Dr. Olutoyin Oyelade has garnered 27 years cognate experience from vertical industry including banking, finance, real estate investments, and non-profit sector management. Olutoyin started her banking career in 1992 as a management trainee in Nigeria; and rose to become the Vice President of Treasury and Group Executive, Investment Banking in 2007.
Following her relocation to Canada, she consulted with like-minded professionals in her community with an aim to identify the gaps in social-economic development and how these gaps could be bridged to promote development. Her goal was to deepen economic prosperity of start-ups and African diasporas businesses to impact the Community. The result of this community-wide engagement in 2011 led to the creation CasaFoundation for International Development.
That same year, Olutoyin started Friends of Africa (FOA) Economic Forum as a platform to fasttrack business and economic growth of Africa. ubsequently, CasaFoundation launched AfroInvestors (Investors Magazine on Africa), Exchange (Founders’ forum), and Women-Inspire, (celebrating Businesswomen). CasaFoundation has shaped the conversation around the African-rising narrative and how the diasporas can facilitate economic prosperity of the World.
Olutoyin’s educational background influenced some of the steps she took towards her educational development. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Ondo State University, Nigeria in 1989. In 1999, she received an MBA from Nigeria’s premier University, Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife), and later enrolled for executive management programs to hone her leadership and management skills. She completed the senior management program at Lagos Business School in 2005.
In 2006, Olutoyin completed the Business marketing program at IMD, Lausanne, Geneva, and by 2009, she had graduated from Wharton School’s advanced management program. In 2012, Olutoyin embarked on another journey of self- discovery by starting a Doctoral program. She completed the program within 3 years and graduated in May 2016 with a Doctor of Management (in Leadership) from University of Maryland USA (Global Campus).
Business and Social Enterprise
In 2013 Olutoyin started InVcap Corporation, an investment Advisory firm, that consults for potential Investors in Africa. Through InVcap and FOA, Olutoyin has rallied Leaders from Africa and other Continents, representing vertical sectors, to FOA Round table sessions, where they re-think and reshape their mindsets about the necessary solutions that could transform Africa and its people. FOA engages with Canadian and Diaspora businesses, with an aim to maximize opportunities for the social and economic wellbeing of the citizenry.
Several start-ups, technical partnerships, and investment groups have emerged from the FOA initiative, they are available for consulting in Canada, to advance development, and to offer technical partnerships in Africa, and ultimately to strengthen Diaspora groups to contribute to the economic development of Canada and Africa. Casa Foundation programs, such as FOA-Economic Forum, Women inspire, and the EXChange for Entrepreneurs, are funded with the support of members, board, and sponsorship of likeminded institutions, including Banks.
As part of its three-fold agenda to advance youth, women, and infrastructure development, in 2015, Olutoyin initiated the CasaFoundation International business scholarship program. CasaFoundation board embraced the scholarship initiative. CasaFoundation has since joined the hall of Sponsors at Centennial College by Sponsoring its International Students program.
By 2015, following a very successful FOA Summit, Olutoyin created a team to review the findings at the summit that Casa youths preferred a platform where they could effectively engage on small businesses, partnership opportunities, and sales- Entrepreneurs Exchange resulted from this initiative.
Olutoyin has continued to impact the lives of Youths and students through the Entrepreneurs’ Exchange platform that addresses their needs. The Exchange is a quarterly workshop session with speakers drawn from Fortune 500 and Top Companies to support the vision of young Innovators. The Exchange aimsto train 1000 youths by October 2020. At an average participation of 49 delegates per quarter, the Exchange program has now trained over 930 youths at Entrepreneurspoint.com incubator.
Olutoyin started Entrepreneurs point (EP) operations in 2018, to advance, empower, and develop Entrepreneurs by adopting a trifold approach of: mentorship, sponsorship, and partnerships. EP operates as a business incubator for Innovators, start-ups, and youths. EP incubates aspiring entrepreneurs and offers them paid shared-office space, business shadowing, mentorship, and fast-track innovation and creativity of groups.
