Innovation is the lifeblood of the tech industry, driving change and progress at a breakneck pace. And few people embody this spirit of innovation better than Funke Opeke, the visionary founder of MainOne.

Her career spans more than two decades in the United States and Africa, and she’s helped with some of the biggest tech development stories.

MainOne helps connect millions of people to the digital world in West Africa today as a leading provider of broadband infrastructure solutions. So join us as we explore this trailblazing entrepreneur and her ongoing quest to revolutionize innovation in the tech industry.

Who is Funke Opeke?

Funke Opeke is a name that has become synonymous with innovation in the tech industry, particularly in Nigeria. She is the founder and CEO of MainOne, a company that provides telecom and network solutions to businesses in Nigeria and West Africa.

Since founding the company in 2010, Opeke has become a trailblazer in the male-dominated tech industry, showing that women can excel in this field. Opeke’s journey in the tech industry began after she returned to Nigeria from the United States, where she worked with some of the biggest names in the tech industry, including Verizon and MTN.

In 2008, she identified a gap in the Nigerian telecoms market and started MainOne to provide much-needed network solutions to businesses in Nigeria and West Africa.

Funke Opeke’s Upbringing

Funke Opeke, originally from Ile-Oluji, Ondo state, grew up in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo state. She was born into a family of nine, and her father was the first Nigerian director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, while her mother was a teacher.

After completing her secondary education at Queens School, an all-girls school in Ibadan, she studied electrical engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. Funke’s parents were highly successful, and they inspired Funke Opeke and her siblings to have big dreams and use their gifts. It is an example of the phrase, “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”

Late Professor Chief L.K. Opeke, Funke Opeke’s father, achieved several notable accomplishments during his lifetime. Among these was being the first Nigerian to hold the director position at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria. They also awarded him the World Cocoa Gold Merit Award and were a director of Cocoa Industries Ltd, one of Nigeria’s major companies during the 1980s.

In addition to these achievements, he served as a member of the first Senate of the Federal University of Technology in Akure, Ondo state, where he was also the Dean of the School of Agriculture & Agricultural Technology. Her mother, who is now retired, was a teacher who held leadership positions at several Catholic private schools.

Her Innovation in the Tech Industry

One of the most remarkable things about Opeke’s leadership style is her commitment to innovation. She is instrumental in driving innovation at MainOne, leading the company to develop some of Nigeria’s most advanced telecom and network solutions.

Under her leadership, MainOne built West Africa’s largest data center, which is a hub for businesses looking to expand their operations in the region.

But perhaps what is most inspiring about Opeke is her dedication to promoting gender diversity in the tech industry. She speaks extensively about the need for more women to take up roles in the industry and is a vocal advocate for women’s rights in the workplace.

Opeke has shown that women can lead and innovate in the tech industry, and her example is inspiring a new generation of women to pursue careers in the field.

Through her work at MainOne, Opeke is changing the tech industry landscape in Nigeria and West Africa. It is glaring that innovation and leadership are not the exclusive preserve of men and that women can excel in the tech industry.

Her story is one of resilience, hard work, and determination, and it inspires women worldwide who aspire to break barriers in their chosen fields.


The Reason for Starting MainOne, and What the Initial Vision Was.

Funke Opeke founded MainOne to bridge the digital divide and extend internet connectivity to West Africa, aiming to accelerate the pace of development and improve the region’s quality of life.

After witnessing the explosive growth of the internet and gaining professional expertise in the field during her two decades in the United States, Funke Opeke founded MainOne to bridge the digital divide and extend internet connectivity to West Africa, aiming to accelerate the pace of development and improve the region’s quality of life.

Through MainOne, Funke Opeke aimed to bring the same technological advancements and opportunities to Africa that were transforming other regions to ensure they would not leave Africans behind in the global digital landscape.

MainOne aimed to create new opportunities for education, commerce, and communication by expanding access to internet services and enabling Africans to participate fully in the digital age.

How MainOne Created Innovation in the Tech Industry Over the Years

MainOne, which built West Africa’s first privately owned submarine cable, has grown into a primary provider of broadband infrastructure solutions, including connection and data center services, two telecommunications companies, businesses, and governments across the region.

MainOne has made significant investments in regional commercial Tier III data centers and terrestrial fiber networks to achieve this transformation, expanding its services and geographic reach over the years. As a result, the company has built a strong reputation for reliability and innovation, offering a wide range of connectivity and data center services that have helped to transform the digital landscape in West Africa.

Despite the challenges posed by being a woman in the tech industry, Ms. Opeke has succeeded in expanding MainOne’s offerings while maintaining a commitment to providing high-quality, affordable services to its customers.

With a sound track record of success and a continued focus on innovation and investment, MainOne is well-positioned to generate value for its customers and stakeholders well into the future.

