A young-world revolution is unfolding before our eyes, rupturing the idea that only experience can change the world. Increasingly, young people are participating actively in all aspects of human life, and changing the way we think, look and do what we do.
At YNaija, we know these stars from across Nigeria – the decision-makers, changemakers, and influencers breaking boundaries in Nigeria; and we’ve made it our duty annually, to celebrate them over the last nine years. In delivering this year’s edition, we have worked with an eminent jury to review and ensure it remains truly ‘powerful.’
In case you missed it: Fu’ad Lawal, Fisayo Soyombo, Wana Udobang…Here’s the #YNaijaPowerList2020 for Media
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun
‘Legendary’ and ‘consistent’ are some of the superlatives used to describe multi-platinum-selling musician Wizkid. Add ‘impactful,’ as his influence transcends the music scene. ‘The Wizkid effect’ has added more sauce to the Afropop conversation, globally, and there’s no sighted end to his influence off and on the music scene. When he tweets ‘Album up, August 24,’ the entertainment industry waits for it.
Wizkid became the first Afrobeat artist to appear in the 2018 Guinness World Records for being on the ‘One Dance’ song. His collaboration with Beyoncé on the ‘Brown Skin Girl’ song drove conversations in and out of Nigeria, and he has gone on to have other global-level collaborations.
Constantly out of Nigeria for one concert or the other, Wizkid sells out concert halls abroad and cause raised eyebrows on the international scene. This, no doubt, opens up opportunities for other artists in the industry, and you wonder how he does what he does effortlessly.
Call him the influencer too, with a fanbase so loyal, he is saintly in their eyes. ‘We just want to hear him sing,’ they might say. Subconsciously, they take him as a role model.
David Adedeji Adeleke
Davido’s now quiet dive into the political scene is no news and we won’t be surprised if he decides to declare his intention to run for a top office in 2023. But that’s not where he exactly has ‘power,’ and when he recently announced his vacation from social media, there was a ‘we will miss you’ national anthem released for him. Indeed, his numerous awards don’t quite do justice to the magnificent brand he has built for himself over the last 10 years.
As far as influence goes, Davido is the only person who can boast of going toe-to-toe with Wizkid. His vibe is contagious, his energy a palpable force his fans want to relate with. Back in January 2019, Davido sold out The O2 Arena in London, becoming the first solo African artist to do so. It takes more than a singer to do that. He has consistently shown personal will for impact while entertaining.
Sony Music celebrated ‘Africa Month’ with Davido as he announced ‘Fall’ is Gold in US and Canada, dropped an ‘Africa Month’ playlists with AppleMusic and is on the cover of this month’s @Billboard celebrating African artists.
His song ‘Fall’ was certified RIAA gold on May 29 and already heading for Platinum.
Teni came into limelight in 2018 and won Rookie of the Year in that same year. Since then, she has remained the entertainer she likes to be called and exerts a happy vibe that warms the heart and endears her to fans of all ages. 2019 is her best year yet, as she released hit songs that still bless the airwaves.
As the younger sister of Afrohouse sensation Niniola Apata, Teni has had to forge her own path, but she has not only managed this, she has excelled, becoming one of the few female artists to challenge gendered stereotypes for female musicians and genuinely crossover into global markets.
Teni’s personal philosophies are just as intriguing as her powerful music, she is an advocate for self-acceptance, radiates joy in her music and her interactions with others. She is only at the beginning of her career, but with a coveted Next Rated Headies Award and dozens of other accolades, the entertainer has the charisma and the fanbase to go all the way.
Josh Alfred Chibuike
If you never ‘added your voice’ to the #DontLeaveMe challenge either as an actor, a spectator or a cinematographer, you probably just came from Mars; you are welcome.
This now global challenge was made possible by the unique personality of Josh2funny who has been on the comedy scene for longer than you will realise. He came to the limelight in 2016 when he featured in the Nigerian action-comedy; The Interview. Since then, Josh2Funny has honed his comedic timing, creating challenges and characters that satirise Nigeria’s obsession with religion, our unhealthy relationship with demagogues and our penchant to proselytize at the expense of being understood.
It helps that Josh2funny is willing to go where ever the comedy needs him to go. His costume, the skits all come together in one connected web of poetry and the beautiful messages therein are passed with such finesse.
The Nigerian stand-up comedian – and actor – known for creating original skits with more than ten characters portrays a typical Igbo woman with a core traditional accent.
Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu Rex
The Grammy-nominated Burna Boy has as many friends as ‘not friends,’ but who does not like some controversy? ‘Normal is boring’, they say.
He is known to speak out when he sees supposed injustice and initiates conversations in the process. His influence, therefore, spreads beyond the music scene. When he speaks, we have conversations around culture, music, relationships, family, politics, etc.
In 2019, he won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards and was announced as an Apple Music Up Next artist. His fourth studio album African Giant was released in July 2019 and won Album of the Year at the 2019 at the All Africa Music Awards and was nominated for Best World Music Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.
In June 2020, for the second consecutive time, he won the BET Best International Act.
Interestingly, he is in a world of his own and is hardly compared to anyone else in the industry, yet has a fan base that wants to see him around for longer than he might want to be.
Asides being a great artist, Mr Eazi is doing a lot of great work creating music incubation hubs for emerging artists in Africa, and raising millions of funds to drive his various tech innovations.
Mr Eazi launched emPawa in 2018 with the goal of investing in promising artists early so they could develop self-sustaining careers. “He always told us the story of the $1,000 investment someone made in his career and how that made a huge difference,” E Kelly, a producer and close collaborator told Rolling Stone in 2019. “If he can give other artists a good kickstart, they can find their feet from then on.” The strategy seemed to work for singers like Joeboy and J. Derobie, who scored hits last year after connecting with emPawa. Initially, Mr. Eazi helped a pool of 100 artists in Africa with $3,000 grants. The money was meant to cover the cost of a music video.
The superstar and music executive has announced the formation of the Africa Music Fund (AMF), a financial vehicle which will invest in African talent. The fund is raising $20 million in its initial investment round, according to a press release announcing the fund. 88mph, a seed fund and accelerator which invests in mobile/web-based startups targeting Africa, has joined as lead investor.
In order of public recognition, only a few persons would put Nollywood, Nigeria’s growing film industry on par with its peers, Yollywood and Kannywood. But that is only because they underestimate the niche and loyal audiences Nigeria’s indigenous film industries serve. Nigeria is a country with many talents and powerful men and women changing the status quo. Adam Zango is one such people.
Known professionally as Usher or Gwaska, Adam’s musical career started from secondary school and he entered the Hausa film industry in 2001 as a music composer. He advantageously started his acting profession from there and appeared in over 100 Hausa movies – a fast-growing industry that now boasts presence on the international scene.
He has been described as one of the most influential Hausa actors of all time. Why not? Kannywood surely wants this one around for a long time.
Laolu Senbanjo’s life has changed quite a lot in a little amount of time. A decade ago, he worked as the Senior Legal Officer for Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission(NHRC). Now, he’s a New York City-based artist, whose “Afromysterics” style has appeared on everything from Nike shoes to television screens worldwide.
Laolu is a world music artist who draws influences from Fela Kuti, Sade (singer), Bob Marley, and King Sunny Adé. His musical style is deeply rooted in the traditions of Afrobeat and High Life, mixed with Afro-Soul and Reggae. Senbanjo blends singing in his native Yoruba language and often translates Yoruba folk songs, proverbs and his oriki into English.
Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola
Known popularly as DJ Cuppy, the daughter of Nigerian billionaire does more than music. In July 2018, she launched the Cuppy Foundation and in November 2019, the foundation organised the Gold Gala and raised over N5 billion for the Save the Children initiative.
She is a disc jockey, a producer and Ambassador for Save the Children UK – an organisation present in over 100 countries including the UK, that helps children stay safe, healthy and learning. They lead the way in tackling big problems like pneumonia, hunger and protecting children in war while ensuring each child’s unique needs are cared for.
DJ Cuppy is, indeed, an influential musician who has been giving back to the society through her foundation and philanthropic acts.
Kemi has become a voice more people want to listen to. She made more common, the cinema-standard film trend and continues to tell stories in amazing ways. She is a filmmaker, media entrepreneur and music video director.
If you remember ‘The Wedding Party I & II’, ‘King of Boys’, and some other award-winning films she directed, you will remember how the stories led conversations for weeks; and still continue to. When she announced a possible ‘King of Boys II’, social media gave it a yes.
She has numerous awards to her name – deservedly so – and is a voice to reckon with in Nigeria’s entertainment industry. Her charming and endearing personality attracts people to her. The multi-talented Kemi has been able to build a niche for herself. Watch out for this one.
Beverly Ifunaya Bassey
The British-born Nigerian actress is a multiple award-winning actress and a staunch advocate, inspiring young girls to stop bleaching their skin and embrace themselves – their skin colour.
She began acting at the age of 17 and studied film-making at Roehampton University, London. In 2011, she was named the “fastest rising actress” in the City People Entertainment Awards in Nigeria and has gone on to appear in countless award-winning films, including the popular TV series – Tinsel.
