International Women Day – Meet 41 Nigeria’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs

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Nigeria is the leading economy in Africa right now and an exciting place to be a woman entrepreneur. So, throughout the month of August at Lionesses of Africa, we are showcasing some of the inspirational women entrepreneurs who are changing the face of business in the country and getting the world to sit up and take notice of the products they are creating and the business empires they are building. Each of these businesswomen, in their own unique way, is flying the flag for Nigeria, either at home or around the world.

Here are 41 of the inspirational Nigerian women entrepreneurs we’ve featured on Lionesses of Africa over the past year. Keep reading each day throughout this month for more great startup story features of inspirational Nigerian women entrepreneurs.

 

Tara Fela-Durotoye, founder of House of Tara

Tara Fela-Durotoye is a Nigerian-born lawyer turned Africa’s leading beauty and makeup entrepreneur. She started House of Tara at the age of 20, from her living room, whilst an undergraduate at university back in 1998. She’s since gone on to launch Nigeria’s first ever bridal directory in 1999, and in 2004 she opened the country’s leading beauty academy. Today, Tara has over 3,000 reps spread across Nigeria and 14 stores to her name and she is steadfastly dedicated to realising her vision of building a globally respected beauty company of African origin. Tara remains an inspirational role-model and mentor to make-up artists and aspiring beauty business owners across Africa.

Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife TV

Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife TV  has been listed on Business Insider‘s Top 100 business visionaries creating value for the world. She is the only African on the list with a ranking of 56 on a list of 100 people from all over the world. As the head of one of Africa’s most successful new media ventures, the Nigeria-based television network EbonyLife TV, endeavors to tell real African stories and change the conversation around the continent.

Deola Sagoe, founder of Deola

Deola Sagoe, founder of Deola is the leading lady of African haute couture fashion from Ondo State in Nigeria. Deola has been at the cutting edge of high fashion since 1989 and became the first black woman to present a collection at AltaRoma, Rome’s celebrated fashion week, back in 2004. Her globally appealing style has earned her an enviable clientèle that ranges from Africa’s first ladies, to society girls like Lydia Hearst, top model Alek Wek, and famous personalities such as Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith. Deola, a mother of three, studied at the University of Miami and University of Lagos and earned a Masters in Finance and Management. She was appointed Nigeria’s representative to the United Nations World Food Program ‘Catwalk the World: Fashion for Food’ with the goal of raising money towards halving the number of hungry people in the world, particularly children, by 2015. Deola frequently exhibits her couture collection at Cape Town Fashion Week and has been an invited guest of New York Fashion Week in the past.

Olajumoke Adenowo, founder of AD Consulting

Olajumoke Adenowo, founder of AD Consulting, is a Nigerian Architect, Speaker, Radio Host, Philantropist and Author. CNN has described her as “Africa’s Starchitect”. She has been featured in the World’s foremost Architectural Journal; Architectural Record and has spoken on several platforms including the Global Women’s Forum and Harvard Business School (African Business Club). Olajumoke also hosts a Syndicated Radio show on Leadership called “Voice of Change”.

Adenike Ogunlesi, founder of Ruff ’n’ Tumble

Adenike ‘Nike’ Ogunlesi is the founder of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble a leading designer, manufacturer and retailer of designer children’s clothing in Nigeria. Nike started out modestly in 1996 selling the clothes she made from the boot of her car and in bazaars. Today, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble is an instantly recognisable brand in Nigeria and has a reputation for being one of the top manufacturers of children’s clothing throughout West Africa. Ruff ‘n’ Tumble successfully caters to the unique fashion sense of today’s youngsters, from new born to age 16, happily mixing indigenous lifestyle trends with an international appeal.

