Kenyan entrepreneur named in Forbes Africa top 30 under 30 list

28-year-old Kenyan entrepreneur, Ms Ogutu Okudo. [Photo by Forbes]

A 28-year-old Kenyan entrepreneur, Ms Ogutu Okudo has made it in the highly-coveted top 30 under 30 young African Forbes Africa list.

Ms Okudo is the founder and chief executive of Women in Energy and Extractives Africa. She won the accolade under the Oil and Energy Industry category.

In an interview with Forbes, she said that her interest to venture into the oil sector was stirred back in 2012 when she sat at a conference which was discussing the role of women in environmental sustainability.

“I vividly remember noticing the men dominantly speaking, but it was the woman performing the balancing act of her child on her right hip and yams to feed a family on her head that was the inspiration behind Women in Energy and Extractives Africa that initially began as Women in Oil and Gas East Africa (now known as WEX),” she told Forbes.

Months after the conference, Kenya’s oil discovery in Turkana made headlines and this gave her a head start in pushing her company higher.

She became an ambassador for women in the energy sector under the WEX banner and her main role was to communicate the challenges and opportunities women bump into while pushing for a career in this sector.

Hitherto her efforts have borne fruits as WEX Africa boasts of a strong presence in five countries with 15 employees and a further 75 volunteers in 10 countries. CNN Africa Voice since describes her as 

“the woman on a mission to disrupt the energy sector”.

At just 28, she has bagged several awards. She clinched an award 2018 in the Under 30 Women in Energy East Africa and the Kenya Upstream Oil and Gas Woman of the Year award in 2019.

In 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta hailed her as a young female Kenyan trailblazer and flanked him to the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations Headquarters in New York where she gave a speech.

In her to-do-list, this year is a cohesive plan to popularize STEM forums and publish a set of guidelines to support the engagement of Women In Energy and Extractive Sector Projects In Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ms Okudo will also have offices for her outfit established across East Africa.