Folorunsho Alakija is the second richest woman in Africa and the third richest woman of African descent in the world. Folorunsho Alakija is a mother, a business tycoon, a fashion designer, an investor and a philanthropist. She was born in 1951 (aged 65) in Ikorodu, Lagos state. Four years after she was born, she travelled to Wales for her four year primary education after which she returned to attend Muslim High School, Sagamu Ogun state. She returned to the UK to study Fashion Design at the American College, London.
Folorunsho worked as a secretary and a banker at FinBank (acquired by FCMB) before departing to fully focus on her fashion design hobby. She decided to make it full time and official by establishing her tailoring company: Supreme Stitches. The company rose to fame within four years as Rose of Sharon House of Fashion and she was appointed the national president of fashion designers of Nigeria (FADAN).
She makes the bulk of her income from her oil and gas business. A few years after her FADAN chairman appointment, she applied for the allocation of an Oil Prospecting License (OPL) to explore a 617,000 acre oil block. In 1996, she entered a joint venture with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited (A subsidiary of Texaco) and by 2004, she was one of the African billionaires to watch out for.
Her businesses include the Supreme Stitches tailoring, Rose of Sharon group which consist of Rose of Sharon Prints & Promotion Limited and Digital Reality Prints Limited. She is also the Executive Vice Chairman of Famfa Oil. She is ranked the 87th most powerful woman in the world, according to Forbes.
She is also a philanthropist and the owner of the Rose of Sharon Foundation – her foundation helps widows and orphans by empowering them through trainings for business and scholarship programs. She also initiated Folorunsho Alakija Scholarship Scheme (FASS) which helps quite a number of Nigerians who can’t afford quality education. She’s also the Vice-Chairman of the National Heritage Council and Endowment for Arts.