Reni Folawiyo, founder of Alara, Nigeria

Reni Folawiyo is the founder and CEO of the luxury concept store Alara, located in the heart of Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria. The store opened its distinctly designed doors in February 2015. Alara, or the “wondrous performer” in Yoruba offers a luxury lifestyle experience unlike anywhere in the world, stocking both Western brands and pan-African design. Reni felt that the country needed something iconic that would change the city, change the way Nigerians saw themselves, and also change the way the world sees them. Reni worked with the internationally recognized Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye to design the Alara building. Reni says “Alara was conceived to show the world who we are today, to share how we live and to show Africans that we have a lot to be proud of, that we create and enjoy objects of exceptional quality and beauty, to celebrate those who have done it, and to support and encourage those who wish to exchange, educate, elevate and beautify.”

Bilikiss Adebiyi, founder and CEO of WeCyclers

Bilikiss Adebiyi is a Nigerian entrepreneur and innovator, and founder and CEO of WeCyclers. This Lagos-based company is focused on giving low-income communities in developing countries a chance to capture value from waste and clean up their neighborhoods through an incentive-based recycling program. Bilikiss holds an MBA from MIT and a Masters degree from Vanderbilt University. She is a 2013 Echoing Green Fellow and WeCyclers were a Sustainia100 Company Award winner in 2014.

Kofo Akinkugbe, founder and CEO of Secure ID Nigeria Ltd

Kofo Akinkugbe is founder & CEO of SecureID Nigeria Ltd. She is a highly respected African business leader who has become a market leader in smart card technology and digital security. SecureID is world-class manufacturing company with the only smart card production plant in West Africa and one of only six on the continent. Her company serves 16 countries across Africa and is fully certified by VISA, Verve and MasterCard. In 2012, Kofo won the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship Mature Business Award.

Dr Ola Orekunrin, founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria

Dr. Ola Orekunrin is a medical doctor, helicopter pilot and the healthcare entrepreneur founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, West Africa’s first Air Ambulance Service. She’s dedicated to bringing trauma care to the most remote parts of Western Africa and her company, an air ambulance service based in Lagos, is doing just that. She was motivated to start the company after her younger sister tragically died whilst traveling in Nigeria as a consequence of their being no medical air service available to transport her to hospital. Ola graduated as a medical doctor from the University Of York in the UK and is a member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. Ola currently resides in Lagos, Nigeria where she is considered a national expert of disaster medicine and pre-hospital care. Her company has been featured on various local TV and radio stations as well as the BBC and CNN.

Uche Pedro, founder of Bella Naija

Uche Pedro is founder of BellaNaija.com, a company that develops and delivers exciting online content aimed at Nigerian and Pan-African audiences. Uche’s savvy grasp of media trends has led to BellaNaija.com becoming the go-to lifestyle, entertainment and fashion portal in Africa. Her website has established a loyal following amongst the young, cosmopolitan, upwardly mobile set in Nigeria, with over 1 million unique visitors and 9 million page views each month.

Nkemdilim Begho, founder of Future Software Resources Limited

Nkemdilim Begho is founder and Managing Di­rector of Future Software Resources Limited, an IT solutions provider focused on online solutions, e-learning and IT security. As one of a few Nigerian women in the industry, her success is founded on a passion for driving innovative thinking, building a globally recognized technology brand and setting trends in the Nigerian Technology space.

Chinwe Ohajuruka, founder and CEO of Comprehensive Design Services

Chinwe Ohajuruka is the founder and CEO of Comprehensive Design Services in Nigeria. Chinwe is a US-based architect who splits her time between the US & Nigeria working on sustainable housing development projects. She is a passionate champion of green building solutions for Africa and she engineers and builds affordable green houses that are both energy and resource-efficient. Chinwe was selected as the Sub-Saharan laureate of the 2015 Cartier Women’s Awards.

