Nigeria’s top eight young entrepreneurs, according to Forbes
Forbes has released its list of the top 30 “young entrepreneurs and next generation billionaires running their own business.
Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, featured eight business men and women below the age of 30 in the list.
1. Ladipo Lawani, 29
Lawani is the Founder of L&L Foods, the processing and packaging firm. The company focusing on producing quality snacks sourced from agriculture from local farmers. Lawani employs 12 people and manages the premium nut brand Mr Ekpa.
2. Emmanuel Ademola Ayilara, 29
The Founder of LandWey Investment Limited, Ademola Ayilara, has seen his real estate firm turn over $14mn per annum. The firm originally hred five members of staff, which has now evolved to 42 full-time members and 370 realtors.
“Once I had a taste of success, there was no turning back. Starting and running businesses became my turf and all I had to do was build more capacity,” Forbes reported Ademola Ayilara stating.
“I always believed opportunities would come to those who were most prepared so I put in the hard work even when no one noticed.”
3. Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed Falalu, 28
FaLGates is a rice mill that has the capacity to produce 5,000 metric tonnes of rice per year. The firm employs more than 180 people and made $450,000 in 2017. Falalu saw the business opportunity when he discovered that Nigeria produces 2.7mn metric tonnes of rice yet consumes 7mn tonnes per year.
4. Anita Adetola Adetoye, 26
Adetoye is an Irish-Nigerian make-up artist and beauty educator that established Anita Brows Beauty. The brand, based in Lagos, employs 13 people and is set to launch a cosmetic range. Adetoye has won the Future Awards Prize for Beauty and sold out several makeup classes across the world.
“My move to Nigeria was the defining moment for me in the beauty industry,” commented Adetoye.
“It was the moment my hobby became a livelihood and then became a business. I didn’t choose this path by faith, this path chose me. My goal is to change the face of makeup and beauty artistry.”
5. Akinwande Durojaye, 28
JustBrandIt is a printing, branding, and advertising agency that formed in 2014. As well as founding this company, Durojay also established the FixMyRide fleet management firm. The entrepreneur employs 13 people and 210 contracted drivers, making $1.2mn from both companies.
6. Bidemi Zakariyau, 28
Zakariyau launched the fashion PR agency, LSF|PR, during her law degree. The agency has clients such as Philips, Rémy Cointreau, Godrej, William Grant and Sons, Brown-Forman, ARM, AfriOne, Ventures Platform.
“Securing my first client was very difficult because I had no public relations experience; I would visit different blogs in Nigeria and look for contact numbers in the article credits and call the designers requesting to work with them for free,” says Zakariyau.
7. Kene Rapu, 28
Rapu developed the footwear brand named after herself, following a degree from the University of Bristol and a Masters from London College of Fashion in Fashion Entrepreneurship.
“The odds are against us, as more businesses are expected to fail than to succeed. From lack of adequate power supply, to sufficient skilled man power, to the costs and scarcity of materials, the list goes on,” remarked Rapu.
“I remember on my hunt for property for my factory last year, I met a gentleman who made it extremely clear he would not, under any circumstances, rent his property out to women.”
8. Gozie Coker, 29
Coker Creative is a boutique event company that was founded almost four years ago. The firm’s clients include Etisalat, Zippy, Redrick Public Relations, Access and Bella Naija. Coker graduated with a degree in Marketing from Baylor University.
“I used my graduation thesis to test my business plan for what we now know as Coker Creative.”
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.