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Ibukun Awosika
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Ibukun Awosika – A Trailblazer in the business world

Ibukun Awosika – A Trailblazer in the business world

Today, we are celebrating Ibukun Awosika, a Nigerian entrepreneur, speaker, and author,
who against all odds and the difficulties of her nation, rose to prominence in the male-dominated world of business. Her story is one of faith, grit, and excellence.  It is one of seeing opportunities where there seem to be none. Let’s learn about her life and the impact she is making in Nigeria, Africa, and beyond.

Ibukun Awosika – Early Life and Education

Ibukun Awosika was born December 24, 1962, as the third of seven children in Oyo State, Nigeria. She had a dream of becoming an architect, however she didn’t meet the requirements to study architecture at the university of her choice, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).

Left with very few options, she went ahead and studied Chemistry at OAU instead. After graduating with a BSC, Ibukun decided to delve into the world of business.  She completed several postgraduate degrees in business from various renowned business schools including the Lagos Business School, IESE Business School University of Navarra, and CEIBS Shanghai, China.

Career and Impact

Ibukun Awosika was dedicated to establishing herself in the corporate world and was ready to give her best effort.  In 1989, she established a furniture manufacturing company called Quebees Limited. The company grew, despite the odds, and started to attract attention from companies all over the world. It eventually merged with SOKOA S.A – a furniture company in France – and Guaranty Trust Bank, becoming SOKOA Chair Center Limited in 2004.

Ibukun’s outstanding success in the male-dominated business sphere won her international recognition.  In 2015, she became the first woman ever to be appointed Chairperson of First Bank of Nigeria, renowned for being the premier bank in the whole of West Africa.  She is now a member of the International Advisory Board (IAB) of IESE Business School, University of Navarra and is also a member of the board of directors of Digital Jewel Limited and Cadbury Nig PLC.

Ibukun’s Leadership

Ibukun is dedicated to leadership and impacting her country. She is a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and Aspen Global Leadership Network. She is a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the co-founder of the Afterschool Graduate Development Center, built to curb the high unemployment rate in her country of Nigeria.

Ibukun Awosika’s unending passion for improving the quality of life of her fellow citizens has led to the establishment of various other movements. The Girl Entrepreneur is one such project she created to generate opportunities for female entrepreneurs.  She also founded WimBiz (Women in Management, Business, and Public Service) 17 years ago to campaign for greater representation of women in leadership at the levels of both the private and public sectors.  Through these projects and several others, Ibukun has successfully impacted the lives of many people in Nigeria and beyond.

Ibukun Awosika – Awards and Other Involvements

In 2008, she emerged as the First Nigerian recipient of the prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Award as the U.S. Department of State nominee. She also received the FATE Foundations Award for Model Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 and the Forbes Woman Africa Chairperson Award in 2020.

Ibukun Awosika has also made memorable media appearances. In 2008, she was one of the five Nigerian entrepreneurs featured in the first-ever African version of the Dragon’s Den. She was also featured in the 2020 production “Citation” which became the sixth most popular film on Netflix after its release.  She has written three books: The ‘Girl’ Entrepreneurs, Business His Way, and The ‘Girl’ Entrepreneurs: Our Stories So Far. Ibukun Awosika has dedicated her life to inspiring and empowering as many as she can reach. She has lived by shining her light on the world.

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