The Forbes 30 under 30 list is an annual list of young entrepreneurs and leaders who have successfully transformed themselves, businesses, or society. 30 under 30 Europe represents outstanding individuals or groups who have achieved substantial success in European countries before the age of 30.
Forbes list is seen as a very high-quality and well-written business publication. It investigates people’s business profiles ranking them by their worth and impact. There were 10 Nigerians out of the 300 visionaries featured on the 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe list.
They are the result of thousands of international nominations and stamps of approval from expert judges and join a community of young entrepreneurs and game-changers, including singer-songwriter Adele, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, actress Cynthia Erivo and athlete Marcus Rashford.
It’s not surprising that Nigerian immigrants living in the diaspora make waves for themselves abroad. The different categories where Nigerians made their exploits include Arts and culture, Social impact, Media and Marketing, Sports, technology, retail, and commerce.
If your goals are on par or to surpass the Nigerians on this list, I suggest you get acquainted with their deeds for inspiration.
Arts and Culture
1. Tolu Coker
28 l Founder, Tolu Coker
Tolu is a British-Nigerian based in London. She is a fashion designer and multi-disciplinary artist.
What has Tolu done?
- launched her eponymous unisex fashion label in late 2018
- Used it as a vehicle for creating equity and social change.
- Her unisex fashion brand uses reworked denim and recycled leathers and aims to give “social ‘outsiders’ a space within the community.”
- Her client list has more than 15,000 clients, including Rihanna, Thandiwe Newton, and Lewis Hamilton.
2. Christina Ebenezer
29 | Photographer
Christina was born in Lagos, Nigeria but moved to London at the age of four (4). She became a photographer later in life specializing in fashion and portraiture.
What did the photographer accomplish?
- She centered her photography on community, reflecting her feelings of undue misrepresentation in the media and culture.
- Her work has been featured in British Vogue, British GQ, and Vanity Fair.
- She has worked with clients such as Netflix, Apple, and Paul Smith.
3. Kenny Imafidon
28 l Co-founder, ClearView Research Ltd
Kenny was born to Nigerian parents, but that was pretty much the only thing he had in common with the Nigerians on this list. His life took a strange turn for the worse in 2011 when he was sent to prison for a murder he did not commit. He was 18 at the time and, like any innocent black teenager living abroad, bounded up on the street because he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.
So, what did Kenny do?
- He didn’t let his prison environment stop him but continued his quest for knowledge and a drive for success.
- Kenny took his A-Level exams while in Feltham prison and proceeded to have one of the best results in the UK.
- After acquittal from prison, he pursued a law degree at BPP University College and was awarded a 3-year Amos Bursary Scholarship.
- He created the “Kenny Reports” series to raise awareness and articulate the challenges young people and disadvantaged communities face.
- Cofounded ClearView Research Ltd and a trustee of the British Youth Council –– a trustee that represents the views of 7 million young people across the council’s networks.
4. Taiwo Owatemi
29 l Member of Parliament, British Parliament
Owatemi is a practicing cancer pharmacist who became a Member of the British Parliament a few months before the global pandemic.
What has she done asides from becoming an honorable MP?
- Since the pandemic, she has volunteered two shifts a week in her local hospital.
- Champions health inequality and women’s reproductive health in the U.K. Parliament.
- This year, she helped form the basis for the government’s Women In Health study by opening a debate on funding research for endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Backed a campaign to convince women to go for cervical cancer screening tests.
- She also led the campaign in Parliament to change the blood donation questionnaire to eliminate questions about sexuality and race, which had been major barriers to donation.
- Extra: she cites Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the director-general of the WTO, as her political inspiration.
5. Molawa Adesuyi and Chimebuka Okwuokenye
27 and 29 | Cofounders, Recyclan
Adesuyi and Okwuokenye are best friends who met 12 years ago at Covenant University in Nigeria. They quickly bonded over their shared passion for coding, and fast forward to 2019, they launched a tech startup.
What did they achieve together?
- In 2019, they co-founded the Wales-based company, Recyclan, which collects discarded plastic and processes it into reusable PET.
- The company operates in 20 countries across Africa and Europe.
- They kickstarted the company without VC or any outside funding.
- The business had a revenue of over £4 million (N2,041,011,860). They have recycled 7,000 tons of plastic and still have more demand than they can meet.
Media and Marketing
6. Aniefiok Ekpoudom
29 | Journalist, Freelance
Ekpoudom went into a career in journalism when others advised him not to. We don’t know for sure if he would have accomplished more exploits in law like his family friend’s advice, but we know that he no joke in telling stories.
What has Ekpoudom done?
- His bylines are highlighted for representing Black life in the UK.
- He has also made a name for himself in prestigious publications like The Guardian and British GQ as a freelance journalist.
7. Ada Enechi
28 | Senior Producer, BuzzFeed UK
Ada Enechi is a Nigerian that joined the BuzzFeed UK team in 2017, paving a new path for herself at the company, becoming a senior video producer two years later.
What has Ada done?
- Enechi started a brand within BuzzFeed UK geared toward the Black British experience.
- The brand’s cumulated over 15 million views across multiple platforms.
- She’s led the launch of multiple partnerships for it, one of which led to a summer internship program for Black British students at Birmingham City University.
8. Lawrence Okolie
29 | CEO, Okolie Boxing
Okolie was born to Nigerian parents in London. He learned boxing and represented Great Britain as a heavyweight at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He eventually made it to the Round of 16 where he lost to bronze medalist Erislandy Savon of Cuba.
- Lawrence Okolie is a WBO Cruiserweight champion.
- He has an 18-0-0 undefeated record at the time of this article
- He has multiple sponsorship deals, and a rap single entitled, “TKO.”
9. Oshobugie Idogho
28 | Cofounder, Radically Digital
Oshobugie Idogho was born in Nigeria but moved to Ireland at age seven (7) and cofounded Radically Digital when he was 25. The startup is a technology consulting firm that utilizes enterprise-level expertise to empower startup and scale-up founders. The company has generated $3.8 million in 2021 and its headcount has grown from two to over 50.
Retail and Commerce
10. Aasiyah Abdulsalam
27 | CEO, The Renatural
When Aasiyah graduated from the London School of Economics in 2017, she started building her beauty brand, The Renatural. Aasiyah had noticed that Black hairstylists were hard to come by in Ireland. This discovery later became her good fortune. At 25, she changed perceptions of wig accessories with her invention – The Wig Fix. It’s a medically-approved tool that keeps wigs in place comfortably and safely, even when riding roller coasters.
What has Aasiyah done?
- She created her signature product, The Wig Fix, using an innovative silicon band to anchor wigs safely on the head.
- Her product sales are projected to reach $1.2 million and an international reach across the U.S.