A young-world revolution is unfolding before our eyes, rupturing the idea that only experience can change the world. Increasingly, young people are participating actively in all aspects of human life, and changing the way we think, look and do what we do.
At YNaija, we know these stars from across Nigeria – the decision-makers, changemakers, and influencers breaking boundaries in Nigeria; and we’ve made it our duty annually, to celebrate them over the last nine years. In delivering this year’s edition, we have worked with an eminent jury to review and ensure it remains truly ‘powerful.’
Africa’s health system has deep limitations, and the mortality rate continues to increase because of this. Every year in African hospitals, people die because health workers could not ﬁnd the essential medical products needed on time and in the right condition. For entrepreneur Temie, the statistics needed to change.
Temie is a medical pioneer saving lives through LifeBank – a business organisation set up to tackle the problem of blood shortage in Nigeria whose founding was inspired by the birth of her first child and the complications from that experience.
In the last years of operation, Lifebank has grown significantly, moving over 19,000 units of products to 2 cities in Nigeria, grown its revenue by an average of 3x year on year, and has developed a proof of concept using UAVs (drones) to deliver critical medical products in Ethiopia.
The company has also launched SmartBag, a blockchain-powered product that helps patients and health providers discover the immutable safety record of blood and blood components, and is in the process of conducting a clinical trial in partnership with Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) as well as Johnson and Johnson. Lifebank’s impact has also grown significantly as well, with over 6,500 lives saved.
On November 16, 2019, Temie was named the winner of Jack Ma’s Africa Netpreneur Prize worth $250,000, which held in Accra, Ghana.The Prize got applications from more than 10,000 startups from 50 of Africa’s 54 countries.
‘Every day I wake up, I look for a better way to use technology to improve the lives of Nigerians in Agriculture, Transportation and Real Estate.’ Onyeka is a technology entrepreneur with focus on the agriculture, real estate, and transportation sectors. He is the Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy Limited.
Farmcrowdy has grown exponentially and has worked with over 25,000 rural farmers across 16 states in Nigeria including Kano, Niger, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Edo, Akwa-Ibom, Lagos, Plateau, Kaduna, Adamawa, Niger, Kwara, Abuja, Sokoto, and Benue.
Farmcrowdy is described by the Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo as the company creating the new wealth in Agriculture and was later honoured with the National Productivity Order of Merit by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In August 2019, the Oyo government announced a partnership with Farmcrowdy to onboard 50,000 rural farmers in the state.
He has been named on the 2020 list of 50 African Innovators to Watch by Global Shakers, Top 10 Nigerian CEOs Under 40 Years; Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 at the GAGE Awards; The 100 Most Outstanding Individuals in Africa – The Africa Report; 26th Most Influential Young Person in Nigeria, among other awards/honours.
Odunayo is one of Business Day‘s Spark 2019 Women to Watch and we advise you watch.
She is the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of PiggyVest – a company that securely makes saving possible by combining discipline plus flexibility to make you grow your savings to reach your savings target.
Odunayo is not new to the tech business, especially when you remember Sharphire Global LTD, a parent company for PushCV and FrontDesk.
Her work with PiggyVest has not evaded the tech community, and indeed, the millions of users the savings platform has gathered in just a few years.
Eyitayo saw a problem and is proffering solutions. The CEO of Utiva leads the largest virtual tech school in Africa with presence in North America, and currently with students from more than 15 cities with virtually-led data, product, design, AI, programming, cybersecurity and marketing schools.
He uses disruptive technology to drive scale and impact, and has worked and lived in 6 countries, taken leadership roles in project management, change leadership, strategy deployment, and business development.
The Techpreneur is a 2020 Halcyon Incubator Fellow, 2019 Global Good Funds Fellow (United States) 2019 Unleash Talent (Shenzhen, China).
Obi, the co-founder/CEO of Kobo360, was recently named the ‘Young Business Leader of the Year’ and ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the ninth All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) held in partnership with CNBC Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kobo360 is a technology company that aggregates end-to-end haulage operations to help cargo owners, truck owners, drivers, and cargo recipients to achieve.
In 2019, Kobo360 raised $30 million backed by Goldman Sachs to upgrade its platform and expand to 10 new countries beyond current operating markets of Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya.
