Catherine Mahugu, the Kenyan tech queen who’s breaking continental barriers


  • A prophet is hardly recognized at home. But here at Maudhui House, we never stop scouting and celebrating the men and women who are breaking barriers of entrepreneurship.
  • For this month of love, we focus on women trailblazers, who are going beyond, flying the Kenyan entrepreneurship and innovation flags at the global stage. Here’s a look at their inspiring stories:

Catherine Mahugu – Software Engineer

Catherine Mahugu is a young techpreneur, whose innovations have won her accolades at the global stage. She is founder of Chiswara, an agri-tech e-commerce platform that connects coffee producers directly with consumers in the international markets.

What’s more, she founded Wazidata, a design-led innovation company that she says solves intricate and complex challenges.

“Our work helps shape better experiences, products, brands and organizations. We build empathy through in-depth, qualitative research,” the entrepreneur, who is also a Safaricom e-commerce blaze mentor, says.

But it is the Soko innovation that literally saw her ‘Kiuka’ – the Kenyan Swahili phrase adopted by telco giant Safaricom as it positions itself as a supporter and an enabler of dreams as it marks 20 years in business.

Read also: Inside Safaricom’s new experience store

Soko is a novelty in the ever-trendy and dynamic fashion and technology business segment. It positions itself as an ethical fashion brand that expands access to economic opportunity for artisans in emerging economies while disrupting the traditional export supply chain. If this is not ‘going beyond the norm’, then, what is?

For her exploits in entrepreneurship, she has won numerous global awards and recognitions. Here are just but a few:

  • INC Magazine’s female Founder 100, 2019
  • Harambean 2019
  • Queen’s Young Leaders Advisory Mentor 2018
  • Safaricom e-commerce blaze mentor 2018
  • Vanity Fair’s Women of Colour diversifying entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley and beyond 2018
  • Women Super Achiever Award 2017
  • One of Forbes top 30 under 30 globally 2016
  •  Most Influential Woman in Business and Government (Continental Winner) – Africa 2016.
  • BBC’s top 100 women 2015
  • Kenya’s top 5 female entrepreneurs under 40
  • World Bank’s top 11 inspirational women

The list of honours can go on and on. We celebrate you Catherine and wish you Godspeed.

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