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A 30-year-old Nigerian phone entrepreneur by the name of Michael Akindele has been making great strides in the mobile device market — so much so, that he has been challenging tech giants such as Apple. The company, SOLO Phone, was started in 2012, and Akindele serves as director and co-founder. The company is aimed at delivering mobile solutions, services, and platforms to consumers all at a reasonable price.

The company’s smartphones are priced at $150 and come with up to 20 million free songs licensed by Sony, Universal, and Warner. Its latest release is an app named Video-On-Demand, available to all Nigerians with an Android device and makes available Nollywood and Hollywood movies. SOLO Phone is making strides in the market and can definitely challenge other giants within the market, believes Akindele.

 Akindele was born in the United States to Nigerian parents on Aug. 29, 1984. He returned to Nigeria at two-years-old but returned to the states ten years later. He was educated at Alexandria, Virginia and graduated from T.C. Williams High School, and then moved on to George Mason University in Fairfax. While at George Mason, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a focus on computer science and information technology. This gave him the ideal background, knowledge, and platform to building his company

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Bunmi Mojekwu first came into international limelight when she played Mercy Olubunmi in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, before then she had also starred in writer Bola Agbaje’s award-winning production Gone Too Far.

Born of Nigerian parents, Bunmi Mojekwe has always been an outspoken woman. A few years ago she addressed the marginalization of dark-skinned women in UK’s entertainment industry where women are not depicted as beautiful or desirable.

She has also waved aside snide remarks by people about the way she looked. In an interview with Voice back in 2011, she shared an inspiring message to black women who feel their skin colour is not good enough and would not take them far;

“I would tell them to talk to themselves and find out what you love most about the person you are,” she says. “That way, if anyone tells you anything you know not to be true, it doesn’t matter. Your skin will not stop you getting a man, a job, or anything in this industry. I’m here so it can be done and the reason why I’m here is not because I’m dark-skinned, it’s because I’m a great actress.”

Beyond black not being depicted as beautiful, there is also the fact that movies made in the UK do not necessarily reflect the country’s ethnically diverse population. Hence there are fewer roles for people of colour. This is where Bunmi Mojekwu’s latest venture fits in. She wants to change all that.

Motivated by the “underrepresentation of black and ethnic minorities” on screen, Bunmi is setting out to start out her an independent film company.

According to her the outfit will be “focused on developing cross-cultural films, which cater to a whole audience, exploring a range of genres all of which represent a true reflection of society today.”

This venture of hers will launch on February 10 and would “change the narrative of British cinema and ultimately keep UK talent in the UK”

Photo Credit: Instagram|Bunmi Mojekwe

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This Kid was profiled almost two years ago as an up and coming businessman at only 11 years old.

Talk about overachieving; at 13, Moziah Bridges is doing more than most 30 or 40 year year olds by creating his own line of bow ties. Moziah’s Bow ties have produced $200,000 in sales and have a five person staff on payroll.

Bridges is the CEO of Mo’s Bows. In 2011 his grandmother taught him how to sew and his business was born. He was only 9. With her scraps of fabric, Bridges began making unique bow ties and selling them to local stores and online and a business was born.

 â€œI like to wear bow ties because they make me look good and feel good,” said Bridges. “Designing a colorful bow tie is just part of my vision to make the world a fun and happier place.”

And his vision is quickly becoming a reality garnering acclaim from the likes of Oprah and Steve Harvey. He’s even launched a philanthropic arm. “I made this bow tie called the Go Mo! Scholarship Bow Tie and 100 percent of the proceeds go to help kids go to summer camp,” said Bridges. “I feel like it’s good to help the community and that’s what I’m doing,”

Bridges’ success even earned him an appearance on the popular venture capital television show Shark Tank in 2014. His pitch earned him two offers from the Sharks; a $50,000 investment plus royalties from Kevin O’Leary or mentorship from Daymond John. Being more comfortable with John, Bridges chose mentorship over money and so far it’s paying off

With John, he’s already secured orders from Neiman Marcus where Mo’s Bows are now sold online at Neiman Marcus and Cole Hahn. His sports ties opened a seat for Bridges at 2015 NBA Draft where he served as a fashion analyst for the draftees

 â€œYou don’t have to wait until you’re older,” his mother Tramica Morris said. “If you have a dream and you have a passion, we say go for it.”

With support from his family and a growing wealth of experience the bow-tie businessman will surely reach his financial goals. “I see Mo’s Bows adding neck ties, pocket squares and other accessories for men,” he wrote to FORBES. “I also want to get enough money to start a cool kids clothing company that has nice blazers and pants for kids who like to look good like me.” Pocket squares and t-shirts can be found on his website with plans to launch a full fashion line by the age of 20.

