• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Meet five inspiring young Nigerians making waves in the business world

businessday-icon

Nigeria has produced a remarkable crop of young business leaders who are defying the odds. These individuals have not only achieved remarkable success at a young age but have also become sources of inspiration and role models for aspiring entrepreneurs. They have made waves in the business world through their innovation, resilience, and determination.

Odunayo Eweniyi

Odunayo Eweniyi is a co-founder of PiggyVest, a financial technology platform that helps individuals save and invest their money. Eweniyi’s venture aims to encourage a savings culture among Nigerians and provides opportunities for individuals to grow their wealth. As one of the leading female entrepreneurs in the Nigerian FinTech space, Eweniyi has become a role model for young women looking to enter the technology and financial sectors. Her achievements have earned her recognition, including being listed on Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 list in 2020.

Mark Essien

Mark Essien is the founder and CEO of Hotels.ng, Nigeria’s largest online hotel booking platform. His innovative approach has revolutionized the travel and hospitality industry in Nigeria, providing a convenient and reliable platform for individuals to book accommodations across the country. Essien’s tenacity and perseverance have allowed him to overcome various challenges and build a successful company that has received international recognition.

Essien was born in Nigeria to business-minded parents who owned a number of schools and was a high school student during the tumultuous military coup in the late nineties. He went on to graduate and accepted an offer at a German university. Unsurprising, with Germany being one of the world’s most innovative countries, he quickly recognised the rise in demand for digital products during the ‘dot com’ era. He became fascinated and, although he did not own a computer at the time, his older sister, who was also based in Germany, allowed him to use her own, along with her dial-up internet.

Over the next few years, he developed apps for Apple’s App Store with mixed success. The market for apps in Western countries became saturated and so Essien saw an opportunity to take the technology to Africa.

The travel industry in Africa was active but many providers lacked an effective consumer experience, particularly the travel booking process. Essien identified an opportunity to develop an efficient technology solution.

He continues to inspire young entrepreneurs with his story of starting from humble beginnings and turning it into a thriving business.

Temie Giwa-Tubosun

Temie Giwa-Tubosun is the founder and CEO of LifeBank, an innovative healthcare logistics company that uses technology to deliver life-saving medical products to hospitals and clinics in Nigeria. Recognizing the challenges of accessing essential medical supplies, especially in emergencies, Giwa-Tubosun created a platform that connects blood banks, medical laboratories, and hospitals, ensuring efficient and timely delivery. Her work has gained international recognition and earned her accolades, including being named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2019.

She began LifeBank as a startup with two employees to facilitate moving blood from labs across Nigeria to patients and doctors in hospitals. It began with her personal funds. The company was simply an app then. In 2016, a pre-seed investment of $25,000 enabled the company to move to the premises of a business incubator, CcHUB, in a suburb of Lagos.

Dekunle Okunrinboye

Dekunle Okunrinboye, is an entrepreneur and Chairman of DK Industries Group The DK Industries group was established as a haulage business in 2015, following an exit from his previous company Team of Dedicated Achievers LTD. (TODA) an entertainment, lifestyle and hospitality company where he rose to the highest position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO), before bowing out to create his own company. In 2019, DK Industries approached OK Foods Ltd. to help them in distributing their goods across the Northern part of Nigeria, a proposal that was approved.

According to the businessman, “Entrepreneurship has been in engraved in My DNA since inception, I believe I was born to do business”.

DK Industries has since then evolved into other business segments, like commodities, Real Estate, Entertainment, Oil & Gas and basic investments.

Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin

Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin is the founder of Pearls Africa Foundation, an organization that equips girls from underserved communities with computer programming and technology skills. Through her initiative, GirlsCoding, she has trained hundreds of girls, empowering them to pursue careers in technology and bridging the gender gap in the industry. Ajayi-Akinfolarin’s dedication to empowering young girls and her commitment to leveraging technology for social change have earned her recognition and awards, including CNN’s Hero of the Year in 2018.