Philanthropy and Community Engagement
Olutoyin executes all her philanthropic works through her NGO- Casa Foundation. Her Mother and Child program supports Mothers and children aged 0-5 in Africa. Olutoyin continues to serve as consultant and advisor to entrepreneurs, youths, and women in the Canadian Small Business sector. She is opportuned to speak at many Conferences in Toronto, Including Invest in Africa, TEDx, Canadian African Professionals Forum, Friends of Africa, and more to Canadians on Investment opportunities and location in the emerging markets.
She serves as an Advisor to the African Expert Network, a Washington-based Investment Advisory Group, and was recently appointed to the COVID-19 Resource Mobilisation Committee for Ekiti-State, Nigeria. In the Academia, she speaks and teaches entrepreneurship at Colleges including Humber, Ryerson, York Entrepreneurship. She serves on the Boards and Councils of Social Impact organizations across North America including: Casa Foundation, Light House, Friends of Africa, Entrepreneurspoint.com
Moreover, she has taught entrepreneurship programs at Women Entrepreneurship Hub program at Ryerson University, Women in Business, New-Comer programs, and regularly speaks on these topics to diverse communities including, TEDx Talks, She Leads Africa, and Voice America. She is regularly featured as an Advisor and Speaks at Women and Youth Conferences. Her groups and members continue to enjoy the benefits of her networks and leverage these various platforms maximally to improve entrepreneurship, innovation, business, women advancement, and economic development.
Commendations, Awards, and Recognitions
Dr. Olutoyin is the recipient of many awards. From her years in banking to date, she continues to raise the bar. She was Merit Award Winner and CEO Excellence Award Winner at the Nigerian Intercontinental Merchant Bank, and at Intercontinental Banking group, she won many Awards for Fundraising and management.
In Canada, she has received many recognitions and awards including a commendation from the Government of Ontario for Creating Friends of Africa Summit, the Diasporan Achiever Award-by Diasporan magazine of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Courage Awards by Women of Courage-Canada; African Impact Leadership Award at the African Women Forum, by Amazon NewYork, Induction into Global Leaders Forum, by Women of Influence , Canada, SuperWomen Achievers Awards in Canada, amongst others (read more on Dr. Olutoyin Oyelade)
Pineapple TV: Delivering Positive Impact And Instilling African Culture – Carl Raccah
Carl Raccah is the Managing Director of Pineapple TV and has been firmly embedded in various disciplines in the Nigerian Entertainment Industry since 1996. He is a Creative Industry Professional with vast experience both internationally and locally. In this exclusive interview with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online, He talked about the inspiration behind Pineapple TV and his journey into the entertainment, media and production industry in Nigeria and Africa. Excerpts.
Alaba: Could you briefly tell us about yourself and journey into media and production in Africa?
Carl: I have been involved in the creative industries since I left school, though initially as a singer, songwriter, and performer. In the mid 80’s I worked with the two-time Grammy Award winner, the late Nigel Gray, at his legendary Surrey Sound Studios. Older readers may remember his work with The Police, Godley & Crème, Paul Brady, and a host of others. The engineer for my projects, who is still a good friend of mine, was Jim Ebdon; he’s now the live sound engineer for the artist Sam Smith.
In the 90’s, I had the amazing privilege of working with the musical genius and Grammy Award winner David Hentschel who produced, engineered and arranged works for Genesis, The Yellow Jackets, Elton John, Missy Elliot, L.L. Cool J, and the list goes on. I was born in Kano, Nigeria but went to school and lived in England until I came back to Nigeria in 1995. One of the first gentlemen I met was Mr. Jimi Awosika who was then the Creative Director at Insight Communication. He, very kindly, based on my music background, started giving me jobs for some of their clients. I worked on the music for the Pepsi Big Blue Campaign, I composed jingles for UBA featuring Daddy Fresh and I created the theme music for the original series of The Ultimate Search. I was also the Music Director for The X-Factor here in Nigeria.