According to the Atlanta Black Star, Mo’s Bows can be purchased in 14 states, Canada (Toronto) and The Bahamas or on-line at www.mosbowsmemphis.com

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St. Louis, MO, and nearby Ferguson, has been viewed as an epicenter of social injustice and institutional racism, sparking protests and the #BlackLivesMatter movement following the shooting of unarmed teenager Mike Brown last year and the unrest attributed to the one-year anniversary of his murder.

The outcome for most teens in this area is projected to be a dark one, but for 17-year-old Jaylen D. Bledsoe, he is rising above his circumstances and achieving success most adults are still trying to achieve.

Bledsoe is a nationally recognized teen entrepreneur, investor, motivational speaker and business development consultant. At the age of 12, he started his own information technology consulting business, Bledsoe Technologies, LLC, with only a $100 investment, and within two years he had 150 contractors working for him and increased the value of his company to $3.5 million
 Bledsoe has had success in several areas including start-up businesses, brand and business development, venture capital funding, direct marketing platform development and implementation, entrepreneurship and increasing revenue streams. Bledsoe even boasts celebrity clients like Jordin Sparks and Steve Harvey.

Bledsoe recently re-branded his company to The Jaylen Bledsoe Global Group and his passion of inspiring and educating other teens prompted him to create The Young Entrepreneur University – a set of interactive digital programs and camps designed to educate minority students on entrepreneurship. In 2016, he is planning on taking his program to over 10 cities.

“I see greater meaning in knowing that I’ve motivated someone with my story, inspired someone with my words, or impacted someone with my business rather than just enjoying the check that’s offered,” he told The Huffington Post. “I’ve come to the understanding in my life as I travel the country speaking to youth, hoping to change lives, that the word ‘net-worth’ doesn’t have to apply simply be the equation of, ‘your assets minus your liabilities’.”
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Eric Kinoti started from the bottom, quite literally.

The now high-flying entrepreneur narrated to Citizen Digital that he worked in Malindi as a hotel cashier by night, and by day he sold eggs to hotels in Mombasa before becoming a full time businessman

 The young entrepreneur sourced his eggs from Wangige and transported them to Mombasa, earning him a tidy sum of between Sh20,000 to Sh35,000 per week.

“I would go to hotels and tell them we have a very big farm and would like to supply them with eggs,” said Kinoti.

However, as luck would have it, Kinoti had to go back to Nairobi in 2008 after the post election violence that affected most parts of the country including the coastal region.

“I had no job and no prospects at the time so I decided to start a milk selling business. I quickly found out that it was unsustainable, as it required many licenses,” he narrated.

“I would wake up at 4am and go to Wangige, usually I would make Sh2,000 by midday.”

 His milk business fell apart after he bought milk that had been diluted with water from farmers, instead of buying from the dairy centre where he sourced his milk and, on finding out the milk was impure, the customer refused to pay him.

“At that point my business went down the drain,” he said.

The incident discouraged the budding businessman and he decided to look for a job.

“I got a job as a sales rep for a local bank but I did not find it fulfilling so I quit after one month,” he said.

In keeping with his usual practice, Kinoti supplied schools with various goods even as he worked as a sales representative by day.

After he left the bank job he decided to venture into school supplies fulltime.

“In the process of supplying wares to schools, I met someone who needed a tent. I did some research and got him the tent and thus Shade Systems was born,” he said.

Since then the young entrepreneur has never looked back. His company has provided him with numerous opportunities to learn and travel and has won him various awards and recognitions that he says motivate him to achieve more than he did before.

“I have learnt how to set up manufacturing plants in any sector. I have learnt more than I would have learnt if I had not ventured into this,” he said.

“The awards I receive have motivated me to work harder and given me an opportunity to travel to places I would never have travelled to. The first time I was invited to speak on entrepreneurship was at the New York University after I was listed in the top 30 under 30 list by Forbes, that was a big moment in my life.”

Kinoti has expanded from having one company to having four and moved from being a job seeker to being an employer.

“I have employed 80 to 100 people. Sometimes they are more than 100 because we expand when we have many contracts and downsize when we have fewer,” he said.

His vision for the company he birthed is to take it beyond the borders.

“I want to go regional. I want to have Shade Systems East Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and so on. I also want to venture into solar energy,” he said.

The young CEO does not want to be lonely at the top, he has set out to mentor young men and women in business to ensure more and more people aim at being job creators instead of job seekers.

“I’ve been trying to create platforms to help people learn and not repeat our mistakes. I also use social media to encourage youths and other people to achieve their dreams,” he noted.

It is this goal that led to him creating the Entrepreneurs Boot Camp where groups of successful and aspiring entrepreneurs go to an out-of-town venue to discuss all matters investment and business.

Throughout the interview, Kinoti referenced having a positive attitude as key to success, an attribute he believes he has imparted into the minds of those he seeks to mentor.

