Organisational leadership in 2021 turned out to be a matter of learning the ropes anew in the changed
business environment of the Covid-19 ruled world. Corporate leadership needed to learn and relearn in no time
how broken operational functions had to be put back together to keep the system streaming once again.
It has been a year of exploring and testing new ideas to serve changed markets and out the necessity sprang up
innovation from many quarters. Outstanding corporate stories in 2021 sum up to a chorus of innovative responses
to new demands of how markets should be served in an unusual pandemic.
Further straining and reshaping consumer market conditions in the year is heightened insecurity at both physical and virtual ends. The developments created demand for new products and services that haven’t been on the shelves or sufficiently so until now.
Another major challenge came from an overflow of job losers into the informal sector – swelling the number of
the financially excluded, people without access to credit and others with limited or no opportunities in the economy.
The test of the effectiveness of CEOs’ responses to the changed markets and the operating challenges unearthed
formed the standard for the construction of the 2021 Top 10 CEOs of the Top 10 Magazine.
In the group is a low-cost carrier that has made it possible for people to manage their security by creating services that enable them fly at a fraction of usual air fares. This is considered one big step ahead in the aviation industry that has helped to include lower income group into the flying club in Nigeria.
The home builders from the real estate industry made it to the Top 10 this year for playing a counter cyclical role by
sustaining new investments, steering growth and employment as well as income opportunities in a tepid economy. They helped to stem economic decline and rev up recovery.
The next are the fintechs – the digital solutions providers where innovation has run rampant. They excelled by creating and widening access to online transactions as alternative channels to sustain normal operations of people and businesses.
The white flag is up for the fintechs in 2021 for innovations in financial inclusion, particularly in the areas of non-bank mobile money services and quick access to credit to the underserved – through which they have injected a stimulatory force to the economy.
In the top 10 group is a rural electrification agency that added a number of rural and university communities to the list of Nigerian communities with access to electricity in the course of the year.
An IT company is also in the Top 10 CEO’s listing for 2021 for home-grown IT capability tested and trusted by leading Nigerian companies and beyond for its network management and support centre that provides round the clock remote monitoring and support services for IT and network infrastructures.
Top 10 CEOs of the year listing also has onboard a revolutionary tech-driven transport company that provides innovative services that cover the gaps in all forms of transportation on land, air and sea. The transport technology company offers electronic-charter service platform to ease the transportation system in the country.
What they all have in common is the adoption of innovative ways and techniques to bring solutions to the challenges that people and businesses faced in 2021. By charting new courses for handling the complexities and challenges of markets and living conditions, the corporate chieftains have worked to pave the way forward into the future of people and businesses this side of the globe.
Ibukun Gbadamosi – Chief Executive Officer, J3 Holdings
Ibukun Gbadamosi is an astute businessman whose exceptional knowledge and versatile experience traverse key sectors and industries of the Nigerian economy and beyond. These include finance, risk management, statistics, real estate, marketing, information technology and management.
His outstanding resourcefulness is in display at J3 Holdings, where he sits as group chief executive officer, governing a diversified conglomerate with a wide range of first-rate operations in several sectors of the economy.
The group’s operations cover real estate development and management, facility management, land sales, loans and investments and trucking services. It is also engaged in supply chain management, courier services, poultry farming, table water production, among others.
“From our headquarters in Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria, our businesses cater for every member of the society irrespective of their socio-economic class. We are passionate about excellence and this is evident in our products and services,” according to the company’s statement of purpose.
Gbadamosi is quite passionate about using his wealth of business knowledge and experience to create value for stakeholders, empower customers and deliver quality job opportunities to Nigerian youth. His combination of cross sector knowledge with innovation, skills and experience mingled with result oriented work ethics, has set his company on the path of a clear success of the corporate mission.
J3 Holdings has capacity for considerable multiplier chain effect in terms of stimulating economic activity, creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs for talented people across its various businesses.It is credited to Gbadamosi for availing life sustaining opportunities to tens of thousands of indirect jobs across the country through diversified operations of the conglometate.
He attributes the successes of the company to a number of factors: the collective expertise of management and staff, entrepreneurial approach, good network of business associates that enhance deal flow and the ability to source and implement viable and profitable projects.
His work experience over the years has taken him through real estate development, project finance and banking. His last port of call in paid employment is one of the leading real estate companies, where he made his marks as head of funding and credit analysis. He excelled in coordinating the relationship between the company, its off-takers and the financing banks. The effort yielded the desired results – successful execution of projects.
Gbadamosi proceeded to put his knowledge and experience to work in the field of entrepreneurship when he set out to pioneer the establishment of Crovation Limited in 2014. The company, now a member of J3 Holdings,engages in the development and maintenance of real estate.
Its expertise is in conceptualizing, executing and maintenance of real estate for corporate and individual clients. It has built a strong reputation as a skillful and dependable real estate firm.
The company’s management assures that its commitment to bringing innovative solutions to the real estate industry is unwavering. “We are customer friendly and guarantee the security of all your investments”, it affirms.
The diversification of the company’s operations continued in 2017 when Milli Asset, an investment management company was established. The company specialises in investment brokerage and management as well as proffering the best financial solutions through top notch financial advisory and structuring. Its mission is to develop a sustainable financial base for clients.
The company provides bridge finance, venture capital and investment brokerage solutions through which clients’ dreams of financial freedom are brought to reality.The company conceptualizes and implements different investment portfolios for corporate and individual clients.In the process, it has built a strong reputation as a skillful and dependable project financing institution, bringing innovative solutions and approaches to its various engagements.
