They do not have age on their side for the necessary needed experience, they are young but upwardly mobile and on top of their games. These young men and women have taken their destinies in their hands, defying all odds, to become their own bosses, despite the harsh economic terrain they operate on in Ghana and Nigeria.
Meet Pleasures Magazine’s Top 60 Young Ghanaian and Nigerian Entrepreneurs, carefully selected from across various business sectors, ranging from Real Estate to Technology, Oil & Gas, Media, Fashion, Food, Financial Services and Consultancy, amongst others. The listing presented is in no particular order.
1. Debola Williams, Nigerian – Red Media Africa
31 – year old Debola Williams is a media personality and co-founder of RED (owner of Red Media Africa, YNaija.com, The Future Awards Africa, StateCraft Inc amongst others). He has built a fantastic profile for himself in the past few years, having played a major role in the re-branding of President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2015 general election and the election campaign of President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana. At the age of 17, he began co-presenting Youth Talk on NTA Network. He was also presenter and associate producer on a business television show, Economy Watch, also on the NTA.
At 19, Adebola moved on to be full time producer of rave TV show Nigeria International, beamed on AIT International, NTA Network, Ben TV in London, Silverbird TV, MBI and online on NigeriaVillageSquare.com
In this role, he was responsible for highlighting Nigerian life around the world from a balanced perspective, getting hard interviews from the ‘high and mighty’ and discovering exquisite locations across the country. The show pioneered as well the trend of celebrity presenters every week. He left the employ of the show after a successful 3-year run to concentrate full time on Red Media Africa, though he has retained a position as consultant producer.
As Operations Director of The Future Project, he has spearheaded the Town Hall meetings and Roadshows around Nigeria and internationally, in the UK and
Ghana. He is also responsible for the smooth running of the post-awards seminars and conferences.
Adebola was selected as one of the Top 100 of Our Generation by Top 100 UK in 2007 and 2008 as well as a Global Changemaker by the British Council in 2009, attending the Changemakers Conference and World Economic Forum in Cape Town. In 2010, he was invited as a youth expert by the Africa Union and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to work on the African Youth Charter for the decade of youth in Zimbabwe.
2. Oluwaseun Osewa, Nigerian – (Nairaland)
Named by Forbes Magazine as the best African entrepreneur under 30 in 2013, Osewa, like many other entrepreneurs, has a compelling start-up story. Prior to the launch of his popular Nairaland.com on the 25th of March, 2005, he had attempted to start a web – hosting business but which failed for lack of viable income.
The 33-year old Nigerian thereafter, took time off to research a viable online business idea and, as fate would have it, the idea of Nairaland was birthed as a general purpose discussion forum, with a bias towards issues of interest to Nigerians.
Today, Nairaland is adjudged one of the most popular Nigerian websites.
3. Aisha Ayensu, Ghanaian, Christie BrownAisha Ayensu, 30, is the founder and Head Designer of Christie Brown, an internationally – acclaimed luxury women’s fashion label that subtly infuses modernism into carefully selected traditional African fabrics to create awe-inspiring dresses with a transcontinental finish.
4. Ogunlana Olumide and Chukwuwezam Obanor ( PrepClass)
Olumide and Obanor, both 24, are the founders of PrepClass – a Nigerian academic solutions provider offering online test prep software, full-length tests, and a CBT (Computer Based Testing) experience similar to that of Nigerian university pre-entry exams. PrepClass provides in addition, personalized home tutors in Lagos, Nigeria, skilled at meeting individual academic needs. The company has been funded by CRE Venture Capital and the Venture Garden Group.
5. Bankole Cardoso (Easy Taxi Nigeria)
27-year-old Bankole Cardoso is the founder of the Nigerian operations of EasyTaxi, a taxi mobile App that was developed in Brazil in 2012 by German technology start-up incubator, Rocket Internet GmBH.
Born and raised in Lagos, Cardoso proceeded to Boston College, where he studied Business Management, majoring in accounting. After studying and working abroad for several years, he decided to move back home to pursue a business idea that came to him while he was living in New York.
Like it was in New York City at a time, he discovered that there was some sort of difficulty in hailing taxis at one’s convenience in Lagos, despite the availability of a reasonable number of taxis. He brought the safety concerns of the average Lagosian also into consideration. Cardoso felt that Easy Taxi could bring a solution to this inherent need and create a more efficient method of hailing taxis, just as was practiced in New York City.
The young Nigerian don was featured in CNN’s Africa Start-up in 2014 and has been named by Forbes as one of the 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa for Year 2014.
6. Olakunle Abiodun Churchill, Nigerian – Big Church Group
Young, daring, extraordinarily talented and absolutely unapologetic when following his passion until it translates into reality. These are just some of the rare qualities Olakunle Abiodun Churchill, one of Nigeria’s youngest and most successful entrepreneurs possesses. He had to have such rare qualities to be able to transform a passion for IT into a multi-solution solving company.
Churchill is the Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Big Church Group. This company has two subsidiaries- Big Churchill Haven Limited and Big Church Entertainment. Big Churchill Haven Limited is an IT Solution / Total Security (software management) company, saddled with the responsibility of managing business communication, total security solutions, real estate management, printing & publishing and ICT (software/hardware) programming.
