The world of entrepreneurship is not for the fainthearted, but the 10 Nigerians on this list have taken it on and are winning. The ultimate power players, these ones go hard and take no prisoners. Be it in real estate, oil and gas, beauty or the media, they seal the deal every time. We present to you 10 of the most powerful young people who would give business men and women in any part of the world a run for their money – literally.
Aisha Suleiman Achimugu
Achimugu, who recently hit the big 4-0, is the MD/CEO of Felak Concepts Limited, an Abuja-based company that provides consultancy services related to health, equipment procurement, training and capacity building. Prior to starting Felak, she gained business experience in the maritime and engineering sectors, becoming the first female consultant and transaction advisor to develop a seaport in Nigeria. She has been honoured in Kenya as the fastest growing entrepreneur of the year. What is it they say about what a man can do?
Some call her ‘the #1 wedding planner’ but that title grossly limits the scope of the work that she does. As the creative and managing director of Zapphaire Events, Bucknor-Obruthe has organized the swankiest events for Nigeria’s upper class. Her intimidating clientele list which includes Titi Abubakar, John Momoh and senator Florence Ita-Giwa is a testimony to the fact that Bucknor-Obruthe is the one to call when you need to plan a glamorous event. Also an author and teacher, she organises well received seminars and workshops at which she delivers training. Many of her mentees have gone on to run successful startups.
Oyeleke Ajiboye is a Real Estate Development and Project Management professional who holds an MBA from Lincoln University. Ajiboye currently runs Efficacy Homes Ltd, a property construction and management company valued in 2011 at about N600 million. He is a member of the Association for Project Management (APM), International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) and Institute of Engineering (IET) UK and currently serves as a director on the board of Efficacy Engineering and Leron Concepts Ltd.
Delano has been called the youngest Nigerian billionaire and in 2012 was featured on Forbes Magazine’s list of 12 young African millionaires to watch. Much of his early wealth was made when he dabbled into the liquor business in China, and when that went bust, Delano relocated to Nigeria to set up Bakrie Delano Africa, a $1 billion joint venture which serves as the investment partner of the Bakrie group in Indonesia. BDA has investments in agriculture, oil & gas and mining, and Delano keeps on winning.
Rilwan was indoctrinated into the business world at the tender age of 16 when his father appointed him as executive director of his company, and he has not looked back ever since. He is now group managing director of Focal Point, a budding conglomerate which publishes Saradauna Magazine and organises the North-focused Saradauna Leadership Awards. The Focal Point Group also has interests in dry-cleaning and construction. In addition, Rilwan started a foundation which caters to the needs of Almajiris, as he is determined to give back and empower the less privileged. He was recently announced as one of the young delegates to the much talked about national conference.
Obih, an Imo State University trained lawyer, was once denied a visa to pursue a Masters degree in the United Kingdom. She was later to realise that the UK had done her a huge favour. Brushing aside the disappointment, she went on to set up 3Invest limited, a real estate company focused on acquisitions and marketing. Her Real Estate Unite Lagos 2013 Summit was the biggest event witnessed by the real estate sector in recent times, attracting everyone from Mustapha Chike-Obi, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) boss, to pop star D’banj. She won the Fortis MFB Award for Aspiring Business Person of the Year at the 2012 Nigerian Youth Merit Awards in December and has been profiled by Forbes Africa.
Dr Saheed Jumar won the Tony Elumelu Prize in Business at The Future Awards Africa in December 2013. He is the founder and CEO of The Smile Shop, a Kano-based dentistry practice which he started in 2012 with 600,000 naira from personal savings and investment from two friends. In the past year, the Smile Shop has blossomed beautifully, with about 3million naira in annual turnover, over 150 clients and 5 staff members. Jumar also spends a good amount of his time with secondary students, propelling them towards a dentistry career and offering the occasional free dental check
Demuren is the CEO of Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN Hangar Jet Center). He runs the first aircraft maintenance facility hangar and FBO/VIP lounge terminal in Lagos, Nigeria. The company which was launched in 2011 (some insist with help from his father, a former DG of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority) offered the first private flights operated by a fixed base operator. Its facilities include a VIP lounge, ground handling, exclusive hangars, offices and restaurants. Demuren also runs Empire Mates Entertainment (EME), one of Nigeria’s most prominent record labels, alongside R&B artiste Banky W. EME is home to the likes of Wizkid, Niyola and DJ Xclusive.
Tara Fela Durotoye
A pioneer in every sense, Fela-Durotoye discovered her purpose in life and its tie to helping others discover theirs. She is the managing director and creative director of House of Tara International, an indigenous make up and beauty products line that has gradually become the biggest cosmetic business out of Nigeria. An internationally trained and certified make-up artiste, Fela-Durotoye has succeeded in training over 300 younger make-up mavens and has empowered hundreds more through various initiatives like the Beauty Representatives and the 100 Voices campaigns. House of Tara is set to open its 30th studio in 2014, years after the founder opened the first make up studio in the country.
35 year old Oviosu is the founder and CEO of Paga Financial Services, a mobile payments company with a mission to transform lives by delivering innovative and universal access to financial services. Having graduated from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business with an MBA in 2005, he 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. Turns out he made the right call, as Paga has become 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 core mobile networks.