Achenyo Idachaba, founder of Mitimeth

Finding an innovative eco-solution to Nigeria’s problem of its waterways being invaded by highly destructive water hyacinth plants, also created a unique business opportunity for Nigerian entrepreneur, Achenyo Idachaba. Today, her startup company, MitiMeth, takes these nuisance weeds and transforms them into beautiful hand-crafted and highly desirable products. She has taken an environmental problem and turned it into a win-win solution for her business, local communities and the country. Each hand-crafted piece is created from the weeds which are harvested from the local waterways and dried out in the sun before they can be used for weaving into highly intricate and beautiful finished products such as baskets, tableware and even jewellery.

Banke Kuku, founder of Banke Kuke Textiles

Banke Kuku is founder and CEO of Banke Kuku Textiles, a company she started in 2011. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Banke moved to the United Kingdom at age eight giving her the innate ability to cross-pollinate traditional African and Western culture to create unique, luxurious fabrics for the interior and fashion industries. Anointed by leading commentators as the ‘Queen of Colour’, Banke promotes African tradition and culture through her exquisite textiles sold in the major capitals of the world and supports and promotes local textile mills in Nigeria. Her interiors range can be been found in major retailers like Selfridges London, and her fashion fabric designs have graced the catwalks of London, Paris and New York.

Ngozi Opara, founder of Heat Free Hair

Heat Free Hair is the story of a woman entrepreneur with a passion for natural hair combined with the entrepreneurial drive to start a business providing natural hair extensions, plus a movement to educate and inform women on how to care for their natural hair. Ngozi Opera is the founder of Heat Free Hair, the first manufacturer of Virgin Hair exclusively created to blend with African American textured, kinky, and curly hair. The company provides hair extensions in the form of wefted hair, clip-in extensions, and wigs. The Heat Free Hair Movement expands beyond the company’s products and focuses on the education of the natural hair community through seminars and instructional videos, as well as events for natural women to network with other women alike.

A personal mission to find a simplified skin care regime for women of African descent, led to entrepreneur Leslie Okoye launching her own line of holistic skincare products specifically created for women of colour. Today, her company, L’Okoye Cosmetics Inc. and her CookieSkin specialist skincare range, is providing a way for women to build confidence in their skin and to create flawless complexions. L’Okoye Cosmetics develops and distributes quality skin care products for women of colour, selling and distributing worldwide to online and physical stores, supermarkets and spas. The company aims to redefine the meaning of beauty amongst men and women of African descent by making holistic skincare that doesn’t perpetuate the idea that beauty is based on skin colour. Instead through its quality skin care products, L’Okoye Cosmetics aims to empower, build confidence and increase self-love in women of color through its brands, campaigns and seminars.

Joycee Awojoodu, founder of ORÍKÌ

As the fast developing world of personal grooming and skincare grows in Africa, so too does the desire to find products that harness the unique natural ingredients from the continent for their inspiration. One luxury brand, ORÍKÌ, founded by Joycee Awojoodu, is not only creating a range of products that truly celebrate Africa’s natural resources, but it also positively touches the lives of those who harvest those raw materials. ORÍKÌ is a leading luxury personal grooming brand that fuses natural ingredients and scientific research to create extraordinary personal care products. The brand creates effective and luxurious beauty and grooming products utilizing raw materials and all natural resources discovered around the world. The range of 32 products is for the ORÍKÌ woman and man, and covers the full spectrum of serums, moisturizers, body wash, moisturizers, exfoliates, toners, treatments, masks and more. Botanically based, the brand uses potent plants, organic ingredients and 100% natural essential oils.

Wunmi Amokeodo, founder of Design for Love

For many entrepreneurs, their businesses start with a passion or a need to address a key challenge that exists in the marketplace. In the case of talented Nigerian fashion design entrepreneur, Wunmi Amokeodo, founder of Design for Love (DFL), it was both of these factors. Today, this highly successful fashion label designs and manufactures female apparel and accessories – specifically dressy casuals and business casuals using Ankara and other fabrics that are more synonymous with the Nigerian and the African market. More.

