Ladi Delano, Ruth Obih, Audu Maikori… SEE the most influential young entrepreneurs #YNaijaPowerList

by Rachel Ogbu

Ruth Obih
Ruth Obih

The YNaija young entrepreneurs feature a section motivating and inspiring CEOs moving the Nigerian economy. That is why they make the #PowerList.

In air travel, event planning, property development, financial services and more, the next generation of entrepreneurs are changing the way we do business in Nigeria. In no particular order, see list below:

Ruth Obih is the CEO of 3Invest Limited, a Real Estate technology-driven Investment company specialized in providing acquisition, disposition and investment service to developers, investors and funds looking to invest in Real Estate. She is a trained lawyer who has a passion for property and real estate. Her company also has several platforms to promote the real estate sector.

Obih received the Fortis MFB Award for Aspiring Business person of the Year at the 2012 Nigerian Youth Merit Awards in December.

In the wake of the global financial meltdown and plummeting real estate value, Ruth found innovative ways to remain relevant in the industry. Thus, in January 2011, she started “3Invest Intelligence”, an innovative division of the company focused on real estate media and advocacy. Through the vision of 3invest intelligence, several thousand Nigerians and real estate investors have been empowered with useful and relevant information to make wise investment decisions. Her hard work and determination to make a meaningful impact in the industry has even caught the attention of FORBES AFRICA, which recently profiled her in September 2012 “as different”.


Ola Orekunrin, Medical Director/Managing Director at The Flying Doctors Nigeria, Air Ambulance Service

Propelled by a personal tragedy and driven by a passion for better healthcare, Orekunrin became a medical doctor at the tender age of 21 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.) from Hull York Medical School and founding Nigeria’s premiere Air Ambulance Service.

She has received a ThisDay Award (Contribution to Healthcare in Africa), TED Fellow 2012, Future Awards 2012, New Generation Leader for Africa (African Leadership Network) and Mould Breaker Award-Healthcare 2012


Tayo Oviosu, 34, founder & CEO at Paga financial Services, a mobile payments company with a mission to transform lives by delivering innovative and universal access to financial services.

He graduated from Stanford University Graduate School of Business with an MBA in 2005.

Oviosu founded Pagatech in April 2009 with a strong belief that the mobile phone can be leveraged to reduce Africa’s dependency on cash and expand financial access to millions.

Profiled by Financial Times:  Paga is Nigeria’s largest mobile payments company, allowing customers to transfer cash across the country in an instant simply by sending a text message on any of the country’s four main mobile networks. A PayPal-like function allows users to pay bills, top up the credit on their mobiles or buy goods using their phone or computer.

Such services are extreme­ly popular in Nigeria, where up to 80 per cent of people do not have a bank account but an estimated 60m of the 160m population have mobile phones. Despite having been licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria only seven months ago, Paga processed $1.8m in payments in April, up from $1m in March, far more than any of its rivals, and it already has 90,000 users. The company has 78 staff and offices in four Nigerian cities.

Ladi Delano

30-years-old Ladi Delano featured on Forbes 10 Young African Millionaires To Watch in 2012.
He is founder and CEO of Bakrie Delano Africa, an investment partner of the Indonesian-based Bakrie Group, created to facilitate the expansion of the South East Asia’s conglomerate, in Africa.

The Bakrie Group has made a billion-dollar fund available for investment in Nigeria over the next five years, with Delano’s BDA as lead project head.

Bakrie Delano Africa (BDA) – a $1 billion joint venture with the $15 billion (market cap) Bakrie Group of Indonesia. Bakrie Delano Africa serves as the investment partner of the Bakrie Group in Nigeria. The Indonesian conglomerate has provided over $900 million worth of funds to invest in Nigeria and Bakrie Delano Africa is responsible for identifying investment opportunities in mining, agriculture and oil & gas and executing them.
The company’s holdings are in mining (Coal, Iron ore and Gold), agriculture amongst others


iConcepts Managing Director, Ugo Okoye runs a multi-channel solutions provider of interactive communication services.

iConcepts specialises in mobile marketing technologies and its network of relationships with the Nigerian GSM operators, advertising and marketing agencies, media organizations and corporations in different industries to develop innovative marketing, entertainment, business and communication solutions.

Since inception in 2003, iConcepts manages the telephone, Internet, E-mail, & SMS for leading marketers and media outlets with partners that include Coca- Cola, CNN, MTN, Nigerian Breweries and more.

During this time, the company has become a leader in Nigeria’s consumer, promotions and media interactive communications market.


Last year, the BBC profiled Saheed Adepoju, 29, founder of the Encipher Group – the company responsible for developing “Africa’s Ipad” – the Inye tablet PC.

“The Inye is a mobile internet device. It gives you access to the internet; it allows you to play media files and watch movies. What we have is an 8-inch device, a device that is half-way between a laptop and a mobile phone,” he told the BBC’s series African Dream.

The device is three times cheaper than the Apple’s iPad and Encipher which started with a loan of 60,000 dollars has grown it into a giant ready to compete with market leaders.

It is anticipated that in the coming years the demand for Inye in Nigeria and parts of Africa will soar.

Adepoju whose work also got him an interview with Forbes International  is a Sun-certified Java programmer, and Microsoft certified Business solution specialist, with a background in software development.


Gossy Ukanwoke, 24, is the President and Founder of Beni American University, an online university that makes educational resources available to its members free of charge.

Launched in December 2010, the site currently has more than 2000 registered members, and over 20,000 more that are non-registered. He’s been hailed as the Marck Zuckerberg of Africa.

According to its website, “Students Circle Network allows students to interact and communicate over educational resources, making education and e-learning social and human by giving resources, study groups, social connections, scholarships offers and university placements.”

“My goals have always been to develop and implement cheap and affordable technology through open source technologies for ease, durability and seamless connectivity and networking.
I have of recent engaged in providing free and accessible education to students globally.

Audu Maikori
Audu Maikori

Audu Maikori, Founder Chocolate City Group, Media and entertainment promoter and
Talent management and promotion. He is also the Director at Copyright Society of Nigeria COSON.

Winner African Awards for Entrepreneurship 2011- Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship Sponsored by Omidyah ‘Legatum, National Youth Merit Award for Music/ Entertainment 2011- National Youth Merit Award, Entertainment Executive of the Year – Nigerian Entertainment Awards 2011, Global Winner -International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year (IYMEY) 2007 British Council, Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2011)- Diaspora Professionals Award, Mentor of the Year -2010- Enterprise Foundation.


Segun Demuren is the Managing Director of Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN Hangar Jet Center) running the first Aircraft Maintenance Facility Hangar and FBO / VIP Lounge Terminal in Lagos, Nigeria, complete with a focus on the Private Jet market in Nigeria and West Africa.

He studied IATA Advanced Managment Program, Air Transport at the Nanyang Technological University.

Headquartered in Lagos, the company was launched in June 2011, offering the first private flights operated by a fixed-base operator (FBO) in Nigeria. Its facilities, which include VIP lounges, ground handling, exclusive hangars, offices and restaurants, and catering for private jets, set a new standard at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport.

In the near future, EAN is planning on expanding to other major cities in Nigeria.

Funke Bucknor-Obruthe, creative director and managing director of Zapphaire events. she has planned events for the likes of Florence Ita- Giwa, John Momoh, Titi Atiku, Late President Yar Adua’s daughter and Late Solomon Ayoku’s, just to mention a few. She is today doing what she loves doing and yet making money from it.

Bucknor-Obruthe has earned awards like The Future Awards 2006 – “The Entrepreneur of the year” and Wedding Planner Magazine 2007 – “Wedding Planner of the Year” but apart from planning events, she also organises frequent training sessions, seminars and workshops where she teaches young people entrepreneurial skill, management and how to be a successful event planner.


Age limit is 18 – 40. The age limit was extended for this category.

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