The company currently prides itself as a viable logistics company, powered by the great personality and leadership skills of Obi.
She is the co-founder and VP Engineering at BuyCoins – a service that enables users trade cryptocurrency instantly with no wait time.
Ire is passionate about all aspects of technology and has written over 100 articles on these topics on her blog, bitsofco.de. The TechCabal author also regularly shares her knowledge through speaking at conferences around Africa and the world.
The founder of EdTech platform, Tuteria, is among the two Nigerian innovators shortlisted for the 2020 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, run by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering, which recognizes ambitious African innovators who are developing scalable engineering solutions to local challenges. The 16-strong shortlist was announced today in Cape Town, South Africa.
Tuteria is an online marketplace connecting users with tutors in various subjects. The platform connects people seeking to learn anything with tutors in their local area, while also ensuring safety, accountability and quality service delivery. Lessons can be booked in academic subjects as well as more vocational areas, while there are also tutors offering lessons in skills such as programming and web design.
Tuteria processes payments for lessons, monitors lesson delivery and evaluates performance, with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Godwin Benson telling Disrupt Africa the team had been gradually refining the product for over two years based on feedback from both clients and tutors.
‘Approximately 12.5 million children in Nigeria need private tutors to help with challenging school subjects, and another 29+ million adults and youths need tutors to learn a skill, prepare for an exam or better understand a concept every year.’ Godwin built Tuteria to help them achieve their learning goals.
Boye has a selfless interest in education and how actual reforms can take place. He has spent years taking intentional steps towards actualising his vision.
His interests were refined in his early years when he would attempt to recreate alternate realities from novels he read and wrote, and subconsciously grew into an individual ready to take the world by the hand through science and technology. He is the co-founder/CEO of Gradely, where he puts into practice all those years of observing how individuality can be a strong determinant in educational outcomes.
Gradely prides itself as a tailored learning platform using artificial intelligence technology to create learning modules and quizzes specific to each learner. The platform also curates practice questions and produces video lessons for continental and international certificate examinations.
Farida is a software engineer, technical product manager and technology entrepreneur with extensive experience in software development, information systems, big data analytics, and ICT for development.
As CEO at OTRAC, she leads a team of engineers, designers, data scientists and UX researchers to deliver custom enterprise solutions for the government, its agencies, as well as development partners. She also trains and mentor young girls on software development and career paths in IT.
Farida is passionate about the conscious use of technology as a tool to improve socio-economic development indices in developing countries like Nigeria, particularly in healthcare and governance which will in turn translate into improved service delivery and transparency in delivering those services.
Angel Adelaja Kuye
Dr. Angel Adelaja is a Development Consultant and entrepreneur with a major focus in women and youth empowerment, utilising grassroot campaigns, technology, and innovation to assist these groups in solving global issues.
She is Founder/CEO of Fresh Direct Produce and Agro-Allied Services (Fresh Direct Nigeria) – an urban farming and Ag-tech company in Abuja, Nigeria, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper Alumna and a mentor to aspiring young entrepreneurs.
Fresh Direct Nigeria is “City Farming” using stackable container farms, bringing fresh premium organic produce closer to market with a Container Farm Technology. Through this company, Angel is making agriculture local and exciting for youth, lowering the risk to do it all year round regardless of location, with little to no Land… no SOIL, cutting out long transportation times with the use of a simple technology.
The company brings together communities and technology and focus on engaging youth in agriculture with technologies that aren’t back breaking. Angel studied Epidemiology and Biology but has found interest in agriculture and entrepreneurship.
Faiz love for Mathematics morphed into love for programming at the young age of 12 years, a period when he had access to a computer; unlike his peers.
While he was still in secondary school, he came across a simple computer program that accepts inputs of students’ scores and computes the sums and averages of the scores and generates the students’ report sheets. This program had a connection with a project by the computer department in his secondary school to computerise their results. When the project didn’t succeed eventually, with his little experience in programming, Faiz was determined to solve the problem which eventually gave birth to FlexiSAF in 2010.
FlexiSAF currently helps over 500 schools to automate their processes. Coming from a family that values education, Faiz believes that education is the greatest asset that anyone can have and is committed to support and create opportunities to out-of-school children and improve the quality of education using technology under the FlexiSAF Foundation platform.