Nkem Okocha, founder of Mamamoni Limited

Empowering women who come from low-income rural and urban backgrounds, but who have the potential to become independent micro-entrepreneurs, is the mission of Mamamoni Limited, a social enterprise founded by Nkem Okocha. Mamamoni is a Social Enterprise that empowers poor rural and urban slum women with free vocational skills and Mobile Loans, helping them to become financially included in society, to increase their household incomes, to upskill them in their micro-businesses, and to educate their children. The enterprise provides mobile microcredit to low income rural and urban slum women, allowing them to be banked using mobile technology, and training them on different vocational skills. It makes a positive impact and empowers women in different communities with skills and tools to help them to succeed in their businesses. More.

Olubukola Asafa, founder of Oba Couture

There is a growing interest right now in AfroLuxe, bespoke finely crafted luxury items all proudly designed and created here in Africa. Oba Couture, the brand created by Nigerian entrepreneur Olubukola Asafa, is a new name in the world of luxury leather accessory brands emerging from the African continent, to add to the list of those brands currently winning legions of fans around the world with their high-end, luxury products. OBA is a Nigerian luxury brand that manufactures handmade handbags, sandals, shoes and other leather goods with a culture of fine craftsmanship, design and innovation. OBA also offers bespoke made to measure shoes and sandals, which are designed and crafted to specifically fit perfectly for every customer. The label offers dynamic fashion that is simple, unique, feisty and distinct. More.

Adenike Akinsemolu, founder of The Green Campus Initiative

Like many parts of Africa, Nigeria has a number of environmental challenges that need to be addressed by innovative thinking and action. The Green Campus Initiative is entrepreneur Adenike Akinsemolu’s solution to getting young people in the country thinking green and becoming eco-conscious citizens. The Green Campus Initiative (GCI) tackles the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability through innovative academic research, results-based green initiatives, and building a generation of environmentally conscious, socially conscious student leaders. It was established to educate, engage and enlighten young people to live green, as well as equip them with the vital tools to positively transform their communities, nation and generation. The programs encourage students to use bicycles and other means of sustainable transportation, conserve energy and water, utilize renewable energy, dispose of their waste properly, become social entrepreneurs through the development of vocational skills, and become eco-conscious citizens. More.

Ayoronke Tosin Yeye, founder of iMentor Africa

IMentorAfrica is the brainchild of Nigerian entrepreneur Ayoronke Tosin-Yeye, and is a company focused on helping entrepreneurs find mentors in their key areas of expertise and interest. Her online solution provides instant access to both experienced mentors and information, and brings an entrepreneurial network together. IMentorAfrica is a virtual platform for Africans to LinkUp and share the gift of “Mentorship”. It is for everyone who is willing and able to Mentor or be Mentored. More.

Fatima Babakura, founder of Timabee

Timabee is a new proudly African, luxury accessory brand on a mission to make luxury accessible and affordable, whilst at the same time celebrating the best craftsmanship combined with the finest leathers. The company’s founder, Fatima Babakura, is passionate about the timeless process of creating the most beautiful accessories, harnessing her country’s tradition of fine craftsman-made products, but in a new contemporary way. Timabee is an up and coming luxury women’s handbag brand with one mission – to redefine luxury by making it affordable. Timabee believes luxury goes beyond the price tag of an item. It is about the creativity, time, and resources that go into making it. The company is committed to designing very unique pieces with the best leathers and hard wares out there! The brand’s promise to its customers is that they will never have to break the bank to own luxury. More.

Irene Ochem, founder of ICO Conferences and Events

Building a genuinely pan-African brand can be a challenge, but it is one that entrepreneur Irene Ochem is more than ready for, as her company, ICO Conferences & Events Limited, is building a great reputation for organising successful and high profile events across the continent. She is also creating a great network for women decision-makers and opinion-formers to come together and help to foster the empowerment of African women. ICO Conferences & Events Limited is a young international and professional conference, exhibition and event management company. The company, which is based in Nigeria and South Africa but which operates across Africa, creates, designs and produces world-class, high-profile business-to-business, multi-stakeholder conferences and corporate events. ICO owns its conferences, exhibitions and events, and takes the process from creating the idea through to concept development, production and execution. The company also organizes trade and investment forums, specialising in organizing events on behalf of industry and professional bodies, Association Meetings, Congresses and Conferences. Two flagship events, owned and produced by ICO Conferences & Events are: Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) and Power Distribution & Metering West Africa (PDM-WA).