Big Church Entertainment on the other hand, is an entertainment outfit with offices in Ghana, Lagos and Abuja.
Churchill who is from Ogun state, is a man of no mean repute, an entrepreneur par excellence known for his astonishing achievements not only in Nigeria, but in Africa and globally. He has unarguably taken over the IT sector in Nigeria and beyond.
His IT/Security Company operates in over ten industries across three different countries, thus paving a way for other young entrepreneurs, to thrive in this highly competitive industry.
He is no stranger in the business, political and even the entertainment sphere. No wonder, his giant strides in ICT earned him honors last year as he was conferred with the Nigerian Goodwill Ambassador Award in recognition for his immense contribution to humanity and his charisma for delivering excellence, professionalism and notable relationships with all his stake holders.
7. Ameyaw Debrah, Ghanaian – (ameyawdebrah.com)
Multiple award winning blogger and digital media entrepreneur who founded ameyawdebrah.com a Ghanaian entertainment website with a wide reach in Ghana. Described as the Linda Ikeji of Ghana, Ameyaw Kissi Debrah, known professionally as Ameyaw Debrah, is a Ghanaian celebrity blogger, freelance journalist, and reporter. Ameyaw founded ameyawdebrah.com, an entertainment website and blog that primarily publishes news about Ghanaian celebrities that he has grown into an outstanding business. He graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Publishing. While at KNUST, he won the Best Publishing Student award in 2005.
Towards the end of 2007, he joined Voices of Africa, a media project based in the Netherlands. During his time there, he submitted videos, photos and news from Ghana for Africanews.com. In 2008, he became the entertainment editor for GhanaWeb.com. Later that year, he fully launched his blog AmeyawDebrah.com. He left Ghanaweb in 2012 to pursue his blog full-time. He contributes to StarGist (an entertainment segment on Africa Magic) as a Skype correspondent. Besides, he contributes to content on EbonyLife TV and Glitz Africa Magazine. He is an ambassador for Malta Guinness’ Africa Rising Campaign
8. Olatorera Oniru (Dress Me Outlet)
Olatorera Oniru, 28, is the founder of Dressmeoutlet.com – a Nigerian e-tailer of fashion products, health & beauty products and home-goods. Dressmeoutlet stocks more than 1,000 products from premium designers globally. Dressmeoutlet ships worldwide and currently has customers in different states across Nigeria, Uganda and the United States of America. The company now comprises more than 20 full-time employees and has funding offers from notable investors including Nigerian investor Tony Elumelu.
9. Abdul Rashid Zakari , Ghanaian – Mayniak Sportswear
30 – year-old Abdul Rashid Zakari is the Chief Executive Officer of Mayniak Sportwear, a new age African sports brand based in Accra. With passion for the game of football, an unassuming young Zakari blended his marketing background to live his long – held dream of helping project the game of football. His company, Mayniak is the kit providers of the Accra-based Liberty Professionals.
10. Abiola Olaniran (Gamsole)
Olaniran, 27, is the founder and CEO of Gamsole – a Nigerian gaming company, Olaniran founded in 2012, and it has venture backing from 88mph, a Kenyan seed fund. The company’s games now have more than 9 million downloads both locally and internationally on the Windows Phone store.
11. Kumbi Oyelese (April By Kunbi)
Still in her 20s, Kumbi Oyelese is a young designer with immense talent. A toast of many celebrities, Kumbi has her own fashion label called April by Kunbi.
Her passion for fabrics started way back her childhood days. On her fifth birthday, she got a little sewing machine from her dad as her gift. Before then, she used to fiddle with fabrics, which she used in making clothes for her dolls. Then, after a while, her mother would ask her to sketch designs she saw on television.
12. Ladi Delano (Bakrie Delano Africa)In 2004, at age 22, Delano founded his first business enterprise, Solidarnosc Asia, a Chinese alcoholic beverage company that made Solid XS, a premium brand of vodka. Solid XS went on to achieve over 50% market share in China and distributed across over 30 cities in China, pulling in $20 million in annual revenue.
Subsequently, Delano sold the company to a rival liquor company for over $15 million and ploughed his funds into his next venture – The Delano Reid Group, a real estate investment holding company focused on mainland China.
Today, Delano is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of 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, oil & gas, executing them effectively.
13. Fatima N. Adamu, Ghanaian – Carters Kaftans
After graduating from the University for Development Studies with a bachelor degree in Integrated Community Development Studies, Fatima N. Adamu, a 28 year-old Ghanaian entrepreneur started Carters Kaftans in 2012, by importing beautiful occasional kaftans from Indonesia, selling on wholesale and retails to the Ghanaian market, and later introduced her own line, modest wears from Turkey. Today, Fatima designs her own connection of modest wears. In a recent interaction with Fatima on her rise to the top, she said “I worked for an Energy Policy Company on completion but my zeal for entrepreneurship outweighed the Corporate world, hence the decision to start a business and being able to do something I loved most. Although I had lots of ideas in the beginning, I chose to go into fashion because of my love for colours and creativity at coming up with designs. I do not know how to sketch but I know how to put two and two together and make it look beautiful. Friends would contact me to help pick their clothes or help them shop, so I started Carters Kaftans by importing beautiful occasional kaftans from Indonesia in the late 2012. I then registered my Company in February 2013 and supplied kaftans on wholesale and retail to the Ghanaian market. As time went by, I noticed people were more attracted to the clothes I wore so I decided to introduce my new Line; Modest Wears from Turkey. Currently, I design my own Modest Wears as seen in the picture. I am poised to bring out better designs InshaAllah, so watch out people..!
