13 young entrepreneurs in Nigeria to look out for in 2021
From 18th century’s John Hopkins to 20th century’s Apple founder Steve Jobs, every generation experienced its share of successful young entrepreneurs. The philosophy behind establishing your own organisation brings out the critics.
But millennials today have followed suit, exploring new ways to serve a greater purpose. As for a culture-rich nation as Nigeria, the success of a young entrepreneur will be the key to nation’s transformation in the new millennium.
Thus in the view of instilling a culture of nation-building and leadership dynamics, we are celebrating the nuances of young entrepreneurship in Nigeria, who inspired us and many. Our team at peopleHum is especially delighted to announce the successful young entrepreneurs in Nigeria. (in no particular order)
1. Maya Horgan
“Be strategic. Know your network is limitless, and contact whomever you desire to reach; but always make sure you have some value to offer them.”
Maya Horgan Famodu is the founder of Ingressive, an organisation that aids companies expand into Africa. Horgan has also established a non-profit setup for her firm — Ingressive for Good, which provides micro-scholarships, tech training and talent placement for African youth.
In conversation with Guardian, she speaks about nothing being more important than one’s “ability to do through numbers, experience, expertise (and) intelligence.” She further advices on developing the entrepreneurship value and adds, “Always lead with numbers and the tangible value you offer.”
2. Tiwalola Olanubi Jnr.
Tiwalola Olanubi is the founder of Dotts Media House, one of Africa’s leading digital marketing agencies. Being enthusiastic about youth development and entrepreneurship, he quotes
“The best thing that can happen to any entrepreneur is to start chasing their dreams as early as possible. My advice is to start early as soon as that idea gets into your mind.”
Tiwalola is a part of numerous CSR projects such as Leap Africa’s Youth Day of Service and among others. He is also the founder of Zarafet Loaves, a Lagos-based bread bakery, and Trendupp Africa.
3. Florence Chikezie
Florence Chikezie is a strategy consultant, coach, trainer, author, and investor. She is the founder and CEO of ReDahilia International Limited, a trusted business that offers free investment informations for client spanned across the globe.
Florence believes the solution to the economic problems faced by Nigeria and other countries in the world lies in the confines of entrepreneurship.
“The game plan has always been to pass on the knowledge and ensure that business owners do business the right way.”
4. Gossy Ukanwoke
Gossy Ukanwoke is the founder of Beni American University, the first digital university of Nigeria. An education-driven entrepreneur, he founded an online forum named as Students Circle Network which has wide database of academic resources, allowing interaction over educational resources for young learners.
“Education is about teaching people how to make a living, and teaching people how to live; how to interact with others, how to lead their lives and make something out of themselves. With education comes discipline and we need a lot of discipline in Nigeria as well.”
Ukanwoke has further worked with African governments on strategic developments to assist in creating better access, quality and relevance of learning in higher education institutions.
5. Bidemi Zakariyau Akande
Bidemi Zakariyau Akande is the founder and CEO of LSF|PR, one of the fastest growing PR agencies in Nigeria. Guided by values and principles, Bidemi spoke about an entrepreneur’s tendency to be naturally “pulled in different direction, losing focus of (their) core values.”
In this regards, she adds, “It’s important to be guided by principles and operate by those principles.” Her organisation LSF|PR is a recipient of a certificate of excellence by the SABRE Awards (2018) — the worlds biggest PR awards programme, dedicated to benchmarking the best PR work across the globe.
“It’s ok to start small and scale as you grow. You don’t necessarily have to wait for when you have all the funds you need.”
6. Fred Oyetayo
Fred Oyetayo is the founder of Fresible, a digital agency in Nigeria with expertise in web development, branding, and digital marketing.
He has earned a B.L Degree from the Nigerian Law School in 2015 and an LL.M Degree in 2018. Oyetayo is also the curator of Law Repository, a platform of engagement and value orientation for Nigerian law students, lawyers and para-legals.
“One of the first things I realised in life is self-awareness. If you want to connect the dots, you must know your purpose.”