Sia Alexander, founder of the Children’s Art Workshop

For those underpriviliged young children and youth who live on the margins of the larger society in Nigeria, having the opportunity to be creative and enjoy being with others to express themselves artistically is a dream come true. One social enterprise is making this dream a reality – the Children’s Art Workshop in Lagos is the brainchild of social entrepreneur, Sia Alexander and is making a real difference to the lives of young people in underpriviliged communities. The Children’s Art Workshop provides free art-based workshops and fieldtrips to local Lagosian youth from impoverished communities. It utilises the site of the Nimbus Art Gallery as a community gathering center for children in the local area to come and eat, play, dance, create, make music, design, write, perform, etc.

Oluwatosin Lawson, founder of African Things

Building a pan-African and global brand relies on appreciating the need for high quality manufacturing combined with a unique selling point, and Nigerian entrepreneur, Oluwatosin Lawson, is building her African Things Lifestyle and Fashion brand by addressing both factors. Her sense of pride for African design shines through all her products, whilst at the same time, recognising the power of mass production to tap into new markets. African Things makes contemporary African inspired lifestyle products that are functional with innovative designs in a manner that empowers Africans. African Things aims to change the negative image associated with African manufacture and be a symbol for high quality products whilst at the same time empowering Africans. So far the company’s product range includes backpacks, bow ties, earrings and bangles and several other fashion related items. The company plans to expand to more lifestyle products such as plates, towels and kitchen appliances using African fabric and materials. It alsomanufactures from a variety of factories based in Nigeria and China. Over time, the company also aims to set up its own factory in Nigeria, thereby creating jobs and contributing to wealth creation.

Olatorera Oniru, founder of DressMeOutlet

In Nigeria’s rapidly growing fashion retail marketplace, Olatorera Oniru and her new online retail platform are on a mission to contribute to the growth of local manufacturing in the areas of fashion and health & beauty in the country. Dressmeoutlet.com is Nigeria’s foremost retailer for high-quality fashion products, health & beauty products and home-goods. With over 1,000 products to shop from, the platform retails various sophisticated styles from premium designers globally. Dressmeoutlet.com is very strongly focused on quality, with business processes built to ensure that customers experience quality, uniformity and excellence. Dressmeoutlet.com retails the best selection of products sourced locally and internationally, ranging from dresses to shoes, and health to beauty products. Customer service is optimal as the platform ensures each individual customer gets the dedicated service they want.

Eva Sonaike, founder of interior and lifestyle brand Eva Sonaike

There is a growing global interest in African design, textiles and products, and talented Nigerian interior designer and lifestyle brand creator, Eva Sonaike, is taking the world by storm on the back of this trend. Her aim is to position the ‘African’ aesthetic in the global textiles and interior industry as part of her bigger brand-building picture. Today, Eva Sonaike is a London-based interiors and lifestyle brand creating luxurious textiles, home-décor and accessories with a distinctive and vibrant West-African aesthetic. Inspired by the cultural mélange of West-African textile tradition and European craftsmanship, a passion for interior design and an exuberant love of colour, as the company’s Creative Director, Eva’s aim is to add a new and distinctive aesthetic to the luxury interiors market. Expertly printed in Germany and manufactured in the UK, the luxury range (of textiles and products) boasts a breadth of exclusive designs that bring a touch of African luxury to any setting.

