Our Story

SUGUBA means Big Marketplace in Mande, a group of local languages spoken across West Africa.

We believe that one of the ways to accelerate prosperity, job creation and social progress in Francophone West Africa is to increase the number of investable start-ups in the region.

We also believe in a West Africa that trades with itself in order to capture a greater share of the value that our resources can generate. Regional integration is absolutely paramount to allow the region to maximize its economic and financial potential.

We are fostering a more integrated West Africa by boosting entrepreneurship in the region and empowering youth and women to lead a journey of economic self-determination. Our programs focus on:

  • Offering domestic and regional support programs to innovative entrepreneurs
  • Supporting entrepreneurs to raise financing in domestic and international markets
  • Developing strong financially self-sustainable and interconnected hubs across the region
  • Facilitating entrepreneurs’ regional expansion and regional partnerships
  • Organizing conferences and symposia that promote regional integration

By focusing programs on youth and women, Suguba helps Francophone Africa capitalize on its demographic transition.

Our Team Members

Issam Chleuh

Co-founder and Managing Director

Issam is an Investment Executive and Thought Leader who pioneered impact investing in Africa. His work has been featured on The Economist, Forbes and CNN, among others. Among other awards, Issam has been named by Forbes as one of 30 Most Promising Entrepreneurs in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and by Take Part magazine as one of 10 Amazing Millennials who are saving the world.

Throughout his careers, he led on over US $500 Million of commitments to funds globally.

His experience, spanning over 10 years, has been focused on launching successful entrepreneurial ventures, structuring funds, configuring financial reporting and ESG systems, leading transactions due diligence & valuations, managing stakeholders and building networks.

Prior to starting Suguba, he was Regional Manager at the Islamic Development Bank. He invested in Private Equity funds across Africa and Southeast Asia, structured the first Venture Capital fund in Saudi Arabia and the first global Trade Finance fund of ITFC. He also structured Trade Finance deals for Governments in Africa and South America.

Issam is also the Founder of Africa Impact Group, an award-winning research and advisory firm focused on impact investing in West and Central-Africa. At AIG, Issam advised both the Private and Public Sectors on impact investing. His most notable clients include the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Dangote Group and the Republic of Congo.

Prior to launching AIG, he spent over three years with EY (Ernst & Young) in Boston where he led various audit and due diligence missions of Private Equity clients.

Issam started his career at HarbourVest Partners in Boston in charge of financial reporting and due diligence for dozens of Private Equity funds and their related portfolio companies.

Issam holds a Bachelor in Finance and Accounting from Suffolk University Boston and a Master of Science in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame. Issam has an Executive Certificate in Private Equity and Venture Capital from Harvard Business School.

Fayelle Ouane

Co-founder and Managing Director

Fayelle Ouane is Co-founder and Managing Director at Suguba. Fayelle is an experienced general manager, with over 12 years of experience. Throughout her career she has focused on business strategy and operations, including starting and building businesses, leading multinationals’ penetration and expansion across Africa, providing value-added strategic advice, change management, and financial advisory services to Fortune 500 companies and governments.

Before starting Suguba, Fayelle was Cluster Head of Novartis Social Business in West and Central Africa. In that role, Fayelle sourced and facilitated impact investments in health across the continent and spearheaded numerous access to medicines programs on areas ranging from infectious to non-communicable diseases with a specific focus on program sustainability and partnerships.

Prior to leading Novartis Social Business in the region, she was the Country Head of Sandoz in Ghana, where she launched the company’s presence. She managed the incorporation set-up, revamped the distributor footprint and led the team to achieve double digit growth and grow patient reach across the country. Fayelle is also an avid marketer and has successfully designed 360-degree marketing and communications campaigns across the continent.

Fayelle started her career in strategy consulting where she designed growth strategies for private equity, consumer products and industrial clients in the U.S. and in Europe. She then became an Associate for OTF Group in Rwanda. She led the implementation of the national coffee and tea strategies as part of the Rwandan Government’s Rwanda National Innovation & Competitiveness (RNIC) Program focused on increasing export revenues through value chain enhancements and the development of agro-processing capabilities.

Fayelle holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelor in International Relations and Economics from Stanford University. She is a Tutu fellow and a member of the African Leadership Network. She is part of the Leadership Council of the Harvard Center for African Studies (CAS) in the Technology and Entrepreneurship committee.

Fayelle is deeply passionate about entrepreneurship in Francophone West Africa and she devotes much of her time to mentoring and coaching young entrepreneurs in the region.

Jerome Tagger

Board Member

Jerome builds organizations that help the economy make optimal choices in relation to long term social and environmental trends. He is a senior advisor to UNEP FI and the World Benchmarking Alliance. Previously he was a Director at the Global Impact Investing Network and the founding COO of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.

Our Trusted Partners

Strength is built through the right partnerships

Through its service offering, Suguba aims to empower local young entrepreneurs while connecting stakeholders locally and across borders towards more conducive entrepreneurial ecosystems in the region. The support provided by the SCBD facility shall enable the emergence of a sustainable network that will provide opportunities for local young entrepreneurs to start and grow scalable enterprises.

Impact Dakar

Impact Abidjan

Impact Hub Bamako

MIT Africa Innovative Conference