7. Chika Madubuko
Chika Madubuko is the founder of Greymate Care, an Al-driven caregiving platform. An online platform that connects the vulnerable to a professional caregiver, an idea arose from Madubuko’s personal challenges that she faced when looking for a care-giver for her grandmother.
Finding the greatest purpose out of her education, she describes how her course MSC Biotechnology from the University of Hertfordshire “enabled (her) to push herself and provide a comprehensive and practical approach to the industry she wanted to pursue a career in.”
She has now based her service offering around providing trained professionals to care for vulnerable family members.
8. Uche Pedro
Uche Pedro is the founder and CEO of BellaNaija, a media company known for creation of content in the lifestyle and entertainment domain. She earned a degree as the Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Being passionate about her nurturing the youth of her community, she founded the #BNDoGood, an initiative that supports numerous non-profit organisations such as LEAP Africa, Slum2School, Django Girls, among other.
“Cut out the noise, focus on doing the right thing, making an impact on opening doors for others to come”
9. Obinna Okwodu
Obinna Okwodu was the co-founder of Fibre, a Nigeria-based company helping users find rental accommodation by reducing the entry barriers to renting property in the country. The Fibre model reduces the time and costs to find rental accommodation from 200 days to a week.
Previously working at Morgan & Stanley as an Investment Banking Analyst, Obinna has graduated as a Bachelor in Science form the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) When asked for an advice to young entrepreneurs, Obima notes,
“Don’t make assumptions, ask questions. Test the market before going into it.”
10. Silas Adekunle
Silas Adekunle is the co-founder and CEO of R.I. a data platform for industrial automation and IOT. He is graduated as an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technology from the University of the West of England, Bristol.
“Coming up with an idea, presenting it to people and getting them to say “yeah we believe in this” was nothing but entrepreneurship.”
Silas is also co-founder and CEO of Awarri, a company focused on enabling robotics and AI in Africa, starting with education.
11. Chinedu Azodoh
Chinedu Azodoh is co-founder and CGO at MAX, a technology company building the infrastructure for last-mile mobility in Africa. Along with his fellow cofounders, Chinedu established Metro Africa Xpress, a motorbike ride-hailing and delivery service popularly known as MAX.ng. The smartphone and web-based platform is much like Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing companies.
“Most cycle taxi drivers made about $80 a month when we started MAX.ng. Within two and a half years, every driver on our platform was making $600 a month. That’s what we’re doing in Nigeria — developing social systems and social infrastructure.”
Azodoh explains how they set goals with an aim to create an affordable, accessible, and more secure mobility infrastructure for the African continent.
Read more on one of the most technologically and economically advanced countries in the African sub-continent: Top HR trends in South Africa 2021.
12. Awa k. Ndukwe
Awa k. Ndukwe is a brand strategist, business development consultant and content writer.
“Branding is about making a promise and keeping the promise consistently over a given period of time. It was about my team, it was about building a perception and positioning.”
Having started his career as a Health And Safety Coordinator, Ndukwe graduated as Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Lagos. He also co-founded Youth Up, a platform that offers necessary tools, knowledge and awareness needed to empower the youth.
13. Ifeadi Anigbogu
Ifeadi Anigbogu is a HR leader, keynote speaker, and mostly a management consultant. She is a true example of transforming the role of an HR Strategist to build unique people management practices.
As a business coach, Ifeadi focuses on the big picture, collaborating with the HR department and consulting with the leadership team to make sure everyone is pulling in the same direction.
“We should remain the students of life. Keep learning. Be open to change. Face the world with a mindset of possibility.”
Interestingly, Africa has the highest entrepreneurship rate in the world by 22%, as per the African Development Bank. In order to successfully navigate the future of organisational cultures, the journey has to start as early as possible, with those who exhibit entrepreneurial traits or an interest in entrepreneurship. These disruptions, opening the floodgates for Future of Work, are inevitable. It’s all about being prepared for it, and young entrepreneurs hold the key.