Welcome to an exciting week!

RISE NETWORKS Youth of the Week is Bidemi Zakariyau from Nigeria.

She is a young, dynamic, resilient young woman who is a testament and a proof that the notion “It’s a man’s world” is not only outdated but wrong. The energetic entrepreneur is stimulating entrepreneurship among young Nigerians, with a focus on women by nurturing their skills and talents with the right and available mentorship and support in terms of resources and opportunities needed to change and transform their lives and the economy at large.

Bidemi Zakariyau studied Business as a foundation course at Brooke House College, Leicestershire, England, and Law being one of the modules she studied under the Business course, she decided to study law at the University of Sheffield after coming out one of the best law students in the Foundation year.

Upon completion of her academic pursuits, she decided to return home to Nigeria for her NYSC program and proceed further to Law School, but she was late as the batch she was supposed to join had already gone and she couldn’t also register for Law School that year, so she decided to intern at Consolex Legal Practitioners for a couple of months before moving onto Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie for six months.

There is a saying, when one door closes, another opens and it was indeed an open door of opportunities and experiences for her as her time in UUBO was not a waste as it exposed her to the intricacies of the Nigerian business environment which later formed her sojourn into the Nigerian business space. It was at this moment she realized she did not want to practise law but went ahead to obtain her law certificate at the law school in June/July 2012 all the same. It was in the course of her law school she set up LSF|PR, a full-service public relations agency with core competencies in corporate communications, consumer and lifestyle brands. From which she wasted no time and started working with small brands on a small-scale levels until she was done with law school.

It was a swift transition from Law to Business without looking back, LSF|PR has come to revolutionize the business development space with amazons taking charge.

Bidemi is our Youth of the week because even though she started from ground Zero with no funds, capital or even support from family, friends and the government, she worked her way up to a Shero. Starting LSF|PR as a fashion PR company, she grew it into a world class brand in less than five years with a diverse portfolio of clients within the corporate, consumer and lifestyle sector.

Bidemi is actively involved in the running of LSF|PR, carrying out her role in advising clients on critical communications strategies and issues bordering on entry strategies into the Nigerian Market and ongoing corporate reputation building efforts. In April 2017, she founded and heads The Luxe Digest, a pan-African luxury content platform. She and her team also created a small business division, LSF|SME which is focused on start-ups and small businesses and LSF|Digital, which is the digital marketing division.

Bidemi doesn’t just start-up Businesses out of the knack for it; she does so out of passion and drive to solve a particular need and problem. A solution provider, she discovered after careful research, that Nigeria and other countries in Africa suffers from a very small or limited media landscape except South Africa, which is a more developed market in terms of luxury. She discovered in her findings that the continent needed a platform that would inform, educate and connect the continent and the world at large. Africa is still very much portrayed negatively by Western media. The Luxe Digest serves as a platform to document and tell the true African story with a focus on the luxury sector.

In 2015, she was acknowledged as one of the foremost female entrepreneurs under 25 in Nigeria by SME100, and in 2016 she was presented The Future Awards Africa Prize for media enterprise. She has also recently been recognised as one of the 100 most influential women in Nigeria by Leading Ladies Africa.

Bidemi is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and sits on the board of Réle Art Gallery.

You can connect with her via LinkedIn

Follow her on Instagram @bidemizakariyau