2020 has been a year filled with uncertainty. The pandemic and the protests have led to an atmosphere of general unrest across the country. However, through these trying times, a handful of businesses have adapted and adjusted to this “new normal”, whilst implementing innovative strategies.
This year’s 14 Brands We Love features businesses that exemplify all this and so much more and at this time we want to acknowledge and commend; Temitope Jebutu of AACE Foods, Ore Runsewe of Arami Essentials, Gbenga Agboola of Flutterwave, Boye Oshinaga of Gradely, Babs Ogundeyi of Kuda, Pelumi Aboluwarin & Yinka Adewale of Kudi, Temie Giwa-Tubosun of Lifebank, Nkem Okocha founder of Mamamoni, Yele Bademosi of Microtraction, Ada Osakwe of Nuli Lounge, Mazi Ukonu of Recycle Point, Adesola Ladoja of Simply Green, Ameera Abraham of The Nail Bar and Oluwatomisin Kolawole & Caleb Oyolola of Vinsighte.
AACE Foods | Temitope Jebutu
Temitope Jebutu joined AACE foods in 2014 as Managing Director. Temitope holds a BSc in Estate Management from Obafemi Awolowo University and has 15 years’ experience in business operations focused on developing and implementing high-impact strategies, managing budgets, raising funds, and recruiting and supervising managers.
AACE Food Processing and Distribution Limited (AACE Foods) is an indigenous Nigerian company established in November 2009. The company processes packages and distributes nutritious and tasty food products made from the best of West Africa’s fruits, herbs, vegetables, and cereals. Our product line consists of spices, seasonings, flours, and complimentary food that excite and satisfy institutional, commercial, and retail customers.
AACE Foods sources its produce from over 10,000 smallholder farmers in rural communities across Nigeria and West Africa in value chains. The company invests resources into cultivating relationships
Arami Essentials | Ore Runsewe
Ore Runsewe is the Founder of Arami Essentials, a natural beauty brand based in Lagos, Nigeria. Ore graduated from the University of Manchester with a BSc in Computer Science with Business and Management.
Arami was established due to Ore’s enthusiasm for beauty, and her strong desire to see real improvement and make a tangible impact on African’s beauty and wellness sector. Ore was forced to very quickly adapt, and build on some of her existing DIY routines which amazingly led her to discover a whole new world of natural, African beauty solutions. Coupled with the ease of accessing raw materials and their affordability in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, Ore identified an
Flutterwave | Olugbenga Agboola
Olugbenga Agboola is the Founder and CEO at Flutterwave. A serial entrepreneur with two exits under his belt, he has over 15 years of experience in building scalable financial technology firms. He has contributed to the development of fintech solutions to several companies and financial institutions such as PayPal, Standard Bank, Google, among others. His last fintech venture focused on easy APMs scaled quickly and resulted in an acquisition by a bank.
His software engineering background and expertise in enterprise architecture and payments helped steer initiatives with institutions such as the Royal Bank of Scotland as a Business Entrepreneur and Africa Fintech Foundry as the Senior Entrepreneur in Residence.
Among GB’s well-rounded background includes Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Wharton School of Management, and the University of Westminster.
Gradely | Boye Oshinaga
Boye Oshinaga graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University and holds a degree in Computer Science with Economics. Boye is an Educationist and Technology Entrepreneur and co-founded Gradely in 2019.
Boye has strong experience in starting and growing technology companies and is a two-time founder who previously co-founded Riby Finance, one of Nigeria’s topmost fintech companies, and helped grow the company to more than $1 million in revenue in 4 years.
Boye is passionate about education and has worked in Edtech for about a decade gaining domain expertise across instructional design, content development, education software, education sales, and learning communities. While working as VP in the Education division of a Technology Group, he helped launch the first local online MBA program in the country with nearly 1,000 students in its inaugural class.
Kuda | The Bank Of The Free | Babs Ogundeyi
Babs is the CEO and co-founder of Kuda, Nigeria’s first full-service, digital-only bank licensed by the Central Bank with a mission to make banking more accessible, affordable, and rewarding.
Babs graduated from Brunel University London, with a degree in Business Studies and Accounting. He has strong expertise in the financial services sector, with previous experience auditing and advising some of Africa’s biggest banks as an Engagement Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Kuda is a full-service, digital-only bank with a mission to make banking more accessible and affordable for every African on the planet. With offices in London and Lagos, the bank raised $1.6 million in pre-seed funding in 2019. In 2020, Kuda launched a COVID-19 fund to provide relief to vulnerable groups in Lagos, a city of over 20 million people.
Kudi | Pelumi Aboluwarin and Yinka Adewale
Pelumi Aboluwarin (CTO) and Yinka Adewale (CEO) both graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Electronic and Electrical Engineering respectively.
The duo are the brains behind Kudi, a Nigerian based Fintech that provides banking services for Nigerians in underserved communities with an Agent network of over 50,000, processing millions of naira in daily transactions. Pelumi and Yinka founded Kudi to help millions of unbanked individuals across Nigeria perform banking transactions safely and effortlessly.
LifeBank | Temie Giwa-Tubosun
Temie Giwa-Tubosun is the Founder and CEO of LifeBank; Africa’s healthcare supply chain engine. The company helps hospitals discover essential medical suppliers and delivers them in the right condition and on time. LifeBank is a platform that makes blood available when and where it is needed in Nigeria to save lives. We mobilize blood donations, take inventory of all blood available in the country, and deliver blood in the right condition to the point of need.
Temie holds a degree in International Public Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She has over 10 years of health management experience with the Department For International Development (DFID), World Health Organization, UNDP, and the Lagos State Government. In 2014, the BBC listed her as one of the 100 Women changing the world. She was also recognized as an African Innovator by Quartz and the World Economic Forum.
