Ashish J. Thakkar

Founder, Mara Group and Mara Foundation


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

Ashish J Thakkar is a serial entrepreneur who started his first business in 1996 at the age of 15 with a $5,000 loan. Since then, Ashish, Jadgish Thakkar, Sarla Thakkar (Ashish’s parents) and Ahuti Chug (Ashish’s sister) have driven the growth of the company from a small IT business in Uganda to the globally recognised multi-sector investment group that exists today. Through its investments, Mara Group now has a presence across 25 African countries in sectors spanning technology, financial services, infrastructure and real estate.

Ashish J Thakkar 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 lead 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 J Thakkar 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 Agenda Council on Africa.

In 2015, Ashish J Thakkar was appointed Chair of the United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council.

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