To explore colourism in Africa, Beverly produced a documentary on Netflix titled “Skin.” – an hour-long documentary, that compiles the stories of Black women in Nigeria who have been treated differently for having dark skin. They speak openly about the pressures of being defined by their skin colour.
Beverly said that in her early 20s, she began to work on regaining her self-confidence by learning to love herself and launching an anti-bullying campaign. “I want to inspire young people to love themselves. And I decide to use my documentary, ‘Skin,’ because I didn’t want to restrict my message to a small community. I knew it was important to get the message further,” she said, according to the BBC.
Hadiza Aliyu also known as Hadiza Gabon is a Nigerian professional Actress and filmmaker, she acts in both Hausa and English movies.
In 2016, Hadiza founded a charitable organisation called HAG Foundation, aimed at improving the lives of ordinary people by way of providing help in the educational and healthcare sectors as well as food security.
She became one of the first actresses in the history of Kannywood to have offered such a humanitarian help and in 2019, she was honoured by the Hausa Students Association of Nigeria (BUK) for her widespread philanthropy.
Rahama is a Nigerian actress, filmmaker, and singer. Born and raised in Kaduna, Rahama performed in dancing competitions as a child and during her school years. She rose to fame in late 2013 after joining the Kannywood movie industry with her first movie, Gani ga Wane.
By 2016, she was recognised as the ‘Face of Kannywood.’ In 2017, she formed a production company named Sadau Pictures where she produced her first movie, Rariya starring Ali Nuhu, Sani Musa Danja, among others. She returned to acting, playing the career teacher in MTV Shuga.
In 2019, Rahama was one of returning actors for the new series, ‘Choices’ which included Timini Egbuson, Yakubu Mohammed, Uzoamaka Aniunoh and Ruby Akabueze.
In addition to acting, Rahama participates in charity work and has visited an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp to help less privileged people. Through Ray of Hope, she aimed to feed 500 people in a Ramadan feeding program to reach less privileged people.
Ikorodu Bois probably influences culture more than we imagine. They consistently churn out imitation videos – attempting to copy Hollywood movies – and you realise people have a conversation on their creativity and the ideas that you could do the unimaginable without recourse to age.
The group began in 2017 when Babatunde Sanni decided to share their skills to the world via social media. In an interview with CNN, Sanni said, “I felt like ‘these things we are doing in our house — why don’t we start putting them online?’”. “Our house is like a comedy house — we play too much,” Babatunde Sanni told CNN.
The group make use of household items to depict top gears used in movies. They also use the local wheelbarrow to replicate luxury cars.
In April 2020, US actor and rapper, Will Smith shared a clip of the Ikorodu Bois ‘Bad Boys Forever’ on his Instagram page with the caption “This is GENIUS @ikorodu_bois!!”.
Ikorodu Bois have also done replica videos of DJ Cuppy, Davido, American Actor and WWE star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Roddy Rich, Justin Bieber, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and did a farewell replica of NBA Star, Kobe Bryant shortly after his death.
After 17 years in the movie industry, Toyin exerts a reputation for being a celebrity that’s not necessarily flamboyant. She has insisted that though her husband loves fashion, she is not inclined towards paying too much attention to it. She says she just wants to look good.
Beyond acting; Toyin continues to show concern for the plight of poor Nigerians, does outreaches as much as she can. During the lockdown, Toyin became a mother of some sort, and apart from distributing nose masks and sanitisers, she gave out food items and helped distribute same to cushion the effects of the pandemic.
Since she debuted in the industry in 2003, Toyin has not looked back in her bid to rule the screen. She’s one actress who is good at what she is doing. The actress made headlines in 2018 when her second cinema movie ‘Ghost and The Tout’ a collaboration between her outfit and Samuel Olatunji’s Big Sam Media reportedly shattered existing box office records.
What if we counted other films she has produced?
In case you missed it: Davido, Ikorodu Bois, Josh2funny make #YNaijaPowerList2020 for Entertainment
Sipasi Olalekan Ayodele
Nigeria appears not to be having enough conversations on climate change, unfortunately. But with young Nigerians like Sipasi, we are on a desired path.
Sipasi is a plant scientist and the founder of ProtectOzone, an organisation committed to training impoverished children, youth, women, and farmers in climate-smart and sustainable agricultural practices to improve their livelihoods. It mobilises citizens to combat climate change through distribution of tree-seeds and training people on sustainable agricultural practices.
He is a dynamic young adult that combined community development work with academics and, is a dogged entrepreneur driven with passion and enthusiasm in community development through sustainable agricultural processes, innovations and appropriate technology. He sees opportunities in turning waste/marginalised agricultural and industrial by-products into economic viable tool to fight hunger, alleviate poverty and increase the socio-economic standard of the communities.
Otto has worked with over 7,000 volunteers across 31 countries to provide educational scholarships and series of support to over 32,000 children from 18 communities across Nigeria, built various early childhood development centres, e-library, health centre and computer development centres serving thousands of children.
Slum2School is giving children in slums free data subscription, mobile tablets and other tools to help them take online classes so that students in rural areas can learn amidst the pandemic.
Over the past 8 years directing the affairs of Slum2School Africa, Otto has worked with over 10,100 volunteers across 35 countries to provide educational scholarships and dozens of development support to over 87,000 children from 42 communities across Nigeria.
His social organisation has built various early childhood development centres, adopted public schools, built e-libraries, health centres, technology and Innovation labs which are serving thousands of children.
Isaac Success Omoyele
Multiple award-winning social activist and child advocate, Isaac Success Omoyele is the founder of Dreams From The Slum Empowerment Initiative – committed to making the dreams of vulnerable persons a reality through access to quality education, empowerment and mentoring.
He has helped hundreds of children living in slums back to school and build healthy self-esteem to realise their dreams and aspirations. The Dreams From The Slum Initiative uses formal, informal and apprenticeship education as a tool for transformation, promoting literacy among the economically disadvantaged.
The Nigerian women’s rights activist is founder of the Stand to End Rape (STER) Initiative.
Ayodeji founded STER in 2013, as a victim seeking to improve awareness on violence against women and provide support to victims of sexual assault. The organisation also seeks to educate healthcare workers about signs of sexual assault. As of 2019, it was estimated by Time that the organisation had reached around 200,000 Nigerians.
In 2019, she was the second Nigerian women to be on the Time 100 Next list, and was the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year for that same year.
STER continues to stand against sexual abuse and the social media space is filled with stories of the social organisation either making intentional efforts to stop a culture of rape, and encouraging victims to always speak out.
Kelechukwu Nwachukwu Lucky
Kelechukwu has strong skills in managing a broad range of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Labour & Migration, Arts, Governance including LGBTI related programming in Africa.
Having put strength and passion towards fighting female genital mutilation (FGM) since 2014, his impact has been felt in over 1,200 communities across six states in Nigeria. Through his work as founder/programme manager at Youth Network Against Female Genital Mutilation (YNAFGM), over 500 communities in Nigeria have public declared their abandonment of FGM.
YNAFGM also secured funding from Amplify Change to fight FGM as well as advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescent girls.
In January 2019, he founded the Youth Network for Community and Sustainable Development, a movement catalysing social change by engaging young people and amplifying their voices to speak for human rights, through targeted advocacy to key players, capacity building and development, communications and media engagements, partnerships and program implementation.
For his work, Kelechukwu was nominated in 200? for The Future Awards Africa prize for Community Action.
Olaseni Cole in January 2017, founded Young Empowered Programmers (YEP); a tech-education firm that trains kids and teens between the ages of 5 and 16 on Computer Programming. The social organisation works with various schools on a daily basis and also have a Saturday Coding Club at its learning centres on weekends.
The platform also holds after-school coding classes, as well as summer coding camps, all towards achieving its aim of raising an army of innovators, inventors, builders and problem-solvers in and from Africa.
“The concept behind YEP! is to energise, encourage and empower students, in their current state with the power to code. The power-to-create is strong within every young person and our mandate at YEP! is to teach our kids and teens to begin creating through code.”
Olaseni is the Winner of The Future Awards Prize for Education, 2019.
Nigerian lawyer, LGBT rights activist, writer and editor, Richard Akuson is the founder of A Nasty Boy magazine, Nigeria’s first LGBTQ+ publication, a two-time Abryanz Style & Fashion Award Best Fashion Writer nominee.
In 2019, Richard was named one of Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 change-makers for challenging rigid notions of masculinity, gender, and sexuality in Nigeria where same-sex acts can be punished with 14 years in prison.
He authored a tell-all essay for CNN in April 2019, detailing the circumstances that led him to flee Nigeria for safety in America and in July 2019, he wrote another essay for The New York Times‘ “Sunday Review.” The essay, “This is Quite Gay,” was prominently published in the Times’ web front page and appeared on a similarly prominent position in print, the next day.
This year, Richard started a campaign demanding ‘looters’ of Africa’s treasured artifacts are returned, and that the British own up to taking responsibility for lives that were taken when the arts were taken.
