Njeri Rionge is among the very few African women billionaires.
Her meteoric rise through the business world has been occasioned by grit and an eye for opportunities that she developed from her early days to the point of setting up a career that many can only envy.
Rionge is a former student of the United States International University - Africa (USIU) where she pursued her studies in business administration and management.
Despite the conglomerate of companies that she founded and runs, Rionge did not start off on an enviable footing.
Talking to Forbes in 2011, she reported that she indeed started off as a yoghurt seller before she rose through the ranks to where she is.
“As a twenty-year-old, my first business involved selling yoghurt to the International School of Kenya and Loreto Convent Msongari High School over their 10 am and 4 pm school breaks.
"I sold the yoghurt from the car trunk which belonged to a friend of mine with whom I had partnered. We picked up the yoghurt from a farm in Limuru at 6 am and returned back every second day for more stock,” she told Forbes.
At the same time, she was a hairdresser for top clientele in the city, which she took advantage of.
“I travelled to London on a regular basis using discounted courier tickets to purchase re-sale luxury merchandise which was not available in Kenya at the time. I sold this merchandise to my clients,” she recalled.
At the moment, Rionge is the CEO and founder of several million-dollar companies in Africa and Canada.
Some of her most successful industries include UpCountry Africa Fund Assets Corporation, Wananchi, and Ignite Consulting, with offices in Nairobi and Toronto.
In 2011, Forbes titled Njeri as Africa’s Most Successful Woman. Since then Njeri has continued to work at the intersection of international business, technology and governance, with industries spanning Africa to Canada.
In 2019, Njeri Rionge was named amongst the top 100 women CEOs in Africa by a Ghanian publication. A year prior, she had been named one of the 25 richest women in Africa by a Nigerian publication.