14. Bassey Eyo, Nigerian – PayPorte Global Systems
Nigerian-born entrepreneur Bassey Eyo, is the founder of one of Nigeria’s most successful e-commerce companies, PayPorte Global Systems, with headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria. Launched on the 25th day of September, 2014, PayPorte has since thrived to ensure it caters to a wide demographic that ranges from the youths and to the young urban professionals, providing a wide variety of products including fashion and accessories, fabrics, furniture, home appliances, tech gadgets and more. The company was voted as ‘E-Commerce Company of the Year’ at the Central Bank of Nigeria Cashless Card Expo 2016. It boasts of being the face of Africa’s online market.
15. Audu Maikori (Chocolate City)
Born on 13th of August 1975, Audu Maikoro, a Nigerian lawyer, is the founder/CEO of Chocolate City Entertainment, and is well known in Nigeria as a former Idol series judge.
He founded the record label in 2005, alongside Paul Okeugo and Yahaya Maikori.
Generally regarded as one of the biggest and most successful urban record labels in Africa, Chocolate City Music operates as a subsidiary of Chocolate City Group, one of the biggest entertainment conglomerates in Africa.
The label is home to recording artistes such as M.I, Ice Prince, DJ Caise, Pryse, Nosa, Victoria Kimani, and Enzo, among others. Other artistes formerly signed to the label include Brymo and Jesse Jagz.
16. Linda Ikeji (Lindaikeji.blogspot.com)
The highest paid blogger in Nigeria, Linda Ikeji is a household name, synonymous to hot entertainment, celebrity, political and lifestyle gist.
Aged 36, Linda is a successful entertainment blogger, who has always had an interest in the media, which is evidenced in the vigour she brings to her content, despite the fact that they are mostly gossips.
After graduation, Ikeji started blogging in 2006. She became an active blogger in 2007, using a blogger sub-domain and later obtained her custom domain www.lindaikejisblog.com .
In August 2012, Forbes Africa dedicated itself to celebrating African women in that month’s issue. In that issue, Forbes profiled Africa’s 20 Most Prominent Women and the issue featured profiles on two young Nigerian women: Linda Ikeji, as well as Chibundu Onuzo.
Linda Ikeji was the biggest Google Search trend in Nigeria for 2014. The name Linda Ikeji was the most searched item by users of Google in Nigeria
17. Ola Orekunrin (Flying Doctors)
27-year-old Ola Orekunrin is a medical doctor and the founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria Limited, the first ever air ambulance service provider in West Africa’s health care history.
Following the death of her 12-year old younger sister, who she believed could have survived if she was moved fast enough to a hospital South Africa that had the capacity to attend to her condition, Ola, in 2010, came up with the air ambulance service to intervene in the event of such critical situations, setting up the first of its kind, not only in Nigeria, but also in West Africa.
18. Jason Njoku (iROKOtv)
Jason Njoku is the CEO/Founder of iROKO Partners, parent company of popular Nollywood movie streaming site, iROKO TV. Jason, to add, heads SPARK, a company focused on providing funding to Nigerian Internet start-ups.
In 2012, Njoku, raised $8 million in venture capital from Tiger Global Management. Barely three months after, his company closed in on another round of $2 million funding from Swedish-based Kinnevik, with the aim of using the money to grow iROKO Partners’ operations in New York, London and Lagos, as well as to purchase more content for iROKOtv.
19. Kelvin Nyame, Rashad Seini and Kofi Amuasi, Ghanaians – Co-founders, MeQasa
MeQasa, one of Ghana’s leading online real estate classifieds businesses, was founded in 2013 by Ghanaian entrepreneurs, Kelvin Nyame, Rashad Seini and Kofi Amuasi, who are all graduates of the tech entrepreneurship training program at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) based in Accra, Ghana. MeQasa provides a free service that helps brokers, landlords and other real estate industry professionals to conduct business efficiently online, while simplifying the search experience for prospective tenants and buyers. Last October, MeQasa secured a $500,000 investment from Frontier Digital Ventures, a global VC firm headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
20. Ohene Yaw Boamah, Ghanaian – Abrantie Clothing
His clothing line is fast breaking the stereotyped western gentleman look with African printed coat vests, pants, bow ties and ties, shirts, shorts as well as showcasing on prestigious runways across Africa.
21. Uche Pedro (Bella Naija)
In 2006, Uche Eze, now Uche Pedro, started Bellanaija.com, not necessarily as a veritable business, but as a pastime.
Today, the bellanaija blog has grown to become one of the hottest destinations for celebrity news and fashion trends on the Internet, raking in millions of naira for Uche and her team.
Uche is as well the CEO/MD of Bainstone Limited, a new media company. She won the 2010 Best Use of Technology award at The Future Awards Africa, and also the British Council Young Media Entrepreneur prize at the 2013 edition of The Future Awards Africa.
