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

 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 was appointed Chair of the United Nations Foundation's Global Entrepreneurs Council.
Ashish J Thakkar truly believes that by 'doing good' you 'do well'
Ashish J Thakkar
1981
1981

Born, UK

1993
1993

With a desire to return to Africa, the family ​embarked on making a new start in Rwanda

1994
1994

Forced to leave Rwanda due to the Genocide (‘the 100 days of slaughter’). ​Took
refuge in Burundi and then settled back to Uganda

1996
1996

Drops out of school, secures a $5,000 loan and begins trading ​in ​
computer hardware between Dubai and Uganda

2001
2001

Established​ in Dubai as Raps Middle East LLC

2002
2002

​Uganda – ​Raps Uganda Limited is established

2006
2006

Diversified in to Real estate and Packaging

2008
2008

Established ‘Mara’ as the umbrella brand for future corporate development

2008
2008

Signed for Virgin Galactic Space Program

2009
2009

With the aim of empowering young entrepreneurs across the continent, established Mara Foundation

2012
2012

Appointed as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum

2013
2013

​Financial services – Joint venture to form Atlas Mara

2013
2013

First African ever named in Fortune Magazine’s annual 40 under 40 list

2014
2014

Wins the MTV Base Leadership Award

2015
2015

Launches his first book – The Lion Awakes: Adventures in Africa’s Economic Miracle

2015
2015

Appointed as Chair of the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council

2015
2015

Appointed as Board Member for Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa

2016
2016

Esquire magazine names Ashish J Thakkar Middle East Man of the Year

2017
2017

Appointed as Chairman of the Presidential Youth Advisory Group for The African Development Bank