Biography of Folorunso ALAKIJANigeria > Professionals : Folorunso ALAKIJA
Click on a picture to enlarge
Born on 15/07/1951 (format : day/month/year)Biography :
Folorunso Alakija born July 15, 1951 is a Nigerian Billionnaire fashion-designer and Executive Director at FAMFA Oil, an indigenous Nigerian oil and gas exploration and production company.
Her mom used to be a fabric merchant and she used to help out, and through that she learnt a lot. After leaving the corporate world in the early 80's (1984), she left to go the UK to study fashion designing. She came back to Nigeria in 1985 a year after her training and started her fashion house-Supreme Stitches at a 3-Bedroom apartment in Surulere, Lagos and a year after establishing the company, she emerged as the best Designer in the country in 1986.
Talking about her upbringing and growing up years- she said she was born in 1951 into a large family, her dad had 8 wives and 52 children in his lifetime and she was the second surviving child, her mom was the first wife. Quoting her, I had a very happy childhood and enjoyed my upbringing, was taught etiquette and how to sit at the table. She and her younger sister were sent to school abroad when she was 7 years old. They went to a school in Wales, a private school for girls in Northern Wales, and they were the only coloured (black) girls in the school. And because their fellow mates couldn't pronounce their names, they coined them names-Flo for Folorunsho and Doyle for Doyin. They were in the school for 4 years, and at age 11 she and Doyle moved back to Nigeria at the request of their parents who didn't want them to lose their African values, culture and tradition.
On marriage- She got married in 1976 to her loving husband and between them they have 4 kids, all boys. Who all schooled abroad and are all engaged one way or the other in the family business.
On her involvement in the oil and gas industry, she explained that through a friend she met while was still actively involved in the world of fashion, they got involved in the business of oil. There was an oil bloc no one wanted at that time for several reasons, it was this same oil bloc they got allocated. They were approached in late 1996 by the then oil giant Texaco who were sure the bloc had potentials as they had done their home work well, and after negotiations that spanned 3 months we all agreed on terms and the rest like they say is history. Later Texaco became Chevron and we struck oil in commercial quantity and we were told the oil had been collecting in that field for 17 million years. We consider ourselves lucky that we were allocated that particular oil field. That's the early history of FAMFA OIL.
On philanthropy- She became a more religious person at the age of 40 & from then on found passion in caring for the under-privileged. And this passion led to her establishing a foundation-Rose of Sharon Foundation. The foundation's main focus is in helping widows, orphans and their families any which way possible, she believes there is a particular stigma widows face that affects them adversely, so her idea is to be a stop gap for these marginalised set, who by African culture and tradition lose out immediately after the death of their husbands. So her idea is to help provide a platform that aids by helping with interest free loans to at-least start a business or continue with one. A most welcomed development we think, if a few more of our well to do (rich, wealthy) would endeavour to stand in the gap and help the less privileged then the world would be a much better place to live in. Her foundation also hopes to do more, by building schools or vocational centres.
Last update : 02/14/2012Update this page