Uche is one of the four Nigerian internet entrepreneurs included among Forbes 30 Most Promising Young African Entrepreneurs to watch out for in 2014.
22. Toyosi Akerele (Rise Networks)
In 2011, Toyosi who is the founder of Rise Networks, a Private Sector funded Youth Interest Social Enterprise in Nigeria focusing on National Development Issues and their relationship to economic growth and democratic consolidation, was described by Michelle Obama as one of her personal inspirations.
The recognition was in acknowledgment of Toyosi’s work with the Dare To Be Different Youth Forum, a platform she uses to reach out to tens of thousands of young people across the country.
Toyosi was born and raised in Nigeria, and has a 2nd Class Upper Bachelors’ degree in Civil Law from the University of Jos. She further studied Strategic Management at Executive Level at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, obtained a Certificate in Youth Inclusive Financial Services from the University of New Hampshire, Durham, USA, and holds a Certificate in Media Enterprise from the School of Media and Communication, Pan African University. To boot, she possesses an Executive Masters’ Certificate in Project Management from The Project Management College, UK.
Toyosi has to her credit an array of both local and international awards in recognition of her spiritedness and thought-leadership.
23. Fred Deegbe, Ghanaian – ( Heel the World, HTW)
The founder and Chief Shoemaker of Heel the World, (HTW) a shoe manufacturing company in Ghana and son of famous Ghanaian Preacher Dr. Fred Deegbe uses his platform to give employment and teach young people how to start a company. An Ashesi University Alumnus, he is the past curator of Global Shapers in Accra. He was in 2012 awarded by the president of Ghana for outstanding performance in the fashion industry and is married to another Fashion Icon, Duaba Serwaa.
24. Tunde Kehinde (Jumia Nigeria)
Tunde Kehinde is the Co-Founder and Co-Managing Director of ACE. As Co-Founder and former Managing Director of Jumia.com, Nigeria’s Number One Online Retail Store, he helped grow the business from 5 employees to close to 1,000 employees serving customers all over Nigeria. Prior to Jumia, Tunde co-founded Bandeka.com, an online dating platform identified by Forbes as one of the hottest tech start-ups in Africa. Tunde has prior experience as a business development executive with Diageo in London and as an Investment Banking professional with Wachovia Securities in North Carolina and New York City.
He holds a degree in Finance from Howard University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
25. Mahama Yussif, Ghanaian – Harmony Trends
He is the inspiration behind Harmony Trends. Top clients from both home and abroad, launched and displayed his clothing line on various fashion platforms across Africa and abroad, such as H.E Ex-President John Mahama; The Rt. Hon Speaker, Prof Michael Oquaye; His Excellency Tom Amolo (Kenya’s Ambassador to Ghana); His Excellency William Ruto (Vice president of Kenya); Hon Massard Kabinda (Defence Minister of Gabon); Mr Ibrahim Mahama – CEO Engineers and planners, Mr Randy Abbey, former spokesman for the Ghana Football Association and host of the Good Morning Ghana on Metro TV; in addition to several present and outgoing Honorable Members of Ghana’s Parliament.
He is known for the innovative designs of Afro – inspired kaftans, suits, corporate branding shirts and ceremonial gowns. Harmony Trends GH actively supports many non-profit causes with cash and in-kind donations.
His advice for the young entrepreneur. Never predict the future, take that big leap and start building for yourself a formidable future. In so doing, you create the future.
26. Sim Shagaya , Nigerian – Konga.com
41-year-old Sim Shagaya is a Nigerian entrepreneur and business mogul. He is the founder and C.E.O of one of West Africa’s largest electronic commerce websites, Konga.com and is also the executive chairman of DealDey, a daily deal website. In 2014, he was named in Forbes’ list of “10 Most Powerful Men In Africa.”
27. John Armah, Ghanaian – (Entrepreneurship, Employment and Innovation)
The Executive Director of Ghana Center of Entrepreneurship, Employment and Innovation, he is known as the youngest contributor to the budget of Ghana with his idea of the Youth Enterprise Support which provides funding to young entrepreneurs through government. He hosts a Radio Show known as Startups and serves as business consultant to most celebrities in Ghana including Samini, Obrafour and Hammer. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community, Africa 20 foundation and Advisory Board Member of Next Wave Africa.
28. Jeremiah Buabeng, Ghanaian – (Matrix Institute)
Executive Director and lead consultant of Matrix Institute, an astute and accomplished young motivational speaker, he spends every week averagely speaking at two events. He is the Executive director of Matrix Institute a motivational school he established to train human recourses in Ghana and abroad. The host and brainchild of Accra Youth Summit and other several motivational seminars, he is described as a personal development coach and as an author, he has inspired lots of people to write their own books and start something entrepreneurial.
29. Sangu Delle, Ghanaian – (African Development Initiative)
An author and entrepreneur, he graduated from Harvard with highest Honors in African Studies and Economics and an MBA. His enterprising spirit has earned him the Thomas Hoopes Prize, the reverend Peter Gomes prize for Citizenship and Leadership and the Philippe Wamba Prize. In 2011, he was nominated by esteemed Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and selected by Fortnight Journal as one of the promising leaders of the Millennial Generation. In 2005, he was featured in Time Magazine as one of 25 future world leaders and in 2014 by Forbes as one of the 30 most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa.
