Ashish J. Thakkar is the founder and managing director of the Mara Group, which comprises a number of companies. In 15 years he has taken the Group from humble beginnings to a global firm with a strong African focus, working in 17 African countries and employing over 4,000 people.
He was born in the UK and moved to Uganda when he was twelve. When he was 15, Ashish’s entrepreneurial spirit propelled him to start selling computers to friends and his school in Kampala, and before long he had set up his first company, Raps.
Ashish is passionate about the growth and development of Africa and he focusses most of his energy on commercial and philanthropic initiatives across the continent. This focus has seen the Group receiving global recognition for its achievements. In 2010 Mara Group was identified by the World Economic Forum's Community of Global Growth Companies (GGC) as a dynamic high-growth company - they believe the Group has the potential to be a future industry leader and a driving force for economic and social change. Ashish was a speaker and core team member at the African Leadership Retreat, which took place in South Africa during the FIFA World Cup in July 2010, where over 40 African leaders met with the aim of developing a stronger vision for Africa 2020. He has been appointed on the advisory panels to several heads of state in the sub-Saharan African region, and is a core team member of the Commonwealth Business Council and COMESA, of which Mara Group is a member.
Ashish will also be representing East Africa on Virgin Galactic's first mission into space – making him Africa's second astronaut!