This, and the revelation that Nigeria had a largely untapped popular music scene, made me interested in staying in the country and working alongside some of those artists. I mention this only to highlight that I was firmly embedded in music; I didn’t think I would ever be involved in producing television content let alone co-own a TV Channel. I always mention that the inspiration for the TV Channel came about when I noticed my son watching, learning and absorbing information from the shows on CBBC and Disney Junior. This made me wonder if there was content available that would resonate more with the African Child, content that they could identify with. This was ten or so years ago, and I was amazed that there had been nothing since the NTA show, ‘Tales by Moonlight.’ I understood then that there was a space, so that’s how the idea for Pineapple TV came about.
Alaba: Kindly tell us about Pineapple TV, the inspiration and who is your target market?
Carl: Pineapple TV started with a focus on a target market of children from the ages of 4 to 16. After about 3 months of broadcast however, we started getting feedback from parents and grandparents saying that they were enjoying the channel and were watching alongside the children. Then we noticed teenagers outside of our target responding also; those of the 17 to 20 something age group. We have now shifted our content production and acquisition to include shows for the family while ensuring that Pineapple TV continues to be a safe viewing space.
Alaba: How is your brand unique and what kind of content are you creating to entertain African families in the continent and in Diaspora?
Carl: I believe we are the only channel on the African Continent broadcasting Africa for Africa family content. By that I mean, 95% of our shows must be produced or licenced on the African Continent fulfilling our mandate of invigorating this sector of the Creative Industry while providing quality content that resonates with our audience, which is the African Family. The remaining 5% allows us to partner with content producers elsewhere on projects that will impact our audience. At this time, most of the shows we have produced are made in Nigeria, and I don’t see this changing. I have seen that in Nigeria we have the producers, directors, and crew who, given the opportunity, can deliver content to an international broadcast standard. They are dedicated, professional and passionate.
We are currently developing a Pineapple TV Mobile App. When this is available our content will be available to families in Diaspora and the rest of the continent. We are in discussion with various broadcast platforms who have indicated an interest in licencing the channel to other parts of the world. I’m pleased to say the importance of the Pineapple TV initiative and concept is beginning to be understood.
Alaba: Can you share your major challenge and how are you navigating through this dire time?
Carl: As a new channel, there are a few challenges that we had to overcome. The most difficult is convincing a broadcast platform to understand what your channel offering is. I was very lucky in that I was given an opportunity to present the Pineapple TV concept to The Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who understood fully what I was trying to achieve and actually said and I quote, “Carl… You are preaching to the converted.” He kindly asked Mr. Segun Adeyemi to oversee the progress of the project. Mr. Adeyemi in turn introduced me to the COO of Startimes. Mr. Tunde Aina and that is how we are now on Startimes Channel 129. These three gentlemen have played a significant part in our progress and I am grateful to them.
Alaba: What is your leadership style and philosophy?
Carl: That’s an interesting question but perhaps better answered by those in the Pineapple TV team. I do think that in a creative space however, one should have defined parameters, so procedures, reporting and work flows are adhered to, but at the same time ensuring the office space is friendly so that creativity can flow. I like to encourage the whole team to suggest creative ideas no matter how out-of-the-box they may seem and no matter what position you hold in the business; I have an open door policy and I ask the executives and heads of departments to offer the same; we’ve had some exciting content concepts come to fruition in this way.
Alaba: Which is more important, data or content to the future of marketing?
Carl: In my opinion it’s always going to be content. Consumer’s won’t spend their hard-earned money on data if the content isn’t appealing… I am of the mindset that, as consumers are able to access content via ever more varied and available platforms, that what they want to access becomes even more important. So, whether its an advert, a series, a film or a song, it better be fantastic! As the saying goes, ‘Content Is King’ and I believe this is hugely relevant now.
Alaba: How do you see the convergence of digital and TV play out?
Carl: In Africa, for the foreseeable future, I think both will share the same arena. Data is still quite expensive, and coverage is not available everywhere, or all the time. I am looking forward to when the country flips fully to DTT. That will give a great option for consumers and producers alike.