Roadshow Logistics, another member of the J3 group, was established in 2018. It has won the reputation as one of Nigeria’s leading logistics companies, servings as a go-to logistics service provider for numerous clients, ranging from MSMEs, large scale enterprises to individuals.
The company has cut its teeth in trucking services, supply chain management, courier services, and providing heavy equipment to construction sites. It has earned a reputation for fast, reliable, affordable and secure services.
J3 Group also operates in the agric sector through its subsidiary – Ayoka Farms, which is a model 100,000-bird capacity farm city located in Mowe Ofada, Ogun State. The farm was set up to carter for the protein needs of the growing Nigerian population, starting with production of about 3,000 crates of eggs daily.
It is a fully integrated operation, planted on seven acres of land, covering layer farming, hatcheries, feed mills, etc. Its products areeggs, live broilers and layers as well as frozen chicken.
The operations have led to the development of a chain of partnerships and collaborations in the areas of feed production, food and drug administration, disease control, modern retail outlets and farmers, making a reality the company’s phrase of ‘farm to table’.
Gbadamosi holds a Doctor of Science degree in corporate governance from the European American University in the Dominican Republic. He is a member of the Risk Management Association of Nigeria and ISO 9001: 2008 certified.
He has been appointed an International Peace Advocate by the United Nations Positive Livelihood Award Centre in recognition of his proven integrity and commitment to the ideals of altruism, promoting universal moral values, strong family life, social harmony, inter-religious and ethnic cooperation and the culture of peace.
As an international peace advocate, Gbadamosi serves as a role model, championing peace-making efforts that promote peaceful coexistence and positive living in line with international practices across the world.
In recognition of his entrepreneurial success in diverse fields, Gbadamosi is selected among 10 outstanding CEOs to feature in the top 10 CEOs edition of The Top10 magazine.
Babawande Afolabi – Founder and CEO, Green Africa Airways
Mr. Babawande Afolabi, founder and CEO, Green Africa Airways, has weathered through the biggest storm ever in the aviation industry to see the realisation of more than six years of planning and set up of commercial flight operations. This became a reality on August 12, 2021 when his airline’s ATR72 turboprop aircraft staged a 90-minute inaugural flight from Lagos to Abuja.
Upon arrival of the flight, Afolabi declared the mission he is out to accomplish at Green Africa Airways. “We are on a mission to connect more people in Nigeria and Africa to their dreams and opportunities.
“It’s what kept us going despite the odds over the last several years and it’s what will continue to sustain this franchise even after we are all gone”, he said.
Green Africa Airways received Air Operator Certificate from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in August 2021 and commenced commercial flights with three ATR 72-600s turboprop aircraft leased from ACIA. The airline plans to increase its fleet of ART72 turboprop airliners to 15 by the end of next year.
The journey to commercial flight operations began in 2011/2012 when Afolabi worked as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. There, he had an exposure in the transport sector, which further galvanized his interest in the area of space, giving birth to the idea of exploring a pan African value carrier in Nigeria.
His idea is that ordinary people should be able to hop on a plane at an affordable fare and pursue their dreams.
The idea evolved into a passion and Afolabi dedicated his time as an MBA student at Stanford GSB to learning more about the airline industry, taking up a Summer Associate role at American Airlines in Dallas, TX.
At Stanford, idea met support and endorsements of experts in the industry including, Prof. George Parker, former board member, United Airlines, Prof. Joel Peterson, former chairman, JetBlue Airways a, William Shaw, founder and former CEO of Viva Columbia.
At American Airlines, he also received the support of Thomas Horton, former chairman & CEO and Virasb Vahidi, former CCO of American Airlines Group.
The support of these senior industry leaders propelled Afolabi’s idea into action with William Shaw, Thomas Horton, and Virasb Vahidi later becoming early investors and founding members of the board of Green Africa Airways.
A major support came from unexpected quarters in December 2013 when Oby Ezekwesili, former World Bank Vice President for Africa, responded positively to Afolabi’s email to his pleasant surprise. She is counted in the success story of Green Africa Airways as the first leading personality in Nigeria to believe and throw her weight behind the vision of a new value airline in the country.
The next port of call was funding in respect of which a lot of support and cooperation again flowed from friends, former colleagues and classmates from Illinois Wesleyan University and Stanford GSB – who contributed personal funds to raise a seed round of funding in 2014 in support of the vision.
A great milestone was reached in 2015, when the airline was incorporated, followed by the opening of an office in Opebi, Lagos in 2016. The company received the first major institutional investment in 2017, which extended to series A round of funding between 2018 and 2019.
With that, the airline has secured the funding it needed to play big in the Nigerian aviation industry. It announced that it had reached an agreement with Boeing for the supply of up to one hundred 737 MAX 8 aircraft in a deal that carried a list-price of $11.7 billion.
The order, said to be the largest aircraft agreement Boeing has ever entered with an African airline, was canceled following the grounding of the aircraft then due to safety reasons.
The order later shifted to 50 A220-300s from Airbus and with a commitment to lease additional three A220-300s aircraft from GTLK Europe. Delivery has been deferred in the light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travels.
Afolabi is also the founder of Teatime Capital, a venture capital initiative focused on making micro-equity investments to ultra-small Nigerian businesses in often overlooked regions of the country.
