Perspectives Entrepreneurship

Ashish Thakkar becomes first African to chair the United Nation’s Entrepreneurship Foundation

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The United Nations Foundation has announced that Ashish J. Thakkar will serve as Chair of the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council (GEC). Ashish, who started his entrepeneurial journey 15 years ago in high-school in Uganda by selling computers to his schoolmates, is the Founder of Mara Group, a diversified conglomerate with approximately $100 million in revenues, and Mara Foundation.

As the first African entrepreneur to lead the GEC, Thakkar will bring a unique, global perspective to the Council’s mission to work with entrepreneurs to help the UN Foundation support the work of the UN. The announcement was made during a day of commemorations during which Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon marked the 70thanniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco.

Thakkar founded his first business in 1996 at the age of 15 with a $5,000 loan. Since then, he has led the growth of Mara Group from a small IT business in Uganda to a globally recognized multi-sector investment and operating group.

Thakkar is passionate about enabling, empowering and inspiring young and women entrepreneurs, which is why he founded Mara Foundation in 2009 to foster and support emerging entrepreneurs through mentorship and venture philanthropy. One of the initiatives, Mara Mentor, is an online platform and mobile app that connects ambitious entrepreneurs with experienced and inspiring business leaders, and encourages idea and knowledge sharing amongst their peer group.

The UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council was established in 2011 as a strategic advisory board of high-profile entrepreneurs under the age of 45 who have made a commitment to helping find innovative solutions to global challenges. As Chair, Thakkar will be positioned to provide thought leadership on key global issues.

Thakkar takes the role over from Elizabeth Gore, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell. Gore previously served as the UN Foundation’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence and as the Foundation’s Vice President of Global Partnerships. hg

For more information on Mara Foundation please visit their website or visit Mara Group on Facebook.

You can also follow Ashish on Twitter @ashishjthakkar