University graduates are at an ideal time in their lives to start their own businesses. Their exposure to common societal problems predisposes them to develop innovative business ideas. A large portion of a country’s most prestigious private colleges and public universities do a pretty good job producing future founders. We have seen this happen from Harvard to Stanford producing founders like Bill Gates and Larry Page.
In Nigeria, while it may not be considered a major factor, the university plays a role in the development of an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset. According to a report “West African Startup Decade Report” by TechPoint Africa, Nigerian universities produced the highest number of founders (43.6%) at the bachelor’s degree level, followed closely by the US (29.8%) of the founders, and England (12%).
A closer look at the education of the startup founders in Nigeria revealed that Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Covenant University (CU), and the University of Lagos (Unilag) produced 12, 6, and 5 alumni respectively.
Top Nigerian Universities producing Millionaire startup founders
Here are top Nigerian Universities that produced Millionaire West African Startup (MWAS) founders.
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
OAU has produced the largest number of the best and brightest startup founders in Nigeria. The institution was established in 1961 by the government of Western Nigeria led by late Chief Ladoke Akintola. In 2003, the school commissioned a Centre of Excellence in Software Engineering as well as a new ICT complex to meet computing needs and encourage tech innovation. It has also housed MIT’S iLab initiative since 2005 till the present date. Some of the notable startups founded by OAU alumni include:
- Jobberman – founded by Ayodeji Adewunmi, Opeyemi Awoyemi and Olalekan Olude.
- Kudi – founded by Yinka Adewale and Pelumi Aboluwarin.
- TeamApt – founded by Tosin Eniolorunda
- PropertyPro – founded by Fikayo Ogundipe
- Flux – founded by Ben Eluan, Osezele Orukpe, Akintunde Israel, and Ayomide Lasaki
- FarmCrowdy – founded by Onyeka Akumah
Covenant University is a private, Christian university located in Ota, Ogun state. It is one of the few universities that place a strong emphasis on ICT entrepreneurship. It built an ICT entrepreneurship hub called Hebron Startup Lab to facilitate a program that aims at producing more entrepreneurs among students of the university. Startups founded by CU alumni include:
- PiggyVest – founded by Somtochukwu Ifezue, Odunayo Eweniyi, Joshua Chibueze,
- PushCV – founded by Somtochukwu Ifezue, Odunayo Eweniyi, Joshua Chibueze,
- MDaaS – Co-founded by Oluwasoga Oni
University of Lagos
The University of Lagos is one of the five 1st generation universities in Nigeria. It is a leading institution dedicated to quality teaching, learning, research, and community service. Since its establishment in 1962, the institution has continued to play a key role in nation-building by moulding the teeming youth population through its teaching, research, and community services. In 2020, Forbes listed UNILAG as the 3rd most productive school in educating entrepreneurs.
- Publiseer, co-founded by Chidi Nwaogu and Chika Nwaogu
- Buycoins, co-founded by Timi Ajiboye
A common trend was that MWAS founders from the same tertiary institution co-founded companies together. Also, at the postgraduate level, 57 founders studied abroad; most of them in the US (31), followed by England (12), France (4), Canada (2), and Germany (2). Only one MWAS founder obtained a postgraduate degree in West Africa.