6 things you may not know about Practoil director Hajia Bola Shagaya
Hajia Bola Shagaya has a large and diverse portfolio of business interests, which include oil, retail, real estate, and photographics. Her widespread business success has earned many accolades and has seen her placed in several rich lists.
1) Climbing the ladder
Bola Shagaya was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth: she attained her dominant position in business through hard work, studying hard at two universities.
2) Friends in high places
It is rumoured that Bola’s immense wealth and large stakes in the economy have made her some very prominent friends in the government, namely wife to President Goodluck Johnathan, Patience; it is also said that she has a strong connection with former military governor Ibrahim Babangida.
3) American Connection
Hajia Shagaya learned her banking skills through her studies at Armstrong College in California; studying in the US surely gave her the edge she needed to become one of the continent’s foremost businesswomen.
Her meteoric successes across multiple sectors has earned Hajia a prominent seat on the board of Unity Bank. In addition to receiving Nigeria’s highest civilian award, the Member of the Order of the Niger, she has also been named as patron of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria.
Polo, originally a game played by the British colonists, is now enjoyed by many Nigerians– Shagaya has consistently supported Polo tournaments across the country for many years.
6) One of the richest?
Whilst there are no exact figures pertaining to her wealth, Hajia has appeared on several rich lists, including one compiled by Forbes Magazine. Since oil exports make up a large chunk of Nigeria’s economy, it is safe to say she is worth many millions.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.