He believes that quality education is the ultimate solution to the chronic challenges of Nigeria and the developing countries. Faiz is ‘passionate about revolutionizing the African Software Industry by providing quality and valuable software that meet the global Software Engineering standards.’
Sanusi is a pioneer of the tech hub business in Kaduna. Think about a crisis-weary region, with little or no attention to tech related conversations and a Sanusi hoping to change the conversation. The entrepreneur, Sanusi, and the team at CoLab – a co-working and innovation space for tech start-ups and engineers – are building a tech hub that might further advance a tech revolution in the state.
CoLab offers work space, training, mentorship and networking opportunities. It also organises talks, training sessions and one-on-one meetings with tech professionals from the US and UK, hackathons, something Sanusi says is quite hard to come by in northern Nigeria.
Sanusi believes that the greatest opportunity to make a difference lies in Nigeria’s problems – or a pandemic like COVID-19. There are two things he hopes young entrepreneurs will avoid doing in the future, as CoLab and the tech sector grow in the northern parts of the country: don’t use the hype of an emerging tech ecosystem to operate, solve actual problems; and don’t think failure is in fact failure.
Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong is one of Nigeria’s foremost researchers who has an extensive experience working in the US, UK and the Nigerian healthcare industries.
He founded 54Gene – an African genomics company in 2019, the world’s first pan-African biobank to address the gap of clinical genomics research within the African populace. Greater availability of African genomic data could lead to medical breakthroughs for the continent’s 1.2 billion people. That’s the driving proposition of 54Gene.
Abasi has worked with leading healthcare organisations, including Fortune 100 pharmaceutical companies, academic and research institutions, and governments as a management consultant with PwC and IQVIA (formerly Quintiles IMS). He also served as a business consultant for the USAID.
His company, 54 Gene stands as one of the top 12 leading innovations that would change healthcare in the 2020’s, as listed in Time Magazine and Fast Company List.
Recently, 54 Gene took innovation a bit higher and was one of the companies confirmed to start conducting COVID-19 tests.
Fola is the former Google Head of Startup Success and Services, Launchpad Africa. He has worked in technology-based roles, creating channels for tech to interface with businesses in 10+ countries in different sectors including finance, retail and investment banking, education, media, power, agriculture, and he now focuses on building an African ecosystem that supports innovators and entrepreneurs.
Prior to Google, he led Ventures Platform’s Accelerator, graduating 2 cohorts and directly investing in 23 startups over a 15 month period. He also worked as Vice President of Business Development at Venture Garden Group where he led the group’s Fintech Division.
Fola is passionate about Nigerian startups and continually uses his network and experience to advance this ideology.
Sani is a published Author, Developer Advocate, IT Educator & Software Engineer; heavily invested in the Ionic & Angular Communities.
With his company Haibrid, he consult on Ionic, Angular & Training projects building mobile & Web applications with Modern Web technologies. He also writes online about Ionic/Angular and speak about Ionic/Angular in different conferences, and has spoken about Ionic across multiple Geo Zones, including Europe, Middle East, North America and Africa.
Currently working with MindLife UK – a digital health company developing a cutting-edge platform for digital mental health, which is collaborating with the University of Sheffield and NHS Trusts, he has developed – and helped develop – apps that have amassed over 25 million downloads in total, with some of them listed as the top in their app store categories.
His works have been recognised and awarded by companies like Microsoft, Samsung and Aimia LTD.
Ized is a certified content strategist and data analyst, who connects the dots on global trends within the digital landscape.
She is the former Chief Marketing Officer of TORA Africa – an academy that recruits, trains, verifies, insures and provides background-checked vehicle drivers for individuals and businesses. She’s had 13 years post-college experience in marketing and has spent the last 5 years changing the digital landscape through her work, using digital for advocacy and helping startups promote their businesses through digital.
Having worked with major brands she’s gained requisite experience and track record as Director of Marketing; PR and growth at Metro Africa Express (MAX), Social producer at CNN Africa bureau, Head of Digital at Indigo Arya.
Omoleye Omoruyi… an apprentice web/game developer, novelist, sensitive to happenings in the world. Meet him @Lord_rickie on Twitter/Instagram