Mamamoni | Nkem Okocha
In 2013, Nkem Okocha, an award-winning serial Social Entrepreneur with a degree in Banking and Finance from Lagos State University founded FinTech social enterprise, Mamamoni.
Her passion to effect change through investing in women of underserved communities prompted her to establish Mamamoni, which empowers low-income rural-and-urban slum women with free vocational and financial skills, and small loans.
In the last 2 years, Mamamoni has been able to set-up a liquid wash enterprise, Levantar, which is fast becoming a household name. Low-income women in the community are trained and employed in the enterprise as factory workers. Since inception over 7000 low-women have been impacted.
Microtraction | Yele Bademosi
Yele Bademosi is the CEO /Co-Creator of Bundle and Founding Partner of Microtraction. He is also a Former Director at Binance Labs. Yele studied Medicine at King’s College London before opting out to focus on technology entrepreneurship.
Microtraction was launched in 2017 as an investment platform that provides seed capital to technology entrepreneurs at the earlier stages of their ventures. Its mission is to accelerate Africa’s economic growth by enabling innovation and supporting technology entrepreneurs.
Yele is a self-taught designer and he has created multiple apps and products over the last 5 years. His mission to accelerate Africa’s transition into a sustainable and developed economy by leveraging innovation, capital, and policy.
Nuli | Ada Osakwe
Ada is an award-winning food entrepreneur, investor, and passionate African development advocate. She holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Hull, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, and an MSc in Economics and Finance from the University of Warwick.
Ada founded Nuli in 2015 and it is Nigeria’s fastest-growing farm-to-table beverage brand and restaurant chain that utilizes only locally grown agricultural produce. She is also the Founder of Agrolay Ventures, an investment firm focusing on early-stage innovative food companies in Africa.
Ada serves on the Board of the One Acre Fund, and Infinite Foods, a leading plant-based food company in Africa. She is a member of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Presidential Youth Advisory Group and serves on the Advisory Group of Generation Africa, an initiative to invest in young African agripreneurs co-catalyzed by Econet and Yara International. She is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow.
Recycle Point | Mazi Alison Ukonu and Chioma Ukonu
Chioma and Mazi are both graduates of the Federal University of Technology Owerri, they founded Recycle Point in 2012, a waste recycling and social benefit venture.
Chioma, a Social Impact professional holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Physics with a certificate in Social Sector Management from the Pan Africa University Lagos. Mazi a Materials Engineer, and Supply-Chain Manager holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Materials & Metallurgical Engineering.
Chioma currently runs operations at Recycle Points and is the COO. She has over eight years of experience in grass-root development projects that focus on youth employment, women empowerment, community engagement, and environmental sustainability. Mazi has over 15 years of experience in Procurement and Logistics Management in the Oil & Gas industry. He earned an Executive Certificate in Technology, Operations, and Value Chain Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management and has attended numerous MBA courses in Supply-Chain and Project Management. As a materials expert, he privately sought to build a viable model for waste recycling cum social enterprise that will suit the Nigerian ethos and the result is RecyclePoints.
Simply Green | Adesola Ladoja
Adesola Ladoja is a practical farmer with a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the New York Institute of Technology.
He used his vast knowledge of greenhouse and open-field crop production to establish Simply Green which specializes in the cultivation, processing, and packaging of vegetables. Under his leadership, Simply Green Limited has been successful in its mission to reduce imported vegetables in Nigeria which has led to higher than expected revenue for the company.
Adesola is currently a consultant for Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) with the responsibility of creating the Oyo State Agribusiness Policy and Governance Programme, Agribusiness Development Programme, and Youth in Agribusiness program to propel the same as the pacesetter in modern agriculture in Nigeria.
He has received several awards for entrepreneurship in agriculture and was recognized by renowned international experts and Forbes Magazine for this dedication to agriculture in Nigeria.
The Nail Bar | Ameera Abraham
Ameera Abraham is the CEO & Spa Director of The Nail Bar, a luxury nail spa and wellness center, and the founder of Nigeria’s premier professional nail care brand Amali Cosmetics. She also serves as the Director of Communications at the Spa and Wellness Association of Africa.
She is a qualified beauty therapist, holds a BA in Politics and International Relations and a CIDESCO Diploma in Spa Management.
Outside of her professional life, Ameera enjoys reading, yoga, and volunteering for charity work. She is an advocate of women and children’s rights & enlightening and empowering women in their various fields of life.
Vinsighte | Oluwatomisin Kolawole and Caleb Oyolola
Alumni of the University of Ibadan, Oluwatomisin Kolawole, and Caleb Oyolola founded Vinsighte in 2016. Vinsighte is a digital health company that uses Artificial Intelligence and assistive technology to prevent visual impairment and aids visually impaired persons to read books and printed materials conveniently.
As CEO, Oluwatomisin is in charge of securing essential partnerships and mapping out structures and strategies for growth and development at Vinsighte. Under his leadership, Vinsighte has won numerous accolades. Caleb serves as the Chief Business Officer (CBO) of Vinsighte and is responsible for the administrative, financial, and operations management of the organization. He is currently the project head of Viszione by Vinsighte, a new brand under the company involved in building and marketing preventive eye wears.
Vinsighte has received several awards including Union Bank’s 2018 best innovation award in Nigeria, Hult Prize’19 Dubai Regional finalist, 2019 Honorable Mention Award by the World Bank Group, Global Student Entrepreneurship Award for 2nd best student entrepreneur in Nigeria for 2019, Facebook Accelerator Program 2019 cohort MERCK’s 2019 top 20 health-tech startups in Africa, amongst others