See 20 Successful Under-40 Entrepreneurs In Nigeria
Degree: B.Sc. Industrial Chemistry, Imo State University (2010).
Finished in 2005 from Innocent Comprehensive High School, Surulere, as the overall best graduating student, graduated with a second-class lower degree from IMSU. Founded digital and design and development firm – Cregital – April 20, 2015. He worked in Jumia for less than a year as a Social Media Specialist and later as Creative Strategist in Konga for less than 18 months. Started Cregital as the creative lead with a team of four comprising of a project manager, web developer, and graphic designer. 2016 winner of Future Awards’ Young Creative Professional.
2, Kehinde Ayanleye : Co-Founder Stutern
Degree: B.Sc. Mass Communications/Media Studies Bowen University; M.Sc. University of Kent, Computer Animation.
Co-founded Stutern with his brother in 2014, also co-founded The Underpin in 2016. The founding duo, Taiwo and Kehinde, joined the Co-Creation Hub’s Pre-incubation programme in January 2015, receiving $5,000 in seed. The site which has helped matched more than 200 interns with employers, partnered with Jobberman in February 2016 to match interns with jobs, now known as Stutern by Jobberman. Stutern hosted its annual intern fair (Nigeria’s biggest) in August 2017 (second since inception).
3, Adedayo Saheed Amzat (30): Founder Zedcrest Capital Limited
Degree: B.Sc. Industrial Chemistry, University of Ilorin; MBA (Management and Accounting), Obafemi Awolowo University. Best graduating from his department.
A CFA holder as well as a fellow of both the Institute of Credit Administration and Institute of Investment Advisers & Portfolio Managers. Commenced his career with Access Bank, where he was part of liquidity management team, and was actively involved in the ALM unit. Resigned in 2013 to start Zedcrest Capital Limited – a securities brokerage, advisory and capital management firm. A year later, he also founded Zedvance – a new-age consumer finance company. Both firms currently have over 50 employees. A member of Financial Markets’ Dealers Association of Nigeria, NIM and holds a Treasurers’ Dealership Certificate (TDC).
4, Oluwaseun Temitope Osewa (35): Founder Nairaland
Degree: B.Sc. Electrical Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University.
Dropped-out even while being one of the best students to start Nairaland (formerly MobileNigeria Forum) in 2005 after several failed attempts at starting an internet focused business. Failed after three months of starting a mobile hosting business, getting only getting a client and ran out of capital. Nairaland is Nigeria’s third most visited sited owned by a Nigerian (after Bet9ja by Kunle Soname and Ayo Ojuroye and Jumia) and was sixth two years ago after being surpassed by MMM. Mr. Seun is a private individual who in way despises public appearance. So much that he decline the invitation to The Future Awards’ ceremony of Nigeria’s Best 100 in 2013. I describe him as the “son of Mike Adenuga” when it comes to aversion to public appearance. He made the Forbes’ List of Best African successful entrepreneurs in 2013.
5, Razak Ahmed (30): Co-Founder Of Sart Partners & Cowrywise Financial Tech
Degree: B.Sc. Economics (First Class), Obafemi Awolowo University.
Commenced his career with investment house Meristem Securities as an investment analyst, then moved to Vetiva Capital Management as a Research Analyst, then Business Economist, Royal Dutch Shell Nigeria and later Gas Commercial Unit in the same firm. Quit to start SART Partners – an investment management and advisory firm. He co-founded Cowrywise in July 2017. Passed the three levels of CFA at once. A certified energy risk professional (ERP) and member of the Global Association of Risk Professionals.
6, Jason Chukwuma Njoku (37): Co-Founder Iroko Partners And Serial Entrepreneur
Degree: B.Sc. Chemistry, University of Manchester.
Co-founded iROKOtv, his 11 attempt at starting a successful enterprise. Before then, he launched Brash Magazine, a student publication which was closed in 2005; a year after graduation from varsity. Founded NollywoodLove, a YouTube Channel with fellow Manchester grad Bastian Gotter in 2010. After an article on TechCrunch, investment firm Tiger Global invested $3 million through a Series A investment and iROKOtv was launched on December 1, 2011. Later that year, with his wife Remmy Njoku and Gotter, they founded Spark – investment firm for internet start-ups based in Lagos. Which has invested into Drink.ng, ToLet.ng, Hotels.ng amongst others. Jason who is the largest shareholder in iROKOtv and partners, which is the world’s largest digital distributor of African movies, has been listed by Forbes in 2014 amongst the 10 young African millionaires to watch. He tweeted to pay exceptional coders/developers minimum of N150K and maximum of N400K in May 8, 2015.