Sangu is the founder and executive president of the African Development Initiative, a social entrepreneurial organisation dedicated to investing in opportunities to improve the health, education and economies of communities in low-recourse settings.
30. Israella Kafui Mansu, Ghanaian – (Mansuki Ghana)
The founder and CEO of Mansuki Ghana limited, a company that produces cosmetics from local products. At a very young age, she was distinguished with special recognition from the president and awards from South Africa and Sweden. She now employs lots of young people and exports her products to Europe, America and Asia, including other countries in Africa.
31. Ato Ulzen-Appiah, Ghanaian – (GhanaThink Foundation)The co-founder and director of the GhanaThink Foundation a Ghanaian think tank and NGO involved in human resource development across the country. BarCamp, JuniorCamp, Kumasi Konnect, DiasporaCamp are some of the platforms his organisation uses to create personal, entrepreneurship and career development through the country. He is an MIT and Stanford University graduate and loves technology to its bit. He has on recent times made it to Davos, representing Ghana at the World Economic Forum.
32. Jennifer Jemedafe (Jaytech Global Concepts Limited)
30 – year old Jennifer Jemedafe is the Chief Executive Officer of Jaytech Global Concepts Limited, a social media management company. Her Passion: ‘I discovered that I had a flair for using social media for business purposes. I learned from my mentors you could turn whatever you had a passion for into a business. It doesn’t have to be the biggest thing or something everyone is doing. As long as your chosen business was adding value to society, you would eventually make money out of it.’
33. Kasope Ladipo-Ajai (Founder, OmoAlata)
Ladipo-Ajai, 29, is a co-founder of OmoAlata – a Nigerian brand that processes and packages local Nigerian spices and peppers. Its flagship OmoAlata Peppermix which is a blend of fresh organic tomatoes, onions and peppers has been favorably received in the Nigerian market. Kasope Ladipo-Ajai was the winner of the 2015 She Leads Africa Pitch competition.
34. Audullahi Saheed Mosadoluwa , Nigerian – BMTC Group
Audullahi Saheed Mosadoluwa, 37, is the founder of BMTC Group, a group of companies based in Nigeria, Dubai and Europe. He became the first black man appointed to the Board of the Prestigious RMA (Ras Khaimah Movers Association) in 2011. Audullahi holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (2nd Class Honors Upper Division) in Criminology of the University Of Sharjah. He is a fellow of the Institute of Directors (Dubai Maloum) U.A.E. He holds also a 2003 Advance Diploma of the Aviation Training International (ATI) and also Air Travel Management from the Dubai College of Aviation.
With over 14 years experience in the Freight Logistics/Transportation industry and 9 years in Air & Sea Freight Chartering Business, Audullahi has vast experience in international trading facilitating and that has enabled BMTC Group to diversify to other business like importation of Base Oil, Lubricants, Oil and other commodities while the company exports Charcoal from Nigeria to anywhere in the World. As the CEO of BMTC Group, his wherewithal in strategic planning and implementation is the lubricant greasing the company’s wheel of success. He constantly develops various products for the company for presentations at annual conferences organized by International organizations that BMTC is a member of. Also, he markets and promotes the company’s services at seminars, conferences and other fora organized by various International Organizations such as OMNI (Overseas Moving Network International), AAR (Asia Association of Removers), FIATA (International Federation of Freight Forwarders), IATA (International Air Transportation Association), and AMSA (American Moving & Storage Association) amongst others. Moreover, in ensuring stability and growth, Audullahi directs the company’s revenue – producing activities and programs, and has primary responsibility for developing and expanding the company’s revenue base by developing new revenue initiatives, improving existing programs and activities, and recommending new policies or changes to existing policies that would improve revenue performance and the company’s services. He further plans, recommends, initiates and directs the implementation of new revenue-producing initiatives, including improvements in the financial and operating performance of existing businesses and management programs. Audullahi is also the founder of Ibile Peaceful Assembly, a civil and political organization with focus on empowerment, capacity building and liberation of the masses.
35. Ubi Franklin, Nigerian – (Triple MG) Record Label
31 year old Ubi Franklin is the former manager of popular Nigerian musician Inyanya the kukere master and also the CEO of Made Men Music Group (Triple MG) Record Label. He recently opened a rooftop restaurant, “The Tilt Terrace”, in addition to his chains of businesses in the entertainment industry.
36. Banke Kuku, Nigerian – Banke Kuke Textiles
Banke Kuku is founder and CEO of Banke Kuku Textiles, a company she started in 2011. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Banke moved to the United Kingdom at age eight, giving her the opportunity to cross-pollinate traditional African and Western culture to create unique, luxurious fabrics for the interior and fashion industries. Anointed by leading commentators as the ‘Queen of Colour’, Banke promotes African tradition and culture through her exquisite textiles sold in the major capitals of the world and supports and promotes local textile mills in Nigeria. Her interiors range can be been found in major retailers like Selfridges London, and her fashion fabric designs have graced the catwalks of London, Paris and New York.