Alaba: How does your organization measure its impact and what is the future for Pineapple TV?
Carl: Pineapple TV is here to stay. We will continue to invest in our area of the Creative Industry to ensure Nigerian talent across the whole process of our production needs is supported and invigorated. By that I mean the various women and men who are actors, producers, scriptwriters, film crew and content producers.
We will also broaden our content appeal to ensure that Pineapple TV is the channel that African Families tune in to for safe viewing, educational, inspiring and entertaining programming. We measure our impact by the positive feedback from our partners.
Alaba: What would be your advice to aspiring media entrepreneurs and investors in Nigeria and rest of the region?
Carl: Pineapple TV took me over 10 years to get going from concept to first broadcast. I experienced many hurdles on the way. So, the most important advice I would give to aspiring media entrepreneurs is to understand from the onset that it will not be easy, you must be ready to persevere. It helps if you are passionate about what you are trying to achieve, because if you’re not, it may be difficult to endure, figuratively speaking, the bumps and bruises you will undoubtedly receive on the way to fulfilling your ambition.
Also, it’s important to note that the creative sector is a business just like any other, and that it’s vital that whatever your discipline within the industry is, it is approached with the same tenacity as other entrepreneurs apply to other sectors. As far as investors are concerned, because the Nigerian Creative Sector is exciting and vibrant at every level, it has many years of potential growth ahead of it. Whether investing in studios, concert venues, equipment rental, movies, make up outfits, fashion design, book publishing and all the other areas that make up the creative industries, there is room for dedicated professional well managed entities in every area.
Alaba: How do you relax and what is your favourite tourist destination in Africa?
Carl: At the moment, I don’t have too much time to relax, but that’s fine by me. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to see 10 years of hard work trying to get this project off the ground actually moving now. Of course there are challenges, but every challenge resolved is a step forward. That’s a more relaxing place to be than wondering if the concept might ever get off the ground. For me and my co-directors, Heitham, Ali and Hadi Safieddine and for our Chairman, Mr. Francis Ogboro, The Pineapple TV project has become vocational.
We all fully understand the impact that our programming is having in inspiring culture and pride in all that is Nigerian and indeed African. We are happy to be playing a small but important part of Nation Building. As for my favourite tourist destination in Africa, that has to be Kano. I was born there, so whenever I go back, I’m filled with nostalgia and many amazing memories. When I visit Kano I feel I’m home.
P R O F I L E
Carl Raccah has been firmly embedded in various disciplines in the Nigerian Entertainment Industry since 1996. He is a Creative Industry Professional with vast experience both internationally and locally. As a musician he composed the jingles for many successful advertising campaigns and the theme tunes for The Gulder Ultimate Search Reality Show and ‘Diamond In The Sky’ for Diamond Bank.
As a producer he recorded successful albums for Yinka Davies, Ashionye, Daddy Fresh, Fadabasi and others. As a Production/Technical Manager, Carl has worked on some of the most ground-breaking live events in Nigeria such as Yello Fest, Star Trek, Star Mega Jam, The Tetmosol Girl Power Concert Tour and others. In conjunction with Sonic Spaza South Africa, he negotiated (licenced) the selected works of Ruggedman and Styl-Plus for use on the Nokia Express Music Phone and negotiated the works of various Nigerian artists, ‘The Nigerian Selection’ for use by Virgin Atlantic Airways as part of their in-flight entertainment bouquet. Carl Raccah is the Managing Director of Pineapple TV.
Ava Airways CEO Olivier Arrindell On Envisioning An Airline Of The Future And Connecting Africa With The Caribbean
Ava Airways CEO Olivier Arrindell is an experienced professional, business acumen and became one of the youngest members of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry with ongoing success in Latina America, Central America, North America, and the Caribbean. In this interview with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online, He talks about the Ava Airways brand, his mission to connect Africa with Caribbean and role as the new CEO. Excerpts.
