The International Women\’s Day is a special day to celebrate the advancements of women in different spheres of life, including business. Without doubt, it has been a long time coming for women\’s rights and their quest for economic emancipation. In Nigeria, for instance, where the 80.2 million women and girls that make up the population have lower life chances compared to men, some women have still managed to transcend the status quo.
Today, we have multi-billion naira companies that are owned by women like Folorunsho Alakija. In the same vein, many more Nigerian women such as Ibukun Awosika are occupying top management positions in big corporations. But asides the well known women in business, there are others who are doing quite well in terms of entrepreneurship. That is why on this day of celebration for our womenfolk, we bring you the top ten Nigerian female entrepreneurs that you should know.
1. Oiza Olayemi (Founder: The OIZA Company)
2. Abimbola Ipaye (M.D of Traditions by Bimms)
3. Omoye Abulimen (CEO Chayil Shoes Nigeria)
4. Olajumoke Oduwole (Founder at kjk.com.ng)
5. Teniola Adejuwon (Founder at Podozi.com)
6. Atolani Ayodeji (furniture-maker at Design City)
7. Kofo Akinkugbe (Founder of SecureID Nigeria)
Kofo Akinkugbe is a Nigerian entrepreneur whose success track-record has gained global recognition. The Mathematics graduate started off her professional life with a successful 12-year career as a banker which lasted until 1997 when she resigned to fully take on entrepreneurship.
She started Interface Technologies, a security management and biometrics company which she ran for nine years before establishing SecureID Nigeria. The company is a market leader in the smart card/digital security industry, providing services to sixteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It is also fully certified by companies such as MasterCard, Verve and Visa.
For her entrepreneurial efforts, Akinkugbe has received recognition and awards from different quarters, including the prestigious Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship. But despite those awards and recognition, she mostly maintains a low social profile while focusing on making her business better.
8. Ayo Migbope
Ayo Migbope is the founder of No Leftovers Nigeria Limited, a catering services company. She trained as a confidential secretary and worked briefly at Corona Schools in Lagos before leaving with the intention of establishing a playgroup business. Along the line however, Ayo discovered that she had a different passion- cooking and selling moi moi.
Now here is the interesting aspect about Ayo\’s entrepreneurial story: she started her moi moi (bean cakes) business with just N1,000. At the time she started, her initial customers were her extended family members and friends of friends. Today, her business has expanded, re-branded and generates an annual turnover of $100,000!
Thanks to her new platform, Ayo has met and deliberated with important global figures such as former American First Lady Michelle Obama and former American President Bill Clinton. She also attends several global summits where she speaks on entrepreneurship.
9. Nkemdilim Begho
Nkemdilim Begho is a tech entrepreneur and founder of Future Software Resources Limited. She is one of the few Nigerian women in the IT industry, and her company is one of the foremost e-learning providers in the country.
She trained at the Maximilian University and Technical University Munich where she received an honours degree in Bioinformatics. Upon graduation, she worked in different German establishments before returning to Nigeria to establish her entrepreneurial presence.
10. Faith Emenike (CEO, La\’Fame Perfumery)
Faith had a special love for scents while growing up. According to her, she used to have different bottles of perfumes which she applied all at the same time to create a special mix. After she graduated from Covenant University with a degree in Mass Communication, and had to face the difficult job market, she decided that she could as well make money from what she loves- making perfumes.
In the beginning of her business, she faced difficulties. According to her, her family members were particularly not pleased over her decision. More so, as she went from one establishment to the other marketing her \”mixed in Nigeria\” perfumes, she was often mocked by those who did not understand the vision. Today, her business has found its footing. But she says that she still has a lot to accomplish. In her words, \”La\’Fame Perfumery would be a household name in the next five years. La\’Fame ambassadors would have multiplied a hundred times and be all over Lagos and its environs. We would also have outlets where our product is sold and where trainings take place.\”