Prior to founding Green Africa Airways, he worked at Morgan Stanley as an investment banker and also as corporate strategist at American Airlines.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics double major from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2010. He holds a record of being the first-ever international student to serve as president of the Student Senate. He enrolled for MBA programme at Stanford University and graduated in 2014. Afolabil has positioned Green Africa Airways in the marketplace as a safe and reliable air carrier affordable to a broad segment of customers. “This positions us as a significant contributor to the economic development of Nigeria and the African continent”, he said.
Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad – Managing Director/CEO of Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria (REA)
Engr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad is managing director/CEO of Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria (REA), where he has mandate to develop and implement plans and strategies for rural electrification across the country.
He is the man driving the mission to provide access to reliable electric power supply for rural dwellers irrespective of where they live in Nigeria and what they do. His job essentially is to apply technology to solve energy problems in Nigeria’s rural communities.
The Agency is tasked with electrification of rural and unserved communities through public and private sector participation, co-ordinating rural electrification programme and administering the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) to accomplish the objectives.
Ahmad has provided effective leadership at the agency that has brought in innovation in the task of lighting up the rural communities in Nigeria. The agency has flagged off and commissioned several solar projects across the country under Ahmad’s leadership.
He has unveiled the rural power provision structure of the government and translated same into reality through energy efficiency projects that are completed or ongoing, across the six geo-political zones of the country.
REA has implemented a number of electricity projects under the Rural Electrification Fund, Energizing Education Programme, Grid Extension (capital projects), Energizing Economies Initiative and Solar Power Naija Programme.
In 2020, the agency commissioned a 234kWp solar hybrid mini-grid in Shimankar, a rural community in Shendam Local Government Area of Plateau State. The project is one of the largest capacity mini-grids deployed by REA to power an unserved community.
Last September a 100kWp Solar Hybrid Mini-Grid at Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru market, Kaduna State, built through public-private partnership, was commissioned. The project provides constant and reliable electricity to over 500 shops in the market, one commercial bank, one police station, and one fire service station.
Earlier in February this year, the agency commissioned a 1.35MW Solar Hybrid Power Project at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Delta State. The project is the 5th under Phase 1 of the Energizing Education Programme implemented by REA.
A 100kWp Solar Hybrid Mini-Grid Grid Project was also commissioned in the same month in the Adebayo community, Ovia South LGA, Edo State. The community has existed for over 60 years without electricity.
The Ahmad-led agency also commissioned a 30kWp solar hybrid mini-grid project in the Mbela Lagaje community in Adamawa State. This mini-grid was delivered through REA’s capital projects.
Also, the agency has energized many federal universities, including the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Bayero University Kano, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike-Ikwo, Ebonyi, among others with solar hybrid captive power plants.
Some other projects have been commissioned in the last two years and REA’s management promises that hundreds more currently ongoing across the country would soon be realised. Ahmad assures that the federal government is poised to ensure the deployment of equitable electricity to rural dwellers across every nook and cranny of Nigeria.
“True national development happens when there is equitable deployment of such sustainable interventions. Leveraging on the leadership and support of the federal ministry of power, we will ensure that unserved and underserved communities across Nigeria continue to feel the impact of the federal government’s energy interventions,” he said.
The targets for the rural electrification programme of government is to increase access to electricity to 75 percent and 90 percent by 2020 and 2030 respectively. It is also set to achieve a minimum of 10 percent of renewable energy mix by 2025.
A sustainability platform is built where beneficiaries under Rural Electricity Users Cooperative Societies (REUCS) will own, operate and maintain the infrastructures in cooperation with DisCos and other professional private sector companies providing the know-how required to operate the systems.
REA provides the training required to operate such systems effectively and efficiently. REUCS is an initiative of the agency, which is aimed at mobilizing benefiting communities to achieve sustainability of electrification projects.
The agency utilises decentralized solutions in its effort to increase access to electricity. This involves a mix of centrally coordinated, demand-driven and market-oriented projects. Grid extension strategies are supported by stand-alone systems under which mini-grids are developed to provide critical services for hardest-to-reach customers.
The off grid electricity strategy is to provide access to clean and sustainable electricity to millions of Nigerians. Some of the key objectives are to develop 10,000 mini grids by 2023 to serve 14 percent of the population, meet reliable electric power needs of 250,000 SMEs and to deploy five million solar standalone systems for residential communities and SMEs by 2023.
Ahmad has taken steps that have facilitated the execution and delivery processes of the power projects of the agency through collaborations and partnerships. He led the agency to a partnership with Development Bank of Nigeria to structure affordable financing plans for REA’s projects. This includes the REF Call 2 projects, through selected commercial banks.
The benefit is to create an avenue for mini-grid developers from the recently finalized REF Call 2 while engaging with financiers, development finance institutions as well as digital financial institutions within the solar space in Nigeria to access debt financing.
Ahmad has also pulled through partnership agreements between the agency and six companies on the Output-Based Fund agreement under the Stand-alone Solar Homes System component of the Nigeria Electrification Project. With the signing of the grant agreements, about 75,953 SHS Units have been added to the existing 200,000 SHS connections since the project was launched in 2019.
Ahmad holds a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and management from the University of Leeds. He also holds a Master of Development Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy and a Master Diploma from CADD.
He also holds a certification from The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria. Prior to his appointment at REA, he was a member of the executive management team of a private energy consultancy where he provided thought leadership and strategic operationalization of various solar energy projects across Nigeria. Other roles that Ahmad has held include special adviser to the minister of environment and principal infrastructure officer at the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission.
Yanju George – Founder and Managing director/CEO of IBIC Investment Holdings
Yanju George is founder and managing director/CEO of IBIC Investment Holdings, one of Nigeria’s leading multifaceted service providers. He established the company in 2013 as a financial brokerage firm and has since diversified into real estate, agriculture and lately, hospitality.