37. Ngozi Opara, Nigerian – Heat Free Hair
Heat Free Hair is the story of a woman entrepreneur with a passion for natural hair combined with the entrepreneurial drive to start a business providing natural hair extensions, plus a movement to educate and inform women on how to care for their natural hair. Ngozi Opara is the founder of Heat Free Hair, the first manufacturer of Virgin Hair exclusively created to blend with African American textured, kinky, and curly hair. The company provides hair extensions in the form of wefted hair, clip-in extensions, and wigs. The Heat Free Hair Movement expands beyond the company’s products and focuses on the education of the natural hair community through seminars and instructional videos, as well as events for natural women to network with other women alike.
38. Leslie Okoye, Nigerian – Cookie SkinA personal mission to find a simplified skin care regime for women of African descent, led to entrepreneur Leslie Okoye launching her own line of holistic skincare products specifically created for women of colour. Today, her company, L’Okoye Cosmetics Inc. and her CookieSkin specialist skincare range are providing a way for women to build confidence in their skin and to create flawless complexions. L’Okoye Cosmetics develops and distributes quality skin care products for women of colour, selling and distributing worldwide to online and physical stores, supermarkets and spas. The company aims to redefine the meaning of beauty amongst men and women of African descent by making holistic skincare that doesn’t perpetuate the idea that beauty is based on skin colour. Instead, through its quality skin care products, L’Okoye Cosmetics aims to empower, build confidence and increase self-love in women of color through its brands, campaigns and seminars.
39. Adenike Akinsemolu, Nigerian – The Green Campus Initiative
Like many parts of Africa, Nigeria has a number of environmental challenges that need to be addressed by innovative thinking and action. The Green Campus Initiative is entrepreneur Adenike Akinsemolu’s solution to the challenge of getting young people in the country thinking green and becoming eco-conscious citizens. The Green Campus Initiative (GCI) tackles the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability through innovative academic research, results-based green initiatives, and building a generation of environmentally conscious, socially conscious student leaders. It was established to educate, engage and enlighten young people to live green, as well as equip them with the vital tools to positively transform their communities, nation and generation. The programs encourage students to use bicycles and other means of sustainable transportation, conserve energy and water, utilize renewable energy, dispose of their waste properly, become social entrepreneurs through the development of vocational skills, and become eco-conscious citizens.
40. Ifeanyi Aniagoh, Nigerian – ifeadinmesi
Ifeanyi Aniagoh, 34, is the founder of ifeadinmesi – the first pan-igbo blog in the Nigeria. The young entrepreneur and youth advocate was last year nominated for the africa future awards. A philanthropist with vision who had propelled youths in his community to a greater achievements. He owned also nekaa, an agro – based e-farm platform. This innovation has been hailed as the first of its kind in Nigeria where the dwindling economy had forced the government to try diversifying. His contribution and pedigree have led to him being appointed as the senior special assistant on social media to the government in his state due to his positive stunts in social media. It goes without saying, he is a young African with many attributes.
41. Eva Sonaike, Nigerian – interior and lifestyle brand Eva Sonaike
There is a growing global interest in African design, textiles and products, and talented Nigerian interior designer and lifestyle brand creator, Eva Sonaike, is taking the world by storm on the back of this trend. Her aim is to position the ‘African’ aesthetic in the global textiles and interior industry as part of her bigger brand-building picture. Today, Eva Sonaike is a London-based interiors and lifestyle brand, creating luxurious textiles, home-décor and accessories with a distinctive and vibrant West-African aesthetic. Inspired by the cultural mélange of West-African textile tradition and European craftsmanship, a passion for interior design and an exuberant love of colour, as the company’s Creative Director, Eva’s aim is to add a new and distinctive aesthetic to the luxury interiors market. Expertly printed in Germany and manufactured in the UK, the luxury range (of textiles and products) boasts a breadth of exclusive designs that bring a touch of African luxury to any setting.
42. Rainat Komolafe, Nigerian – Babies Essence
For new parents-to-be in Nigeria, planning for the new arrival can be a little daunting, particularly if it is a first baby. So, entrepreneur Rainat Komolafe has created a startup business, Babies Essence, taking all the guess work and effort out of the process, providing a genuinely one-stop shop for everything needed to welcome the new member of the family into the world. BabiesEssence offers a range of specialist baby-planning services such as personal shopping, baby registry, baby shower planning, and consulting services. Rainat has recognised that most parents are working full-time and don’t have much time to shop, however there are so many new services and products being introduced into the world of pregnancy and parents – to – be. At BabiesEssence, she is making shopping easy for new parents, empowering them to make the best decisions in preparation for their precious new arrivals.
43. Ijeoma Ndekwu, Nigerian- Redrick Public Relations
For Nigerian PR company founder, Ijeoma Ndekwu, becoming an entrepreneur was in her genes. From an early age, she took her inspiration from her successful entrepreneurial father who managed to achieve the freedom of work/life balance in his business, and showed her an alternative and entrepreneurial career path of her own was possible. Her company, Redrick Public Relations, is a boutique public and media relations agency specialising in creating, developing and executing innovative and strategic integrated PR campaigns, all guided by market intelligence, for Corporate, Lifestyle and Retail brands. From developing unique stories to implementing results-oriented PR campaigns, Redrick PR participates in aiding every facet of your brand’s growth. Some of the specialist services the company provides include: Editorial Placement, Story Pitching, Press Kit Development, Brand/Product Launches, Press Release Writing & Distribution, Planning & Coordination of Press Events (including conferences, trips and press days).
