - Kensington Computer Products Group

Founder  - IT company

Founding Member  - Shikamano Africa

Advisor  - States

Representative  - East Africa

Founder  - Twitter

Web References  

Sunday Adelaja's Blog At Age 34 Meet Africa's Youngest Billionaire, Who Was a Refugee And A School Dropout! - Sunday Adelaja's Blog

Ashish Thakkar's Twitter biography doesn't identify him as "Africa's youngest billionaire," or "CEO and founder of The Mara Group," a globally renowned multi-sector investment group - the first word is "refugee."
34 year-old Thakkar's family is Indian by heritage, but has lived in Africa for four generations. Thakkar was 13 and living in Rwanda when the 1994 genocide forced his family to relocate to Uganda. HuffPost spoke with Thakkar about the future of entrepreneurship in Africa and the inspiration for his success. Ashish Thakkar, Huffington Post, Mara Foundation, young African entrepreneurs

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Social Entrepreneurs

Episode 100: Ashish Thakkar
Ashish Thakkar is an African entrepreneur who started his business at the age of 15 having just escaped the Rwanda genocide. That business, the Mara Group, is now a vast enterprise headquartered in Dubai and with operations in 22 African countries. I met Ashish a few weeks ago at a conference in Dubai and learned just enough about his personal story to know that I needed to speak with him for a podcast episode. Ashish is also the founder of the Mara Foundation, the work of which we discuss, and he was recently named the chair of the United Nations Foundation's Global Entrepreneurs Council.

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Ashish J. Thakkar | daspeakers

Ashish J. Thakkar
Ashish J. Thakkar The story of Ashish Thakkar is one of building and rebuilding, earning and giving back. He was just 13 when he and his family had to leave everything they had in Africa to escape the Rwandan genocide. But just a year later, resettled in Dubai, Thakkar set himself on the path of entrepreneurship when he sold his own computer to a family friend. At 15, he took out a US$6000 loan and started his first company. Thakkar would go on to found the Mara Group, an African conglomerate that includes one of the largest IT companies in Africa, and he'll also be the first East African astronaut when he flies on a Virgin Galactic flight. Nowadays, 31-year-old Thakkar focuses roughly 40% of his time on the Mara Foundation, which fosters African entrepreneurship with mentoring, incubation space and venture capital. Thakkar recently spoke about his motivation and core beliefs, which includes a strong faith in maintaining business ethics and giving opportunities to the less fortunate. "It's important to give back and genuinely; that's how I believe wealth should be measured" he says. Ashish is a serial entrepreneur who founded his first business in 1996 at the age of 15 with a $6,000 loan. Since then, he has driven the growth of the company from a small IT business in Uganda to the globally recognised multi-sector investment group that exists today. Through its investments, Mara Group now employs over 8,000 people across 19 African countries in sectors spanning IT services, manufacturing, real estate and agriculture. Ashish continues to drive the business development and strategy of Mara. In 2012, Ashish was appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in recognition of his success and leadership in driving social and economic change in Africa. Ashish advises several heads of state in Sub-Saharan Africa and is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Africa. Ashish is passionate about enabling, empowering and inspiring youngmale and female entrepreneurs. Consequently, in 2009, he founded the Mara Foundation to foster and support emerging entrepreneurs through mentorship and venture philanthropy. Ashish is based in Dubai and Kampala, Uganda. See Other Entrepreneurship Speakers All Speakers

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