Funke Opeke is a shining example of how women can lead successful innovation in the tech industry. As we celebrate her achievements, we must also look to the future and work towards creating a more inclusive and diverse tech industry that empowers women to succeed.

We often hear about the  importance of showcasing our strength and accomplishment while building our personal brand but what about our mistake? What about the times when we failed, the times we wanted to give up or give in,  Why don’t we share these moments as well?

The truth is most mistakes can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even painful, but they are also an integral part of life. We all make mistakes, in our businesses, careers and personal lives, and while they can be difficult to navigate, they can also present opportunities for growth for us and inspiration for others.

Contrary to what some people think, sharing your mistakes and past failures actually shows how strong you are. They show what you’ve been through and make your journey a source of motivation to everyone going through a rough patch. With your failures, people can easily connect with your brand and this makes you relatable which is the spice of every brand that desires to stand out.

Before you go sharing your mistakes, there are a couple of things you must know  to protect yourself, inspire your audience and attract your desired opportunities.

They are:

Embrace Your Mistake

The first step in leveraging mistakes for your personal brand is to embrace them. Don’t beat yourself up about them but recognize that they  are a natural part of the learning process and that they can be a source of valuable lessons. Believe that they are only in your past to push you forward. Accept them and embrace them by doing this, you demonstrate vulnerability and authenticity, which can help to build trust and connection with your audience.

Acknowledge The Lessons

 The second step is to learn from your mistakes. This involves reflecting on what went wrong, what you could have done differently, and what you can do to prevent similar mistakes in the future. If they are mistakes in your business or career, recognize the cost of it and adopt a growth mindset approach to see how you can turn them into opportunities for improvement, which can help to build your brand as a resilient professional or entrepreneur who learns from the past and moves on.

Share The Lessons Not The Mistake

 When you do the first two, this part becomes easier but must be done focusing on the outcome of your failure and not the failure itself.

Create content around the lessons you learned from that mistake or failure and how you are applying these lessons. If the application of these lessons have led to a win, use that to your advantage. This way you are not talking from a place of pity but of strength. You are using that mistake of yours to prevent others from making it, inspire people who have made it and teach them how to push through after making it.

The goal is to brand yourself based on what you learned from the failure  –  not the failure itself.

While sharing this you should focus on:

  • The investment you made (You can keep this as vague as possible)
  • What made you realize your business wasn’t ready for it
  • The lessons you learnt as a result
  • How your business recovered
  • How you knew your business was finally ready for the investment
  • Your progress so far
  • What this means for your business

This way, you are:

  • Being human and building an emotional connection with your audience through your mistakes
  • Inspiring other entrepreneurs and teaching them from your failure
  • Inspiring other people who may not be entrepreneurs but can learn from your failure
  • Showcasing your expertise through your progress
  • Promoting your business and positioning it for opportunities

Most importantly, it is coming from a place of strength and you don’t feel bad about your mistakes anymore because you’ve learnt from it and are now leveraging it to attract opportunities and connect with your audience. You are flipping the coin on failure and taking advantage of it.

In a world where perfection is often expected and mistakes are viewed as failures, it can be difficult to imagine how making mistakes can actually be a good thing. But with this article I have shown you that it is possible.  I have shown you that by leveraging the power of personal branding, you can turn your failures to opportunities.


About the Author

Blessing Okebe is the game-changer for experienced professionals and entrepreneurs who want to stand out in crowded markets, attract high-level opportunities, and make a lasting impact. She does this by helping them amplify their work and voices while building thought leadership in their respective fields. Reach her via okebeblessingifegwu@gmail.com or @blessing.okebe

What is that thing you do effortlessly? What do people keep coming to you for? Which area is your opinion most sought? Are you the go-to person when it comes to party planning/gathering people together/ starting conversation?

For the longest time, I thought and believed my personality could be a hindrance to my career growth. I lived that myth out for a while before I realised that my personality was mine to harness and leverage on. We have allowed the phrase “this is how I am” dictate to us what we can get out of our environment. Well, that ends now!

Research shows that your personality – whatever type that might be – can be your greatest asset if you just understand how to use it to your best advantage.

There are two broad personality types: the extrovert and the introvert.

An extrovert is known to derive his/her energy from being around people. Most times, they are externally stimulated, love talking, and sometimes forget when to stop. They are usually very sociable and can use their natural friendly nature and confidence to create rapport for effective team building.

An introvert, on the flip side, feels drained when surrounded by a lot of people. They love their me-time and their space, they can be reserved, and often not the best talkers. So they get to channel most of their energy into observing their environment, listening, reading, and writing – basically things that allow them express themselves when alone.

Recently, a friend of mine did an Instagram poll that showed that extroverts have more mentors/sponsors than introverts do. Now, I strongly feel the personality is not precisely what holds us back from putting ourselves out there, instead it is the thought of how bad we could be if we try. And my question is, why not?

I have observed that not everyone who has remarkable career growth or visibility is an extrovert. Somehow, these people have just mastered the art over time, and if we don’t, we could hate on these people for a really long time.

So how can you leverage your personality for growth without losing your authenticity?


You cannot address what you don’t know, so you need to, first, identify your personality. Who are you? How best do you like to express yourself? In fact, a quick way to this is to take a personality test. There are numerous tests out there, a google search would help.

Identify and maximise your strengths

Your strength looks best on you because it is yours. What is that thing you do effortlessly? What do people keep coming to you for? Which area is your opinion most sought? Are you the go-to person when it comes to party planning/gathering people together/ starting conversation?

That is a pointer to what you can forge within your organisation. You could start with showing up for volunteering opportunities. For an introvert like me, it could be doing peer reviews for your colleagues. Don’t let what people say stop you from owning your strength.

Be consistent with your unique selling point

The best way to master an art and get the result is to be consistent. That is how that thing can be your trademark. People who suddenly seem to be known in this age are those who have been consistent with their craft, whether people watched or not.

So when your favourite supervisor is not the one championing that extracurricular activity at work, would you still volunteer? Do you give your best to writing reports to the boss as well as sending a mail to your subordinate?

Being consistent requires discipline – discipline to say ‘no’ or ‘yes’ as occasion demands.

Recognise when to step out of your comfort zone.

Because each personality is most comfortable in its area of strength, we can get lost there, that is why it is crucial to know when to step out of that zone. As an extrovert, you should know when to stop talking and give others the chance to do so.

As an introvert, you should know when to speak up, particularly when you attend meetings. That is when to brace up and say something from your reservoir of knowledge gained from observing, listening, or reading. That’s when to showcase that you understand all that’s been said, even if its just reiterating someone else’s point. Even when it requires you to do more work, no one gets recognised by doing only their job description, be willing to do extra.

How have you been leveraging your personality type in the workplace?

About Wunmi

Wunmi is an experienced finance specialist with outstanding academic and professional achievements. She is a mom of two boys. Currently, she works in the Financial Services Industry. Spurred by the desire to inspire young professionals, she started an online community of millennial employees where she shares relevant information aimed at building, empowering, inspiring, supporting and promoting employees to thrive in their careers.

I want us to talk about 5 brand stories you should be sharing with your audience. There are 5 types of stories your brand should be sharing:

Your personal story

If you want to start a conversation with a stranger, you do one of two things:

Introduce yourself briefly and ask about the other person

Find common interests and instantly bond based on shared interests.

None of the strategies is wrong, you can employ both.

The important thing is you make sure to share parts of your personal story that resonates with your audience.

Your self-awareness story

This is keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey

You didn’t just wake up and decide to start the niche business that you are currently working on.

Even if you’re still finding clarity about what you want to do, you can share the different insights you’ve gotten from your self-introspection.

Your growth story

As you get more aware of yourself and you grow, you need to find out what periods in your life you experienced tangible growth (in your mind, capacity or results).

Journal all these experiences and use them as often as you can in your brand stories, as long as your audience can relate to them.


Your result-oriented story.

This is the part a lot of us jump right on to.

It’s not a very effective strategy.

The saying holds through, ‘’I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care’’.

Hence, you communicate your results-based story with EMPATHY.

Communicate with a shared sense of understanding of the problem and struggles of your audience and how your growth journey and key milestones achieved qualifies you as a guide to help them on their own journey.

Make it all about them.

Never about you.

You’re the guide remember?

Empower your hero to stay in the spotlight. Be the guide.


Your movement story

This is when your storytelling gets interesting.

You have gotten the attention and trust of your hero and you’ve shared your journey: struggles, failures, milestones, successes and how that qualifies you as a guide.

Now, you have to CLEARLY communicate the journey you are taking the hero on and how you will take him on that journey.

Introduce your movement and trigger curiosity, interest, and excitement.

Find other heroes and introduce them too to your movement.

Lead your tribe.


About Esohe

Esohe Igbinoba is the Founder, The Global Brand Network. GBN is a brand management organization with a focus on teaching entrepreneurs the art of influential storytelling for attracting visibility and building an engaged audience so they can build profitable businesses. She helps them to achieve this through her unique system: The Influential Storytelling Formula. She has helped over 150 people in 10 countries. She helps them through her online school, GBN Business School where she offers one on one coaching programs, online courses and training programs.

You can connect with her on

Social media @queenesohe

Or send an email to esohe@queenesohe.com

Or on her website queenesohe.com