Priscilla is a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Advocate. She is community driven and promotes young people’s health as well as development and has worked with various local NGOs to conceptualise and implement community-based projects that challenge stereotypes and forge sustainable partnerships.
Her passion lies in working with grassroot women and ensuring that women and young people especially those at rural communities have access to quality, youth and women friendly primary health care services. Her work focuses on the needs of young people living in socio-economic settings in Edo, Nigeria.
Priscilla display high commitment in addressing the root causes and structural issues that lead to women’s rights abuses at every level. She strongly believes that the economic empowerment of women is integral to the sustainable development of any society.
Her advocacy issues include Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Community System Strengthening, Gender Equality, Integration of Youth Friendly Services into Primary Health Care, Sexual Abuse Interventions, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, Youth Participation in Leadership and Good Governance.
Simi is Founder, ESFAJ & Partners. Member of the Board, Silver Lining for the Needy Initiative, an Abuja-based NGO focusing on orphans/vulnerable children and providing free HIV/VCT testing in rural areas.
The founder of Read2Succeed (R2S) Africa, a non-profit organisation committed to improving the state of public school education in Nigeria, is also a distinguished visionary offering a diverse career in driving significant and profitable growth via high volume projects in the management-consulting sector. She stands at the forefront of policy advocacy having spent the last decade supporting various arms of government and MDA’s in Nigeria.
Sitting on several boards of profit and non-profit organisations, Simi is committed to building smart communities and has spoken at several international and local events such as the World Economic Forum at Davos and Africa, Africa Union, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), British Council and Architecture and Design Conferences.
She runs simifaj.com to change the game in politics and has a major interest in improving the image of the Africa by highlighting its potential and telling its success stories.
Moe Odele is a startup lawyer, academic, investor, and creator of digital products. She is a writer and personal development nerd, who often gives practical tips that help people improve on their everyday life on social media. She is unapologetic about gender-equality.
She is also an international finance and technology attorney experienced in Technology, Business and human rights, innovative financing, Impact Investing, Gender & inclusive finance, ESG Advisory (Due diligence & Intergration), Startup advisory, and Social entrepreneurship.
Over the years, she has worked with technology companies, funds, family offices and foundations dedicated to solving some of the most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges in the world today.
You will sometimes find her talking about how revolutionary technology like AI, Blockchain and VR can be leveraged for real social impact.
Hon. Munira Suleiman Tanimu
Fondly called ‘The Northern Sweetheart,’ Munira is an entrepreneur, a politician and philanthropist who has braced the odds against the limitations of cultural tenets to break-even in her business and political career.
She owns different businesses, and had started business at the age of eighteen. Hon. Munira is the CEO of Green Garden Farm, a poultry farm in Kano which currently houses well over five thousand chickens and also runs a transport service, ‘MSTS ventures’ with several inter-state buses, and cabs operating in Abuja.
She runs a social enterprise – Green Heart Impact Foundation – which focuses on rehabilitating out-of-school girls. The foundation currently has over one hundred representatives across the country who help it locate such vulnerable girls in the states they represent.
So far, Green Heart Impact Foundation has helped well over fifty girls in five different states in Northern Nigeria and is still doing more, including the empowerment of their mothers.
Hannatu Fibemi Makka
Hannatu is a ‘voice from North East Nigeria’, a Lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, Taraba, a humanitarian and a Fellow with EAI and KGIS respectively.
She is the Founder of Project 1k – an initiative that has helped teach young underprivileged girls financial literacy, independence and has empowered them to get an education through the initiative.
Abubakar Sadiq Falalu
Abubakar is the founder of Falgates, a company that farms and mills rice.
Falgates’ rice milling facility has a capacity of 15 tons per day with a total annual capacity to produce more than 5,000 metric tonnes and a variety of rice products. The company employs over 30 people in Kaduna and over 150 people at their anchored farms in Niger and Kebbi.
Falalu saw an opportunity to make money when he realised Nigeria consumes about seven million metric tonnes of rice and only produces 2.7 million metric tonnes, forcing the country to spend more than $2 billion in imports. “I always had an interest in farming, I remember writing in our high school’s yearbook under feature ambition that I wanted to be a farmer,” he says.
The passionate farmer who has always been a lover of farming, is very hardworking and vibrant in his bid to continue investing in Nigerian youths and the economy. Falalu has been recognised as one of Africa’s most promising young business people in Forbes’ Under-30 List among numerous awards.
Iyin was instrumental in founding Flutterwave and Andela, as well as seeing to the phenomenal growth of both.
And while he understands that the subject of funding is nearly always top of mind in Nigerian startup and venture spaces, he focuses his time on venture capitals across Africa and the growth of the tech ecosystem.
Iyin launched the Future Africa Collective, as he looks to democratise the opportunity of investing in African tech startups for younger interested investors. The model will see the collective search for startup investment opportunities and offer investors, who join, a chance to invest.
He is the founder of The Fund for Africa’s Future (also known as Future Africa) – a people powered innovation fund that provides capital, coaching and community to mission driven innovators turning Africa’s biggest challenges into business opportunities.
He is passionate about partnering with missionary talent and capital to build an African future. He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree and a member of Nigeria’s Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council.
Timothy is a creative, vibrant, innovator and serial entrepreneur with keen business strategies.
The CEO of Optiweb – an innovative Digital and Mobile solutions company that specializes in bringing valued innovation to consumers and businesses in African regions, is best described as a result-oriented innovator and phenomenal business leader. He is also the Executive Director, Opticomm Media, Executive Chairman, Tim Homes Nigeria Ltd., Executive Director, Tim Farms Nigeria Ltd. And Chairman, Vantage Crown Trust Company.
He is passionate about youth development in mental health, technology/STEM and entrepreneurship at large. He gives his support to youth across Africa through the Tim Adeleye Foundation for Africa (TAF).
Tim is passionate about youth development in mental health, technology/STEM and entrepreneurship at large. He gives his support to youth across Africa through the Tim Adeleye Foundation for Africa (TAF).
He is, indeed, one of the African Agents of change.
Sandra Uleyi Itu
Sandra is a certified fashion stylist from the University of Arts, London College of Fashion and School of Style, Los Angeles, California.
She is the founder and CEO of Leyi Ush, a fashion brand that offers opportunities to emerging and established African fashion brands.
With an influential clientele base spanning over the years, Sandra has provided unique styling services both home and away to media houses, public figures, celebrities and the average working-class man and woman.
In 2019, Sandra was nominated as a mentor for the Youth Empowered Nigeria Workshop, by the Nigerian Bottling Company, in which her team emerged as winner of the business plan investor pitch.
In 2020, Avance Media named her one of the 100 Most Influential Young People of 2019.
Sandra is passionate about African Fashion, because it resonates more with the African persona; our struggles, wins and innovative minds.
Ogechukwu Alexis Obah
Ogechukwu kicked off her business in 2014 and in 5 years emerged the winner of the Next Titan, an entrepreneurial reality show with over 50,000 applicants
She was listed on Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list in the Business Category in July 2019, and won the 2019 Nigerian Entrepreneurs Award for Most Enterprising Personality of the Year.
Her Skincare and cosmetics brand, Bodylikemilk has grown, phenomenally, and is one of the few Nigerian-owned beauty companies, with foot prints in more than four West African countries.
She skin-care entrepreneur has an academic background in Business and Marketing, in case you are wondering how she has become one of the prominent faces of African entrepreneurship.
We all pass through that defining moment, when we make big decisions that affect our near and far future. Helen decided at an early age to redefine luxury in Africa and understood that playing with dolls and playing dress-up meant something very different to her.
So, playtime became an expression of style and creativity where she would channel her talents through ideas generating fabrics and trims. It never occurred to her that she would want to do anything else but be a fashion designer.
Helen is an inspiration to all young and aspiring entrepreneurs. She started her fashion career at 18, and since then, with Helen Couture, she has grown in leaps and bounds.
Helen Couture is known for her uniquely tailored, sophisticated, exquisite and timeless fashion pieces, with outlets in Dubai, Los Angeles, London, and Lagos.
She was listed on the Creative list of the 2019 Forbes Africa 30 under 30, and continues to take the world by storm.
Chioma, the serial entrepreneur is CEO, Good Hair Limited, an international premium hair extension brand with a client base that’s spread all over the globe, including countries like the US, Russia, Sweden, Jamaica and the Middle East. She is also head honcho at Brass & Copper Lifestyle and Next by Good Hair.
Chioma, who is famous for assisting female-owned start-ups with seed capital in collaboration with The Women International on the platform of her monthly ‘Fund My Start-up’ initiative, has clinched numerous recognitions for her work and passion.
On why she supports women to also be great entrepreneurs, she says, in an interview with Vanguard, “I’ve always encouraged female enterprise and most of my mentees are female. So, I’m much more familiar with their struggles. I also believe that women have it a lot harder when it comes to raising capital due to the usual stereotypes and expectations of women. Some men also try to exploit their situation. Thus, we felt the urge to take on women first at least.”