44. Zainab Ashadu, Nigerian – Zashadu Bags
Zainab Ashadu is founder of Zashadu, a leading British/Nigerian sustainable luxury brand that specializes in hand-crafted leather pieces. The company works with local sustainable – sourced leathers, farmed exotic skins and rough cut precious stones set in brass. All Zashuda pieces are created at her work studio in Lagos, by a team that benefits from traditional techniques passed down through generations by a community of local artisans.
45. Damilola Solesi, founder, Nigerian – SMIDS Animation Studios
Damilola Solesi is founder, CEO and creative director of SMIDS Animation Studios Nigeria, a company she founded in 2010. Smids animation studios is based in Lagos and creates 3D computer animation, 3D content production, motion graphics and visual effects. Also, Damilola is the pioneer of TechDivaz (now Women R.I.S.E), an initiative she started at the Co-Creation Hub. TechDivaz is a platform where women are inspired to expand their interests in technology through collaboration, networking, training, mentorship and funding to help them play a stronger role in growing the technology startup scene in Nigeria and Africa.
46. Adu Amani, Ghanaian – AduAmani Klodin
She is the brain behind the adu-Amani brand which manufactures African indigenous shoes, bags and fashion accessories in Ghana for the local, Nigerian and Kenyan markets. She is super passionate about colors and that has won her many clients across the globe. Adu-Amaning Vera will, on any day, make the mark when mentioning young and determined Ghanaian ladies who would not be hindered by challenges in reaching their set goals.
In an interview with the Daily Express Newspaper, Vera says her outfit has a mission, and that is to communicate and interpret the traditional Ghanaian and African identity to the world.
47. Sumaiya Mohammed & Kabutey Dzietror, Ghanaians – Pistis Ghana
Pistis was founded in 2007 by Sumaiya Mohammed and Kabutey Dzietror as partners to create lovely and ingenuous clothing for any individual or group, aiming at giving locally – manufactured fabrics a new meaning. The company name, Pistis, is the Greek word for faith.
Their keen and business attitude to the industry has created strong relationships with both manufacturers and distributors throughout Accra, the capital city, and a fast growing one in the whole country, the West African coast, and Africa.
Pistis has participated in the Vlisco fashion show, Dazzling Graphics, Glitz Africa fashion week among others. With an intense eye for fashion, these two individuals have made the brand name a force to reckon with in Ghana within a very short time, with a long list of celebrity clients, including Ghana’s second lady Samira Bawumia and actress Yvonne Okoro amongst others. Pistis is also the official clothing designer for delegates of the Miss Malaika Pageant.
48. Caroline Tekyi-Mensah, Ghanaian – AddictedtobagsCaroline Tekyi-Mensah’s love for business started at the age of 16 when she had to help her parents in their Unilever Distributorship business. She has engaged in all forms of businesses from sale of male sandals, estate agency to sale of cars, clothes, handbags and shoes. Caroline believed in the theory that every woman’s remarkable achievement is the result of a combination of many elements. This helped her gain immense entrepreneurship skills. As the demand for handbags augmented, she decided to concentrate solely on ladies’ handbags. Caroline is currently the CEO of Addictedtobags. It is an online shop that sells quality and authentic ladies’ hand bags. She sells both designer and non-designer bags. Her reason for this combination is to enable her to serve the needs of all her customers. She believes you can look good without being too expensive. She started with just ladies’ handbags but has gradually expanded by adding jewelries and sunglasses to the business portfolio. She hopes, in a few years, to expand her business to other parts of Africa.
49. Mawuena Seshie, Ghanaian – Mawuena Makeovers
Mawuena Seshie, 40, a leading beauty and makeup entrepreneur is the managing director/chief executive officer of Mawuena Makeovers and Mawuena Makeup School. She started as an apprentice, followed by owning a beauty salon. She has since gone on to develop it into a makeup school. Dedicated to training girls and giving hope and a future, today, Mawuena has trained over 100 students, most on scholarship basis.
Mawuena remains an inspirational role-model and mentor to make-up artists and aspiring beauty business owners across Ghana.
50. Kofi Okyere Darko , Ghanaian – Nineteen 57 clothing
Ace Ghanaian broadcaster, Kofi Okyere Darko (KOD), owner and Chief Executive Officer of the Nineteen57 fashion brand in Ghana which has exhibited in various fashion shows and has a wide range of top clients including politicians and high profile personalities. He is as well the Head of Marketing at EIB Network’s Live fm, Kofi has been the brain behind most successful Live fm events which always witness thousands of attendees.
51. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Nigerian – Andela
Iyinoluwa, a serial entrepreneur with years of experience running social ventures in education technology and publishing, is a Co-founder and Director of Recruitment at Andela, a technology company with offices in Yaba, Lagos and New York. Andela selects the top one per cent of technology talent from Africa.
With funding from organizations which include founders of Facebook, eBay and AOL, Andela, a talent accelerator, trains world-class developers and matches them with employers around the world. In 2014, Iyinoluwa co-founded Fora, which enables African universities to scale quickly, using online course content developed by professors at leading global institutions.
