Today, We specially appreciate our young hard working entrepreneurs in our country.
These outstanding personalities on our list are pioneers of their industry who run incredible ventures, proving that there’s no substitute for hard work, tenacity and some ingenuity to get to where they are today.
The list reflects the achievements of young Nigerians throughout the year 2017.
The list that includes Men and women is meant to serve as a source of inspiration to young people around the world.
These young people have all made waves in their communities and around the world to promote change for the better with their projects.
For anyone who believes that young people can’t make a difference, and that the young voice in this world doesn’t count, this list will make you think again.
- Wizkid (Musician)
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (born 16 July 1990), better known by his stage name Wizkid (sometimes stylised as WizKid), is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. He started recording music at age 11 and managed to release a collaborative album with the Glorious Five, a group he and a couple of his church friends formed. In 2009, he signed a record deal with Banky W.’s record label Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E).
He rose to prominence in 2010 with the release of the song “Holla at Your Boy” from his debut studio album, Superstar (2011). “Tease Me/Bad Guys”, “Don’t Dull”, “Love My Baby”, “Pakurumo” and “Oluwa Lo Ni” were also released as singles from the Superstar album.
Following the release of his second studio album and expiration of his 5-year recording contract, Wizkid left E.M.E. On 1 March 2017, Billboard magazine reported that Wizkid signed a multi-album deal with RCA Records. The deal was first reported by several media outlets in September 2016. The chairman and CEO of RCA Records, Peter Edge, somewhat confirmed the signing while speaking to Music Business Worldwide in January 2017.
He was ranked 5th on Forbes and Channel O’s 2013 list of the Top 10 Richest/Bankable African Artists. In February 2014, Wizkid became the first ever Nigerian musician to have over 1 million followers on Twitter. Moreover, he became the first Afrobeats artist to appeared in the 2018 Guinness World Records for his contribution to Drake’s hit song “One Dance
Wizkid’s contribution to the Nigerian Music Industry has earned him several achievements.
2. Chude Jideonwo (Co-founder of The Future Africa & Red Africa & Author of How to Win Elections in Africa: Parallels with Donald Trump (2017)
Chude Jideonwo (born 16 March 1985) is a Nigerian lawyer, journalist and media entrepreneur. Working several years in Media, Advertising and Public Relations, he has become a media entrepreneur and influencer in Nigeria. He is also an expert on new/social media and youth lifestyles. Jideonwo is known for his commitment to development across the African continent. He is a co-founder of The Future Project, which is focused on inspiring leadership, building entrepreneurs, and innovative use of the media (traditional and new) tool for sustained social change. This has reached millions of Nigerians, especially young people, in about 12 years
In 2011, Jideonwo was the youngest journalist ever to interview a sitting Nigerian president; securing a sit-down with Goodluck Jonathan.
Also known as a book reviewer, his novel, His Father’s Knickers, written when he was 13, was launched in 2001 in conjunction with the National Orientation Agency and the French Cultural Centre.
In May 2012, Jideonwo was appointed the youngest member of the awards committee for the Ford Foundation Jubilee Transparency Award and in July was appointed into the British Council’s Steering Group for its Creative Industries Expo.
Nigeria’s daily, The Punch listed Jideonwo alongside thirteen others, as one of the young people to watch in 2012.
Also, in 2012, BusinessDay included him and his business partner, Williams, in a 40 under 40 list,.
In February 2013, both Jideonwo and Williams were named in Forbes 30 Under 30: Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs.
Jideonwo was selected as a 2017 Greenberg Fellow at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
3. Adebola Williams (Co-founder of The Future Africa & Red Africa)
Adebola Williams is co-founder of RED, which holds Africa’s largest portfolio of youth brands, with three companies, including communication agency, Red Media Africa; media production outfit, Generation Y! (owners of YNaija.com, ‘Rubbin’ Minds, amongst others); and youth development organisation, The Future Project, which presents Africa’s biggest youth event, The Future Awards Africa.
Adebola Williams has consulted for global brands, including Microsoft, Google, the British Council and the United States Government.
He also worked closely with President Muhammadu Buhari when he was the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress from 2014 to 2015 – leading on the campaign communication across TV, radio, print, online and outdoor, starting from the iconic photos of the president that went viral in December 2015.