Kola is an entrepreneur, technology operator and investor with vast experience working in Africa’s largest economic market.
His prior entrepreneurial experience spans several sectors including venture capital, technology, media, agriculture, infrastructure, publishing and real estate.
Kola has lead investment in about 28 companies including Payments company; Paystack, Connectivity company; Tizeti, Healthcare company; MDaaS and the Agric-tech company; Thrive Agric.
He is a founder partner of early stage African VC firm, Ventures Platform – a leading early stage African VC fund that provides founder friendly capital and support to early stage companies in a framework that is buoyed by corporate governance and hands-on support.
Kola is a leader in the African startup and investing ecosystem, a Ted speakes, volunteers his time advising founders and speaking at events.
Evans is a Product Manager with hands-on experience collaborating with agile teams to deliver digital web platforms and products across multiple industries.
Over the past 8 years, he has been working across functions in product design and management, UI/UX design, visual design, design thinking, market research, wireframing, prototyping, user research, brand storytelling, business development, marketing, analytics and growth as part of innovation teams.
He has been listed by Forbes 30 under 30 and has won The Future Awards Africa prize for Creative Professionals.
In 2018, he founded another tech platform, Farmkart, which enables people to bank in agriculture by investing in fish farming. In the same year, he also launched Acts of Random Kindness, Cregital’s CSR initiative to give back to the community.
Evans has continually shown an entrepreneurial spirit, notwithstanding the adverse conditions. He continues to inspire.
Ogwa’s foray into the fashion designing and manufacturing has gone over the 15 years mark. Talk about the Fashion-Socialpreneur, Author, Content Creator, and Coach whose vision has always put Nigeria on the map as the hub where fashion meets innovation.
In her quest to achieve her goal, she founded Runway Abuja, a fashion show that infuses culture, with fashion, and music. This unique concept has had several successful and consecutive runs promoting the unison of fashion designers across Abuja on one platform.
Using herself as a catalyst for the promotion of Fashion, she has created a web series called ‘Fashion in the City’ where Ogwa captures different looks inspired by various sceneries in Abuja, Dubai, Abidjan amongst others
As the Creative Director of Dzyn Couture, Ogwa leads a team of talented designers to create an array of versatile pieces that appeal to the style of every woman. From ready to wear pieces to bespoke designs, Dzyn prides itself on its versatility, comfortability and most importantly affordability. Frequently participating in Lagos and Arise Fashion Week, Dzyn Couture has seen tremendous growth across Nigeria and notably recognised for their unique prints and statement pieces.
As a Socialpreneur, Ogwa is an advocate for supporting “Made in Nigeria” brands and has created platform to educate aspiring designer through her Fashion business strategy class called Fashion for Profit. The initiative was birthed to change the misconceptions about the fashion industry, and encouraging those with a passion and aspiration to be a fashion brand to change their dreams and make it a reality.
Olawale Rotimi Opeyemi
Olawale is an agripreneur, recognised young leader in Africa’s agriculture sector.
He is the founder and CEO of JR Farms Limited (registered in Nigeria and Rwanda) – an agribusiness in Africa determined to transform Agriculture in Africa by undertaking opportunities for growth and business that will engender sustainable food production and increased incomes for farmers in Africa.
JR Farms has agribusiness operations in Nigeria (Cassava value chain), Rwanda (Coffee value chain), and Ivory Coast (Cocoa Value Chain) respectively.
Olawale champions Agric initiatives with social impact such as Inmates Farming Scheme – for Nigerian prisoners; low interest farmers’ cooperatives supporting 93 farmers in Nigeria and over 500 cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast.
Olawale’s initiatives continue to create jobs for young Nigerians and help in the diversification agenda.
Maryam Ali Adamu
Maryam established Aljism Skincare Products to address her own skin problems. Now, Aljism Skincare is a 100-percent organic skincare products company that targets major skin issues.
“I used to have skin problems like acne, spots, discolouration and sunburn. I decided to study skincare after my masters in Law in England in order to find a solution to my own skin problems. Shortly after my two and a half years programme, I was able to start my own skincare line, using everything I learnt and it has been success story so far,” she stated.
The wife of Yusuf Gidado Idris, son of the former Secretary to Government of the Federation during the General Sani Abacha regime set aside her Law degree to pursue two main objectives – making women attractive and empowering them to change the narrative about Northern Nigerian women.
She is one of the few ladies from northern Nigeria who have gone deep in the skincare products business. An inspiration and role model to many young upcoming Entrepreneurs in and outside Nigeria, she has also helped a lot of people restore their confidence through her organic skincare products and guided others to become successful entrepreneurs.
Maryam says she is in the business to also break gender stereotypes.
Oluyomi is the man making printing a seamless process for SMEs, corporations and the general public, through Printivo – disrupting the Nigerian printing industry by putting the power to design in the hands of everyone, offering businesses and individuals efficient printing expertise with a wide range of designs.
He started off his career as an intern at Richbrands Ltd as an art director before proceeding to set up Urbanbaze Designs.
The Art Director has worked on brand communication strategy with the likes of Honda, Etisalat, Pfizer Africa and in 2019, Printivo was awarded by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) as one of the Top 100 African companies to inspire Africa.
Printivo launched a new line of ecological packaging and promotional products targeted at micro-businesses, SMEs, and large corporations in a bid to be ecologically friendly and create a sustainable branding service line.
Gossy is the Founder of the Beni American University, BAU, R&D and President of EduTech an education technology company focused on helping African universities take their on-campus degree programs online through the implementation of the very best of technology.
He is also the Chairman of Alistair Maine Group. AMG delivers top quality lifestyle, hospitality and leisure experiences centered on the shorelines of the Atlantic Ocean, Creeks and Lagoons in Nigeria and currently serves as the Managing Director of BetKing.
Gossy has worked with African governments on the development of policies to assist in creating better access, quality and relevance of learning in higher education institutions.
Dr Ola Orekunrin
Dr Ola Brown is a medical doctor, helicopter pilot and the healthcare entrepreneur founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria; the first air operated Emergency medical services in Lagos, Nigeria.
Flying Doctors have 20 aircraft and 44 doctors, and offer their services at major events in Nigeria, as well as offer insurance to wealthy companies and families in the country. Dedicated to bringing trauma care to the most remote parts of Western Africa and her company, the air ambulance service based in Lagos, is doing just that.
She was motivated to start the company after her younger sister tragically died in the absence of no medical air service available to transport her to hospital. The Doctor believes that improvements in her country’s position in the world will result from the action of entrepreneurs and not the government.
Brenda is the Founder of Momentswithbren, an organisation that provides a suite of helpful academic opportunities, career development tools and free resources for individuals to connect with their communities, support a culture of innovation, and promote a vision for self-determined learning that is learner-centered, forward-thinking, and designed to meet the vast needs of today’s learners.
As a mark for true leadership, Brenda purposefully creates opportunities for the growth of those around her, both personally and professionally. She has worked with students around the world throughout their career pathways and college admission with a record of $8.2 million fully-funded scholarships, graduate funding and tuition fee waivers, and also securing over 600 jobs.
As a Grant Writer, Brenda has worked with organisations to help them access funding of $1.2 million. Brenda’s interests are in Educational Equity, Information Literacy, Decent work Opportunities, Laser Coaching and Behavioral Psychology.
Fatima Fouad Hashim
Where do we start in the conversation about harmful conservatism in Northern Nigeria? Do we begin from how women are intentionally sidelined, and not given all the opportunities as the male child?
This conversation is what has led Fatima to start Open Diaries – ‘a platform where people openly and anonymously share their deepest secrets, true life stories and receive suggestions, counsels and support from public, and get pieces of advice from the members of the community some of whom are professionals in the field of counselling, some are doctors, scholars, therapists some are lawyers.’
‘Until recently, this has strictly been what OD does that, and publication of pieces of articles which seek to motivate and inspire. Today, OD has gone beyond just that. It is now a charity body that provides alms to the needy.’
No doubt, there has been significant progress in the education of girls in northern Nigeria. However, there are many women who do not have the freedom to do things like learn a trade or get start-up capital. Young people like Fatima Fuad Hashim are ready to do their part to ease the situation.
Jamila is a nutritionist, culinary expert, and the producer and host of the TV series, Mila’s Diaries – a show she started Mila’s Diaries to be of service to the economically disadvantaged and address issues affecting northern Nigeria such as divorce, child abandonment, early marriage, education etc.
She also uses this medium to showcase success stories of the people within the region.
Kelechi is a multi-talented and versatile Medical Doctor with an impeccable track record in civic and entrepreneurial activities. She is a Sustainable Development Goals advocate, with a focus on SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing and SDG 4: Quality Education and SDG 5: Gender equality.
She is the convener of Pay Attention to Her (PATH) project which focuses on Reproductive Health outreaches for adult women; menstrual hygiene management and sexual health outreaches for adolescent girls and females in their early adulthood and Sexual Health outreaches for adolescent boys and males in their early adulthood (Pay Attention to Him). PATH is a project of Heal for Africa initiative, (HFAI) a Non-Governmental Organisation.
