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Women in Business: Nkiru Balonwu

Founder/MD RDF Strategies

Nkiru Balonwu is the Founder and Managing Director of RDF Strategies and responsible for setting the firm’s strategy and direction. She provides expertise on organisational strategy, partnerships, social outreach, government relations, boards, reputation management and investor relations, to execute strategy through successful communication. Within the first twelve months of forming RDF, Nkiru has already worked with more than a dozen entities including brands, state institutions, and C-Suite executives.

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RDF is primed with its understanding of the multidisciplinary nature of strategic communication to provide clients from across sectors and speciality areas with the communication expertise and strategic partnerships they need to create value. Through rigorous strategies in internal communication, investor communications, strategic partnerships and government relations, they help their clients understand and proactively engage stakeholders’ interests and perspectives.

At RDF, they believe that the more individual women get to the top, the more power women have to change these attitudinal or organisational obstacles, overall. They provide consulting services to private and public-sector institutions committed to advancing gender equality in their organisations. They also offer on-going effective communication advisory services to equip female leaders with the ability to interact more effectively with relevant stakeholders.

Prior to RDF, Nkiru was CEO of Spinlet, the leading digital music platform for African music across the continent and around the world. Before this, she held positions as a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Lagos and was a founding member of Ratio Consulting. Nkiru is also the creator of Bukkipa, a user-friendly mobile app that simplifies the accountancy and cash flow management processes for individuals and SMEs.

Passionate about levelling the playing field for women in business and the democratising power of emerging communications technologies, Nkiru is a founding member and chair of AWB (African Women on Board) and currently sits on the boards of Rele Gallery ( and Girly Essentials.

She also regularly works with younger women wishing to enter executive-level roles. A firm believer in placing effective communications at the heart of successful business and social strategy, Nkiru is an inspiring speaker and media commentator with a unique voice.

On 25 October 2019, Balonwu received the Powerlist 2020 International award. The power list black excellence awards features 100 of the UK’s most influential black people. Balonwu was the recipient of the International Award, which is given to a person based outside of the UK, who is considered to have distinguished themselves as a change-maker, innovator, inspiration and person of considerable influence in recognition of her work at African Women on Board.

In 2018, Balonwu was appointed as a consultant by Nigeria’s leading opposition party, to engage women during the 2019 Presidential campaign of former vice president and opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar.

Balonwu’s consultancy RDF was appointed to develop the concept for Lagos to the World (L2W), a global campaign in 2018 by the Lagos State government to drive foreign investment to the state.

In 2010, Balonwu was a recipient of the Founder Region Fellowship, a gift-giving body that focuses on improving the lives of women and girls locally and globally by giving fellowships to women who will truly make a difference in the world. Balonwu won the prize under a Law and Social Science focus and a legal dissertation based on analysing the opportunities that the African film industry, Nollywood offers to women as a catalyst for economic development.

Nkiru holds a Doctorate Degree from the University of California, Berkeley, a Masters from University College London (UCL) and an undergraduate Degree from the University of Manchester. She has been called to the Bar in Nigeria, England & Wales and New York State.

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