Who We Are



African Entrepreneur Collective staff, board, and volunteers are all in.  Similar to our entrepreneurs, we work hard to find data-driven solutions to our daily work, while keeping our eye on the big picture. Our team represents cultures and perspectives from across East Africa and the US, and most importantly, is connected to a shared set of values.


“All the problems on the Continent have solutions that already exist on the Continent.” A Continents people are its greatest resource. AEC’s entrepreneurs are an integral part to the phenomenon of Africa Rising.

“We reach beyond what we think is possible.” We set ambitious goals, and we push our entrepreneurs and our staff to achieve these goals. Together, we do the impossible.

“We are committed to continuous learning and growing.” We recognize our own limitations, challenge our entrepreneurs, staff, and entrepreneurs to improve, and seek out opportunities to share our learnings and commit to hearing from others.

“The brave rise together.”  African Entrepreneur Collective was founded in summer 2012 by social entrepreneurs Julienne Oyler and Sara Leedom, whose experience living and working in Africa highlighted that supporting entrepreneurs is the most sustainable way to create wealth and improved livelihoods across the Continent.

“We eat goat.”  We are together, we celebrate our success. We take time to appreciate one another and hold each other up in hard times.


AEC’s leadership team supports more than 160 staff in 13 offices across Rwanda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Our team represents cultures and perspectives from across East Africa, and most importantly, is connected to a shared set of values and purpose.
Julienne Oyler

Julienne Oyler


Aretha Rwagasore

Aretha Rwagasore

Managing Director, Inkomoko Rwanda

Claude Mazimpaka

Claude Mazimpaka

Regional Loan Portfolio Director

Linda Ndungutse

Linda Ndungutse

Chief Of Staff to CEO

Sara Leedom

Sara Leedom


Olive Ashimwe

Olive Ashimwe

Regional Director of Business Growth Services

Gilbert Mucyo

Gilbert Mucyo

Director of Communications & Storytelling

Helle Dahl Rasmussen

Helle Dahl Rasmussen

Director of SME Growth

Neway Alemayehu

Neway Alemayehu

Managing Director, AEC Ethiopia

Pacifique Kwizera

Pacifique Kwizera

Global Development Manager

Joseph Mudenge

Joseph Mudenge

MEL Director

Barbara Mutoni

Barbara Mutoni

Director of Human Resources

Job Matseshe

Job Matseshe

Managing Director, AEC Kenya

Dat Tran

Dat Tran

Regional Director of Innovation

Emmanuel Mugabo

Emmanuel Mugabo

Director of Finance & Admin



Michael Payne
Board Chair

Marion Ntiru
ELMA Philanthropies

Tom Ryan
Board Treasurer
Century Equity Partners

Marieve Uaboi-Gauthier

Lauren Rawlings

Julienne Oyler
African Entrepreneur Collective

Julie Taft
Board Secretary
International Planned Parenthood Federation

Shipra Kayan
Miro, Amsterdam

Sara Leedom
African Entrepreneur Collective


Michelle Brauner Ares Management, LLC

Chris Durbin Vestar Capital Partners

Paul Kaboub Old Ironsides Energy

Osman Nur Revolution

Harrison Chilton The Carlyle Group

Tom Ryan Century Equity Partners

Alex Darden EQT Partners

Irene Wang Falcon Investments


Grace Mugabekazi YouthConnekt

Carmen Nibigira GIZ

Florence Gatome Africa Director NIRAS

Jeff Aludo Aludo Group

Celestin Rwabukumba Rwanda Stock Exchange

Denise Umunyana Right Seat Ltd

Asha Abdi Mombasa County Chief Officer for Finance & Economic Planning


This work is too hard to do alone. We at African Entrepreneur Collective are proud to partner with the following organizations who strengthen our reach, our impact, our understanding, and share our vision.

1-to-4 Foundation

Bank of Kigali

Bridgespan Group

Development Bank of Rwanda

Equity Bank

GIZ Rwanda

Global Development Initiative


International Trade Centre

Kate Spade, onPurpose Fund

MTN Rwanda

Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart

Peery Foundation

Segal Family Foundation

L & R Uechtritz Foundation

UN Capital Development Fund

University of Global Health Equity

Upwork Foundation