The Jack Ma Foundation’s 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) competition has announced its top 20 finalists and three Nigerian entrepreneurs made the cut. They include Metro Africa Xpress (MAX) co-founder and Chief Growth Officer (CGO), Chinedu Azodoh; Soupah Farm-en-Market owner, Ifeoluwa Olatayo; and Oluwasoga Oni, CEO of medical tech startup MDaaS.
These three founders and entrepreneurs progressed into the top 20 from the round of 50 and will be representing Nigeria in the penultimate stage of the ABH competition.
The top 20 finalists also include two entrepreneurs from Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda and Senegal, and one each from Ghana, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Benin.
Chinedu Azodoh (MAX)
Chinedu Azodoh, along with Adetayo Bamiduro, founded MAX in 2015 to offer motorcycle ride-hailing services via its mobile app in Nigeria. He doubles as the company’s CGO.
We could see the numbers . . . I had a car but I couldn’t drive it. I was using public transport to go everywhere.Chinedu Azodoh on establishing MAX
He obtained a Master’s degree in Finance at the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has worked as an analyst and developer at Barclays and Goldman Sachs.
In the same year, MAX was founded, he joined the Techstars New York Accelerator Program. Two years later, he led MAX as one of 20 leading startups in growth and development at the inaugural pan-African XL Africa Program and participated in Alibaba’s eFounders Program.
Chinedu appeared on the 2019 Forbes Africa 30-under-30 in Business and Technology after winning the LAComotion Mobility competition in the preceding year.
Ifeoluwa Olatayo (Soupah Farm-en-Market)
Soupah was founded by Ifeoluwa Olatayo in 2013 to provide digital farming solutions which connect small scale local farmers with urban retailers.
Ifeoluwa had begun her food delivery business as Soupah Kitchen while at the University of Ibadan. There, she won the most creative business idea at the European-Nigerian Students Entrepreneurship Workshop organized by Oxford Brookes University, U.K.
You must be passionate about the business you’re starting or else you’ll run out of energy and give up.Ifeoluwa Olatayo
In 2019, she won the overall position at the 2nd National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) of the year award and emerged winner of the $1m Chivas Venture Nigerian final in February 2020.
Oluwasoga Oni (MDaaS Global)
Oluwasoga Oni founded healthtech company, MDaaS Global together with Opeyemi Ologun, Genevieve Barnard Oni and Joseph McCord in 2016 to bring up tech-assisted diagnostic facilities in Nigeria.
Oluwasoga is a Systems Design and Management Fellow at the MIT Legatum Centre for Development and Entrepreneurship and had worked as a software engineer in Nigeria before going on to study in the United States.
Together with his partners, he set up a mass Covid-19 testing centre in Ota, Ogun state to collect swabs, test them at the labs and donate personal protective equipment. Last year, Oluwasoga raised over $1 million in a funding round led by Consonance Investment Managers, with the Fund for Africa’s Future, FINCA Ventures, Techstars, Greentree Investment Co and angel investors participating in the round.
Nigeria’s three representatives among the top 20 ABH 2020 finalists will be looking to get through the competition’s next stage as they compete for their share of the $1.5 million grand prize.
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