Nigeria is the leading economy in Africa right now and an exciting place to be a woman entrepreneur. Women in Nigeria are now stepping out of the mould that the world put them in to obtain a higher quality of living and ambition.
Today, we are showcasing four of these inspirational women entrepreneurs who are changing the face of business in the country and getting the worlds, at large, to sit up and take notice of the business empires they are gradually building; women who were recently honoured at the Lord’s Achievers Award, an initiative of Nigeria’s premium spirit brand, Lord’s Dry Gin.
Nkemdilim Begho: Nkemdilim Uwaje
Begho is a seasoned serial entrepreneur who has been in business for close to 10 years. She started her entrepreneurial path in 2008 and has been able to turn her first venture Future Software Resources Ltd. into one of Nigeria’s leading IT Service companies. Futuresoft is focused on providing digital marketing and technology solutions for the scaling African Enterprise, as well as offers E-learning and IT Consultancy services.
As one of a few Nigerian women in the industry, Mrs Begho’s successes are founded on a passion for driving innovative thinking, building a globally recognized technology brand and setting trends in the Nigerian Technology space.
Respected and recognized as a leader in her industry, Mrs Begho is regularly featured in a myriad of newspaper and magazine publications and is frequently invited to speak about the future of ICT in Africa, the challenges of African entrepreneurs as well as the role of Information Technology for development and change.
More recently she has stretched her wings beyond core technology and co-founded 3 thriving tech driven startups – Anne Li Unique Ideas (www.alwaysme.ng – Manufacturing & Fashion), Compare Insurance Nigeria (www.compareinsurance.com.ng – Insurance) and Fucaire Lifestyle Ltd, publishers of ASPIRE Luxury Magazine (www.aspireluxurymag.com – Luxury Brand Consultancy).
Ms. Abiola Adekoya is a financial expert with about two decades of experience working in leading financial services firms across the globe. She is currently the MD/CEO of RMB Nigeria Stockbrokers, a subsidiary of the FirstRand Group, a leading financial services group in Africa with global footprints. In her present role, she managed the establishment of RMBNS in Nigeria ensuring regulatory and global best practices were adopted. She is on track to position the business as a leading equities brokerage house in Nigeria.
Prior to this role, she was MD of FBNQuest Securities, a subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc, successfully repositioning the business as a top five stockbroking firm. Within 2006 to 2013, she worked at CSL Stockbrokers and Renaissance Capital – (both top 5 stockbroking firms) and leveraged her knowledge and insight of the capital market and managerial skills to drive product innovation and build a high performing team to position the businesses favourably.
She started out her early years in the banking sector, 1999 – 2006, working in leading banks and serving in various capacities in retail, commercial and corporate banking.
A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers of Nigeria, she graduated with a B.Sc Economics from the University of Lagos (1998) and has an MBA from Lagos Business School.
She has several passions and top on her list is mentoring young professionals. Abiola is passionate about her family and food with an online presence on instagram @foodiewaka chronicling her cooking adventures and global food experiences.
Tosin Oshinowo is a registered Architect in Federal Republic of Nigeria and also a member of the Royal Institute of the British Architects. She has been lead Architect at cmDesign Atelier (cmD+A) since 2012. cmD+A is an architecture design consultancy practice based in Lagos and is best known from the Maryland Mall, which opened in June 2016.
Her interests are in architectural history and socially responsive approaches in architecture design and urbanism. Her written work includes an article on ‘the reclamation of public space in Lagos’, which was published in October 2012. She also started a column in 2017 for Omneka Online titled the Afromodernist: Identity, Architecture & Sexuality, a bimonthly article exploring cultural issues to do with African Identity in a modern context. This was a spin-off from her TEDx Portharcourt talk on ‘the identity of an African Building’ in November 2017.
She enjoys collaboration projects with other creatives, for example, the ‘Angles and Muse’ artist foundation, done with acclaimed Nigerian artist Victor Ehikhamenor. The process was documented by Netflix’s ‘Amazing Interiors_episode 10’ and was the only African project filmed for the series, which aired in June 2018.
In 2017, she created Ilé-Ilà, which means House of Lines in her Yoruba native language. It is a Lifestyle Furniture line designed and handmade in Lagos, Nigeria. The brand focuses on period-conscious furniture in a contemporary African content.
As an Architect, she has a natural afﬁnity towards Product Design. She is particularly interested in the functionality of chairs, but also placing them in a Nigerian-African context. Unlike her minimalist approach to Architecture, which often uses a mute palette, her furniture design aesthetic is a bright explosion of colour.
Tosin was nominated for the EbonyLife TV Sisterhood Awards for Entrepreneur of the year in 2017 and also received a recognition from leading Ladies Africa as one of the 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria 2017. She won the 3rd City People Real Estate Awards for Architect of the Year 2017 and in January 2018 she joined the Board for The Lagos Theater Festival with the British Council. She will co-curator in 2019 the Lagos Biennial, titled, how to build a Lagoon from a bottle of Wine?”
Dr Chioma Nwakanma: Dr Onyedikachi
Chioma Nwakanma is a medical doctor and graduate of Abia State University, Nigeria.
She is a Founder of the “Smile With Me Foundation”, a Health Education and Health Aid centred NGO in Africa with base in Nigeria.
Her journey and passion for preventive health started as a medical student when she realized the rising morbidity and mortality rates in Africa due to health ignorance and an inaccessibility of good and affordable medical services.
She started out her health advocacy company “Medically Speaking” in 2016 and is currently one of the highly respected health advocates and health influencers in Nigeria.
Dr Chioma has received a series of awards and recognition such as Humanitarian of the Year awarded by Vision Alive Foundation in 2016, Social Media Health Influencer (ViFAA Awards and NIFAMSA 2017), Her Network 2018 Woman of the Year Nominee, and recently, The Lord’s Achiever’s Award (Health category).