IBIC Investment Holdings is structured as an investment firm with primary engagement in real estate development and brokerage, cryptocurrency investment and exchange. It functions as a one-stop investment and Crypto currency solutions provider in Nigeria.
Its diverse business interests cut across farming (poultry, piggery, plantation, snail and fish farming), logistics and haulage as well as cleaning and fumigation services. Its competitive edge in the market place is draws from its domain expertise, track record of performance, excellent management, innovation and strong corporate values.
George is driven by a central purpose in all his company’s business offerings and that is to deliver superior value to chosen markets. He oversees a business conglomerate ranked as one of the largest independent multifaceted investment companies in Nigeria’s business space, providing the most sophisticated investment and exchange solutions for all types of investors.
The company assures that clients’ satisfaction is paramount through which it has established proven track record of giving value for money in its services. It is for George a business driven by passion to contribute to nation building. He has expanded business interests rapidly with presence across sectors and industries.
“Although widely traveled across several continents, I have vested interests in Nigeria and in the African market. I am staunchly committed to contributing to the dream of a ‘New Nigeria’ and the sustainable development of African economies.
“I sit on the board of a number of companies, including the Trinitas Foundation, an NGO that focuses on providing social support to less-privileged women and children in Nigeria. They have over 20,000 beneficiaries since their inception, whom they assisted with food items, clothing, medical supplies and job empowerment”, he said.
The company’s agricultural project is a state-of-the-art facility along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway operated by IBIC Acres. Acres is substantially invested in poultry with 10,000 birds and counting, snail and pig farming as well as a plantation of major food crops.
Its large capacity is designed to supply private and commercial needs across south-west, Nigeria and to offer long-term investment options to investors. The founder’s vision is for Acres to become the most efficient farm and agro-resource provider across the West African region by 2024.
IBIC Investment Holdings’ real estate investments are handled by IBIC Properties, a multifaceted real estate subsidiary, focused on providing real estate solutions to optimize value to investors. The company offers broad-based real estate and allied solutions in construction, property development, facility management, architectural consultation, short lets and interior design.
The services include raising funding for large scale development projects, vetted investment opportunities to investors, sale of commercial and residential properties, acquisition of real estate assets on behalf of investors and advisory services.
The company’s hospitality business has gone an extra mile ahead since the opening of its George Residence in 2020 – a premium shortlet located in Lekki, Lagos. The state-of-the-art facility with its five-star hospitality experience makes it one of the biggest players in the Nigerian hospitality industry.
George is leading the hospitality business to its changing future with shortlet. The Mathematics graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University believes that with the concept of shortlet, hotels are on their way out of the scene.
“Everyone wants to leave their homes once in a while but they also want to be able to do their own things, feel like they are home while experiencing a change of environment. It’s like going to a hotel but it not exactly a hotel. Here, you have your kitchen, washing machine, ironing table and you could do every other thing you do in your home”, he said.
IBIC Investment Holdings also operates a fintech subsidiary – CoinNest Africa, which is headquartered in Lagos. The company facilitates exchange of Crypto currencies to streamline faster remittance to and from Nigeria with minimal transaction charges.
The company offers three products – Coinnest, Paylite and Coincash – all built to support micropayments. It has operated in the cryptocurrency space for over seven years and boasts an expert team of traders at its command.
The company assures of high speed of operation and robust ability to instantly fund clients. Its operations are complemented by a training platform that treats cryptocurrency trading at beginner and advanced levels and from simple techniques to the technical analysis of trading.
George Residence is the first Nigerian apartment-hotel and one of a few companies in the country to accept cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, as a means of payment. Intending guests at the shortlet apartment can make reservations and bookings using the digital currencies.
It said Bitcoin has all the benefits of fiat currency, plus added features of electronic transactions, swift payment confirmations and no physical handling.
The shortlet partners top cryptocurrency brokerage firm, Coinnest Africa, which offers services that allow merchants to accept Bitcoin easily from anywhere across the world at very minimal charges.
According to George, “It is clear to us that Bitcoin is the currency of the future and it is only right that we are strongly positioned, so we do not get left behind.”
George is a Mathematics graduate from Olabisi Onabanjo University. After graduation, he set up his first business outlet in Ibadan, which he operated for three years before moving to Lagos in 2013.
Chijoke Dozie – Co-founder and CEO of Carbon Finance & Investments Limited
Mr. Chijioke Dozie is co-founder and CEO of Carbon Finance & Investments Limited and founder and chief executive officer at Paylater. Carbon has transformed from a micro-lending platform frankly captured by the name, PayLater to become the fintech fiefdom and challenger bank.
Carbon emerged from a rebranding that brought together OneFi – the holding company that acquired Amplify, a payment solutions company and PayLater, to become a one-stop-shop for fintech services. It is a digital bank, offering services that range from savings and investment products, fund transfer, lending and bills payments.
The new name appears to indicate the solidity built from the component parts that form the financial service bond the company planned to be ubiquitous in Africa. And so Carbon is spreading from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa into Kenya – the hotbed of fintech.
At Carbon, Dozie is on a mission to give the banking public what it isn’t getting from regular banks: credit and that happens much faster and on easier terms. Its niche lies in the difference between the 40 million Nigerians that have bank accounts and the only one million of them that have active loans from a regulated financial institution.