Through her “Healthertainer” brand, she has recorded massive successes in effective health communications and generated active participation with her over 200,000 followers online, reaching millions across platforms, thereby increasing health literacy and influencing healthier decisions.
She is a Global Goodwill Ambassador for Health and Social Development for Nigeria and a member of the African Coalition for Menstrual Hygiene Management and the International Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. Outside the hospital and civic space, she also does public speaking, compering corporate events and volunteering for worthy causes.
Armed with his trademark tea cup and relatable personality, Temisan, known as Taymesan, is gradually becoming a household name, and is already on the list of ‘fashion mentors’ in Nigeria.
Temisan is a talent of many colours – Model, Comedian, MC, Actor – and has proven to be the fashionable gentleman you want to have around.
The bubbly model and opinionated young model started his professional journey at a young age and has already caught the attention and worked with big brands.
You should watch out for this one, as his numbers on Instagram continue to grow; already passed the 70,000 mark.
Kayode is a renowned data-driven new media consultant, Head of Operations at a digital marketing consulting firm focused on using the power of digital transformation to help businesses generate leads, increase sales and improve working efficiencies.
His services have been sought by GOKADA, SellApp.me, Dale Carnegie Nigeria, Upbeat Centre, Jiji.ng where he has led Digital transformative teams. Presently the Vice President at StackFx – a Fintech firm, specialising in currency exchange and international payments and settlement, he is a firm proponent of Digital transformation being used to drive profitability and growth within the FI sector.
Kayode is an agent of change who uses a platform that has grown to thousands on LinkedIn to inspire as he scales up.
Anita Natacha Akide
You are probably Tacha-trend-weary on social media; especially Twitter. She is one of the few Big Brother Naija housemates who still passes through our airwaves – and social media – every other day.
As far as loyalty goes, the ‘Tacha Empire’ is one connected group of individuals who would never see evil in the eyes of their mentor.
The controversy during and after her exit from the Big Brother House in 2019 became a story her fans reframed into an inspiration. All they see is a strong young woman ready to push through boundaries to reach her goal. “There is no stopping her,” they insist.
According to her, she wonders why some people want her out the way, insisting that God is the one who has given her the stardom and fame and anyone working to destroy it, will not succeed.
The Tacha trends tells us simply that she will continue to inspire and gather followership for a very long time.
Nonso Bobby Egemba
The Aproko Doctor ‘disturbs’ what we have taken to be normal. From eating habits, to healthy lifestyles, the medical doctor re-aligns Twittersphere with norms users will ordinarily not question.
He is ‘not your regular doctor’ and you sometimes wonder if he is actually working as a medical doctor, outside Twitter. Talk about an influencer who is always ready to serve out one health-related information or the other; in the process engaging users in sub-topics and having conversation on national issues.
Nonso’s influence continues to grow and a lot of users have credited their renewed lifestyle to him.
The popular Dr. Zobo is a medical professional committed to using social media, health blogging and community health education as tools to bridge the health gap in Africa.
Chioma founded an NGO, SMILE With Me Foundation ‘to inspire a healthier Africa through public health education and health aids and intervention programmes.’
She is a public health professional, a writer, public speaker and digital media strategist, with an impressive record of impactful and community interventionist outreaches.
Temi inspires a generation of young powerful professionals who want to continue changing the world. In February this year, she was listed on YNaija’s 50 Shapers of the New Decade, has been listed as one of the Top 50 Personalities on LinkedIn in Nigeria by The Ruby Hub.
She is a lawyer, journalist and compere for high-profile events, who has over six years’ experience as a journalist and has been involved in radio presenting, as well as TV and radio production.
One of her strengths is the ability to cause engagement in any space she finds herself – on and off stage. And, her growing audience on LinkedIn will testify to this.
Kemen once said he didn’t begin fitness training to make money, but as a means to deal with depression and ill health. “From where I come, fitness isn’t something a young man would do for a living. I didn’t know it could put food on my table. I just did it to improve my health because I needed something positive that could keep me from thinking too much. Fitness helps you push a lot of things away, so I’m too strong now for any form of depression.”
A ship manager turned fitness entrepreneur, Kemen is now a sought-after personal trainer. The celebrity trainer and fitness experts’ exit from the Big Brother House probably redefined his goals and he has gone on to become a fitness trainer and influencer.
He trusts in converting hurt into motivation and uses his life to inspire self-care through sustainable agriculture and self-care. Indeed, his growing followership will agree that their fitness styles have changed from following his footsteps.
The fitness industry needs more active participation and Kemen is a number on the list you don’t want to ignore.
Kunle is an actor, or entertainer, when you consider how he has delved into the mimicking business – a growing brand drawing people to his social media pages every other day.
The lockdown presented opportunities and Kunle grabbed it with both hands. He is a go-to page for laughs, that also have socio-political undertones.
Kunle made his debut in the film industry in 2011, shortly after winning Season 7 of the Gulder Ultimate Search. He has starred in several film and television shows as well as stage plays, including Family Forever, Tinsel, The Getaway and Lagos Cougars Reloaded, as well as the Africa Magic telenovela, Forbidden. He made his cinema debut in 2015 with the movie, Falling.
Prior to acting, Kunle was a highly sought-after print, runway and television model, having featured in campaigns for a number of brands.
When Kunle does not mimic a trending video, people ask and you already know they see the power this ‘side hustle’ has on the social media space.
The money influencer of note. Probably, the most popular in Nigeria.
Tosin is a chartered accountant with 10 years of experience in accounting, corporate finance, auditing, and taxation. She has worked with several multinationals – Bloomberg TV, CNBC Africa, BAT.
She is the founder of Money Africa – a company that helps people connect with thousands of Money Africa users steadily building their financial literacy bricks to becoming financially free. On themoneyafrica.com, the public can join thousands of Money Africa users today to explore this expertly curated courses, where they get to learn from some of the best minds in the finance space using simplified analogies.
The Money Africa portal also connects people to their professionals answer all financial-related questions. Interestingly, Tosin had money issues before she decided to take charge of her finances; and is taking a lot of people with her.
Africa’s health system has deep limitations, and the mortality rate continues to increase because of this. Every year in African hospitals, people die because health workers could not ﬁnd the essential medical products needed on time and in the right condition. For entrepreneur Temie, the statistics needed to change.
Temie is a medical pioneer saving lives through LifeBank – a business organisation set up to tackle the problem of blood shortage in Nigeria whose founding was inspired by the birth of her first child and the complications from that experience.
In the last years of operation, Lifebank has grown significantly, moving over 19,000 units of products to 2 cities in Nigeria, grown its revenue by an average of 3x year on year, and has developed a proof of concept using UAVs (drones) to deliver critical medical products in Ethiopia.
The company has also launched SmartBag, a blockchain-powered product that helps patients and health providers discover the immutable safety record of blood and blood components, and is in the process of conducting a clinical trial in partnership with Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) as well as Johnson and Johnson. Lifebank’s impact has also grown significantly as well, with over 6,500 lives saved.
On November 16, 2019, Temie was named the winner of Jack Ma’s Africa Netpreneur Prize worth $250,000, which held in Accra, Ghana. The Prize got applications from more than 10,000 startups from 50 of Africa’s 54 countries.
‘Every day I wake up, I look for a better way to use technology to improve the lives of Nigerians in Agriculture, Transportation and Real Estate.’ Onyeka is a technology entrepreneur with focus on the agriculture, real estate, and transportation sectors. He is the Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy Limited.
Farmcrowdy has grown exponentially and has worked with over 25,000 rural farmers across 16 states in Nigeria including Kano, Niger, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Edo, Akwa-Ibom, Lagos, Plateau, Kaduna, Adamawa, Niger, Kwara, Abuja, Sokoto, and Benue.
Farmcrowdy is described by the Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo as the company creating the new wealth in Agriculture and was later honoured with the National Productivity Order of Merit by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In August 2019, the Oyo government announced a partnership with Farmcrowdy to onboard 50,000 rural farmers in the state.
He has been named on the 2020 list of 50 African Innovators to Watch by Global Shakers, Top 10 Nigerian CEOs Under 40 Years; Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 at the GAGE Awards; The 100 Most Outstanding Individuals in Africa – The Africa Report; 26th Most Influential Young Person in Nigeria, among other awards/honours.
Odunayo is one of Business Day‘s Spark 2019 Women to Watch.
She is the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of PiggyVest – a company that securely makes saving possible by combining discipline plus flexibility to make you grow your savings to reach your savings target.
Odunayo is not new to the tech business, especially when you remember Sharphire Global LTD, a parent company for PushCV and FrontDesk.
Her work with PiggyVest has not evaded the tech community, and indeed, the millions of users the savings platform has gathered in just a few years.
Eyitayo saw a problem and is proffering solutions. The CEO of Utiva leads the largest virtual tech school in Africa with presence in North America, and currently with students from more than 15 cities with virtually-led data, product, design, AI, programming, cybersecurity and marketing schools.
