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Funmi Iyanda – Biography And Entrepreneurial Life Of A Media Guru

Funmi Iyanda

Funmi Iyanda (full name, Oluwafunmilola Aduke Iyanda) is a Nigerian entrepreneur, writer, film and TV producer, TV host, and Philanthropist. She is the Executive Director of Oya Media, a London-based media production studio and brand advisory. Oya media develops, produces, and facilitates films and TV shows for Cinema, television, and the web. Funmi was the co-founder and the executive director at Creation Television UK and is best known for independently producing and hosting Nigeria’s most popular talk show, New Dawn.

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Funmi Iyanda Biography

Funmi Iyanda was born on the 27th of July, 1971 in Lagos to the late Gabriel and Yetunde Iyanda. She hails from Ogbomosho, Oyo State. Even though her mother died when she was just 7 years old, she still made something out of her life. She attended African Church Princess Primary School, Akoka, Herbert Macaulay School in Lagos for her primary education, and International School Ibadan for her secondary education.

Funmi Iyanda has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from University of Ibadan and also holds a certificate in Global Leadership and Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. She is an honorary fellow of the University of Cumbria UK.

Funmi has a charming daughter, Morenike Odegbami. One of her siblings, Olumide Iyanda is an editor of Saturday Independent Newspaper.

Entrepreneurial Journey of Funmi Iyanda

Even though she studied geography, her love for journalism drove her into producing and presenting ‘Good Morning Nigeria’. Good Morning Nigeria was a breakfast television show that focused on the injustices suffered by Nigerians.

“Good Morning Nigeria” became a hit with its ‘Heros’ and ‘Street Life’ segments which tell the stories of people who are maligned in the society.

Funmi also explored her deep passion for sports journalism. She anchored a sports show on MITV LIVE and later covered the 1999 female Football World Cup, the All Africa Games in Zimbabwe, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games in Sydney and Athens respectively. She also worked on a documentary for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations.

New Dawn

Funmi gathered experience from her previous works and sort a bigger platform to showcase her talent and this gave birth to New DawnNew Dawn was a daily show on NTA 10 Lagos in 2000. The highly rated program was aired nationally for eight years making it the longest show on NTA. With her irreverent interview style, Funmi Iyanda became one of Nigeria’s most watched and respected TV personalities.

Since  “New Dawn With Funmi”, she has produced and hosted a string of international nominated productions including My Country: Nigeria and Chopcassava.com.

Other Shows

My country: Nigeria was commissioned by BBC and was nominated for “Best News Documentary ” at the 2011 Monte Carlo TV Festival in Monaco.

Chopcassava.com is an innovative web series documentary of the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy protest and was nominated by BANFF.

In 2010, she started Talk with Funmi (TWF) which was directed by Chris Dada. TWF is an interestedly usual show which captures the lives of celebrities and everyday Nigerians. To ensure the contents were unadulterated, she moved from state to state with her crew capturing thought provoking conversations of Nigerians.

She also started a show in 2017, Ask Funmi which is produced by Oya Media.  Ask Funmi’, is a web series that uncovers the truth in the thought and views of her guests. Her shows have been syndicated across Nigeria.

Other Interest of Funmi Iyanda

Over the years, Funmi Iyanda has successfully started four media companies and has produced many TV documentaries, shows, events and special communication project for media organisations.

She is an avid writer and has written on a regular for Tempo Magazine. Funmi Iyanda has also written for PM News, Daily Trust, The Punch, and Vanguard. She has also occasionally served as a guest columnist for Farafina Magazine.

Funmi Iyanda Philanthropic Gestures

Funmi Iyanda is the founder of Change-A-Live (CAL) Foundation, a social intervention program birthed on one of her show, New Dawn in 2002. Change-A-Live Foundation was created to support families who have experienced trauma as a result of Nigeria’s government failure, ethnic and religious conflict and crime.

In 2009, the social intervention program evolved into non-profit organisation with over 150 beneficiaries under its care.

CAL connects the less privilege with academic, entrepreneurial and leadership potential with individuals, agencies and organisation that has the capacity to meet their needs. This is done through educational scholarships, vocational trainings, business grants and women empowerment.

The foundation has affected the lives of many indigent, families and children through its scholarship, healthcare, counseling and Microfinance schemes.

Boards where Funmi Iyanda Serves

She is a board member of the Tutu Africa Leadership Institute, Change-A-Life Foundation and Aspen Institutes Global Leaders Network. Funmi also serves on the board of Farafina Trust and Positive Impact Youth Network.

Funmi Iyanda was an active member of the Nigerian Football Association between 1995 and 2003. She was also appointed as UN woman global equality champion in 2015.

Recognitions and Awards

  • Forbes’ 20 Youngest Powerful African Women                                  2011
  • Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum                      2012
  • Nigeria’s 100 Most Influential Women                                              2014
  • A BBC 100 Women to watch lister                                                   2014
  • Honorary fellowship from University of Cumbria                            2015

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