A big hurdle for banks is credit bureaus that are able to capture only 11 percent of the population due to limited data. Credit files are thin for the rest of the population due to Nigeria’s poor addressing system, fragmented national identification systems and the prevalence of informal population.
Banks cannot therefore assess the credit worthiness of the larger segment of the population, which denies them access to credit.
Dozie resorted to a digital approach to proffer a solution by changing the source of data – the mobile phone. Mobile phone users generate volumes of non-traditional data through the use of the phones and therefore have transaction history.
Carbon is able to assess credit-worthiness by analyzing a consumer’s digital footprint. With that, it has opened a large credit market where it makes short term, unsecured loans to any customer with a smartphone and a bank account within 5 minutes, via a mobile app.
The strategy is one of coming down to the level of the market to design a fitting service. In Nigeria, as much as 60 percent of working adults belong to the informal sector of the economy and do not have formal records of their transactions – which is required to give them access to mainstream financial services. This is the gap that fintechs like Carbon are in the market to fill.
According to Dozie, fintechs make it possible for people without formal transaction records to access credit. They do so by redefining the barriers to entry and using existing information to connect people to the funds they need.
The advantage, he said is that “fintechs also offer a faster and more cost-effective way to deliver potentially life-changing financial services to a wider range of people than the traditional banking model has done to date”.
The difference is that the financial exclusion under traditional banking practice has given way for financial inclusion by fintechs. The emergence of fintechs as a popular choice for investment in Africa hinges on the issue of financial inclusion.
Dozie explains that financial inclusion for Africans goes beyond access to a bank account to deposit money. “It is about having access to advisory and business management services that can enable their lives and businesses to thrive and flourish”, he said.
He has positioned Carbon to exploit the opportunity that digital banking has presented to address the pain points experienced by Africans in terms of low access to credit arising from underdeveloped banking system for the mass market. Leveraging the power of the mobile phone, the company has defined the huge unbanked/under banked market across the African continent as its target.
The founder’s vision is to build a Pan-African digital bank for Africa and Africans in the diaspora. “We want to be the most diverse digital finance platform anywhere and we are looking forward to expanding the range of services we deliver to customers in the markets we serve”, Dozie said. His launch into Kenya is a strategic step for him in realising the vision.
Carbon has unique operating features that distinguish its services from competitors. These include its hassle-free process that enables frictionless access to credit. It promises easy access to funds and other services with maximum convenience hardly found anywhere else. It requires no guarantors, collaterals or long approval processes.
The company also offers flexible saving schemes and interest rates on savings that beat the marks available from conventional banks.
It has also structured its services for the African market so that its products can truly impact individuals and businesses as widely as possible. Dozie enhances value deliveries across markets by taking learning from successful fintech markets and replicating in other markets.
Dozie holds Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of East Anglia and a Master’s degree in risk management from the University of Reading. He obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School.
He worked with Zephyr Management LP in the United States and South Africa as an investment associate where he was in charge of sourcing private equity opportunities in Africa and working closely with Zephyr’s portfolio companies.
He later moved to International Finance Corporation as an investment analyst responsible for sourcing investment opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Oladipupo Clement – Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lifepage Group
Mr. Oladipupo Clement is founder and chief executive officer, Lifepage Group, a real estate investment company that began operations in 2012. At Lifepage Group, he has successfully created and managed over 23 projects across Africa and is in charge of an investment portfolio deals in excess of $20 million.
A global investor and trusted wealth creation & retention coach, Clement boasts a career spanning over two decades. He leads a group of investors/professionals comprising over 15,000 subscribers and realtors.
His diverse operations cut across sectors and industries where he is behind the springing of a number of companies. He founded Lifepage Property & Investments Limited in 2014 – which deals in real estate development and investments across the major cities in Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
In close to 10 years on the saddle at Lifepage Group, Clement has led the organisation to attain great milestones in business development and brand strategy and to make its mark in the real estate industry.
He is a principal co-founder of several companies operating in the construction, software
development, executive education and agriculture space. This includes Million Homes, which was launched in 2019 – a platform that provides access to real estate investment and home ownership.
Here the company is set on a mission to rebuild one million homes by 2041. The platform creates access to people of various income levels to otherwise capital intensive real estate opportunities by enabling subscribers to make gains through investments.
Lifepage are the owners and developers of a number of prime properties and residential estates in key Nigerian cities, including Lagos, Abuja, Ogun State, among others.
Clement champions the crusade for Africa-wide economic emancipation through platforms such as the Wealth Creation Summit and the Mega Housing Summit.
Through mentorship, he has enabled ordinary people to take up opportunities in real estate to escape from poverty into wealth by investing profitably.
This he does as a host of the Gameplan Masterclasses and The Gameplan on Radio which reaches millions of people weekly. He is an avid reader, an author and has to his credit several published and unpublished works.
He worked as senior manager/regional vice president, business development atAims Asset Management Limited – one of the foremost financial service groups in Nigeria.
He trained over 200 of the company’s workforce nationally during his tenure.
He was credited for strategically organizing and collaborating with senior executives of thecompany to develop new business trends and new services. He successfully executed and spearheaded internal and external business strategies to optimize customer relationships. Clement attended Faith Christian Theological Seminary & Central Christian University, Lexington, North Carolina, USA. He trained at Business School Netherlands where he obtained a Master’s degree in business.
He has been resident pastor, Calvary Bible Church, Gbagada in Lagos since 2018 – where he provides spiritual leadership to members of the church.
Clement is the author of a new book on financial freedom titled Financial Freedom Master Guide. The book, which has earned him credit internationally for giving the inspiration and the tools for transforming their lives, has extended further his credentials as a trusted wealth creation and retention expert, a seasoned financial coach and entrepreneur.
