Jason Njoku is Founder and CEO of IROKO, the home of Nollywood content. He has pioneered the African digital content market by bringing Nollywood (Nigerian cinema) to a global audience, and in the process has raised over $40m in investment from international VCs, including Tiger Global, Kinnevik, RISE Capital and Canal+. In 2019, together with Mary Njoku, he exited ROK to Canal+ in a $25m deal.
Launched in 2010, IROKOtv has aggregated the world's largest online Nollywood content catalogue and is one of Africa’s largest internet TV providers, with a dedicated mobile app, IROKOtv.
Njoku is also a prominent investor and advisor to startups across Africa.
Osita F Ugeh, popularly known as "DUKE" is the Founder/CEO of the popular live events company; Duke Concept.
Growing up in Nigeria, Duke was involved in organizing Social events during his high school and college days. Although he was studying Electrical/Electronics Engineering at Madonna University, Okija, Nigeria; he was still very much involved as a creative. At some point he was stage director for the school's Drama Society and Choral Director for the school choir of over 300 Choristers.
In 2011, Duke relocated to the United States where he began his practice as a Wireless Engineer.
While practicing as an engineer, Duke would attend African curated events in New York as a guest, he was not satisfied by the quality of parties and concerts being organized and that is how Duke Concept was Born.
Duke Concept, started in 2013; by organizing parties and concerts in New York and has now become the biggest Afro-Caribbean Live Event and Artist Touring company in North America. Hosting concerts in most major venues and cities in the United States and Canada.
Duke Concept has successfully toured the biggest names in Afro Space; Burna Boy, Wizkid, Davido, Omah Lay, Diamond Platnumz, Fireboy DML and many more. In 2021, Duke Concept hosted 78 Concerts and is set to triple that number in 2022.
Some Monumental moments for Duke Concept in recent years include;
Duke Concept has been featured in major publications such as Billboard, Forbes, Pollstar, Pitch Fork, Rolling Stone, Pulse Ng, Vibes and many more.
Jibolu "J.G." Ayodele II, a creative, multi-hyphenate executive, is the founder and CEO of Playmaker Entertainment: Management and Media & Entertainment Company representing innovative professionals working in art, film, television, music, sports, video games, theatre, and digital content, and provides strategic marketing and consulting services to Web 3 tech companies.
He also serves as manager and personal photographer of renowned visual artist, Laolu Senbanjo. As Laolu’s manager, he oversees all aspects of his career as it pertains to the canon and commercial partnerships.
J.G. is also the co-founder of Thando’s, a Lagos and NY based fashion/tech company that is creating a platform for African artists to design unique products for the world through a crowdsourced process.
J.G. holds an MBA specializing in Finance, Entertainment, Media, and Technology from NYU - Stern
School of Business, a Masters in Accounting from NC State University, and a Bachelors in Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
Prior to the aforementioned roles, he led the business development efforts of Viacom International Media Networks in Nigeria where he co-created partnerships with brands such as Hewlett Packard and Lufthansa. Prior to Viacom, J.G. worked with Deloitte’s audit practice, and spent five years in Leveraged Finance at Bank of America where he worked on industry agnostic private equity deals. Subsequently, he worked at GE Capital where he originated and closed mid-market to large cap transactions in the Restaurant and Real Estate sectors.
J.G. is a board member of the Black TV and Film Collective as well as a member of the Kenan-Flagler
School of Business Alumni Council where he serves as the Co-Chair of the Giving committee.
Diarra Bousso is a serial entrepreneur, creative mathematician and multidisciplinary artist. She is the founder of the fashion tech company DIARRABLU. Profiled by Forbes, Reuters, CNN & Vogue for its innovations, DIARRABLU uses traditional craftsmanship, algorithmic design, flexible sizing, and circular manufacturing to reduce textile wastage by over 60%.
Diarra was born in Dakar, Senegal, grew up in Norway and later on moved to the US where she started her career on Wall Street. She resigned to follow her passion in art, mathematics and design and completed her Master's in Mathematics Education at Stanford University with stints at Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Center for Computational Research in Music and Acoustics.
Diarra is focused on thoughtfully merging the worlds of math and arts for a multi-disciplinary approach to innovation in design and learning. Her mission is to leverage technology for a more inclusive and sustainable fashion future.
Sandra Appiah is currently co-founder and CEO of LegacyShift, an EdTech startup focused on cultural inclusivity. Previously, she was the co-founder and president of PanaGenius Inc., a U.S. based pan-African tech company building and operating authoritative digital media platforms for global blacks. The company is home to Face2face Africa, one of the largest and fastest growing black-owned media platforms and an international reference for global black news, culture, history, and innovation, reaching over 2 million monthly readers across the world. A Forbes 30 Under 30, Sandra has a Masters in Global Business Administration from Tufts University and a Bachelors in Film and TV from Syracuse University.
Lethabo Gumede is a cultural worker from South Africa operating as the founder of an arts educational initiative called Empowering the Art. After 15 years in the studio as a professional ballet and contemporary dancer, Curatorship became the discipline that merged her Anthropology and Gender Studies academic background with her performing arts career. Profoundly interested in the intersection of Creative, Cultural Industries and Higher Education, in 2018 she founded Empowering the Art – _an art educational initiative, archive, and podcast platform. Empowering the Art continues to empower cultural workers operating in their own communities by ensuring that the work they do: archives (that is, contributes positive histories from the African continent), acts as a social lubricant (has teaching at the core of its activities) and most importantly promotes joy (that is to educate through play).
Recognised for her work in developing the arts, she was chosen to represent South Africa in a residency for emerging cultural professionals at the Museum of Africa Contemporary Art Al Maaden in Morocco. Later that year, Lethabolaka was selected to be a part of the 30 under 30 initiative hosted by Communicating the Arts based in Lausanne, Australia. This global initiative brings together young professionals to investigate best practice initiatives relating to climate change. Using cultural and artistic means, her research made it to the top 10 research initiatives of 2020 representing the Southern Africa region.
Her skills as a researcher led to her appointment as the research assistant to the Dr Esther Mahlangu retrospective. She currently serves as the Logistics Manager and Curatorial Assistant of The Melrose Gallery.