Alaba: Kindly tell us about Ava Airways and the gap its fill?
Olivier: With Ava Airways, we didn’t want to just envision a bunch of loosely connected potential innovations. Instead, our goal was to create a cohesive concept for the future airline. To do this, we organized all of our design innovations around three core principles: “Taking Crazy Out of Flying”- making Ava Airways actually worthy of passenger affection; “Know the Journey”- designing touch points that are tailored to the unique moments comprising a passenger’s journey with Ava Airways; and, “Membership Matters”- creating a business model that goes beyond fare-based transactions.
Ava Airways is an Airline carrier of the Dominican Republic with a clear plan and vision to properly connect and operate scheduled flights via its Hub in this city of Santo Domingo, to the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa. The Service Ava Airways plans to provide would allow Latin American and Caribbean enraptures and corporations to properly connect with each other in commerce and trade specially in the tourism sector
Alaba: As its new Chief Executive, what are your set milestones in terms of growth and impact?
Olivier: In this role, I am responsible and accountable to the Board of Directors for carrying out my duties and my number one goal is to properly connect Africa with the Americas and the Americas with each other. Being the CEO of an airline is not the kind of job that someone just slips into. Typically, these airline big wigs worked their way up the corporate ranks. In some cases, they’ve been recruited from similar positions in other industries.
Historically, most airline CEOs have spent a considerable amount of time in some type of management structure. I did not have that kind of road map. I was appointed CEO of Ava Airways because of my row core entrepreneurial spirit. Entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset. It’s an attitude and approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt to change. It’s a mindset that embraces critical questioning, innovation, service and continuous improvement.“It’s about seeing the big picture and thinking like there is no tomorrow,”
“To me, being of African descendant, that’s the spirit I live by and is the way of approaching situations where you feel empowered, motivated, and capable of taking things into your own hands, “Like connecting Africa with the Caribbean”.
Companies that nurture an entrepreneurial spirit within their organization encourage their employees to not only see problems, solutions and opportunities, but to come up with ideas to do something about them.” Entrepreneurial CEO’s like myself tend to have a more innovative approach to thinking about their products or services, new directions to take the company in, or new ways of doing old tasks.
Alaba: One of your major priorities at Ava Airways is to connect Africa with the Caribbean and Latin America. What sparked the interest and why now?
Olivier: the second largest African population in the world is Brazil, The USA, Then Spanish Specking Americas, then we have the Caribbean. Why now you ask? Because now its our TIME !
Alaba: Could you tell us more about your Africa destination strategy with emphasis on your unique offerings?
Olivier: This is a technical question hahaha, for the simple reason I cannot provide key secrets to our strategy and game plan. Keep a close eye on Ava Airways and see the strategy manifest itself.
Alaba: How is the current global pandemic affecting your operations and how are you navigating the challenges in these dire times?
Olivier: To be frank we have been given a gift from the higher powers, because just in time for the launching of Ava Airways here comes Ms. Corona Virus with her attitude, so we have escape all of the issues that others are currently facing and I am great to the gift.
Alaba: What are the safety measures and assurance you have incorporated in your operations? Are you Post COVID-19 prepared?
Olivier: YES, we are. Ava Airways Director of SQS and the rest of the team shall implement all of the recommendation that is provided by IATA and Local Authorities.
Alaba: How would you describe the state of aviation in Africa and where do you see the industry in 5 years?
Olivier: I believe I am not the correct person to answer this question at this time, however I do see the state of Aviation in Africa as one of the same kind you are seeing today with the movement of people from Africa to Europe and North America to the movement of people from Africa to the Caribbean and Latin America.
Alaba: What is the future for Ava Airways in terms of its size, products and impact?
Olivier: I believe Ava Airways future is bright and you will be around to see what kind of product and impact we shall have on the industry.
Alaba: What is your leadership style and philosophy?
Olivier: Simple, Entrepreneurial Spirit. My fundamental believe is, if you want to make people happy sell ice cream!