Chiedu Nweke – Managing Director/CEO, Periwinkle Residences Limited
Barrister Chiedu Nweke is managing director/CEO, Periwinkle Residences Limited, where he oversees the design, development, construction and administration of a wide variety of major premium and luxury housing developments and residential complexes in Nigeria. Crossing over from the courts to building castles, he drives the vision to build the most trusted brand in the real estate business in Nigeria.
He brings to the company’s leadership three decades of experience and expertise that cut across law practice, real estate development, investment, transportation and logistics, oil waste management and regulatory services.
Periwinkle Residences specializes in the development of premium, luxury residential properties, applying innovation and creativity to create long-term value for investors and partners. Its mandate is to provide secure housing and investment solutions to clients.
Nweke founded and shaped the company to run on the path of honesty, trust and customer satisfaction – which has paid off. In a space of four years, the company has become a market leader, setting the standard in Nigeria’s real estate industry.
His focus is the premium market in line with the conviction that providing clients with life-changing experiences is more important than building homes. In line with the market focus, Nweke established a subsidiary company – Periwinkle Condos Limited with the mission of providing luxury homes and investment opportunities to clients.
The results are stunning, which have distinguished him as a disruptor in the real estate business where his group controls a large share of lifestyle estates market.
The company’s Periwinkle Lifestyle Estate is a lifestyle community with magnificent structures designed to match the highest expectations of comfort and luxury. Its Oxygen Apartments are the newest development in the exclusive lifestyle and serene water view of Lekki Phase 1 in Lagos.
Ixora Homes present unique residences that combine class, style, quality and innovation – all in the bid to match taste and style of the high end market.
Other development projects include magnificent villa homes designed to achieve perfect homes for elite living. The Chateau D’Avenue is another signature project located in the exclusive Periwinkle Lifestyle Estate.
From the onset, Nweke set out on a clear mission to create a ‘live, work and play’ environments in reference to which ‘Lifestyle Estate’ was named. The idea is that residents don’t have to go far to get to a shopping mall, church school or playground. He designed everything to be within easy reach.
“I imagined that people who will live here won’t need to go too far to do their jogging, bicycle riding or whatever recreational activity they want. We’ve provided everything within the estate,” he said.
Nweke refers to himself as a project man in reference to his passion for creating new developments. That precisely is what led him to cross over from law to real estate.
His landing place was dredging business – where he made his mark as one of the pioneers of massive dredging in Lagos. His final cross over point was Lakowe Lakes in 2009 where he was hired by Golf Estate developers for dredging.
He recalls that “when we were about to conclude the Lakowe project, the beauty of it all, I told myself that this is an opportunity for me to do something in real estate in Lagos. And that was how we applied to the Lagos state government for a concession that led to Orange Island, then Periwinkle.”
His Periwinkle Estate emerged from reclamation of waste land with lots of shanties that nobody imagined could become the Periwinkle of the present day. According to him, Orange Island and Periwinkle emerged from the backwaters of Elegushi, Ikate water logged shanties, marking a turning point that led to the development of a multi-billion naira prime real estate that stands today as a choice destination.
The estate, he said, has afforded his company the opportunity to express itself in terms of infrastructure, structural construction and the style of buildings on display.
Periwinkle Residence has a number of ground-breaking real estate projects to its name across Nigeria. Nweke is promising that many more are in the process of roll out.
His focus remains the provision of premium and first-class residences that feed clients and investors with premium smart homes in upscale neighborhoods crafted for the ultra-modern lifestyle.
Nweke holds a degree in law and also obtained a Master’s degree in law LLM from Lagos State University. He advanced further to a Ph.D. programme at the University of Nigeria.
Prior to venturing into the real estate industry, he was managing director/CEO, West African Waste Management Limited, an oil waste treatment company servicing major oil and gas companies. He was also a key contributor to both Shenker Shipping Limited and Lintel Shipping Limited.
He is a member of several professional bodies and sits on the board of several multinational companies.
He is quite optimistic about sustaining growth and prosperity of the real estate industry well into the future. However, he considers government’s role quite critical in terms of providing the necessary conducive environment for sustained investment inflow into the industry.
Oyaje Idoko – Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Layer3
Mr. Oyaje Idoko is an entrepreneur and founder and chief executive officer, Layer3 – one of the leading IT companies in Nigeria. He is an expert in design and network engineering and led the team that built the first fixed wireless broadband network in Nigeria.
He has built a wealth of experience in the information technology and services industry. Combining rare skills with strong entrepreneurial capability, Idoko has built a business that serves many banks in Nigeria.
His company runs a 24-hour network management and support centre that provides round the clock remote monitoring and support services for its customers’ IT and network infrastructures. The centre also serves the company’s expansive metro fiber network infrastructure that guarantees optimal performance and quick fault resolutions.
Idoko established Layer3 in 2005 powered by a large pool of technically certified and experienced experts that are behind the company’s wide service reach to several African countries. His aim is to place his company’s services at the forefront of clients’ business transformation ambitions.
“We combine our knowledge of world-class technology solutions, in addition to our partnership with some of the global technology providers to deliver exceptional value for our clients. Our solutions cut across all sectors and include the innovation of the data centre, software, server and storage systems, mobile device management, security and network infrastructure solutions and access solutions, including broadband and VPN services”, the company stated in its service profile.
Layer3 is counted among the fastest growing network and security infrastructure companies in West Africa, providing award-winning services, including managed and cloud services, network security, IT infrastructure management, virtualization and mobile device management solutions.