He uses disruptive technology to drive scale and impact, and has worked and lived in 6 countries, taken leadership roles in project management, change leadership, strategy deployment, and business development.
The Techpreneur is a 2020 Halcyon Incubator Fellow, 2019 Global Good Funds Fellow (United States) 2019 Unleash Talent (Shenzhen, China).
Obi, the co-founder/CEO of Kobo360, was recently named the ‘Young Business Leader of the Year’ and ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the ninth All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) held in partnership with CNBC Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kobo360 is a technology company that aggregates end-to-end haulage operations to help cargo owners, truck owners, drivers, and cargo recipients to achieve.
In 2019, Kobo360 raised $30 million backed by Goldman Sachs to upgrade its platform and expand to 10 new countries beyond current operating markets of Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya.
The company currently prides itself as a viable logistics company, powered by the great personality and leadership skills of Obi.
She is the co-founder and VP Engineering at BuyCoins – a service that enables users trade cryptocurrency instantly with no wait time.
Ire is passionate about all aspects of technology and has written over 100 articles on these topics on her blog, bitsofco.de. The TechCabal author also regularly shares her knowledge through speaking at conferences around Africa and the world.
The founder of EdTech platform, Tuteria, is among the two Nigerian innovators shortlisted for the 2020 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, run by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering, which recognizes ambitious African innovators who are developing scalable engineering solutions to local challenges. The 16-strong shortlist was announced today in Cape Town, South Africa.
Tuteria is an online marketplace connecting users with tutors in various subjects. The platform connects people seeking to learn anything with tutors in their local area, while also ensuring safety, accountability and quality service delivery. Lessons can be booked in academic subjects as well as more vocational areas, while there are also tutors offering lessons in skills such as programming and web design.
Tuteria processes payments for lessons, monitors lesson delivery and evaluates performance, with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Godwin Benson telling Disrupt Africa the team had been gradually refining the product for over two years based on feedback from both clients and tutors.
‘Approximately 12.5 million children in Nigeria need private tutors to help with challenging school subjects, and another 29+ million adults and youths need tutors to learn a skill, prepare for an exam or better understand a concept every year.’ Godwin built Tuteria to help them achieve their learning goals.
Boye has a selfless interest in education and how actual reforms can take place. He has spent years taking intentional steps towards actualising his vision.
His interests were refined in his early years when he would attempt to recreate alternate realities from novels he read and wrote, and subconsciously grew into an individual ready to take the world by the hand through science and technology. He is the co-founder/CEO of Gradely, where he puts into practice all those years of observing how individuality can be a strong determinant in educational outcomes.
Gradely prides itself as a tailored learning platform using artificial intelligence technology to create learning modules and quizzes specific to each learner. The platform also curates practice questions and produces video lessons for continental and international certificate examinations.
Farida is a software engineer, technical product manager and technology entrepreneur with extensive experience in software development, information systems, big data analytics, and ICT for development.
As CEO at OTRAC, she leads a team of engineers, designers, data scientists and UX researchers to deliver custom enterprise solutions for the government, its agencies, as well as development partners. She also trains and mentor young girls on software development and career paths in IT.
Farida is passionate about the conscious use of technology as a tool to improve socio-economic development indices in developing countries like Nigeria, particularly in healthcare and governance which will in turn translate into improved service delivery and transparency in delivering those services.
Angel Adelaja Kuye
Dr. Angel Adelaja is a Development Consultant and entrepreneur with a major focus in women and youth empowerment, utilising grassroot campaigns, technology, and innovation to assist these groups in solving global issues.
She is Founder/CEO of Fresh Direct Produce and Agro-Allied Services (Fresh Direct Nigeria) – an urban farming and Ag-tech company in Abuja, Nigeria, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper Alumna and a mentor to aspiring young entrepreneurs.
Fresh Direct Nigeria is “City Farming” using stackable container farms, bringing fresh premium organic produce closer to market with a Container Farm Technology. Through this company, Angel is making agriculture local and exciting for youth, lowering the risk to do it all year round regardless of location, with little to no Land… no SOIL, cutting out long transportation times with the use of simple technology.
The company brings together communities and technology and focus on engaging youth in agriculture with technologies that aren’t back breaking. Angel studied Epidemiology and Biology but has found interest in agriculture and entrepreneurship.
Faiz love for Mathematics morphed into love for programming at the young age of 12 years, a period when he had access to a computer; unlike his peers.
While he was still in secondary school, he came across a simple computer program that accepts inputs of students’ scores and computes the sums and averages of the scores and generates the students’ report sheets. This program had a connection with a project by the computer department in his secondary school to computerise their results. When the project didn’t succeed eventually, with his little experience in programming, Faiz was determined to solve the problem which eventually gave birth to FlexiSAF in 2010.
FlexiSAF currently helps over 500 schools to automate their processes. Coming from a family that values education, Faiz believes that education is the greatest asset that anyone can have and is committed to support and create opportunities to out-of-school children and improve the quality of education using technology under the FlexiSAF Foundation platform.
He believes that quality education is the ultimate solution to the chronic challenges of Nigeria and the developing countries. Faiz is ‘passionate about revolutionizing the African Software Industry by providing quality and valuable software that meet the global Software Engineering standards.’
Sanusi is a pioneer of the tech hub business in Kaduna. Think about a crisis-weary region, with little or no attention to tech-related conversations and a Sanusi hoping to change the conversation. The entrepreneur, Sanusi, and the team at CoLab – a co-working and innovation space for tech start-ups and engineers – are building a tech hub that might further advance a tech revolution in the state.
CoLab offers workspace, training, mentorship and networking opportunities. It also organises talks, training sessions and one-on-one meetings with tech professionals from the US and UK, hackathons, something Sanusi says is quite hard to come by in northern Nigeria.
Sanusi believes that the greatest opportunity to make a difference lies in Nigeria’s problems – or a pandemic like COVID-19. There are two things he hopes young entrepreneurs will avoid doing in the future, as CoLab and the tech sector grow in the northern parts of the country: don’t use the hype of an emerging tech ecosystem to operate, solve actual problems; and don’t think failure is in fact failure.
Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong is one of Nigeria’s foremost researchers who has an extensive experience working in the US, UK and the Nigerian healthcare industries.
He founded 54Gene – an African genomics company in 2019, the world’s first pan-African biobank to address the gap of clinical genomics research within the African populace. Greater availability of African genomic data could lead to medical breakthroughs for the continent’s 1.2 billion people. That’s the driving proposition of 54Gene.
Abasi has worked with leading healthcare organisations, including Fortune 100 pharmaceutical companies, academic and research institutions, and governments as a management consultant with PwC and IQVIA (formerly Quintiles IMS). He also served as a business consultant for the USAID.
His company, 54 Gene stands as one of the top 12 leading innovations that would change healthcare in the 2020’s, as listed in Time Magazine and Fast Company List.
Recently, 54 Gene took innovation a bit higher and was one of the companies confirmed to start conducting COVID-19 tests.
Fola is the former Google Head of Startup Success and Services, Launchpad Africa. He has worked in technology-based roles, creating channels for tech to interface with businesses in 10+ countries in different sectors including finance, retail and investment banking, education, media, power, agriculture, and he now focuses on building an African ecosystem that supports innovators and entrepreneurs.
Prior to Google, he led Ventures Platform’s Accelerator, graduating 2 cohorts and directly investing in 23 startups over a 15 month period. He also worked as Vice President of Business Development at Venture Garden Group where he led the group’s Fintech Division.
Fola is passionate about Nigerian startups and continually uses his network and experience to advance this ideology.
Sani is a published Author, Developer Advocate, IT Educator & Software Engineer; heavily invested in the Ionic & Angular Communities.
With his company Haibrid, he consult on Ionic, Angular & Training projects building mobile & Web applications with Modern Web technologies. He also writes online about Ionic/Angular and speak about Ionic/Angular in different conferences, and has spoken about Ionic across multiple Geo Zones, including Europe, Middle East, North America and Africa.
Currently working with MindLife UK – a digital health company developing a cutting-edge platform for digital mental health, which is collaborating with the University of Sheffield and NHS Trusts, he has developed – and helped develop – apps that have amassed over 25 million downloads in total, with some of them listed as the top in their app store categories.
His works have been recognised and awarded by companies like Microsoft, Samsung and Aimia LTD.
Ized is a certified content strategist and data analyst, who connects the dots on global trends within the digital landscape.
She is the former Chief Marketing Officer of TORA Africa – an academy that recruits, trains, verifies, insures and provides background-checked vehicle drivers for individuals and businesses. She’s had 13 years post-college experience in marketing and has spent the last 5 years changing the digital landscape through her work, using digital for advocacy and helping startups promote their businesses through digital.
Having worked with major brands she’s gained requisite experience and track record as Director of Marketing; PR and growth at Metro Africa Express (MAX), Social producer at CNN Africa bureau, Head of Digital at Indigo Arya.
OluTimehin Adegbeye is a writer, speaker, and activist.