Alaba: Your message to the industry and the critical stakeholders who depends on it for survival?
Olivier: Financial disciple and change the way you think.
B I O G R A P H Y
Olivier Arrindell was the Managing Director of Financial Planning, Investor Relations, & Corporate Planning for Grace Aviation Holdings, LLC, and in December of 2019 was appointed as the CEO of Ava Airways by it’s Board of Directors. In this role, he is responsible and accountable to the Board of Directors for carrying out his duties and possesses a demonstrated track record in interacting with a policy board. Mr. Arrimdell plans, coordinates, directs, and is responsible for all activities associated with the operation of Ava Airways and it’s related economic development activities.
During his career, Mr. Arrindell has been instrumental in several initiatives including the development of Antigua & Barbuda’s new International Airport and many others, in addition, he has led the communications efforts around Grace Aviation’s company’s investment negotiation with investment partners and debt offerings. Most recently, he played a key role in the development and communication of Ava Airways balanced capital deployment strategy plan for its commercial airline plans which have resulted in favorable terms and conditions through a dividend principle policy.
Prior to joining Ava Airways and leveraging his professional experience and business acumen, Mr. Arrindell became one of the youngest members of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.
Mr. Arrindell’s ongoing success in Latina America, Central America, North America, and the Caribbean has been facilitated by his knowledge of financial management, Strategic Alliances, airline/aviation strategist, and a track record of successfully pulling together exceptional teams and business partners.
African Infrastructure Investment Managers appoints Vuyo Ntoi and Sola Lawson as new co-CEOs
African Infrastructure Investment Managers new co-CEOs, Vuyo Ntoi and Sola Lawson (Source: AIIM Africa)
London and Cape Town, 3 August 2020: African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), a member of Old Mutual Alternative Investments and Africa’s most experienced infrastructure manager, has appointed two joint-managing directors to be based in Cape Town and Lagos, following the retirement of the company’s previous CEO.
Vuyo Ntoi and Sola Lawson, have been appointed from within the business, and will continue to sit in their South Africa and Nigeria offices respectively, as two of AIIM’s key markets in sub-Saharan Africa. As AIIM’s new joint-MD’s, they take over from Jurie Swart, who has been CEO of AIIM since 2014 and recently elected to take early retirement to focus on a new challenge outside the AIIM business.
Commenting on the new roles, Paul Boynton, non-executive chairman of the Board at AIIM said: “Vuyo and Sola have both been integral members of the AIIM team for many years and bring with them extensive and varied investment experience and leadership skills. On behalf of the entire Board, I am looking forward to working even closer with them in their new joint-MD roles as the business continues to expand and move forward.”
Vuyo Ntoi said, “I am very excited to step into this new joint role, continuing to work with Sola and the Exco team to drive the strategy that we have had in place, which has and continues to deliver excellent outcomes for our investors and stakeholders.”
Sola Lawson added, “I am honoured to take on the role of joint-MD of AIIM and look forward to working closely with Vuyo and the wider team to continue to build on the strong foundations developed throughout Jurie’s time as CEO and to help progress AIIM’s strategic journey.”
Vuyo Ntoi has been a member of the senior management team at AIIM for over a decade and is the co-portfolio manager of AIIM’s IDEAS Managed Fund, one of South Africa’s largest domestic infrastructure equity funds. He was also involved in the initial roll out of the business across the continent and has led and participated in high profile and pioneering projects in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Mali.
Sola Lawson joined AIIM in 2011, founding the Nigeria office, AIIM’s first permanent establishment in Africa outside of South Africa. He has been a member of the senior management team at AIIM since joining and is a member of the IDEAS investment committee. Sola has played a leading role in originating, executing and managing c. USD500 million of AIIM-managed fund investments across Africa, serving on the board of directors of several AIIM portfolio companies within the digital infrastructure, power or renewables and midstream sectors. Prior to joining AIIM, Sola was a member of the infrastructure funds team at Macquarie Group, and prior to that worked at PwC London.
Issued by: AIIM Africa