7, Ijeoma Ndukwe-Egwuronu (37): Founder Bubez Foods
Degree: B.Sc. Human Physiology, University of Calabar; An alumna of The Lagos Business School 6 month program – The Owner Manager.
Popularly known as “Nwa Akamu” or “Iyaologi” (Igbo and Yoruba names for women selling pap). Ijeoma was neck deep in bad debt in 2012 as a result of being owed from sales from her clothing store (Bubez Plaiz), which threaten its existence. As a result, she went to God in prayers to seek divine answers to her problems and got moved by words in 2nd Kings 4:2 AMP Version “What do you have in your house of sale value. After seeing Akamu in her refrigerator, which is a staple meal for her kids before they turn 2, and knowing that lots of mothers desire to feed their kids pap, coupled with the challenge in finding one prepared in hygienic conditions. She delved into the food processing that has corn as its main raw material. Ijeoma has constantly mentioned epileptic power supply as a major constraint to SMEs in the country.
8, Ohmai (“Mai”) Atafo (40): Founder Mai Atafo Inspired
Degree: B.Sc. Agricultural Economics and Extension, Edo State University (now Ambrose Alli University); M.Sc. Information Technology, City University, London, UK. An alumni of the Saville Row Academy.
Born in Ile-Ife. He returned to the country after nearly seven years in 2002 to become a marketer in British Tobacco. Which he left late 2006 to become Senior Brand Manager at Guinness Nigeria Plc until his resignation in 2010 to become a fashion designer, which he was doing skeletally while at Guinness. In 2010, he launched a wedding line – Weddings by Mai. He has gone on to clothe popular Nigerian celebrities like Dakore Egbuson, Stella Damascus, Mercy Johnson, Gbenro Ajibade, Banky W and host of others. Previously Fashion Editor at Genevieve Magazine. Was also the previous MC at the Miss Nigeria Pageant in 2010, as well as a strategy director for Firehouse Group – an advertising firm.
9, Ayodeji Adewunmi (33): Co-Founder Jobberman
Degree: Medicine and Surgery (MBBS), Obafemi Awolowo University; Executive Leadership, Archbishop Desmond Tutu Program, University of Oxford; Executive Education, Building Businesses in Emerging Markets, Harvard Business School.
A doctor who is “passionate about building, monetizing and engaging online content, users and platforms.” Deji who started his career as an Advisory intern in Goldman Sachs’ Inaugural Africa Initiative in 2007 – and assisted in the recruitment of 12 more students (highest of any Nigerian university) into the program. Reputed for his excellent networking and strategy skills, together with close friends – Olalekan Olude and Opeyemi Awoyemi, Jobberman was founded in 2009 – which helps link qualified personnel to the right job opportunities. The trio became partners with stock options in One Africa Media, when OAM acquired the firm in 2015. One of Nigeria’s most visited site. Today, Jobberman is amongst the biggest recruitment firms in Africa.
10, Uche Pedro (33): Founder Bella Naija
Degree: B.Sc. Business Administration (Distinction), Richard Ievy School of Business, University of Western Ontario, Canada.
A fellow of TEDGlobal, Uche founded BellaNaija (mainly as a store board of scanned magazine articles, pictures and featured interviews of Nigerian weddings, media celebrities and fashion personalities) currently among the most visited sites in Nigeria, in 2006 initially as a hobby to spend time when she was bored during a two week holiday. Before founding Bella Naija, she worked at Shell, Cadbury ME & Africa based in the UK and Cadbury Nigeria. Uche, who had always loved everything about Nigeria and Africa in general; the fashion industry, political movements, technology and entertainment sectors, started blogging about the various happenings and issues across the aforesaid sectors. Won Outstanding Contribution to Fashion Communication Award and The Future Awards Africa for Young Media Entrepreneur in 2013. In February 2010, she featured on the Oprah Winfery Show “Beauty around the World”. Bella Naija Weddings is arguably Nigeria’s biggest weddings’ line firm.
