The 25under25 Award winners were happy and surprised to receive their awards. They didn’t expect to be nominated or noticed by anyone. The winners received ₦100,000 each as a show of encouragement.
Chibundu Onuzo (born 1991) is a Nigerian novelist. Her first novel, The Spider King’s Daughter, won a Betty Trask Award, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize, and was long listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Etisalat Prize for Literature. Her second novel, “Welcome to Lagos” was recently published in January 2017.She made the headlines, from BBC to CNN, after signing a two-novel deal with revered British publisher of literary fiction, Faber & Faber, making her its youngest ever female author. She started writing The Spider King’s Daughter when she was 17, got an agent at 18, signed with Faber at 19, finished editing while 20 and got published at 21. She has a bachelor’s degree in history from King’s College London, and a master’s degree in public policy from University College London. As of 2017, she is studying for a PhD at King’s College London.
Omonike Fowowe is easily one of the best symbols of relentless optimism you would find. She is the founder and president of EMR Group, a group of companies comprising of EmrMarketing, Emr PR & Media, EMR Properties, Theos Luxury and more. She has built a plethora of marketing communications and humanitarian brands under the holding company which she founded in 2011. She has worked with clients like Access Bank, Zaron, Mall for Africa and CoolWorldPZ Cussons, Marcopolo Hotels & Suites, Marcopolo Properties, among so many other large and small brands.
Kehinde Smith is the CEO of My Extensionz My Lash Extensionz, My Celebrity Teeth, HerBlings, & Taste My Fashion. Her brand is well known for supplying the highest quality of virgin hair to everyday working class women, hair salons and celebrities worldwide. My Extensionz was established in 2012 by sisters Kehinde and Tawio Smith, who were driven by the lack of affordable, quality extensions available on the market. As avid extensions users, the sisters channeled this frustration and set out on a mission to not only find high quality and affordable extensions for themselves, but for all women experiencing similar issues. After several months of research, traveling overseas and using themselves as testers, My Extensionz was born. Through social media promotions and word of mouth, the sisters gradually gained a small, yet loyal client base. By 2013, MY Extensionz was operating two retail locations in Chicago and a thriving online boutique. My Extensionz accomplished something special; high quality hair extensions at a competitive price. Due to social media, excellent customer service, strategic branding and insightful marketing, My Extensionz has placed itself in the top-tier of the market and is currently regarded as one of the go-to companies for the highest quality virgin hair extension.
ZURIEL ELISE ODUWOLE
Zuriel Elise Oduwole is a girl education advocate and filmmaker best known for her works on the advocacy for the education of girls in Africa. Her advocacy has since made her the youngest person to be profiled by Forbes. In November 2014, at age 12, Zuriel became the world’s youngest filmmaker to have a self-produced and self-edited work after her film showed in two movie chains, and then went on to screen in Ghana, England, South Africa, and Japan. Oduwole has met with 24 Presidents and Prime Ministers in line with her education advocacy work. She has also appeared in popular television stations including CNBC, Bloomberg TV, BBC and CNN. In 2013, Oduwole was listed in the New African Magazine’s list of “100 Most Influential People in Africa”. Earlier in January 2017, she was honored in Washington DC by the US Secretary of State – The Rt Hon John Kerry, for her work in the area of Girls Education Development in Africa, and her new idea of skill transfer to unemployed youths on the continent. She launched her foundation, DUSUSU (Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up), and its first partner was African billionaire Aliko Dangote of the Dangote Foundation. DUSUSU initially started off as a project that Oduwole had launched when she was 10 years old. She was recently honoured by UNESCO at the “Soft Power” Global Conference for her continuous work in speaking for Girls Education.
Orode Uduaghan is the personification of strength, courage and compassion. She is the CEO of Exclusive Brands Africa, a group of companies comprising of Otres Restaurant, Gigs Rental, Pink Pearl Foundation and Rubies vocational school. As a teenager, the tragic loss of her aunt to Breast Cancer pushed her to find ways to help other women battling with the disease. Despite getting limited support and even discouragements, she forged ahead and today is the brain behind one of Nigeria’s most relevant cancer organisations – the Pink Pearl Foundation (PPF). The foundation has successfully helped treat hundreds of women diagnosed with cancer and provides awareness and various forms of support to women living with cancer. It has also recorded several achievements including the production of a Breast Cancer awareness movie titled “Living Funeral“.
Sophia Ike – Onu is the founder of the5kshop.com – an e-commerce platform that stocks high quality Nigerian products. “The Nigerian fashion scene lacked quality and affordable fashion brands within the purchasing power of the average population,” said Sophia. Not only are all products on the5kshop made locally, they do not cost more than five thousand naira (the namesake for Sophia’s business). Sophia started her business at home with a local tailor and launched her brand at a local fashion exhibition. Her items sold out during the two-day event. This reinforced her business idea and that the demand existed for indigenous products. She now employs three tailors who make over 400 fashion pieces a month for the business.
Bidemi is the founder and CEO of LSF|PR – a full service public relations consultancy with a core focus on corporate communications and consumer brands. She is the Publicist for one of Nigeria’s top retail fashion store- Grey Velvet. She has worked for high profile clients such as Jack Daniel, Remy Martin, Nissan and a host of celebrities. She won The Future Awards Africa Prize For Media Enterprise 2016.