Her work focuses on addressing issues related to gender, sexuality, and poverty. Through her writings and activism, she has made herself a prominent figure in the Nigerian and African feminist communities.
She currently works as a Communications Officer with JEI, a human rights organisation based in Lagos.
Didi Akinyelure is an award-winning British/Nigerian journalist.
The graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Nottingham won the prestigious BBC World News Komla Dumor Award in July 2016.
In 2018, Didi received the University of Nottingham Special Excellence Alumni Laureate Award and has previously been the face of CNBC Africa’s live morning show, Open Exchange, West Africa.
Shola Lawal is a Lagos-based journalist covering conflict and development in West Africa.
A contributor at Americamagazine.org, Shola is the 2019 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow at the International Women’s Media Foundation.
Selected by a Grand Jury from among more than 800 applications from 94 different countries, Shola was among the 2020 Prize winners, for her exposé on the dangerous conditions faced by ‘extra-continental migrants’ travelling from Africa to reach North America.
The multi-award-winning journalist, writer, A&R and Media Consultant, has spent years studying and reporting on the African music industry, and the art process.
He has written on a variety of topics for the music industry, including investigations into the music distribution business, Africa, its sounds, and the culture of music.
His works have appeared in the New York Times, The FADER, Quartz, Pulse, etc and has earned several nominations for his works including OYA, MAYA Awards, winner of the Scream Awards for entertainment Journalist of the Year.
Joey, Founder/CEO of Afrobeats Intelligence, is currently the Entertainment Editor at News Central TV, and the West African Arts & Culture Commissioning Editor for The Conversations Africa.
Wana is an award-winning Nigerian poet, writer and spoken word artist.
Just this year, she was selected to participate in the 54th International Writing Program (IWP) Fall Residency at the University of Iowa, courtesy of the United States Department of State.
Wana Udobang is also a Nigeria-based freelance journalist and filmmaker whose work has covered women’s rights, social justice, healthcare, personal narratives, culture and the arts. She has worked with the BBC Radio4, BBC World Service and Nigeria’s Inspiration 92.3 FM.
Edirin Edewor is a multiple Amazon Bestselling Author, an award-winning entrepreneur, International Speaker, Consultant, Trainer and Coach at the Edirin Edewor Company.
She is the founder of the Online Publishers and Entrepreneurs Network (OPEN), a community of over 20,000 Authors, Writers and Entrepreneurs, dedicated to helping Africans tell their original stories from their African perspective, showcasing Africa’s literary skills by helping writers become published as well as profiting from their skills.
In 2018 alone, she helped over 250 authors get published, with more than 35 Amazon Bestsellers.
Edirin is committed to works focused on youth empowerment, women-focused organisations, education, and employment as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. She has collaborated with several NGOs directed at youth empowerment, entrepreneurship, education for the girl child and women equality.
She made the 2019 Most Influential Young Nigerians list and was among the 25 recipients of the Social Media for Social Good Summits & Awards Africa 2020.
Investigative journalist, ‘Fisayo, who is a former Editor of TheCable, the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) and SaharaReporters, has won numerous awards at home and abroad. In February 2020, he co-won Gatefield’s People Journalism Prize for Africa (PJPA), then donated the N500,000 reward to a cause for the identification and freedom of innocent and light-offence prison inmates. In April, he was a finalist for the International Journalist of the Year category of the One World Media Award.
Fisayo is one of Nigeria’s unknown but quietly emerging writing talents. His burgeoning writing craft has earned him more than 15 youth journalism-related awards.
Laylah Ali Othman
Laylah Ali Othman is a Nigerian interior designer, writer and reality TV presenter.
She is the founder of the Non-profit organisation, Laylah Initiative for the Boy and Girl Child Charity Foundation (LIBGC) and Presenter of Voices of the Youth.
Laylah is also the CEO of one of Abuja’s most patronised interior design company (L and N interiors). Beyond expressing her creativity in designs she also expresses her opinion on societal and marital issues affecting women in her society. With over ten years of experience, she has been able to train youths in the art of interior design and provide job opportunities to many. She has also expanded her growing dynasty to include a magazine publication that was recently launched.
Timilehin Bello is the founder and CEO of Media Panache Nigeria, a tech and digital-driven public relations agency.
A graduate of the Lagos State University, Timilehin started a PR agency on the social media platform, WhatsApp, last year. He is today, the co-founder of a food company called ‘Trays n Pans.’
Idia Aisien is a Nigerian model and TV presenter.
Aisien has worked with Fox 5 News, the AARP Foundation, Discovery Communications, the Foreign Policy Initiative, the United Nations and Atlas Mara. She has modelled for many brands, including BMW, Vogue, LAN Airlines, Black Opal, Nivea, Alice + Olivia, J Brand, Cashhimi, Samantha Pleet, Jovani, Evelyn Lambert, Nikki Angelique, An Alili and Sway Hair Ltd. In Nigeria, Idia currently hosts You Got Issues and Style 101 on Spice TV, and the Mega Millions Lottery Draw on Silverbird.
Idia Aisien currently works with the International News TV Station – Arise News Guardian woman.
Fu ‘ad Lawal, a young Nigerian writer and content strategist at one of the country’s leading online media platforms, Zikoko.
As Editor-in-Chief of Zikoko, Fu’ad has presented inspiring case studies on their platforms’ success stories and well thought-out strategies for growth via digital media at the Social4Media Masterclass that took place in 2019.
Reginald Aziza is a brilliant transactional lawyer and a fierce litigator, philanthropist, global citizen and a mentor to many young lawyers.
He graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University with the highest number of awards, proceeded to the Nigerian Law School where he won a number of awards and the overall best male performance with a first class. He also attended University of Cambridge and bagged a first class and winning awards as top 3 of his class with outstanding performance and is currently undergoing is PhD in the University of Oxford.
He is currently an in-house Attorney in Chevron Nigeria.
Charles is currently the Head of Growth at Thrive Agric – an agricultural technology company making agriculture profitable and has grown exponentially in the past few years, with Charles driving its growth. At Thrive Agric, Charles ‘develops and implement cohesive brand communication, marketing and growth strategy that communicates brand values and positions the brand as progressive in the agricultural technology space.’
From someone who loves consuming knowledge, Thrive Agric has good hands in charge of taking it to greater heights.
Samuel has expertise in interface design, strategic and digital marketing.
He is a Senior Partner at a Brand/Digital Marketing Specialist company (Smart Edge) and an advisory board member at the United Nation’s NGO, Youth Charter.
Samuel runs a social startup called Treadler – a mobile app connecting friends through shared activities in real time.
He is a social entrepreneur, a Super connector and relationship broker who nurtures business relationships and continuously leverages on social capital by identifying mutual business beneficial situations to broker high powered one-on- one business introductions.
Tolulope is an entrepreneurial communications professional, with exceptional skills in strategic business collaborations and public relations.
She is the founder and team lead at Mosron Communications, a boutique public relations consulting practice in Lagos, Nigeria. Tolulope led the team to conceptualise and deliver one of the first virtual press conferences in Nigeria.
Having worked across several sectors of the economy, she has founded and expanded 3 businesses over the last 10 years with an appreciable level of success. Tolulope is a strong advocate of customer-centric brand positioning for growing brands online.
She has facilitated trainings at the Nigerian Publishers Association, African Women in Media Conference as well as the school of Media and Communications, Pan Atlantic University. She also teaches and writes on business communication strategies for SMEs, executive/personal branding for C-suites and entrepreneurs, LinkedIn optimisation as well as writing and communications skills.
She is the author of two e-books: LinkedIn Optimisation for Professionals and Business Communication Strategies for Digital Entrepreneurs and Sales Professionals.
Babajide is an experienced professional whose mission is to help founders build long-lasting technology-enabled companies in Africa. His experience spans tech, banking and consulting.
He is currently leading Safeboda‘s expansion into Nigeria and building from the ground up. – His role is to build the country strategy, with a focus on growth, expansion, our brand and P&L management Prior to that, he worked as a Community Manager with Andela where he was responsible for Leading the community and owning the brand of Andela, to attract new community members and fellows to the organisation.
Bankole Williams is a Consultant par excellence and a Peak Performance Career Coach who has a proven record of helping organisations develop their human capacity to surpass their annual financial targets.
He is a renowned force in Consulting; assisting no less than 12 prominent banks in Nigeria develop and deploy solutions for long-term profitability and sustainability. For his exceptional work in Human Capacity Development, in 2019, he was given the Coaching Icons Award.
He is also a Social Reformer with a goal to solve the problems of unemployment and underemployment through his foundation – Live Your Dreams Africa Foundation. He has received several awards and recognitions for his inspiring social work in Youth and Social Development by State Governments, including Lagos, Cross River and Abia.
LYD is the 2019 recipient of the Google.org Award for Youth Empowerment in Africa. Through his foundation, over 21,000 youth have been empowered and since 2018, his foundation has created 462 jobs.
Bankole is presently the CEO of LYD Consulting which empowers employees of Corporate Institutions to get great work done in less time so they can surpass their employers’ annual financial targets.
