“When you empower a woman, you empower the world”. This is a common proverb shared among many communities across Africa. It depicts the natural desire for economic empowerment shared by most African women.
The African culture naturally places prominence on the male child while relegating the female child to the background- reducing her worth to being a married woman and mother. This has eventually produced a society that is male-dominated, one which has subliminally created systemic socioeconomic and political bottlenecks that limit women’s potential.
However, when it comes to making economic impacts and influencing societal changes, African women have always shown resilience. As it was in the days of yore, more women have dared to change the narrative, to compete fairly in male-dominated industries.
Below is an inexhaustive list of women running multimillion-dollar businesses and making an impact in male-dominated industries in Nigeria:
1#Odunayo Eweniyi (Fintech, PiggyVest)
Odunayo Eweniyi is a Nigerian business executive and activist. She is the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Piggytech Global Limited, a Nigerian-based company that designs and develops software solutions.
PiggyVest offers online savings plans, primarily to low- and middle-income Nigerians, to enable deposits of small amounts on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. It is an automatic savings platform designed to help individuals and businesses manage their finances effectively.
In January, the company was reported to have paid over ₦242 billion ($553.8 million) to 3.5 million users in 2021.
2# Maya Horgan Famodu (Venture Capital, Ingressive Capital)
Maya Horgan Famodu is a Nigerian-born venture capitalist passionate about bringing asset financing to Africa and expanding the continent’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. She is the youngest woman to launch a tech fund (on a solo mission) in Sub-Saharan Africa at age 25.
She launched Ingressive Capital in 2017 to invest directly in tech startups across Africa. In 2020, she doubled assets under management (AUM) from $5 million to $10 million- with backers that include Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund, Michael Seibel of Y Combinator, Techstars, and others.
3# Kemi Adetiba (Film, Adetiba Visuals)
Kemi Adetiba is a Nigerian filmmaker, television director, and music video director, whose works have premiered in numerous local and international cinemas and television stations including Channel O, MTV Base, Soundcity TV, BET, and Netflix.
She is the producer of some Nigerian blockbusters, including The Wedding Party 1 (2016), King of Boys 1 (2018), and The Return of The King (2021, the continuation of the King of Boys). Adetiba reportedly has a net worth of $6 million.
4# Damilola Olokesusi (Ride-hailing, Shuttlers)
Damilola is a Co-Founder and CEO of a transport and tech company called Shuttlers, a start-up currently revolutionizing the way professionals commute in metropolitan cities like Lagos. The platform helps its commuters to have a productive, refreshing, and relaxing experience to and from work. Customers can book a seat on a route, pay a subscription, and track the arrival and departure times of their shuttles via the Shuttlers app.
After years of bootstrapping, the company finally raised $1.6 million in seed funding from several investors, in 2021.
5# Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes (Venture Capital, Aruwa Capital)
Adesuwa is a venture capitalist and asset management professional with experience that spans over a decade. She has successfully closed deals worth over $5.6 billion for J.P Morgan and helped to build Syntaxis Capital Africa (the African business of a European private equity fund) with a little below $300 million under management before launching her company.
She founded Aruwa Capital Management in 2014 to bridge the gender imbalance gap among capital allocators and to provide fair investment opportunities to female-led or female-focused businesses.
The company is one of the few women-owned /led early-stage growth equity funds in Africa. It invests in established, rapidly growing companies in the small to lower mid-market that operate in high-growth industries.
6# Eloho Omame (Venture Capital, FirstCheck Africa)
Eloho Omame is an early-stage investor and a strong advocate for gender inclusion in venture capital funding in Africa. She is a Co-Founder & General Partner at FirstCheck Africa, an early-stage VC firm investing in tech startups founded or co-founded by women. At FirstCheck Africa, Omame is committed to helping Africa’s exceptional female entrepreneurial talent build great companies.
The company’s investment portfolio includes startups in Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, and Kenya, led by female founders building in financial services, education, healthcare, and retail/commerce.
Omame is also a Partner at TLcom Capital, a seed-to-growth stage VC firm. The firm’s TIDE Africa Fund I ($70 million) was the first on the continent to meet the G7’s 2X Criteria for gender lens investing. TIDE Africa Fund II (target: $150 million) is actively investing.
In 2018, she launched Endeavor Nigeria, an entrepreneurship network for high-impact founders leading high-growth technology companies at the scaleup stage. In 2017, in collaboration with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, she conceptualized, built, and launched Lagos Innovates, a portfolio of startup support programs — a first-of-its-kind by a sub-national government in Africa
7# Tope Omotolani (Serial technopreneur, Crowdyvest and Farmcrowdy)
Tope Omotolani is the co-founder and CEO of Crowdyvest, a crowd-funding platform that exited EMFATO Holdings and pivoted to become a digital wealth management and savings platform. The startup was founded in 2019.
Under Tope’s leadership, Crowdyvest has raised over $35 million through savings and investment for multiple businesses from a community of over 100,000 members in over a year. She also co-founded EMFATO Holdings, the owners of Farmcrowdy and investors in Plentywaka.
8#Ebele Imite-Uka (Energy, Satlatena)
Ebele Imite-Uka is the Co-Founder and CEO of Satlatena Nigeria Limited, an energy company focused on clean energy access across Africa.
Through the Climate Action and Carbon Offset projects, her company has provided clean energy access via the distribution of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and cookstoves to rural and peri-urban communities in Nigeria. The projects are geared towards mitigating climate change and reducing greenhouse emissions in households and communities. This has helped to reduce the high use of coal and firewood used for cooking and other activities within poor communities- thus, reducing Nigeria’s carbon footprint.
Through Satlatena Imite-Uka has championed the development and supply of clean energy (development of solar grids) for communities in Ghana and Senegal. She has also helped to identify and develop smart applications for energy consumers in Cote d’Ivoire.
Despite no public record of the company’s value, Imite-Uka is making a huge impact in communities across Africa through it.
9#Temie Giwa-Tubosun (Medicine, LifeBank)
Temie Giwa-Tubosun is the founder of LifeBank, a digital medical distribution company that has facilitated the delivery of essential medical products like blood, oxygen, plasma, and vaccines to hospitals in Nigeria since 2016.
LifeBank is helping to deliver quality healthcare across Nigeria and Kenya. The tech startup has raised a total of $225,000 in funding over 4 rounds. Their latest funding was undisclosed – raised on Mar 31, 2021, from a non-equity assistance round.
Although there are no records to show whether LifeBank is a million-dollar company, the startup is an exceptional healthcare startup making a tremendous impact in Nigeria and Kenya.
10 #Oyindamola Honey Ogundeyi (Serial technopreneur, Fashpa.com, and Edukoya)
Nigeria-born Honey Ogundeyi is a serial technopreneur and founder of two prominent tech startups, Fashpa.com and Edukoya. She is passionate about using technology to uplift Africa.
Fashpa.com is an eCommerce platform for African Fashion, connecting global buyers to small and medium-sized fashion brands and artisans across Africa. Through Fashpa.com, she became widely recognized as the pioneer of online retail fashion in Nigeria.
Edukoya builds online education content and offers online tutoring for students and their parents. In December 2021, the startup raised a total of $3.5 million in a pre-seed funding round.