Iyinoluwa, last month, was listed by Forbes among the Most Promising Young African Entrepreneurs. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He helped found and run Bookneto Inc, a social e-learning platform for university professors to teach online courses. Bookneto Inc. was acquired in 2013.
52. Aisha Augie-Kuta, Nigerian – MeerMaad Networks Ltd
Aisha Augie-Kuta (35yrs) is a photographer, filmmaker and mixed media artist based in Abuja. Her work spans photography, painting and documentary-style films. Aisha currently runs The Photo Cafe and is the founder of The Centre For Art and Creative Talent (CACT) in Abuja.
She is the CEO of Meermaad Networks. She studied Mass Communication at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria; obtained her MSc in Media and communication at the Pan African University, Lagos (Now Pan Atlantic University); holds a Certificate in Digital Filmmaking from The New York Film academy and also a Certificate in curating contemporary art exhibitions from the Chelsea College of art and design, London, UK.
Aisha became interested in photography when her father gave her a camera at a young age. She is an Associate of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI); Vice-President, Women in Film and Television in Nigeria (Wiftin) the West African chapter of the US – based network; and co-founded The Photowagon, a Nigerian photography collective, in 2009.
53. Mark Essien, Founder, Hotels.ng
Essien, 31, is the founder of Hotels.ng, Nigeria’s largest hotel – booking website. The online portal allows users from all over the world to book rooms from a selection of over 8,000 hotels. It has recently secured an investment of $1.2m from international investors EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund, a seed-stage technology fund, and Omidyar Network, the investment vehicle of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Mark, a hardware/software developer, studied Comp. Eng/Robotics in Germany. After his studies, he returned to Nigeria and founded Hotels.ng, the first startup to directly address the African hotel – booking market. His message to Nigerian aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs is that they should explore as “The African business ecosystem is brimming with opportunities and you just need to find what works. However, not every market is a good one, so you need to be keen enough to spot the difference.”
54. Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, Founder, YudalaPrince Ekeh, 23 – year old founder and vice president of the composite retail platform has taken the e-commerce space by storm since the August 2015 launch of its online store. Yudala employs over 400 Nigerians on full – time basis. It plans to have Yudala store in every local government council by 2019, taking an estimated 10,000 Nigerians out of the labour market.
His company wrote its name and that of Nigeria in the history books on Thursday November 26th 2015 by successfully undertaking the world’s first e-commerce drone delivery to flag off its inaugural Black Friday sales. Apart from the innovative strategies, his Yudala Online is ushering in a revolution in customer experience and service. Google, at the end of last year, rated Yudala second best Air Peace among the top trending Nigerian brands in 2015.
An Economics graduate of the University of Lancaster, Prince holds a certificate in International Business and Economics from Harvard as well. Also an alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School (LBS), Prince holds a firm belief that the youth hold the key to unlocking the full potential of the Nigerian economy and the only industry that will provide them with this opportunity is the ICT.
55. Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola , Nigerian – WeCyclers
Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola is co-founder of WeCyclers, a company giving low-income communities in developing countries a chance to capture value from waste and clean up their neighborhoods through an incentive-based recycling program.
56.Mina Evans, Ghanaian – Mina Evans ClothingShe won the Emerging Designer of the Year at the 2012 Ghana Based Glitz Africa Fashion Week. She has participated in a number of international fashion shows including Alta Roma Beat of Africa, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa, Durban Fashion Fair, Glitz Africa Fashion Week and Vlisco be your Dream. Mina Evans fuses luxurious fabrics with Ankara, intricate handpicked embellishments and custom textiles to produce timeless feminine, stylish and flawless pieces.
57. Zanau Hassan Maikasuwa , Nigerian – Farmfields Agro-Allied Services
Zanau Hassan Maikasuwa is a seasoned farmer and founder of Farmfields Agro-Allied Services, which supports local farmers and agricultural investors dealing with all aspects of farming – animals and crops. Zanau also helped to launch the AWP Network Agropreneur project for Women Farmers.
Misan Rewane , Nigerian – West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE)
Misan Rewane is founder of West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE), an organization tackling youth unemployment by identifying, training, and placing talented West African youths in wage-earning jobs in the hospitality sector.
58. Debo Folorunsho , Nigerian – Applause Africa
Debo Folorunsho is co-founder of Applause Africa, a media publishing company celebrating, empowering, and connecting Africans in the United States through online programs and in-person events.
59. Ikye Williams, Nigerian – Dee-Ikye fashion
Ikye Williams is arguably one of Africa’s and Nigeria’s top fashion icons and designers. His Ghana based brand, Dee-Ikye fashion, has dressed top celebrities, chiefs and politicians, which has earned him a legion of followers. His brand provides expertise in distinctive and wearable clothing range combining exceptional West African textiles with the trend and styles; such as African Native wears, Political suits, Shirts, trousers & chieftaincy wears. His clients include the former President of Ghana, H.E President John Mahama , Members of Parliament of Ghana, Prophet Emmanuel Badu Kobi, Bishop Titi-ofei amongst others.
60. Gbenga Sesan , Nigerian -Paradigm Initiative (PIN)
Gbenga Sesan is founder of the Paradigm Initiative (PIN), an organization using ICT to empower young people in undeserved communities through entrepreneurial training programs.