In 2017, YNaija committed a big part of its time and resources towards carefully documenting the big stories happening in the country and on the continent and highlighting the efforts of young Nigerians and Africans challenging the tired narratives around the continent through personal achievement and social good. Sometimes these stories are forgotten, buried under the avalanche of a year’s worth of news reporting and spot analyses.
Our reporting has been diverse and extensive, and we have chosen to start our reporting in 2018 by returning to these stories, to remind ourselves and our readers just how much ground was covered in 2017 and reaffirm the level of quality and care we commit to telling our stories in 2018.
We hope they resonate with you now, as well as they did when they were first published.
For the sixth consecutive year, YNaija brings you its annual ranking of the most powerful young persons under the age of 40 who are getting things done in the field of big business. From serial entrepreneurs finally coming into their own, to dogged founders soldiering on passion these 10 young ones will surely own the future.
Adebola Ataiyero Adefila
If you have ever come across any of the Banrut Group’s line of tissue products, – and there are many of them,- then this 37-year-old mother of two is the woman who ensures you get your regular supply. With over fifteen years’ experience in business management, Adebola Ataiyero Adefila is the chief operating officer of Banrut Rolls, billed as the second largest manufacturers of tissue papers in Nigeria with products such as Vicki box tissue, Prince toilet roll, Ruth supreme luxury tissue, Nimmy economy toilet roll, Vicki kitchen roll.
The Stanel Group, founded by Stanley Ugochukwu is an energy company that specialises in marketing petroleum products. The company has expanded its functions to accommodate production and sales of automobile parts, vehicle consumables amongst others for domestic and industrial use. Uzochukwu recently delivered the Stanel oil ultra-modern luxury facility in Awka, a one stop shop that houses a filling station, chapel, food court, bakery and farm produce market.
Otunba Akin Alabi is the founder and chief executive of NairaBET, Nigeria’s first and biggest online sports betting portal, headquartered in Lagos. Licensed by the Lagos state lotteries board, Alabi, a former internet marketer has enjoyed first mover status in the world of online betting, stoking and benefitting from this market, and has seen his company which he founded in 2009, grow to over 100 outlets around the country, employing hundreds more.
You may not know the man but you know his company, or at least one of them. Bassey is the CEO of Rom-Flex group, an umbrella body for various business interests that include infrastructure, software development, engineering, oil and gas. Payporte Global Systems is one of such entries. Billed as Africa’s ‘’fastest rising e-commerce company,’’ Payporte connected with Nigerians massively while sponsoring Dstv’s ratings behemoth show, Big Brother Naija.
Years of watching how-to videos on the internet and reading loads of books on how automobiles work prepared Taiwo Abiri for a career in motor repairs. Some apprenticeship helped too. Today, the Economics graduate from the Obafemi Awolowo University runs Motomi repairs and counts as clients, Century Energy, Four Points by Sheraton Hotel and Falcon Gas among others. His business also employs and trains young persons who show interest in his line of business.
Nnamdi Stan Ekeh
Son of popular business man Leo Stan Ekeh, Nnamdi has plugged himself in the high-octane world of big business with Yudala, an online retail startup which he founded and manages as vice president. Starting with ICT products, Yudala has diversified into an online and offline retail outpost stocking a wide assortment of goods. Yudala boasts about 300 employees but Nnamdi has revealed his job won’t be done until a physical store births in all 774 local governments in Nigeria.
For three years, Awobukun was the most important man at Oando Downstream, where he raised the industry delivery standards in areas of operational efficiency, innovation, and professional service, growing the business to 15% of the private sector supply of refined products in Nigeria. A World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Awobukun presently runs ENYO Retail and Supply Limited, a customer-focused, technology-driven, fuels retailing company as CEO.
Ekponimo is an Abuja based software engineer who developed Chowberry app, a web based system that alerts retailers via scanned bar codes when packaged food is approaching its expiry date, enabling them to offer discounted items to low-income consumers or welfare agencies. A successful three-month pilot involving 20 retailers reached about 300 people in Lagos and Abuja, feeding 150 orphans and vulnerable children. Ekponimo was named a 2016 Rolex Awards for Enterprise Young Laureate.
Sometimes, necessity is the mother of entrepreneurship and this is true for Sola Ladoja, an engineer who moved back to Lagos but could not find where to get his daily fix of green juice. He decided to start making his own supply. This idea transformed into Simply Green Limited, a farm to bottle raw cold-pressed juice company with plenty of produce coming from its farms. Ladoja also manages Real Livestock Limited, a company that focuses on the commercial cultivation of grains and meat production.
A health economist and former lecturer, Okpaleke co-founded the Abuja fun lovers spot, Play Sports Bar and Grill with his brothers. Following aggressive growth and acceptance, the brothers followed through with Play Entertainment Network, parent company to various businesses (Play Network Nigeria, Play Apparel) and elite nightlife destinations in Lagos and Jos. Okpaleke is presently endorsed by premium energy drink company, Cintron, as a Brand Ambassador in Nigeria.