Ashish Thakkar - GSMA Mobile 360 Series

Ashish Thakkar

Ashish Thakkar



Maraphone Rwanda


(Refugee, School dropout, Entrepreneur, Astronaut, Philanthropist & Author – I am still work in progress



Ashish is a sequential entrepreneur who started his first business in 1996 at the age of 15 with a $5,000 loan. Since then, Jagdish D. Thakkar, Sarla J. Thakkar (Ashish’s parents) and Ahuti Chug (Ashish’s sister) have driven the growth of the company from a small IT business in East Africa to the globally recognized multi-sector group that exists today. Through its investments, Mara Corporation now has a presence across 26 African countries in sectors spanning technology, manufacturing and financial services.


Ashish is passionate about enabling, empowering and inspiring young entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs. In 2009, he launched the Mara Foundation to foster and support emerging entrepreneurs through mentorship, Mara Mentor is a free online global platform that connects emerging entrepreneurs with business leaders and industry experts. Mara Foundation is led by Ashish’s sister Rona Kotecha, this enables a strong follow-through of the family’s vision to create a self-sustaining Africa through entrepreneurship.


In 2012, Ashish was appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in recognition of his success and leadership in driving social and economic change in Africa. Ashish advises several heads of state in Sub-Saharan Africa and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Entrepreneurship.


In 2015, Ashish was appointed Chair of the United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council. In 2017, Ashish was appointed Chair of the Presidential Youth Advisory Group at the African Development Bank.


Ashish truly believes that by ‘doing good’ you will ‘do well’