For Lagos-born entrepreneur Uche Pedro, education is not only a lifelong passion, but the reason for her success. College was, in fact, the seed from which her 12-year business would grow. The idea for the digital platform BellaNaija was conceived just two weeks after Pedro graduated from the Ivey Business School at Western University with an Honours Business Administration Bachelor’s degree. What started off as a small blog in 2006 has become a hub for entertainment, style, news, weddings, lifestyle and more.
Pedro, 33, is inspired by the vibrant energy of Lagos, Nigeria and the entire African continent. From the hard-working people paving their own destinies to the way they use wit and humor to share stories and experiences, Pedro feeds off of all of it.
Growing up, Pedro says, she was given the freedom and bandwidth to confidently explore the options for her future. As a child, there weren’t many educational limitations in her household. She and her siblings had ample access to books, magazines and newspapers. In other words, knowledge seeking was always encouraged. Her list of accomplishments has grown long as a result of this early thirst for knowledge.
In 2017, the BellaNaija team completed the Stanford Seed Transformation Program. They then expanded one of the platform’s key brands into a standalone site, BellaNaijaStyle.com and the brand partnered with the United Nations Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights for an awareness campaign. Currently, Pedro and her team are working to further build out BellaNaija Weddings, as well as other yet-to-be-disclosed additions to the empire.
Pedro believes that African women are the bedrock of community. If you ask her who her mentors are, she will readily name her mums Rita Amina Eze and Justice Jumoke Pedro, and her sisters. (That is, in addition to God and her husband, Bode.) Historically, women have been agents of change and transformation for good in their communities and she firmly believes in continuing the trend.