Dr. Kunle Kakanfo is a pragmatic health innovation curator, metrics management expert, public health professional, humanitarian, social reformer, wellness professional & leadership expert.
Kunle is passionate about the drive for innovation in health within Nigeria & sub-Sahara Africa by championing disruptive & edge-thinking, and distilling the leanings into actionable insights that help reduce disruption risk and spark new opportunities for innovation, business growth and investment.
Esther is passionate about people centered communication that inspire action on climate change. As a dedicated and highly enthusiastic strategic communications professional with excellent interpersonal, leadership and communication skills, she has worked in projects for more than 10 years with international experience spanning fours including with the United Nations, DFID, World Bank, AfDB in advancing priorities for MDGs and most recently the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
She was the Communications and Public Mobilisation for Climate Action department of the United Nations – where she took ownership and demonstrated the ability to drive strategic engagements on programme and communications activities on sustainable development action including climate action. She also took leadership on Youth Engagement & Public Mobilisation for the Secretary-General Climate Action Summit, including the successful and effective organising of the widely acclaimed first ever UN Youth Climate Summit, among other roles, until December 2019.
Esther’s great personality and drive to keep doing it right has led her to become the Programme Officer, Public Mobilisation & Communication, Executive Office of the Secretary-General; a position she gained in March 2020.
Honourable Adebo Ogundoyin
At 32, Adebo made history as the youngest Nigerian to occupy the seat of the Speaker, House of Assembly, Oyo. And he has gone on to lead beyond the hype and the idea that inexperience enables bad leadership.
Recently, Adebo was able to champion a collaboration with NURHI, other local and int’l bodies towards improving both the supply of and demand for modern contraception, improving health care quality and access to contraception, ensuring there is adequate supply of these services because of the economic reality on ground.
Among other things, he has mentioned his House will give legislative support to the State’s tourism sector – that is almost non-existent.
Samson’s name is always mentioned when we discuss think tanks on democratic governance and citizens participation in Nigeria and beyond. He leads the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) – a youth non-profit promoting democratic governance and youth participation in Africa through research, capacity development and policy advocacy.
He was the pioneer National Coordinator of the Youth Alliance on Constitution & Electoral Reform (YACORE) – the first Youth coalition on constitution and electoral reform in Nigeria.
Samson has spent more than 10 years working on widening civic space for youth in Nigeria and Africa at large. He is a co-founder of Amplified Online Radio; a pan African youth talk and music radio station.
He has facilitated the development of policy documents on electoral reform, constitutional review, open governance and youth participation. Samson has a decade experience in working on elections. He has led election observation teams to Ghana, United States of America and South Africa. He has also initiated several voter and civic education projects aimed at increasing youth participation in the electoral process.
Samson is the co-editor of African Youth Journal of Democracy, an annual publication of the AU African Governance Architecture, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) and National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
We cannot argue how much Hamzat is doing with Connected Development (CODE) – a company he founded in 2013 – because we have seen its impact.
Besdies, CODE, Hamzat founded Follow The Money, a Pan-African grassroots data-driven movement and leads a team of technology and innovation driven campaigners to amplify voices of marginalised communities in promoting accountability as it affects utilisation of public funds focusing on specific communities across Africa.
Hamzat is an activist who has successfully led grassroots campaigns in over 40 African countries with over nine years’ experience in the non-profit sector and specializes in practical issues associated with Climate Change, Open Data, advocacy campaigns and development policies as it affects rural and deprived grassroots communities.
He seats on the Executive Board of the largest Youth Movement in Africa: African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC), advising on communications strategies and campaigns using technology tools in shaping and actualising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and has joined his voice on different platforms and policy influencing coalitions across Africa such as the Not Too Young To Run movement which drives youth political inclusion.
Timi is a technology lawyer, researcher, and policy expert with keen passion for leveraging technology and innovation to accelerate human advancement and prosperity within Africa and globally. He is a professional in the intersection of policy, law, technology/AI, and innovation.
Timi is a board member of Feed To Grow, Africa, and also co-founder, Youths in Motion (YIM), which operates in Nigeria, Liberia, and New York.
Through his platforms, Timi has trained a combined number of over 40,000 youth across Africa, on the subject of ethical leadership, social entrepreneurship, open governance, and human rights. He has been invited to make presentations on the subject of open governance, open elections, and AI-ethics, at the Department of State’s Educational Affairs Division and Association of Public and Land Grants Universities (APLGU) in Washington.
Deservedly, Adetola went home with The Future Africa Awards (TFAA) 2019 Prize in Public Service and has continued to serve. He currently serves as the Assistant Chief Negotiator for Nigeria & Head, Trade Remedies and Investigating Authority at the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN).
In furtherance of the mandate of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and Nigerian Economic Management Team (EMT), Adetola worked with a global law firm to develop a Trade Remedies Infrastructure for protecting the Nigerian economy from injurious and unfair trading practices from foreign countries and companies. He is presently working on the full implementation of the Nigerian Trade Remedies Infrastructure.
Through the NOTN and select committees in the Negotiating Forum, he also participated in the pivotal work of negotiating the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
He is an international lawyer who is widely consulted on international economic policies, investment law, trade law and policy, intellectual property and technology law.
Efe’s story is inspirational – going from football to boxing is not a decision you make in a jiffy, and he had to make that decision when he had no support. Today, he has become one of heavyweight’s most feared boxers.
Known as ‘The one and only”, Efe has an impressive record of 13 conservative wins, and with the decorated trainer, Ronnie Shields, in his corner and Al Haymon’s PBC to promote him, his journey just began.
He holds the record for the fastest victory in boxing history after his opponent was disqualified for leaving the ring 1 second after the opening bell. But that’s not about it. His rise to the top is already has a bearing and we are here for it!
The Last Stylebender won his last fight against Yoel Romero and the most popular question centred on which middleweight will be able defeat him.
With that win, Israel solidified himself as the best middleweight. The 30-year-old added one of the scariest fighters in the division to a list of victims that already includes Anderson Silva, Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum.
Adesanya’s ascent to UFC stardom has been drastic. He made his UFC debut in February 2018 and has skyrocketed to impressive champion in 2020.
Called Sugabelly on Twitter, she invented a new writing system for Igbo language called Ńdébé – to fill the gap created by the suppression of natural growth of the Igbo language due to colonialism and missionary evangelism.
“Ńdébé pays homage to the old Nsibidi logographs, as well as Nwagu Aneke’s proto-script, but is a unique, original, but more importantly, functional creation,” she says.
Lotanna also runs Sexy Igbo – where you can nurture your Igbo language fluency to an advanced level; in a fun way. The website includes articles on the Igbo culture and society.
Bella is an experienced specialist with a demonstrated history of working in international affairs and public diplomacy. Proven experience working collaboratively with government officials at local, state and national levels; civil society groups, and socio-cultural organisations.
She has seven years of experience in cultural and public diplomacy. She currently works as the cultural affairs specialist at the US Embassy, Abuja, where she is responsible for strategically directing U.S cultural diplomacy initiatives in Nigeria and increasing the reach and impact of people-to people exchange in Nigeria.
The comedy scene in Nigeria is largely dependent on the English language, or pidgin, but Oli Ekun is doing it differently. He has built an interesting brand for himself – using the Yoruba language as the means. His skits have made more people interested in culture.
And early this year, when John Boyega wanted a Yoruba version of a short video, Oli Ekun seemed to be the answer, sparking conversations on the language and the Yoruba society itself.
Ayo-Bankole is a 33-year old Strategy & Transformation professional with over a decade experience that covers leadership roles as the Head of Strategy and experience in the financial markets, insurance, and oil & gas industries. Ayo is also an entrepreneur, an advocate for good governance and he actively promotes the growth of MSMEs as the key to Africa’s development. He is the Convener of the Lagos SME Bootcamp, a platform he founded to help enhance the business management skills of SMEs to reduce their risks of failure and contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 8. He is the publisher of The Hedge Report, a publication that promotes responsible use of social media amongst youth.
Ope Adedeji is a writer and editor living in Lagos. She is the managing editor of Zikoko Magazine and was the managing editor at Ouida Books. Her work has appeared in Catapult, Afreada, Arts and Africa, McSweeney’s Quarterly and so much more. She is an alumnus of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2018 Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing Workshop. She is the winner of the 2019 Brittle Paper Award for African Fiction.
Tega Onojaife is a sports producer and presenter for Smooth 98.1 FM Radio and the founder of the Ladies in Sport Conference.
Beginning her sports journalism career as a soccer pundit, Tega was soon covering live broadcasts of the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and Africa Cup of Nations. In 12 years, she has covered nearly every major soccer event and served as one of a small number of female pioneers in the Nigerian sports journalism, joining the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) and serving as secretary of the Events Committee of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria.
In 2016, Tega founded the Ladies in Sports Conference, a yearly conference networking female sports professional in Nigeria.
Omoleye Omoruyi… an apprentice web/game developer, novelist, sensitive to happenings in the world. Meet him @Lord_rickie on Twitter/Instagram