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Mo Abudu – Biography, Life And Achievements Of A Media Mogul

Mo Abudu

Mosunmola Abudu popularly known as Mo Abudu is an accomplished woman and has been described as “Africa’s most successful woman” by Forbes. Abudu is a talk show hostess, TV producer, human resource management consultant, media personality, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and philanthropist. Mo Abudu is the founder and CEO of Ebony Life, Africa’s first global black entertainment network which began broadcasting on 1st July 2013 on Multichoice DSTV  Channel 165.  She has been compared to Oprah Winfrey with The Independent and Slate Afrique calling her “Africa’s Oprah” and “Nigerian Winfrey” respectively. We believe it will be appropriate to combine the two and call her Oprah Winfrey of Africa.

See Also: Resources that will help you start, market and grow a sustainable business.

Mo Abudu Background

Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

Mo Abudu was born on 11th of September, 1964 in London to Mr and Mrs Lawrence Akintunde. She hails from Ondo town in Ondo State. Mo Abudu  spent her early life in London and walked her way through college, attending the Ridgeway School, MidKent College and West Kent College. She also has a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development from University of Westminster in London.

Mo Abudu was married to Tokunbo Abudu, a lawyer and businessman. They had a daughter and a son, Temidayo Abudu and Adekoyejo Abudu.

Early Career of Mo Abudu

Mo Abudu started out professionally as a recruitment consultant in 1987 with Atlas Recruitment Consultancy firm in UK. Afterwards, she joined Starform Group; a successful business information group in the UK. Mo was responsible for the research, design and production of several conferences and seminars at Starform Group.

Mo Abudu relocated to Nigeria in 1993 and worked with Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (now ExxonMobil) as the head of their Human Resources and Administration. She learned business discipline and how to build a corporate culture at ExxonMobile which came in handy when she launched out on her own.

Mo Abudu’s Entrepreneurial Journey

As with almost every entrepreneur, they see a problem and set out to create a solution for that problem. Mo Abudu saw a problem that needs a solution; organisations need trained talents that will be part of their workforce to take their organisations to the next level. This made her resign from Exxon Mobile after about a decade and established her own firm Vic Lawrence & Associates Limited in 2000. Vic Lawrence & Associates Limited also known as VLA is one of the fastest growing Human Resources consultancy firm in Nigeria. The company offers human resource initiatives and management solutions to industries.

She also has an executive training centre at Protea Hotel, Oakwood Park, Lagos.

Mo Abudu’s Entry into Nigerian Entertainment Industry

Mo Abudu has always been passionate about telling Africa’s story in the right way. This is what birthed Inspire Africa. Inspire Africa is a platform created to celebrate African culture and diversity. This brand spawned the birth of ‘Moments with Mo’, Africa’s first syndicated daily talk show that celebrates Africa’s achievements and its people. She wanted Africa to be the one to tell their own story. We are rich in culture and talents, and our success stories has always been neglected to the background while the ugly stories are magnified. Moments with Mo came to change that.

She is the Executive Producer and host of Moment with Mo. The talk show airs across 49 African countries and on a cable TV in UK. Mo Abudu has played host to many A list celebrities, governors, presidents, Nobel Laureates, including the US Secretary of State; Hilary Clinton and the managing director of IMF- Christine Lagarde.

Moments with Mo is not her only creation. Mo Abudu has created other TV shows with the same theme of telling Africa’s story but targeting different demographics. The Debaters one of her creations is a reality TV show that gives African youths a voice. There is also Naija Diamonds; an award winning documentary series that celebrates unsung heroes of Nigeria which is proudly sponsored by Diamond Bank.

Ebony Life TV

Nothing can beat having a vision and a plan to actualise the vision. Mo Abudu is a visionary entrepreneur who had a future plan for her involvement in the media industry. Ebony Life TV was the hallmark of it and embodies it all. She launched EbonyLife TV, the first black entertainment and lifestyle global network in 2013. EbonyLife TV is a subsidiary of Media and Entertainment City Africa (MEC Africa). It began broadcasting on MultiChoice DSTV CH 165 and later moved on to Star Times Network early this year. Over 5,000 hours of original drama, talk shows, entertainment, and factual content have been created and broadcast on the channel.

In 2018, EbonyLife TV launched a number of new initiatives including the Video-On-Demand (VoD) service, EbonyLife ON in Africa, and three projects deal with Sony Pictures Television.

Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

Ebony Life Films

In line with her vision of telling Africans stories, Mo established Ebony Life Films, a film production unit in 2014. She debuted as a movie producer with a movie titled ‘Fifty’. The movie tells the story of four friends living in Lagos, at the peak of their career who are forced by circumstances to take stock of their personal lives while juggling career and family.

Ebony Life Films was part of ELFIKE Film Collective that produced the romantic comedy “The Wedding Party”. The Wedding Party was one of Nigeria’s biggest blockbusters in 2016. ELFIKE Film Collective is a partnership of renowned movie makers in Nigeria: FilmOne Distribution, EbonyLife Films, Inkblot Productions, and Koga Studios. These film houses bring in their years of experience and resources to produce high production value Nigerian movies with global appeal.

Mo Abudu is a woman who loves to know her onion, she reckoned that since she is going to be in the entertainment industry for a long time, it is important that she gets the needed formal education in the industry. She took a course at London Film School to learn the art of directing and production. This allowed her to understand the fundamentals of moviemaking since she is already a guru on the business side. And this is a very important lesson to entrepreneurs. You have to understand your trade. You don’t just set up a business and disappear, you have to know the basics even though you will eventually hire people to do the work.

Others movies produced by Ebony Life Films are; The Wedding Party 2, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel.

Mo Abudu Philanthropic Gestures

Mo Abudu founded ‘The Inspire Africa Foundation’, a non-profit organisation focused on raising funds for implementation of societal transformation initiatives.

In 2009, the foundation organised a charity concert with the theme ‘Rock with a Conscience” with other NGO’s to raise funds that will provide basic amenities for street children.

In partnership with Monero Construction, Inspire Africa Foundation built ‘The Habour’, a one hundred– bed home for street children in Lagos. The foundation also has a charity store branded ‘The Designer Outlet for Charity’.

Mo Abudu’s Recognitions and Awards

  • Recognised by Forbes Africa as First Woman to Own a Pan Africa TV Channel                                  2013
  • 25 Most Powerful Women in Global TV by Hollywood Reporter                                                        2013
  • Entrepreneur of the Year at International Women’s Day Forum in New York                                    2014
  • Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) from Babcock University                                            2014
  • Listed as one of ‘Forbes Africa Most Successful Women’                                                                2015
  • Movie Producer of the Year (English) at City People Movie Awards                                                2015
  • Special Recognition at City People Movie Awards                                                                          2017
  • IoD Entrepreneurial Award by Institute of Directors Nigeria (IoDN)                                                2017
  • FAME Award of Excellence                                                                                                          2017
  • 50 Women Making Impact in the Showbiz by Variety Magazine                                                      2018
  • Glazia Persons of the Year Awards                                                                                               2018
  • African Achievers Awards at UK House of Common                                                                       2018

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