Ibukunoluwa Abiobdun Awosika (born Bilkisu Abiodun Motunrayo Omobolanle Adekola on December 24, 1962) famously Known as Ibukun Awosika, is a Nigerian author, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and former Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria.
The 61-year-old businesswoman has an estimated net worth of over $18.6 million. She is successful and has attained a greater height in her society with outstanding contributions to the furniture world. The entrepreneur is also a media personality as she hosts a TV program called “Business His Way”.
The business magnate is an idea machine and innately proactive. She believes in acquiring wealth the right way even if it means fighting for survival. Her love for business idea creation led her to engage young Nigerians in training and seminars to help give out this knowledge to the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Ibukun Awosika is From Oyo State, Nigeria
Born on 24th December 1962, the business magnate is from Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, the same place she was born. She is from a family of seven where she is the third child. Her father is from Oyo State, Nigeria, while her mother was a Cameroonian.
Her parents – Mr. Abdulmashood Adekola, a food technologist, and Hannah Aduke Adekola, a fashion designer, were busy people. They mostly worked away from home, leaving their children under the care of their grandmother. So, Awosika was raised by her grandmother who’s also into the salt business. While watching her grandmother bargain in her shop, she learned a lot about business. This was where she got the first lessons she needed to become an entrepreneur.
In an interview, she said that her father played an important role in encouraging her in her career. He was always there to help her out of any problem, even if it meant selling his house. Until his death in 2020, he was a great source of encouragement to her.
She Completed Her Studies in Nigeria and Spain
Although she was born in Ibadan, Awosika grew up and had her early education in Lagos State, Nigeria. The motivational speaker attended St Paul’s African Church Primary School, Lagos. For her secondary education, she attended Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba, Lagos, and for university education, she attended Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly called the University of Ife), where she studied Chemistry.
Not done, Ibukun attended Lagos Business School and later, IESE Business School of the University of Navarra, Barcelona, Spain. These business schools earned her postgraduate and MBA certificates. She got these certificates to help build her career in the business world.
Before Becoming an Entrepreneur, She Wanted to Be an Accountant
The business mogul did not have entrepreneurship as one of her dream careers. While growing up, in her secondary school days, she wanted to be a doctor. Later on, she switched from doctor to architect. In the university, she studied Chemistry while dreaming of becoming an accountant.
While in the university studying Chemistry, Awosika took some free elective courses in Accounting. She developed a love for the accounting field which was why she worked as an audit trainee during her NYSC service. Again, she got fed up with the career because she is not cut out to work under a routine.
After service, she went back to her dream of becoming an architect. She worked for a few months in a furniture showroom and resigned to start her own furniture company. By this time, she has already concluded to remain in the business world and made efforts to establish her furniture company, which has remained to this day.
How Ibukun Awosika Amassed Her $18.6 Million Net Worth
Awosika started her career during her compulsory NYSC one-year service days. Afterward, she worked for one more company before starting up her own. Let’s take a tour of the many things she engages in that bring money to her pocket and contribute to her impressive $18.6 million net worth.
She Worked as an Employee of a Company For a Year and Three Months
During her NYSC one-year compulsory service, in Kano State, Ibukun worked in the accounting sector. She worked with Akintola Williams and Co (now called Deloitte) as an audit trainee. This was her first working experience after her university studies. After serving her country, she realized that the accounting world is not for her, so she rejected an offer to be retained in the company.
She subsequently returned home and worked as a showroom manager for Alibert Nigeria Limited, a furniture company. Working with this company made her realize how good she is in architecture which led her to start her own business.
Ibukun Awosika is Now the CEO of The Chair Center Group
As a young lady who found love in a new career, she worked hard to start the company from scratch. In an interview with Punch, she revealed that it was not easy for her because she could not get the fund she needed. Banks could not grant her a loan because she was a young girl. This frustrated her efforts, but she is not the type to give up easily. She continued struggling until help came her way. Through the help of some people, she got the loan she used to equip her furniture company. With the loan, she purchased some fairly used machines from furniture companies that are on their way to shutting down. This helped her company meet customers’ demands.
The Chair Center Group started with the name Quebees Limited as a furniture manufacturing company. Ibukun started this company in 1989 and with time, it evolved into The Chair Center Limited. At first, the company imported furniture items from abroad. But with the banning of the importation of some of these items by the government in 2004, she resorted to a venture merge with Sokoa S. A. and Guarantee Trust Bank. This alliance was necessary for her to produce furniture items locally with the expertise of a foreign company. This merge gave birth to the company Sokoa Chair Center Limited.
Currently, The Chair Center Group has five companies under it, and they are involved in furniture manufacturing and retailing. The companies are:
- Furniture Manufacturers Mart Limited (FMM)
- Sokoa Chair Center Limited (SCCL)
- The Chair Center Limited (TCCL)
- TCC Systems and Services Limited (TSSL)
- Cubes and Boxes Limited
The business Awosika started in her twenties has given birth to other businesses. This furniture company earned her fame and wealth. It has contributed greatly to the $18.6 million net worth she enjoys today.