Ozinna Anumudu is passionate about two things – fashion & branding. Having secured a bachelor’s degree in Economics in The United States, she pursued a masters in a field she was more passionate about, Communication, in Paris. There after, she relocated to Nigeria and has created a niche market for herself with branding & the Nigerian Fashion Industry in under three years. Zina recently founded a brand management company, The Style Concierge,which caters to creatives & businesses in the fashion & lifestyle industry. Ozinna.com serves as a medium for Zina to share her work, her fashion, her life and everything in between.
Derin Fabikun started her clothing outfit in 2009, at the age of 19. She’s a graduate of management from Covenant University. Designing for her started as a hobby. She has always had a passion for Fashion. Back in university she made outfits for herself, adding to already made dresses she had. Then it graduated to making tunics for her sisters, then friends and friends of friends. Since her entry into the scene with her elegant, unique and stylish pieces, her designs have been worn by a number of celebrities like Mimi Onalaja, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Zina Anumudu, Bolanle Olukanni, Ini Dinma Okoji, Dodos Uvieghara and more. She won the ELOY awards for female designer of the year in 2016. Derin is known for her aesthetic designs that feature droopy arms, lace and unique mermaid gowns.
Vera Obielumani is a Creative Director and CEO of VeraNora Couture (VNC), an Urban African Fashion Label based in Warri, Delta State. She started VeraNora in 2009, inspired by her mother, Nora, who is a retiree, at the age of 18 while still in the University of Port Harcourt majoring in Biochemistry. VeraNora started out as a hobby with just one tailor in her employment and two dresses a week, four years later, it is now a full fashion house which specializes in both men and women wears. Her creations have been showcased on runways and red carpets across the country worn by celebrities and beauty queens like the Miss Nigeria and MBGN Winners for 2012. She runs a fashion and design academy where she organizes sewing classes in Port Harcourt and Warri. Vera runs a project where she gives back to the community by running free design training programs for young girls in Warri, and craft making for secondary school students during the summer holidays. She also runs skills acquisition training for NYSC members.
FLORENCE IFEOLUWA OTEDOLA
Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola, famously known as DJ Cuppy, is a musician and entrepreneur. Cuppy’s musical endeavors began at a young age. By the time she turned 18, whilst obtaining a BSc Economics at King’s College London, she was already producing her own tracks and DJing around the world. To this date, Cuppy’s DJ skills have taken her to over 25 countries and she continues to fill dance floors across the globe. In 2014, Cuppy released her first compilation House of Cuppy, which saw her pioneer a fresh new sound she dubbed “Neo-Afrobeats” -an electric blend of Tropical House and Afrobeats music. The compilation was launched successfully in London, New York and Lagos, and the following year was succeeded by an 8-country tour, Cuppy Takes Africa, now a TV show on FOX. Having been featured by the likes of Forbes, Vogue, and the Financial Times, Cuppy has worked with some of the biggest and most exciting international organizations. Jumpstarting her US invasion in 2015 with an internship at Roc Nation, she performed at SXSW Festival and starred as the resident DJ on MTV’s ‘Uncommon Sense’ Show; all whilst attaining a Masters in Music at New York University.
As a big believer in female entrepreneurship and empowerment on the African continent, Yasmin Belo-Osagie (26) saw a gap to create a space for young women to become movers and shakers on the continent. In 2014, on her return to Nigeria after completing her studies in the US, Belo-Osagie seized the opportunity to form her own start-up, together with Afua Osei. They called it She Leads Africa. The business serves as a platform on which young women across Africa can create and share entrepreneurial ideas. It provides support for their ideas and access to professionals who can assist with advice and funding to turn start-ups into major business enterprises.
Ese is the founder and creative director of Hesey Designs, a fashion accessory outfit that produces one of the finest handcrafted Afrocentric fashion accessories. Right after graduating from Covenant University in 2013, she started her business with $60 savings and little experience. Today, the millennial has been able to raise $60,000 (60,000) dollars equity free funds to further grow her business. She has won various awards like Google Africa connected, British council enterprise challenge amongst others and has designed sneakers for Virgin Boss, Sir Richard Branson.
Theodora Anne Mogo the CEO of Doranne Beauty, a make-‐up and skin care company that offers make-up and hairstyling services for all events and occasions. She attended Babcock University and graduated with a Bachelors of Art in Mass communication. This young entrepreneur found herself entangled in the world of beauty after completing a beginners makeup training program. As her passion for beauty continued to grow, she dedicated the bulk of her time-when not neck deep in her academics- to learning more about hair, makeup and beauty in general. Theodora being the hardworking young lady that she is, began dealing in the sales of quality human hair and offering part time makeup services to a couple of her friends and family in her second year in the university. After years of juggling between her miniature entrepreneurship and school, she practiced as a public relations officer at West African Eclipse. Miss Mogo finally found her strength and went into full time Makeup. Theodora, who is a strong believer in her faith, has never stopped enforcing the mantra that beauty comes from within; however, makeup only defines a woman’s physical appearance. With hard work, God and the most supportive family and friends on her side, the sophisticated Theodora Anne Mogo has been able to break many barriers with her talent in makeup artistry.