He was selected as one of the Top 100 of Our Generation by Top 100 UK in 2007 and 2008, and was selected as a Global Changemaker by the British Council in 2009.
He was awarded CNBC Young Business Leader for West Africa, Forbes Best 30 Entrepreneurs under 30, awarded Businessday 40 under 40, among others. His company was recently nominated for African Business of the year alongside Dangote Group and Chandaria Industries by African Business Awards, New York.
Adebola Williams, spoke in the closing session themed “Collective Power” and earned a standing ovation from the crowd, including Barack Obama after his speech.
Speaking alongside Williams in this session were award-winning actor and musician Common, author and journalist Anand Giridharadas and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, among others.
4. Japheth Omojuwa (Founder, Omojuwa.com & Political Commentator)
Japheth Omojuwa (born Japheth Joshua Omojuwa ) is a Nigerian blogger, public speaker, socio-economic and political commentator and social media expert. A columnist with The Punch newspaper, Leadership newspaper and Naij.com, Omojuwa’s articles have appeared on CNN, ThisDay and other platforms across the continent and beyond. His works have been repeatedly translated into several languages including various platforms for German, French, Portuguese and Greek audiences.
He has been a regular guest at several conferences and symposiums.
The leadership of the African Union invited Omojuwa in 2014 to be part of the Africa Re-imagination Creative Hub (ARCH) to fashion an agenda for Africa 2063 project. He participated as a panelist at a side event during the 2013 United Nations General Assembly in New York City where he spoke on the need to use data and facts as tools in activism and policy making.
His pieces have appeared on several online and print mediums including Metropole Magazine, Sahara Reporters, BBC, The Financial Times, ThisDay and Naij.
In August 2016, Omojuwa successfully completed the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) in the United States. The International Visitors Leadership Programme, which started in 1940, is a professional exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and boasts of 35 current and 300 former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government as alumni.
5. Timilehin Bello (CEO of Media Panache Nigeria)
Timilehin Bello is the founder and CEO of Media Panache Nigeria, a tech and digital- driven public relations agency. A graduate of Lagos State University, Timilehin started a PR agency in the social media platform,WhatsApp last year. Today, he is the co-founder of a food company called ‘Trays n Pans’.
Timilehin beat four other prestigious nominees in the 2017 Future Awards Africa for the ‘Media Enterprise’ category, namely Oluwagbeminiyi Osidipe, Ijeoma Ndekwu, Rick Nwaso and Tiwalola Olanubi.The award was presented to Timilehin for the steadfastness and skillfulness of his company, Media Panache Nigeria as well as personal contribution to the country’s new media.
Timilehin’s Media Panache is dedicated to finessing innovative PR approaches to astound their clients by sharing authentic stories about their brands, amplify their message and boost their business.
6. Yasmin Bello-Osagie (Co Founder, She Leads Africa)
Boston-born, Nigeria-raised Yasmin Belo-Osagie knows that she has enjoyed significant opportunities unavailable to most African women. She had a strong role model in her mother, a lawyer who started her own firm in Nigeria. Belo-Osagie went to boarding school in England, then graduated from Princeton University. She attended Le Cordon Bleu in London and Paris and did a stint as a pastry chef in Hong Kong.
As Belo-Osagie, a former McKinsey consultant, surveyed entrepreneurial opportunities for African women, she saw an overwhelming emphasis on thinking small: microfinance, microbusinesses, microprogress. But she knew smart, dynamic women who want to start medium or large businesses. She Leads Africa, which Belo-Osagie cofounded in 2013, has helped nurture hundreds of aspiring, ambitious female entrepreneurs, with support from companies including Intel, Guaranty Trust Bank, Huawei, and Etisalat.
In 2015, Belo-Osagie took five female entrepreneurs to China to meet with successful women entrepreneurs and China-based investors interested in Africa. Next, she’ll host versions of her professional boot camp, the SheHive, in Lagos, Nigeria, Johannesburg, South Africa, and other global cities. While continuing to grow She Leads Africa, Belo-Osagie is also pursuing a joint JD/MBA from Harvard Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business.
7. Alex Iwobi (Nigerian professional footballer, plays for Arsenal)
Alexander Chuka Iwobi (born 3 May 1996) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League club Arsenal and the Nigeria national team.