“I have seen people’s mindsets change by them getting a positive outlook and pursuing their businesses,” he said.

“Some of them formed investment clubs with the people they met in the trucks on their way to Maasai Mara last YEAR he said.

What advice does he have for budding entrepreneurs?

Don’t neglect education

“Education is important in business because you must communicate and for you to do so effectively you must have education,” he noted.

Focus on one thing

Kinoti is a firm believer in one being focused on one thing.

“Don’t be lured into every idea you think is lucrative, that is called the shiny penny syndrome where you think one venture will make you richer that the other. Instead work at what you have and learn from your challenges.”

Put God first

“God is everything so put your belief in God the Father, not godfathers.”

Don’t copy ideas

“What works in the US may not work in Kenya so create solutions for Kenya.

Some people just want to be told unafanya kitu kali (you’re doing something amazing),” he said.

Be yourself

“You’re the asset, you’re everything so know your purpose, your weakness, use it as an asset.”

Kinoti has a 3-year-old daughter called Alma Kinoti, he is not married and tells me he is currently searching. His plan is to be married in two years time.

 
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Debbie Ogunjobi is the founder of Every Woman, a women only fashion label. Her success in her line of business has proven to be a great inspiration for women of all ages and different lines of business. But she tells us it was not always all rosy. She has gone through her own times of failures and you can learn from it.

In a recent interview with The Nation Online, Debbie Ogunjobi talks about that time in her business when all was not going as desired.

These are three lessons that immediately hit home:

FAILURE HAPPENS

Every Woman had a period when it seemed they would close shop but she fought hard and they ended up coming out strong. She narrates the story:

The first two years were very successful and unrealistically successful. Then, the third and fourth year made me come back to earth. I think the fourth year was the year I declared a loss and it was very humbling.

LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE

Instead of giving up, Debbie Ogunjobi sought to find out the reason behind the slump and she did!

“It was a hard lesson to learn because I decided that I was my own customer. I am athletic and slim and I let my taste decide the choice I bought. Unfortunately, not everybody was as lean as I was. In four years’ time, I will be fifty. I am not the typical Nigerian woman with the typical Nigerian body. The typical Nigerian body is size 18, which is the average size. The time I was talking about, I was size eight or ten and it was totally unrealistic to buy clothes of these sizes as the main line” she said.

FIND A SOLUTION AND GET BETTER

According to Debbie,  she  had to

“realigned my thinking with the typical Nigerian body So, I learnt the transition women go through with their bodies, and now I am an authority on this.”

Going through the steps helped her pull through that phase of her business – it can help you too

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Folorunsho Alakija is the richest self-made woman in Africa and one of just two female billionaires on the continent.

In an address to students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) during a United Nations’ International Youths Day, the CEO of Famfa Oil challenged the students to dream big and work hard.

Below is her speech:

“I come from Ikorodu, Lagos state. I am married to a dashing young lawyer of 70 years of age and we have four grown up gentlemen and grandchildren. It has not been a rag to riches fairytale. It has not been an overnight phenomenon like some cases which you find here and there all over the world.

For as long as I can remember, I had always wanted my own business. Hard work…am trying to tell you how I got to where I am if you want those billions. Hard work, diligence, persistence… days where you nearly gave up, but I chose not to give up.

It would have been easy to compromise but I chose not to and I stayed focus. I could have stayed a secretary as my father desired according to his plan for me but I had bigger aspirations. I dreamt big. God strengthened me and gave me wisdom. I had a passion and burning desire to succeed. Being a secretary, a banker, a fashion icon, a cooperate promoter and printer, a real estate owner, an oil magnate, that I can assure you was no easy feat. Firm belief that what is worth doing is what doing well or not doing at all. I took charge of my life with the tools I have shared with you.

I chose to become born again at the age of 40. I chose to make a covenant with God that if he would bless me I would work for him all the days of my life. I chose to hold on to the cross and look up to him every step of the way. Today additional accomplishment includes a wife of almost 40 years, a mother, grandmother, ministry, counseling, outreach, NGO Rose of Sharon Foundation for widows and Author, writer, author of several inspirational books. All I say to the glory of God.

So I am 63 and I am not yet done. So what is your excuse? I never went to a University and I am proud to say so because I don’t think I have done too badly. You do not have to have a University education to be able to make it so count yourselves privileged to have that education as part of the feather in your cap
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Chude Jideonwo was born on March 16, 1985 to Mr. Ifeanyi I. Jideonwo and Mrs. Ngozi A. Jideonwo. He is a
Nigerian lawyer, award-winning journalist and a media entrepreneur.

Chude Jideonwo attended K. Kotun Memorial Primary School, Adebola Baptist High School and the famed Mayflower School, Ikenne. After his secondary education, Chude attended the University of Lagos and graduated as the Best Law Student. In the year 2007, Chude was called to the Nigerian Bar in November 2007. After his call to bar, Chude attended Pan-African University, Lagos where he obtained his Masters Degree in Media and Communication.