11. Mark Anthony Essien (37): Founder/Ceo, Hotels.Ng
Degree: Bachelor in Computer Engineering, Beuth University of Applied Science, Berlin; M.Sc. Computer Science, Freie Universitat Berlin.
Born in Ikot Ekpene, and bred there for 18 years. Learnt coding during the period he was studying German and his A-levels. Founded Gnumm, a file sharing website, which was later acquired by Snoopstar. During his time at Snoopstar, he created different software products, and sold some to Disney and The American Military. Returned to Nigeria after his degrees, and after studying the online travel market, he decided to create a hotel booking site – Hotels.ng – in 2013 with $300, which sparked the attention of Jason Njoku’s Spark.ng. The latter in 2013 made an initial $75,000 investment and later $150,000 after momentum increased. Hotels.ng got further $1.5 million investment in 2015 from EchoVC Pan-African Fund and Omidyar Network, investment vehicle of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. A TEDX speaker at TEDxGbagada and TEDxEuston. Was selected as one of 30 most promising entrepreneurs in Africa in 2015 by Forbes’ Magazine.
12, Rotimi Williams (37): Founder Of Kereksuk Rice Farm
Degree: B.Sc. Economics, University of Aberdeen, Scotland; MSc. Economics, University of Aberdeen; M.Sc. Finance and Development Studies, SOAS, University of London.
Journalist cum rice farmer, Worked as an analyst in the European and Financial Centre, London, and later at Euromoney Magazine. Where he was responsible for studying the African market. After travelling various African nations under Euromoney, and seeing how agriculture is an important aspect in the economy. Williams resigned and got employed as a banker focused on agriculture in Nigeria. Resigned afterwards upon discovering the lacklustre approach the bank had towards agriculture. In 2012, with a unique agreement with the farm owner, he garnered 17,269 hectares of land and later ramped it to 55,000 before parting with his partner. Which brought it down to 45,000 hectares – making him the owner of Nigeria’s second largest rice farm, after Olam. Founded agriculture focused data analytics’ firm – Compare the Markets in 2016.
13, Peter Banigo (37): Co-Founder Bole King/Ceo Rico Enoro Limited
Degree: Bachelor of Gas Engineering, University of Port-Harcourt; M.Sc. Petroleum and Environmental Technology, Coventry University, UK.
Co-founded Bole King in 2014 with Etinosa Omoriege. Bole (Port-Harcourt styled), consisting of roasted plantain and fish with sauce, is a popular and highly nutritious meal patronised by most people irrespective of social strata. Due to the hygienic problem associated with selling Bole along the roadside, Peter and Etinosa founded Bole King to provide a hygienic and well-prepared form of the staple meal. They aim at making Bole a global delicacy just as Shawarma (Middle-Eastern) and Pizza (Italian). This will be accelerated by opening a Lagos outlet in the 2nd quarter of 2018. Peter is also the CEO of ICT, security and general procurement firm – Rico Enoro Limited, since 2009.
14, Olorunyomi “Yomi” Omoniyi Makun (32): Founder Yomi Casual
Degree: HND Fashion and Design, Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State. Brother and official clothier to ace comedian Ayo Makun.
Got to study Fashion and Design as a result of a mistake made by his sister during filling of JAMB form. Once told his lecturer that he’d never be a tailor. Started Yomi Causal with a sewing machine bought by Ayo (cost N10, 000) from his brother’s house in Iponri Estate. During the day, the living room is made the office, same house had other comedians – Elenu and Seyi Law – as occupants. When elder Makun left, Yomi turned the house to his office, later moved to Bode Thomas, Surulere and then Lekki. Has had many celebrities as models for his collections, notably Elenu, Desmond Elliot, Zack Orji, Alibaba, Uti Nwachukwu, Alex Ekubo, Dj Jimmy Jatt amongst others. Advises the younger generation to start/create their ideas early in life as time waits for no one.
15, Ezra Olubi (31): Co-Founder Paystacks
Degree: B.Sc. Computer Science, Babcock University.