The company assures of the capability of its unique model that integrates best-of-breed technologies from global leaders such as Juniper Networks, Blue Coat, Polycom, AirWatch, F5, Extreme Networks and VMware, coupled with its next-generation metro fiber networks to offer unparalleled services and after sales support to even the most demanding customers.
It offers access services, managed services, network and infrastructure services and Layer3 Cloud.
“For 15 years, we have supported organisations with the technologies they need to scale and thrive, in line with our mission to make organisations and individuals excel through technology,” Idoko said.
The Layer3’s boss started his entrepreneurial journey quite early at the age of 12 and worked barely for five years after graduation from the university before setting up the company that has been running since 2005.
He is a man of special skill, so gifted that he would programme over 1000 lines of code at the age of 12 – a ring of the techie badge he wears today. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in communications engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria in 1998.
He moved on to kick off his formal career as a network engineer with Prodigy International. Shortly after, he led the team that built the first fixed wireless broadband network in Nigeria at Startech Connections.
He attended Stanford University Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Growing Companies in 2015 and also the Stanford Seed Transformation Program Certificate in 2019.
Layer3’s services are utilised by organizations in various parts of the country as well as in other African countries. This means domesticating the hosting of data generated by clients in the country. Idoko points out that this is the trend across the world where countries are increasingly holding data generated within their domain in data centres located within their borders.
He is drawing attention to the need for organizations in the public and private sectors in Nigeria to follow the global trend. “The whole notion about where your data resides is something we need to take very seriously.
“There’s been a lot of talk about data being the new oil. If we say that data is the new oil, why would we want someone else to be in custody of our ‘oil’?”
He said Nigeria is disadvantaged in many respects by failing to locate vital IT infrastructures locally. He is quite confident that Nigeria’s economy would realise significant benefits by leveraging home-grown IT facilities instead of relying on foreign cloud service providers.
“We see the impact of this in the amount of foreign exchange leaving the country as payment for these services. But we have the infrastructure to provide these services locally. We think it’s important to take charge of what is our own,” Idoko said.
The company’s solutions cut across all sectors and include the innovation of the data centre, software, server and storage systems, mobile device management, security and network infrastructure solutions and access solutions, including broadband and VPN services.
The services have impacted critical economic sectors such as education, health, and start-up innovation ecosystem through its corporate social responsibility projects and interventions. The company has continually supported the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control with free bandwidth, which has enabled the agency to strengthen its communications and response capacities in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company’s top notch services are supported by its combination of world-class technology solutions knowhow with its partnership with some of the global technology providers, which has it to deploy solutions that minimize risks, maximize flexibility and optimize the use of capital with results that beat customers’ expectations.
Idoko describes his work as meaningful and transformative. “There is evidence of this in the wins that our solutions have helped our clients achieve. We want the coming years to yield even greater successes for them, and for us,” he said.
Oluwatobi Fakayode – Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bossbus Technologies
Oluwatobi Johnson Fakayode is founder and chief executive officer, Bossbus Technologies, a revolutionary tech-driven transport company that caters for the underserved areas of transportation in Nigeria. His mission is to provide innovative services that cover the gaps in all forms of transportation on land, air and sea.
The transport technology company offers electronic-charter service platform to ease the transportation system in the country. Users can choose rides based on price, location, length of days and other options on the platform.
The company takes upon itself the job of finding a suitable means of transportation to the destinations of customers, whether it should be by land, air or water and what form it should take, using its transport technology platform.
The platform therefore avails customers an aggregation of different means of transportation – cars, SUVs, buses, boats, helicopters, and private jets as options for people in need of these services to access them through the app.
“We go above and beyond to ensure we provide the best vehicles with high end features that make our customers feel comfortable and safe”, Fakayode assured.
It is a highly customised charter service system where a user is able to specify the kind of vehicle he wants to use for his movement, the length of time or days, location and still pick an option that falls within his budget range.
What the company has done is to aggregate vehicle rental and charter services for land, water and air in one tech-enabled platform. The operation employs the power of technology to transform the urban mobility industry by delivering integrated charter services and offering reliable, safe, affordable and convenient commuting experiences to customers.
The company launched out in 2019, evolving through different stages – from a bike hailing platform to bus hailing, then intra-state and finally inter-state transportation. It presently operates across major Nigerian cities, including Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Enugu, Owerri, Warri and counting. The plan is to cover all Nigerian cities in the years ahead.
Fakayode has designed the platform to solve the various challenges faced by commuters and the platform can be accessed to book/buy tickets for rides online by downloading the app.
While transportation is a way of life the average commuter is often not sure how to get to his destination. Added to the troubles is the vexed issue of insecurity – people board vehicles and disappear.
Bossbus is creating an oasis of sanity, security and convenience out of the chaos through the application of technology.
The services are customized to meet users’ needs across market segments. “If you want a wholesale ride-hailing service perhaps because you have a lot to do and want a car and driver to be at your convenience for the entire time, you have a list of vehicles to choose what you want, the time and have it tailored to your needs.
“We also cater for business executives, travellers, tourists, people who want to visit another state but do not want to drive the distance. There are also high net worth individuals, SMEs and organizations that need these services on wholesale. With Bossbus, you can order exactly what you want,” Fakayode said.
Security is of essence in today’s movements and travels and Bossbus has figured it all out in its operating framework. It conducts a-know-your customer process on all participants to enhance security whether they be individuals or companies and whether they register as vendors or participants.
