Ashish J. Thakkar

Mara’s first company was founded by Ashish J. Thakkar in 1996. Ashish began his career in business at the age of 15 by borrowing $5,000 to set up an IT company in Uganda. Within a year, he transitioned from a high school student to a full-time entrepreneur. Since then, Mara has evolved into an international multi-sector business, with operations and interests across 22 African countries. Ashish has successfully driven the growth of Mara by identifying opportunities to build businesses in under-served markets and by selectively partnering with international firms focused on expanding in Africa.

Ashish-Thakkar_P1My Definition Of Success | Success to me means getting to a place where I can measure and see the impact of my work on the lives of people. I have always believed that being successful is a combination of doing good whilst doing well. Success shouldn’t be defined by money, but rather by impact.


I Am Driven By | In addition to giving back and making a positive impact, my biggest driver is to play an active role in building and growing the economies of the African continent. I am passionate about seeing Africa prosper and compete globally. It is the time of the African Lion to rise and for Africa to take the lead.

My Highlights | One of the highlights of my career is having established a mentoring platform for young African entrepreneurs. Seeing the impact that Mara Foundation and the mentorship platform-Mara Mentor is having on the lives of young people on our continent is so far my proudest achievement. As a young entrepreneur who started out of the age of 15, I know how important mentorship was to growth of my own early career.

A Key Talent |

  • Persistence
  • Never take no for an answer
  • Always question the status quo
  • Go after what you believe in and make your dreams a reality



Principles I Live By | Ethics, humility, hard work and making a lasting impact on the lives of others.

Lessons I Have Learnt | Humility and being down to earth is one of the most important lessons I have learned over the years. Always remembering that in the grand scheme of things, you’re still a drop in the ocean. Being humble, combined with hard work, and persistence is a recipe for success.

On Inspiring Others | Having a great team is very important in reaching goals within an organisation. I believe you’re only as good as your team, and being surrounded by the right people who believe in your vision is priceless.  You have to lead your team by example and hard work; this, combined with astute leadership and a can-do culture built on motivation and people is the recipe for an organisation’s success.

I Am Inspired By | The most influential and inspirational people in my life include my spiritual leader, Morari Bapu and my father, Jagdish Thakkar. Morari Bapu keeps me grounded, guides me, and teaches me honesty and ethics.  My father, over the years has taught me the importance of hard work and persistence.

The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I would like to know that I have shifted the needle and have played my part in contributing to the growth of the African economies. I would also like to know that I have touched the lives of the African youth and helped empower them to become the job creators of tomorrow.


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