Femi Olayebi, founder of My World of Bags

In the competitive world of global accessory and handbag design, one Nigerian designer is making the world sit up and take notice, with her unique take on beautiful, bespoke, handcrafted pieces that celebrate the art of craftsmanship combined with a uniquely African touch. Femi Olayebi is talent personified and her great eye for design, together with a deep appreciation for African culture and textiles, has allowed her to create handbags and accessories that have a great story to tell and a wonderful visual appeal. My World of Bags is a design and manufacturing company which produces a beautiful range of handcrafted products – a bespoke, leather handbag and accessories line (FEMI HANDBAGS) and a more corporate line (myworldofbags) with products ranging from conference bags and folders to laptop bags and sleeves, tablet cases, and promotional gifts that are tailored to specific client needs. All the pieces are handcrafted at a mini facility in Ibadan, Nigeria, by a small team of craftsmen and women.

Rainat Komolafe, founder of Babies Essence

For new parents-to-be in Nigeria, planning for the new arrival can be a little daunting, particularly if it is a first baby. So, entrepreneur Rainat Komolafe has created a startup business, Babies Essence, taking all the guess work and effort out of the process, providing a genuinely one-stop shop for everything needed to welcome the new member of the family into the world. BabiesEssence offers a range of specialist baby-planning services such as personal shopping, baby registry, baby shower planning, and consulting services. Rainat has recognised that most parents are working full-time and don’t have much time to shop, however there are so many new services and products being introduced into the world of pregnancy and parent’s to be. At BabiesEssence, she is making shopping easy for new parents, empowering them to make the best decisions in preparation for their precious new arrivals.

Ommo Clark, founder if iBez

If there is one thing that women in tech love to do, it is to shake up the industry and to genuinely create things that are both entrepreneurial and innovative. Nigerian techpreneur, Ommo Clark, is one such industry game-changer, building a software house, iBez, that creates not only proprietary software products that help to solve local challenges, but also develops and showcases local tech talent. As a software house, iBez provides bespoke application development services and proprietary software products to businesses, and has a number of innovative internet based businesses offering various services to consumers. Some of the company’s products include:  Schools Network Integrated Programme (SNIP), Project Management Integrated System (PMIS), Hotel Motel Solution, Handy Jacks, Lets Share, Exchange BBPin, and so on.

Nkemdilim Begho, Ashim Egunjobi and Ijeome Nwoke, founders of Always Me by Anne Li

Seeing the truly adorable and uniquely African baby and maternity products created by multi-talented Nigerian serial entrepreneurs, Nkemdilim Begho, Ashim Egunjobi and Ijeome Nwoke, for their company brand, Always Me by Anne Li, definitely brings out those ‘Aaah’ moments in life. The exquisitely handmade and beautifully designed products are absolute must-haves for any design conscious parent! Always Me By Anne Li specialises in creating handcrafted gifts for babies, toddlers and their parents! Always Me by Anne Li, as a brand, believes that it is the magical moments in all of our lives that count and seeing your little ones play, laugh and simply live life to the fullest is the most beautiful thing. With a range of beautiful, handmade, unique baby and maternity products, such as baby play mats, toddler sleeping bags, bibs, diaper bags and nursing / baby pillows, Always Me brings more colour and love into these magical moments. The products are beautifully designed to grow with your baby from newborn age to toddler-age. We also ensure that each product is safe for your baby to sleep on, lie and play on and cuddle with. Every item in the Always Me by Anne Li product line is a one-of-a-kind and skilfully made by our designers and seamstresses using the best quality materials and incorporating African fabrics and designs.

Ijeoma Ndekwu, founder of Redrick Public Relations

For Nigerian PR company founder, Ijeoma Ndekwu, becoming an entrepreneur was in her genes. From an early age, she took her inspiration from her successful entrepreneurial father who managed to achieve the freedom of work/life balance in his business, and showed her an alternative and entrepreneurial career path of her own was possible. Her company, Redrick Public Relations, is a boutique public and media relations agency specialising in creating, developing and executing innovative and strategic integrated PR campaigns, all guided by market intelligence, for Corporate, Lifestyle and Retail brands. From developing unique stories to implementing results-oriented PR campaigns, Redrick PR participates in aiding every facet of your brand’s growth. Some of the specialist services the company provides include: Editorial Placement, Story Pitching, Press Kit Development, Brand/Product Launches, Press Release Writing & Distribution, Planning & Coordination of Press Events (including conferences, trips and press days).

