Nigeria is made up of over 180 million people and over 49% of her population are female. This means that women are an integral part of our nation. Women are recognising their importance and changing the status quo. They are competing with their male counterparts and creating their own league – league of richest women in Nigeria.
For decades, women have owned and operated businesses, but they were not recognised for their efforts. Women entrepreneurs often worked side by side with their husbands, so were “invisible”. Some of them took leadership positions only when their husband died.
Recently, a lot of factors have contributed to the increased number of women in business and the visibility they receive. One of such factor is the consistent call by the United Nations for gender equality in all spheres of life.
Today, we will tell the stories of some rich women entrepreneurs who are leading and forging new paths forward; richest women who are building successful businesses while standing up for the values they believe in.
Richest Women Entrepreneurs In Nigeria
Folorunsho Alakija is a Nigerian born business magnate and the richest woman in Nigeria. She was ranked by Forbes as the second most powerful woman in Africa after the former finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in 2015. Folorunsho is the Executive Vice Chairman of Famfa Oil and Dayspring Property Development Company, and oversees the Rose of Sharon Group.
Alakija has a background in office administration and banking. She began her entrepreneurial journey with Supreme Stitches. And after some time, it metamorphosed into Rose of Sharon House of Fashion. She also established the Digital Reality Prints Limited.
Alakija is also a philanthropist and established the Rose of Sharon Foundation and together with her husband, they founded the Rose of Sharon Glorious Ministry International. Altogether, she has received 8 Honorary Degree Awards from universities in Nigeria and the USA. She is the first female Chancellor of a public University in Africa.
Summarily, Alajika have authored several inspiring books in business, family and life in general.
Hajia Bola Shagaya is one of the richest women in Nigeria and in Africa. She is the founder and CEO of Bolmus Group International, a conglomerate in real estate, oil and gas, banking and photography.
Bola is a fashion enthusiast with several years of active local and international business experience. She began her career at the Central Bank of Nigeria before venturing into commercial activities in 1983 with the importation of photographic materials. Also, she is the managing director of Practoil Limited, one of the largest distributors of base oil in Nigeria
Overtime, Bola has grown to become one of the biggest players in the Nigerian oil sector, and real estate in Europe and America. She sits on the board of Unity Bank Plc, and served on the board of the National Economic Partnership of Africa Development (NEPAD).
Bola is a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, and the Armstrong College, California where she studied Economics and Accountancy. She is a patron of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN). She was also honored in 2010 by former President Goodluck Jonathan as Member of the Order of the Niger (MON).
Bimbo Alase is a Nigerian entrepreneur and one of the country’s richest women. She is the founder of Leatherworld, a furniture company which started as a retail outlet in Lagos in December 1994.
After some time, she went into partnership with top five Italian luxury brands, and was able to meet the demands of Nigerians with quality furniture.
Subsequently, in 1999, she began to open outlets in other Nigerian states while setting a standard in furniture showrooms in the country. Then in 2005, she commissioned an ultramodern factory so she could manufacture world-class furnitures in Nigeria. Her company serve the needs of the local market and export finished items to other West African countries.
Currently, Leatherworld under the leadership of Alase have become a multi-million-dollar empire. This is why she made it in the list of leading richest women in Nigeria.
She is a graduate of the Pitman College London, Regent Academy and the London Design School.
Nigerian-born Offiong Ekanem Ejindu is an architect and one of the richest women in Nigeria. After her education in New York, Princess Fifi returned home and began Starcrest in 1995.
Today, Starcrest have become a group of company. It comprise of Starcrest Investment Ltd., Starcrest Associates Ltd, and Starcrest Industries Ltd. The company is involved in real estate, oil and gas and building construction.
Fifi is a princess. She is a great grand daughter to King James Ekpo Bassey, a one time King of Cobham town in Calabar. Fifi was born in Ibadan. She attended Pratt Institute, and became the first black African woman to be awarded a B.Arch from the institute in 1983.
For her works, she received the 2014 African Child Nobel Prize. She was also enlisted in the Global Women Leaders Hall of Fame African Chapter 2014.
Stella Chinyelu Okoli is a prominent figure and one of the richest women in the country. She established the Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd with full-fledged operations in Nigeria, Mali, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Although, Emzor Pharmaceutical started as Emzor Chemists Limited in a small shop in the year 1977 at Shomolu, Emzor now spans across public and private institutions in West Africa. Emzor produces over 50 products with a network of 120 distributors in all the Local Government Areas of Nigeria.
Stella Okoli was born in Nigeria but had her tertiary education in the United Kingdom. Also, she attended the Harvard Business School, Lagos Business School and the I.E.S.E business schools.
As a philanthropist, she established the Chike Okoli Foundation (COF) in 2006 in memory of her son, Chike. The foundation was created in order to fight poverty and raise awareness on cardiovascular diseases. It also trains Nigerian students on entrepreneurship through the Chike Okoli Centre.
Stella has been recognised on two occassions by the Nigerian government. She was honoured as a Member of the Order of Nigeria (MON) and an Officer of the Order of Niger (OON). Additionally, she was honored by ThisDay and received the ECOWAS International Gold Award.
Olufunmilola Aduke Iyanda is an award-winning Nigerian entrepreneur. She is a writer, film and TV producer, TV host and philanthropist. She is the co-founder of Creation Television UK, and the Executive Director at Oya Media. Funmi is popularly known for hosting the talk show, New Dawn with Funmi Iyanda, a show that lasted for eight years.
Over the years, Funmi has been successful with establishing four media companies and have served the media needs of the society. Apparently, she is one of Nigeria’s most watched and revered TV personalities. Also, she has been honored as a World Economic Young Global Leader and named one of Forbes 20 Power Women in Africa.
Iyanda is a graduate of Geography from the University of Ibadan. Also, she holds a certificate in Global Leadership and Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and she is an honorary fellow of the University of Cumbria, UK.
Mosunmola Abudu is one of the richest Nigerian women and Africa’s most successful woman. She is the founder and CEO of EbonyLife Tv, the fastest growing black entertainment and lifestyle network.
Born and raised in London, Mo established the EbonyLife TV as a subsidiary of Media and Entertainment City Africa (MEC Africa) in 2006. Currently, the network airs in over 49 countries across Africa, UK and the Caribbean.
Thereafter, she established the EbonyLife Films and produced her first film, Fifty. Subsequently, she teamed up with The ELFIKE Collections, and produced The Wedding Party (2017). The movie featured A-List Acts like Sola Sobowale, Banky W, Adesua Etomi, Richard Mofe Damijo, Ireti Doyle, e.t.c
Additionally, Abudu has received countless recognition for her outstanding work in media and service to humanity. She is the first African woman to own a Pan-Africa TV Channel according to Forbes Africa in 2013. She was one of the 25 most powerful women in Global TV by the Hollywood Reporter, 2013. Also, she received the Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Women Week in New York, 2014 and Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) from Babcock University.
Daisy Danjuma is the Executive Vice Chairman of SAPETRO, a Nigerian oil & gas exploration and production company. She is the wife of one of the richest men in Nigeria, General Theophilus Danjuma, who is also the chairman of Sapetro.
She was once a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and served on several committees. Daisy Danjuma served as Chairman of the ECOWAS Parliament’s Women and Children’s Right Committee and Women and African Youth Development. Also, she is a pioneer legal counsel to the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, and have served in other legal capacities due to her profession.
Daisy is an alumna of Ahmadu Bello University, Lagos Business School and member of international legal associations.
Do you think there are other women who deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments.