Idris Ayodeji Bello is an ‘Afropreneur’ (entrepreneur with an African focus) with experience in technology, data analytics, consulting, and project management in different sectors (energy, health, education, consumer goods, NGOs, government) and with social and business networks spanning five continents.
Profiled in 2011 as Huffington Post’s ‘Greatest Person of the Day’ and listed among CNN’s Top Ten African Technology Voices in 2012, he is dedicated to the development of innovation-driven, technology-enabled platforms for social enterprises across the African continent.
A First Class Honors graduate of Computer Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, MSc. (Computer Science & Data Mining) from the University of Houston, he has an MBA (Entrepreneurship & Strategy) from Rice University, Houston where he won the 2011 Sallyport Award for extraordinary contributions to Rice University and was also selected as Jones Scholar and Jones Citizen for leadership and top academic performance. In 2010, he founded the Next Cool Idea Business Incubator for Rice MBA students, where participants brainstorm ideas, and devise business models, build prototypes, and pitch to investors and successful entrepreneurs.
Selected in 2011 by the Lord Weidenfeld Scholarship and Leadership Programme (which aims to cultivate future leaders from transition and emerging economies) to study for the MSc in Global Health Science programme at the University of Oxford , UK , he was the first Nigerian-American in the programme’s history.
Elected as the President of the Oxford University Africa Society, he organized the 2012 Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Conference with 300 participants from 51 countries, and also served as the Graduate Medical Sciences Divisional Board Representative for the Oxford University Students Union.
He has also served as an adjunct faculty in the Frontier Market Scouts program at the Graduate School of International Policy & Management, Monterey Institute of International Studies, California, and was a speaker at the 2011 Graduate Studies Program of Singularity University, based at NASA Ames Research Park in Silicon Valley.
He is a 2011 StartingBloc Innovation Fellow, a 2011 Fellow at the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance a gathering of highly educated young African entrepreneurs seeking to translate ideas about the development of Africa into action, and is a 2010 Nigeria Leadership Initiative Future Leader (Aspen Global Leadership Network.)
He has won the Dell Best Social Innovation Leveraging Technology Award in 2011 and 2012 for his work with Libraries Across Africa (LAA) and Afyazima Blood Pressure mCuff respectively and won the 2011 New York Ideas Marketplace Top Social Enterprise Pitch Award. In 2011, he was a finalist in the Silicon Valley Comes to UK Appathon Competition, and was selected as one of the Top 3 Social Enterprise Pitches at the Oxford University Dell Live Challenge.
Recently named as a 2012 Dell Global Innovation Ambassador for his role in supporting social innovation on university campuses, he was a 2012 Participant at the Clinton Global Initiative University, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation which seeks to inspire, connect, and empower a community of global leaders to forge solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
Selected as a 2012 MIT GSW Fellow for global contribution to entrepreneurial development, he has been named among the Top 10 Black Students in the UK for 2012, and was shortlisted for the University of Oxford Vice Chancellor’s Civic Award in 2012. He has addressed diverse audiences on the subject of youth entrepreneurship in Africa, ranging from the Vatican to the Parliament of South Africa in March 2012.
He currently serves as the Program Director of the Wennovation Hub, a Nigerian-based start-up accelerator, and also oversees strategic initiatives at AfyaZima Africa Ltd, an organization he co-founded with focus on the sustainable delivery of low-cost health technologies and the application of proven business models to strengthen primary health systems in the developing world.
He can be reached via Twitter @idrisayobello