Chude began his career as a TV presenter on the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA even before he became a lawyer, i.e between the years 2000–2005. He later worked as a researcher with a T.V show syndicate, Celebrating Jesus (MBI) and Inside Out with Agatha across Nigeria. He was also with the program, New Dawn, which showed on the Nigerian Television Authority Network for three years. Chude rose to become an Associate Producer as well as head of the Special Projects division.

Chude has written and/or  edited over fifteen books both within and outside Nigeria. He worked with the defunct NEXT Newspapers and ran a column, Sons and Daughters, for three years in the Sunday edition of The Guardian, profiling children of the rich and famous.

Currently, Chude is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Red Media
Africa/The Future Project, a media-content, communication and development company that has worked for several national and international brands. The firm is also the owner of The Future Nigeria Awards, reputed as Nigeria's biggest youth event. Chude became the editor of Y!/YNaija! in July 2010. He is also the founder of EnoughisEnough Nigeria, one of the country's foremost civic participation groups that has received funding from the Omidyar Network and the MacArthur Foundation.

Chude is the Chairman of the Public Relations & Communications Committee, a position with which he has secured buy-in from national and international media including CNN, BBC, Radio France, Reuters,The Associated Press,etc. The Committee was also a driver for Nigeria's first ever youth-centered presidential debate in March 2011.

Chude is a public speaker who has spoken at events, schools, churches, seminars and conferences including the 2010 ICT and Civic Engagement Symposium organised by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society in conjunction with Harvard University and the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.  He has also motivated the youth across Nigeria and beyond. He has also worked as Project Defense Panelist/Judge for several organizations including the United Nations Information  Technology Service (UNITeS), YGC Africa etc.

Chude is a recipient of the Nigeria Media Merit Award, winning for Entertainment Journalist of the Year. Other awards and nominations won by Chude includes the Olive Award for Media and Production, the Green Yaggy Achievement Award, the Sowambe Awards as Best Social Media Activist, Just U Award, Dynamix Awards, the Life Changers Award for Best Advocacy Campaign of the Year, and the Inside Out Role Model Award, 2007, Young African Leaders by the African Business Forum.

In May 2012, Chude was appointed the youngest member of the awards committee for the Ford Foundation Jubilee Transparency Award, alongside distinguished Nigerians like Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte and Rev. Fr. Matthew Kukah and in July was appointed into the British Council's Steering Group for its Creative Industries Expo.

In the year 2012, The Punch listed Chude alongside thirteen others, as one of the young people to watch in 2012. Also, in the same year, BusinessDay included him and his business partner, Adebola Williams, in a 40 under 40 list. In February 2013, both Chude Jideonwo and Williams were named in Forbes 30 Under 30: Africa's Best Young Entrepreneurs. Both of them have also partnered on various projects  Nigeria, including running the media campaign for the APC Presidential Candidate at the 2015 general election in Nigeria.
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Forbes magazine has published its ranking of African billionaires for the year 2015.

Nigerian cement magnate, Alhaji Aliko Dangote tops the list for the second year running with a net worth of $16.7 Billion.

The Chairman of Globacom, Mike Adenuga also made the list with a net worth of $3.5 billion.
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African Start-Up’ on CNN International meets Abiola Olaniran, a Nigerian entrepreneur who created his first game at University and then launched Gamsole, after spotting the growing demand for games worldwide.

Olaniran came up with the idea in 2012, and his first game, Road Blazer
Meet Nigerian Entrepreneur: Abiola Olaniran

was downloaded 40 thousand times. Since, he has had his games for phones and tablets downloaded more than 10 million times across 191 countries. Olaniran tells ‘African Start-Up’, “We realised there are not so many African games out there, and what we want to do is create African stories for the global audience.”

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Nigeria’s gaming market will reach $170 million by 2017. Olanarian and Gamsole are central to that growth as African sales make up a healthy five per cent of his company’s growth.


It is Latin American though, where most of the downloads come from. Olaniran tells ‘African Start-Up’, “We tend to have a lot of downloads in regions like Latin America, for instance, we get like 24 per cent of our downloads from Brazil. In some other regions like India, in Asia and a couple of other countries like Indonesia, we get a lot of downloads from there.”

Olanarian talks to ‘African Start-Up’ about of the early days of his company, recalling he received $35,000 in seed funding, which allowed him to expand. To date, Gamsole has released 35 games and generates over $30,000 a month, selling the games for free but placing advertisements in them.

He concludes African Start-up by saying: “We want to create games that everybody all around the world will appreciate,” notes Olanarian. “If you are going to put the game in either Google Play or the IOS app store, or Windows store, those stores are global, so why limit yourself to the local audience.
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