1. Ada Osakwe
She is the Chief Executive Officer of Agrolay Ventures, an agribusiness investment company based in Lagos, which invests in African agricultural food-related companies. In 2015 she launched “The Nuli Juice Company” which is invested in producing fresh, all-natural beverages using only locally-grown fruits and vegetables with over 8 branches in Lagos. The business aims at increasing produce yields for African farmers to create consistent, sustainable offtake for what they harvest. Her passion to make a difference in Africa’s agriculture industry led to the establishment of the business.She was employed by the Tony Elumelu Foundation as senior investment adviser to Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, from 2012 to 2015, advising on all agribusiness and food investment-related activities involving private-sector investors. She has also led the development and launch of the $96 million Fund for Agricultural Financing in Nigeria (FAFIN), an innovative private equity fund focused on small- and medium-sized agribusiness processing companies in Nigeria. Ada is a strong proponent for climate justice in the world’s most vulnerable regions, particularly Africa. She focuses her efforts on the agriculture sector, where over 50 million smallholder farmers are climate vulnerable. She serves on the Boards of One Acre Fund, a global non-profit that serves farmers in Africa with financing for inputs and climate adaptation, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA),a non-profit transforming African food systems, Factor[e] Ventures, a unique venture capital firm linking smart technologies in climate, energy, agriculture & mobility to Africa’s emerging markets, and Infinite Foods, the leading plant-based food company in Africa. She’s an Independent Non-Executive Director and Advisor of fintech start-ups Kippa, Traction and Notto, is a member of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Presidential Youth Advisory Group, and serves on the Advisory Board of Generation Africa, an initiative to invest in young African entrepreneurs (co-founded by Econet and Yara International). Ada actively champions initiatives that promote fairness in social and economic systems, and has led Committees on two of her Boards to drive organizational transformation in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.
2. Affiong Williams
She is the CEO/Founder of ReelFruit, the largest fruit processing, packaging and distribution company in Nigeria. After working for a small business incubator in South Africa, Affiong Williams returned to Nigeria to set up the fruit company. She is passionate about agribusiness and looking at innovative, market-driven solutions to add value to local produce given Nigeria’s unique agricultural landscape. In 2022, she was named the first winner of the esteemed Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award. Affiong is passionate about entrepreneurship, agriculture and politics.
3. Laylah Ali Othman
She is the CEO and Founder of L&N Interiors – an Abuja-based furniture design and interior design company, L&N Kitchens – an African cuisine restaurant located in Abuja and Kano and Almat Farms – an agricultural site that also provides tourism and equestrian services. Laila started her first business at the age of 19 and has since garnered a wealth of experience working with about 6,000 clients over the span of a decade. She is also a published author, TV host and the founder of the NGO, Laylah Initiative for the Boy and Girl Child Foundation, a charity that sponsors the education of the Almajiri children population in Northern Nigeria. Her publication, L magazine, is a periodical that features content in Interior design, health and lifestyle.
4. Saudat Salami
She is the founder of EasyShop EasyCook, an online grocery business started in 2005. Also known as ‘The Mother of E-commerce’, she launched her online store –the first of its kind– at a time when online shopping was not only a novelty but also distrusted by Nigerians. Saudat created a practical business model for EasyShop EasyCook where she partnered with large corporations that understood the significance of employees maintaining a healthy work-life balance as that creates an inclusive workplace environment that fosters productivity. She is also the founder of IFOODS, a social enterprise and initiative for food safety. She runs a women empowerment initiative that trains at least 50 women every quarter on how to run successful home shopping businesses.
5. Uduak Odungide
She is the Founder of Udy Foods and CEO of Udy Foods Kitchen. Udy Foods is the popular and go-to place for quality NAFDAC- certified unadulterated palm oil, Oron crayfish, Peppersoup spice, Nsala spice, Banga spice, Uziza spice, Cameroon pepper, Chilli pepper, Cocoyam thickener, Barbeque and Grills spices. What makes her stand out as an entrepreneur is her ability and frequent use of pidgin English to promote her business. Uduak is also a video content creator who creatively produces energetic video contents to keep her audience glued and video jingles for other entrepreneurs with her page ‘ogbongetowncrier’. Uduak is an inspiration to upcoming entrepreneurs on what it takes to grow a start-up into a successful business.