Iwobi was born in Lagos before moving to England at the age of four. He is the nephew of former professional footballer Jay-Jay Okocha.
Iwobi started as a youth international for England, with whom he won the Victory Shield of 2011. Iwobi went on though to play for Nigeria. He made his senior debut for the Super Eagles on 8 October 2015, replacing Ahmed Musa in the 57th minute of a 2–0 friendly defeat to DR Congo in Visé, Belgium.
He was selected by Nigeria for their 35-man provisional squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics. He was not a part of the 18-man final squad.[
In August 2017 Iwobi pulled out of Nigeria’s squad for that month’s World Cup qualifiers due to injury. On 7 October 2017, Iwobi scored for Nigeria in a 1-0 win over Zambia to secure the Super Eagles a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia
8. Shola Ladoja (Simply Green Limited)
Adesola Ladoja is a farmer, Founder Simply Green Limited and Managing Director Real Livestock Limited.
Simply Green Juices is Nigeria’s first farm to bottle raw cold-pressed juice company with a high percentage of produce coming from its farms.
With a focus to stop the importation of most vegetables and produce that can be easily grown by mixing organic and technically- advanced farming practices, Simply Green Limited understands the importance of high quality and well-packaged produces especially vegetables and herbs.
His passion for agriculture saw him depart from his profession as an engineer to follow his dreams as a farmer.
He started the business with N250, 000 in May 2014.
Little by little, the business began to grow and turnover increased.
The company is one of the fastest growing fruit juice companies in a fiercely competitive environment, it is now worth millions.
Ladoja started the firm primarily because he wanted to drink juice not knowing it was going to be a successful business.
Before moving back to Lagos from New York, he drank green juice almost everyday.
But upon returning to Nigeria, he couldn’t find any good quality juice, so he created one to cater for his needs and that of other people like him.
Simply Green Juices is Nigeria’s first farm-to-bottle organic cold-pressed juice company promoting healthy living and sustainable agriculture at the same time. The juice it produces is 100 per cent natural and additives-free.
Starting from Lagos, the juice product without preservatives is being sold in major cities in the country. He said the company would like to increase its reach to consumers in other states.
9. Laolu Isaac Senbanjo (Artist)
Laolu is a Brooklyn based Nigerian born Performance and Visual Artist, Singer/Songwriter/Musician, Human Rights Lawyer and Activist whose mantra is “Everything is my canvas.”
He considers himself a ‘keeper of the Yoruba culture.’ His Sacred Art of the Ori Yoruba body paint ritual (which he created) was featured on Beyonce’s Grammy Award winning Visual Album, “Lemonade.”
He’s graced the cover of the Washington Post, had features in the NY Times, Vogue, BBC, CNN, VICE and more. His ever growing list of collaborations have been with brands like Kenneth Cole, Nike, Equinox Fitness, and with other artists such as Alicia Keys, Swiss Beatz, Seun Kuti, Tony Allen, Alek Wek, and Danielle Brooks.
You can find his music on iTunes, Spotify and Apple Music. Listen to his TED talk on TED.com You can also buy his cologne Bvlgari’s Black Essence featuring his original Art work at Bulgari.com
10. Femi Bakre (Founder & CEO of Kraks TV)
Femi Bakre is a graduate of the University of Lagos, Akoka where he was awarded a baccalaureate in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. In 2014, he graduated Summa Cum Laude and as the Overall Best Graduating Student in the University of Lagos.His future ambition is to own a conglomerate of companies and NGOs with the sole purpose of adding value to the life of the average Nigerian and also impacting the world positively.
Following his achievement as the overall Best Graduating Student – University of Lagos (2014), The founder of video aggregator Kraks.tv have an almost unrivaled hold on the data and attention spans of Nigerians. In two years, Kraks.tv has become the foremost aggregator of African slapstick humor and ‘reality interviews’ a sub genre of vox pop television that aims specifically give the interviewee the slip and sleight of hand, finding humor in the most inane of situations. With hundreds of millions of views, social media accounts that boasts millions of followers and a website that allows registered users share their own submissions, Kraks.tv has stumbled on a mine of crowd sourced content and spun it into gold.
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