“I established LEAP in May 2002 based on two personal convictions: First, that Africa desperately needed a new generation of visionary, ethical, creative and disciplined servant leaders. Second, that a small group of people who shared the same vision could work together to change their communities, countries and indeed the world.” – Ndidi Nwuneli, award-winning Founder of LEAP Africa and AACE Foods.
I stumbled upon those words on Ventures Africa and what a better way to introduce you to Ndidi Nwuneli to you as we continue our series on SHE LEADS.
Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, MFR (born on March 22, 1975) is a Nigerian social entrepreneur. She has 19 years of experience inInternational Development and Business Management working with multinational firms, the public sector, and international organizations. In 2002, she founded LEAP Africa, a nonprofit organization that focuses on encouraging leadership and development initiatives for youth and business owners in Nigeria.
She is currently the co-founder of AACE Food Processing & Distribution Ltd. (AACE Foods), an indigenous agro-processing company in Lagos, Nigeria and one of the directors of Sahel Capital & Advisory Partners, an advisory and private equity firm in Nigeria, which focuses on the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors. Nwuneli holds a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business.
Ndidi Okonkwo was born on March 22, 1975 at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu, Nigeria to a Nigerian professor of Pharmacology—Paul Obuekwe Okonkwo and an American professor of History—Rina Okonkwo.
Her father, who is from Awka, Anambra and her mother who is originally from New York, met at Cornell University in 1965. Her parents devoted their careers to teaching and mentoring students and improving the Nigerian Education System. While growing up, Nwuneli was inspired by her parents. In an interview with the National Mirror Nwuneli explains, “I was born the third of five children. My parents exposed my siblings and I to the concept of patriotism and service from very young ages
Between 2009 and 2010, Nwuneli and her husband Mezuo Nwuneli Co-Founded Sahel Capital and AACE Foods. Sahel Capital is a consulting and advisory firm specializing in the agriculture and manufacturing industries. Sahel was selected as the fund manager for Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN), a $100m Fund focused on SME’s. The firm completed its first close of $33 million in 2014. Sahel has also provided advisory and consulting services to clients in Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, and Liberia. It has also supported international agencies such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID/ Africa LEAD, ECOWAS, DFID, Oxfam International, TechnoServe/ Humanity United, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, IFDC and the Ford Foundation.
AACE Foods is focused on processing spices, complementary food and spreads sourced from smallholder farmers across Nigeria. AACE’s pioneering efforts in promoting nutrition, supporting smallholder farmers and displacing imports have been recognized by the Africa Diaspora Marketplace
Are you inspired?