• Jon Griffith

Recognising Exception Women Entrepreneurs

Folorunso Alakija


Folorunso Alakija - Recognising Exceptional Women Entrepreneur

Folorunso Alakija is an entrepreneur and billionaire businesswoman. She is the executive vice-chairman of FAMFA Oil Ltd and Managing Director of Rose of Sharon Group.

Folorunso Alakija has both local and world recognition as a successful career woman. She was ranked by Forbes as the richest woman in Nigeria. In 2015 she was listed as the second most powerful woman in Africa after Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and the 87th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.

Folorunso Alakija is a woman who has risen above any form of setback and has been able to build a successful career over the years. In this blog, we have curated a list of quotes from Folorunso Alakija to inspire you as you go about your daily business.


She has served her country Nigeria, as a member of several committees. She is an acclaimed public speaker and the first female to be appointed as Chancellor of a public university in Africa. She is a prolific writer and has authored several inspirational books, including her autobiography. She is a board member of the Commonwealth Business Forum. She is a recipient of many awards in various capacities both locally and internationally.


Alakija started her career in 1974 as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises, Lagos, Nigeria shortly after completing a Secretarial Course at Pitman's Central College London. She moved to the former First National Bank of Chicago, which later became FinBank now acquired by FCMB (First City Monument Bank) as the Executive Secretary to the managing director. She became the new Head of the Corporate Affairs Department of the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria (formerly First National Bank of Chicago), and later on became the Office Assistant to the Treasury Department. Shortly after her career in the banking world which lasted for 12 years, Alakija took up new challenge which was driven by her passion for Fashion to study fashion design at The American College in London and the Central School of Fashion. After her return to Nigeria, she started her first fashion label known as Supreme Stitches, which was later renamed The Rose Of Sharon House of Fashion in 1996. Within a few years, as Rose of Sharon House of Fashion, it became a household name. As national president and lifelong trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), she left an indelible mark, promoting Nigerian culture through fashion and style.


In May 1993, Alakija applied for the allocation of an oil prospecting license (OPL). The license to explore for oil on a 617,000-acre block—now referred to as OPL 216—was granted to Alakija's company, Famfa Limited. The block is approximately 350 kilometres (220 miles) southeast of Lagos and 110 kilometres (70 miles) offshore of Nigeria in the Agbami Field of the central Niger Delta. In September 1996, Alakija entered into a joint venture agreement with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Texaco) and appointed the company as a technical adviser for the exploration of the license, transferring 40 percent of her 100 percent stake to Star Deep.


After they struck oil, the Nigerian government claimed a 40% stake, followed by an additional 10%. The government's argument was if Alakija and family were allowed to keep their bloc, they stood to make $10 million a day. Alakija disputed this clam and won.