Beyond Her Career, Ibukun Awosika Has other Endeavors She Earns From
As a good businesswoman, Awosika has not put all her eggs in one basket. She has other things that bring money to her table.
She is a Public Speaker
As a public speaker, Ibukun Awosika speaks life and encouragement to young entrepreneurs, especially women. She started early in life; therefore, she knows how difficult and discouraging it is at that stage. Most of her speeches are centered on business ideas and motivation. She has a program for 11th September 2021 titled, The Life Series with Ibukun Awosika. Although the amount is not known, Ibukun Awosika gets paid when she is invited to speak in an event, and it contributes to her net worth.
Ibukun Awosika is an Author
The business magnate is also a writer who has authored more than five books. She earns from the sales of her books and at the same time, suggests business solutions and ideas to her readers. Her books include:
- Business His Way
- The “Girl” Entrepreneurs 3
- The “Girl” Entrepreneurs: Our Stories So Far
- My Thoughts in Quotes
- The “Girls” in the Boardroom
She Earns From Acting and TV Presentations
Added to what she already does, Awosika is also a media personality and actress. She made her acting debut in the 2020 movie Citation, directed by Kunle Afolayan. The movie is about the difficulties female students face in the university. She played the role of a faculty dean and headed the panel of a senate hearing on sexual harassment. The actress Temi Otedola starred in the movie as Moremi, the sexual harassment victim. The movie was shot in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria, and in three other countries.
More so, Ibukun hosts a TV program called “Business His Way” and appeared in the first African version of the Dragon’s Den in 2008. Added to the position Ibukun Awosika occupies in society, she is a pastor at the Fountain of Life Church.
The Entrepreneur Sits on the Boards of Some Companies in Nigeria
Being a successful businesswoman who worked her way to the top, Awosika has been honored to become the chairman or director of some companies. As the head of a company board, she earns more money. Below is a list of the companies she has headed and the positions she occupied.
- Chairman board First Bank Nigeria Life Insurance Limited
- First female Chairman of First Bank Nigeria Limited from 2015 to 2021
- President of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Foundation (IWEC) board of directors.
- Member of the board of Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund
- Member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group
- Awosika is a fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and the African Leadership Initiative.
- Member of the board of Cadbury Nigeria Plc.
- She is also a member of the board of Digital Jewel Limited
- Member of IESE’s International Advisory Board (IAB)
List of the Sources of Income For Ibukun Awosika
The motivational speaker earns money from these sources;
- She is the CEO of The Chair Center Group
- She earns from the sales of her books
- The businesswoman earns from public speaking
- The entrepreneur sits on the boards of some companies in Nigeria
- She earns from acting and TV presentations
Her Awards and Recognitions
Ibukun Awosika has received some awards and nominations over the years. Below is a list of her accolades.
- Entrepreneur of the Year in the 2005 THISDAY Newspaper Merit Award
- Female Entrepreneur of the Year in the 2005 Success Digests Magazine’s Annual Enterprise Award
- Best Female Entrepreneur of the Year in the 2006 Financial Standard and Pan-African Organization for Women Recognition award
- Person of the Year in the 2015 YNaija award
- FATE Model Entrepreneur Award of the Year in the 2006 FATE Foundation Awards
- Golden Heart Award in the 2007 International Women Society Awards
- The 2008 International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award
- Forbes Woman Africa Chairperson Award in the 2020 Africa Forbes Woman Award
Ibukun Also Gives Back to Society
The first female chairman of First Bank Nigeria has a thing for helping others. She is interested in training young people, especially young women who are interested in business. In 2011, Awosika co-founded a center called the Afterschool Graduate Development Center in Lagos State – in charge of training entrepreneurs. This is a career center that was established in order to manage the unemployment situation in Nigeria.
Again, Ibukun Awosika is a co-founder and former chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ). This is a platform that aims at empowering women in business. More so, she established the Christian Missionary Fund, an organization charged with raising support for the Christian missionaries in the country. These are some of the ways she gives back to the society she gets from.
Like Her Career, Her Marriage is Also Successful
Ibukun is married to Abiodun Awosika, and their marriage is blessed with three sons; Olamiposi, Oludola, Olafusika. As a woman, she wins in her marriage as well. She helps her husband to be the best, and in return, he supports her desires and dreams. In an interview, she mentioned that no matter how successful her career is, the most important thing for her is her husband and family. There is mutual love and support which have in turn contributed to keeping her family together.
Just like his wife, Abiodun Awosika is also a successful business owner. He is the CEO and Managing director at Excel Exploration and Production Company Limited. This company operates NNPC/Shell Eremor Field Oil Mining Lease 46 in Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
Talking about marriage, Awosika advises young men and women to find the right life partners. She said that women should not look for a man that has money but no value. Also, she encourages women to reach their full potentials, achieve their dreams because they are humans, just like the men. In essence, women should work and be successful, and not depend on men for everything.