Nnenna Kalu Makanjuola, founder and Editor in Chief of Radiant Health Magazine

Nnenna Kalu Makanjuola is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Radiant Health Magazine in Nigeria. She’s a public health advocate with a Doctorate in Pharmacy and Master’s in Public Health Policy and Management from Columbia University. Radiant Health is Nigeria’s first women’s health magazine offering easy-to-follow tips and advice on health and wellness, fitness, healthy eating, beauty and style and expert advice, all wrapped up in one enticing title.

Zainab Ashadu, founder of Zashadu Bags

Zainab Ashadu is founder of Zashadu, a leading British/Nigerian sustainable luxury brand, that specialises in hand-crafted leather pieces. The company works with local sustainably sourced leathers, farmed exotic skins and rough cut precious stones set in brass. All Zashuda pieces are created at its work studio in Lagos, by a team that benefits from traditional techniques passed down through generations by a community of local artisans.

Damilola Solesi, founder, CEO and creative director of SMIDS Animation Studios

Damilola Solesi is founder, CEO and creative director of SMIDS Animation Studios Nigeria a company she founded in 2010. Smids animation studios is based in Lagos and creates 3D computer animation, 3D content production, motion graphics and visual effects. Damilola is also the pioneer of TechDivaz (now Women R.I.S.E), an initiative she started at the Co-Creation Hub. TechDivaz is a platform where women are inspired to expand their interests in technology through collaboration, networking, training, mentorship and funding to help them play a stronger role in growing the technology startup scene in Nigeria and Africa.

Oreoluwa Somolu Lesi, founder of Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre

Oreoluwa Somolu Lesi is founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre a Nigerian NGO working to empower girls and women socially and economically, using information and communication technologies. Oreoluwa is a 2014 Vital Voices Lead Fellow, 2013 Ashoka fellow and a recipient of the Anita Borg Change Agent Award for her commitment to issues of women in computing in Nigeria.

Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Lagos Fashion and Design Week

Omoyemi Akerele founded the Lagos Fashion and Design Week in 2011 and is also founder and artistic director of Style House Files, the organising body behind the annual four-day fashion showcase. Style House Files is a Creative Development Agency that primarily focuses on the advancement of the Nigerian and African Fashion Industry. Omoyemi is widely regarded as a driving force behind the burgeoning Nigerian fashion industry. She helps brands gain essential international exposure through presenting showcases at Pitti Immagine in Italy, and through Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

Oyindamola Honey Oyediyi, founder of fashpa.com

Oyindamola Honey Oyediyi is the founder of Fashpa.com, a Nigerian online fashion store retailing trendy clothes, footwear, and accessories. Oyindamola started Fashpa.com after she couldn’tfind any great fashion in the country and decided to leverage her e-commerce platform to serve others frustrated like her.

Ugochi Ugbomeh, co-founder of Tranzit, Nigeria

Ugochi Ugbomeh is a woman who thinks big and harnesses the power of technology to make a difference. Her entrepreneurial vision is for her company, Tranzit,  to become a curator of truly world-class transportation, location based and mobility services in Africa, effectively moving people and things from one destination to another. Tranzit is a phonetic alternative to the English word “Transit” which means – “the conveyance of people and things from one place to another. Having this in mind, Tranzit is an IT based mobility service provider. Currently the company offers two products: firstly, TaxiPixi Africa www.taxipixi.com, which is a taxi e-hailing and booking service, that helps you book a taxi in 30 seconds. Secondly, TranzitIT, a technology based delivery service that serves both e-commerce and brick and mortar merchant owners, as well as regular consumers.

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