“Security is not something we joke with. We need to be sure of the customer coming on, just as we need to be sure of the driver too,” the company’s CEO said. In addition, there are check processes where the quality assurance officers check to confirm the quality of any car, bus, boat, yacht, or air jet engaged for service.
The company’s security system is further reinforced by a two-way rating system in operation where drivers rate passengers and passengers also rate the drivers. The measure, according to Fakayode, is designed to ensure that all parties are playing within the rules.
The company’s service platform is divided into two: charter services and ride-hailing/ride pooling platform. The chartered service platform aggregates the underserved segments of the transportation sector, focusing on vehicle rental and charter services for land, water and air.
Also included on the platform are air charter and rental services with helicopters, business jets, private jets and private jet pooling for all categories of clients.
Bossbus plans a long way to go to disrupt commuting and transportation in Nigeria and then in every major city in Africa.
Tosin Eniolorunda – Founder and Chief Executive Officer, TeamApt
Mr. Tosin Eniolorunda, founder and chief executive officer, TeamApt, heads a digital solutions and infrastructure company that offers software tools and payment platforms that ease the way banks, businesses and people pay, collect, grow and manage money.
The company is on its way to evolving as Nigeria’s largest digital bank, offering financial services tailored to meet the needs of the underserved mass market – micropayments, savings, lending, insurance, pensions – using technology and low cost offline distribution models.
“We believe providing financial access to the over 350 million Africans, who are currently financially underserved will economically empower them and put them on a path to become the next generation of middle class Africans” the company’s CEO said.
Eniolorunda began the entrepreneurship journey in 2015, when he resigned from his job at Interswitch, where he was a software architect for six years. He moved on with a team of five founders to pursue a burning desire to make a significant impact in his life and those of others.
His vision for TeamApt began at Interswitch when he observed the impact of money transfer inefficiencies on consumers – both businesses and individuals. He then responded by creating a virtual machine that cut down POS application time by about 90 percent. However, he didn’t get all the satisfaction with that. “I wanted to take things to another level”, he said.
TeamApt focuses on building digital solutions and infrastructures for individuals, banks and businesses in Africa and other emerging markets. The financial software company is on a mission to offer financial services to underserved populations.
The company raised $5.5 million in its Series A funding round in 2019. In 2020, it clocked roughly $4 billion in transaction value, processing about $160 million transactions monthly. It is reported to have onboarded more than 100,000 customers and caters for about three million others.
The company’s initial approach at takeoff was to create financial solutions aimed at optimizing the operations of partner banks and financial institutions, focused on improving the experiences of their customers.
Its flagship product Moneytor, was designed to provide end-to-end digital banking solution for financial institutions. It made it more efficient and cheaper for banks, businesses and individuals to manage their money.
The expectations were met and surpassed to the extent that two years later in 2017, the company was servicing 26 financial institutions. “Our products helped them optimise their core bank back-office operations and improve the service experience for their over 10 million customers” Eniolorunda said.
The company launched new service frontiers in 2018 in order to bring in a lot of people yet excluded from financial services. Its resolve was to take a more direct approach to achieve financial inclusion by introducing direct consumer and business-facing products.
The effort yielded fruits in no time and in 2019, TeamApt successfully launched two digital products in the spheres of mobile money and payment gateway. One is Moniepoint, which is a mobile money agent network that offers financial services such as cash withdrawal and deposit, funds transfer, airtime purchase and bill payments through mobile apps and POS terminals to unbanked and under banked communities.
The product is counted among Nigeria’s biggest non-bank mobile money service providers. Eniolorunda said it is indeed the largest non-bank mobile money in Nigeria, despite being the latest entrant.
The company’s records show processing volume in the region of ₦400 billion per month across its network of over 30,000 registered agents spread over the 36 states of the country.
The other digital product is Monnify, which is a payment gateway that allows businesses receive payments from customers whether on a one-time or recurring basis. The product is designed to empower businesses in the formal & informal sectors with a payment infrastructure that simplifies how they accept, manage and make payments.
It is estimated that more than 1,600 businesses use the Monnify platform, registering a transaction value in excess of ₦50 billion monthly. Eniolorunda is working on a new consumer- facing product named Aptpay, a payment infrastructure that will centralize all services currently used on banking mobile apps.
Since the enterprise rolled off the ground in 2015, Eniolorunda has led the organisation to launch its services in multiple countries. He has navigated through the risks and challenges of a start-up and has found quite fulfilling the experience of leading a team of talented individuals towards a worthy course, changing the status quo and making a mark.
TeamApt CEO said he has built a team of 223 and more than 42,000 agents across every state in Nigeria. His company also manages over one hundred thousand businesses and support millions of customers every day.
Eniolorunda is confident in facing the high competition in the fintech market through innovation, which he said has given his organisation a great advantage and a solid platform for consistent growth going forward. His strategy is to grow the infrastructure base to match the solutions provided as demand grows.
His plans for the future is to build a financial ecosystem where banks can deploy web and mobile applications, which will help their customers pay, collect, and manage their finances easily.
He also hinted that plans to expand the range of the company’s operations to other countries in West and North Africa are ongoing. He expresses strong confidence in his team’s competence and expertise to achieve the goal of improving financial inclusion in Africa.
The Obafemi Awolowo University trained mechanical engineer is betting that the excitement of a flourishing business of over 15 million customers, 100,000 businesses with top-tier banks in the fold is “just a milestone for us, as 60 percent of the population in emerging and frontier markets remain unbanked or underserved; so there is still work to be done”, he said.