Co-founded Paystacks with Shola Akinlade in 2015 when they discovered the online payments’ system is broken and unreliable. Paystacks became the first Nigerian tech firm to be accepted into the renowned incubator program – Y Combinator Program, based in Silicon Valley, and got seeded with $120, 000. As a result, they attracted investors all around securing $1.5 million from the likes of Tencent, M&S, Spark, Tokyo Founders’ Fund amongst others. The firm has processed over a billion naira since they left the beta stage of the incubator program. Hitherto co-founding Paystacks, Ezra was the CTO at Jobberman for 7 months. Before then, he was the Head, Software Imagio Limited for almost 2 years and CTO Delivery Science Incorporated in 2014.
16, Jiro Ejobe (): Founder And Managing Director Viisaus Technology Limited
Degree: B.Sc. Computer Science, Queen Mary College (University of London); Post-graduate diploma, Management and Senior Management, Birkbeck University (University of London); An alumnus of the Senior Management Program, Lagos Business School.
Kick-started his career 17 years ago as a consultant for PwC, UK, He has being at different management positions across various locations in North America, Asia and Europe. Lead the Technology Focused enterprise engagements for different firms, including BBC, UK, Time Warner and Sony. Hitherto founding Viisaus, he was the Senior Technology Officer at Afrinvest West Africa, and Head of Application Development, The Nigerian Stock Exchange. A member of the IEEE and BCS societies.
17, Linda Ifeoma Ikeji (37): Founder Linda Ikeji Blog
Degree: BA. English Language, University of Lagos.
Nicknamed the Queen of Blogging. Started modelling at a young age to assist her family and support herself through school. Performed as a waitress, model and writer. She opened a modelling agency and event management outfit media company called Black Dove Communications. Commenced blogging as a hobby in 2006. Then, the internet was not as prominent and widespread in Nigeria as at now, and she had to make her posts at a cybercafe. As the internet became more accessible, she grew popular and had her blog amongst the most visited in Nigeria. A philanthropist, sponsors the project “I’d rather be self-made; No thanks”. Project aims at supporting lasses aged 16–25 who have great business ideas and aspire to become entrepreneurs. She is one of Nigerian richest internetpreneurs.
18, Eyo Bassey (38): Founder And Ceo Payporte Global Systems/Ceo Rom-Flex Group
Degree: B.Tech. Pure and Applied Physics, Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso;
Alumnus Financing Entrepreneurial Businesses’ Program, London Business School; Alumnus of Executive programs at Harvard Business School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Sloan School of Management.
Founded online shopping website – Payporte Global Systems – one of Nigeria’s most preferred online shopping website. Payporte Systems which has some celebrities as ambassadors has grown tremendously within the past 4 years and 5 months since its inception. He was also the CTO at Romflex Network Limited – software and systems integration company – from 2009 – 2012, afterwards he became the CEO, a position he has been at since. Eyo, who until founding Payporte, was the Head, Infrastructure Engineering at SW Global Limited for two years during the mid-2000s.
19. Olalekan Olude (33): Co-Founder Jobberman/Founding Managing Partner, The African Talent Company
Degree: B.Sc. Computer Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University;
Alumnus of The Executive Management Program, Lagos Business School; Alumnus of Executive Management Program, The University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School.
Together with Opeyemi Awoyemi and Ayodeji and Adewunmi, Jobberman – immediately after the ASUU strike of 2009 – was founded. Aim was to link jobs’ applicants with recruiters. Olalekan who was a network engineer at TeleMoblie sp.zo.o, was also a technology analyst at Goldman Sachs for two and a half years. A non- executive director at WhoGoHost Limited, he is also founding managing partner at The African Talent Company – a subsidiary of One Media Africa.
20. Opeyemi Awoyemi, Co-Founder Jobberman, Founder Whogohost
Degree: Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
He also had executive education courses at Wharton Business School and University of California, Berkeley. Opeyemi is a co-founder and the Chief Information Officer at Jobberman. He is also the founder of ennovateNIGERIA and WhoGoHost. While Ayodeji has experience in strategy and sales and Olalekan in technology, Opeyemi has a strong background in technology with over 15 years experience in web programming. The three gentlemen combined to execute the Jobberman business plan. Jobberman was few years ago acquired by an international investor but Opeyemi and his partners remain on the board of the company.