Ada Osakwe is a Nigerian economist, food investor, corporate executive, entrepreneur, and agribusiness advocate. She is the founder and chief executive officer of Agrolay Ventures, an agribusiness investment firm in Nigeria. Ada Osakwe is an advocate of agricultural businesses and is one of the ladies creating an impact in the agro sector building businesses that creates job and increase access to opportunity in the agricultural sector.
Ada Osakwe Biography
Ada was born in 1980 to Gabriel and Tonye Osakwe. She is from the South-Eastern geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Her parents were both lawyers; her mother, Tonye Osakwe also owned a chain of costume jewelry stores and designed children’s clothing.
She attended high school in Lagos before moving to UK for her tertiary education. Ada Osakwe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from University of Hull, UK and a Master’s degree from the University of Warwick, UK.
Ada also holds an MBA from Kellogg School of Management in Northwestern University, the USA where she was awarded a Merit-based Scholarship and Kellogg Leadership Award.
Early Career of Ada Osakwe
Ada started her profession as an investment banker with BNP Paribas, London. At the age of 24, she joined African Development Bank Group (AfDB) in Tunisia as a Senior Investment Officer , leading capital market and infrastructural financing across Africa.
She was the Vice President of Kuramo Capital Management, New York where she led the firm’s private equity investments. Prior to Kuramo, she worked briefly with Actis, a multibillion-dollar private equity fund focused on emerging markets investment in Nigeria.
Ada relocated to Nigeria and served as the Senior Investment Adviser to Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development between 2012 and 2015. Among all other initiatives, the beauty and brain led the development and launch of the Fund for Agricultural Financing in Nigeria (FAFIN). FAFIN is an agriculture-focused investment fund for small and medium agribusiness companies in Nigeria.
Working with the ministry helped Ada to find her passion and understand policy issues affecting entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
Entrepreneurial Journey Of Ada Osakwe
Using her savings and financial support from friends and family, she established her own business, Agrolay Ventures. Agrolay Ventures is an investment firm targeting early stage agribusiness and food related companies across Africa. The company offers expert advice on agribusiness financing, strategy, project fund-raising and investment structuring. The company also helps to develop policy for early-to-mid stage actors in the African agribusiness and food sectors.
Agrolay Ventures has invested in four agribusiness companies. These are Nuli Juice, Nuli Foods, Reel Fruit and African Courier Express. Ada Osakwe is the founder of Nuli Juice and Nuli Foods.
Nuli Juice is a beverage brand that manufactures juice made from locally sourced fruits and vegetables in Nigeria. Today, Nuli Juice company is one of the fastest growing manufacturer and restaurant chain in Nigeria.
Nuli Foods focuses on ready-to-eat traditional African meals.
Other Portfolio of Agrolay Ventures
The company was founded by Affiong Williams in 2012. Reel Fruit packages, brands and processes locally grown fruits. The fruits are dried without preservatives and packaged for snacking-to-go. The company is located in Lagos and distributes their products to over 250 stores across the country. The company’s products are: Reel Fruit’s Mango, Reel Fruit’s Pineapple, Reel Fruit’s Premium Roasted Cashew Nuts, Fruit N Nut Mix and Nut Mix.
African Courier Express (ACE)
It was founded by Tunde Kehinde and Ercin Eksin in 2013. ACE is a Nigerian e-commerce logistic company. The company provide logistic solution to both businesses and consumers.
Boards where Ada Osakwe serves
Ada serves on the board of One Acre Fund, Kenya based financial and educational non-government organisation. She also, serves on AfDB President’s Advisory Group on the Bank’s ‘Jobs for Africa’s Youth’ initiative. Ada Osakwe is a fellow of Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow program. She was a board member of Youth Organisation Umbrella, Evanston.
Recognitions and Awards
- Groves Gift in Economics by the University of Hall 2003
- Forbes’ Top 20 Power Woman in Africa 2014
- Achiever in Agriculture at Nigeria Agriculture Awards 2015
- Young Global Leader at Woman Economic Forum 2016
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