Sunday, 03 July 2022 20:09

Princess Fifi Ejindu: Billionaire businesswoman who built a Nigerian first-class architecture firm from the scratch

Princess Fifi Ekanem Ejindu is a woman of many sides, each side somehow linked with the others. She is a Nigerian Neo-traditional Architect – one of Nigeria’s leading female architects, a fashionista, and an entrepreneur. Some may just be familiar with her fashionista side of life, while some may just see her as just a philanthropist. Some still may think she is just a princess by bloodline, but there are others who know her as a business queen, an empress of an empire she built from scratch.

Offiong Ekanem Ejindu was born in Ibadan in 1962, with Professor Sylvester Joseph Una and Obonganwan Ekpa Una as her parents. She is of the royal lineage and has King James Ekpo Bassey, an Efik monarch of the colonial era, as her grandfather. (As a result of her royal heritage, Princess Fifi uses the title of H.H. The Obonganwan King James socially.) She spent her early years in Ibadan and had her primary education at the Senior Staff Primary School of the University of Ibadan, before going to Lagos where she obtained her secondary school education from Queens College, Yaba.

As a daughter of parents who both studied outside the country, it was expected that at some point she would go the same way in search of the best education. Ejindu attended Pratt Institute School of Architecture, a private design college in Brooklyn, New York where she studied architecture and graduated in 1983. She became the first black African woman to be awarded a B.Arch. from the institute. She went on to take some courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then worked with a private firm in New York City. Princess Fifi also attended the University of North Carolina, (UNC) Charlotte.

 

After some years, Ejindu returned to get a Master’s degree in Urban Planning, still from the Pratt Institute. It was after this milestone that Fifi Ejindu decided it was time to come home to Nigeria.

Building her empire

In 1995, she started Starcrest, a real estate business that would later grow to become the Starcrest Group of companies.  The subsidiaries include Starcrest Investment Ltd., Starcrest Associates Ltd. and Starcrest Industries Ltd, and its businesses extend to include oil and gas, real estate management, building construction, project management, youth empowerment and investment opportunities.

Starcrest Associates majors in the design and construction of residential villas as well as estates. Starcrest Associates has designed and built several projects for individuals, the government and companies. The Spanish Ambassador’s apartment in Maitama, Abuja, was one of the highlights of Starcrest jobs that became the basis for several recommendations. Ejindu sits as Chairman and Principal Partner of the group.

Princess Fifi Ejindu initiated an investment forum in the United Arab Emirates, which would later become a basis to attract foreign investors to Nigeria. Using Starcrest Investments as a vehicle, the initiative brought prominent business owners from U.A.E to invest in different sectors during the administration of former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Princess Fifi Ejindu is the CEO of Building Support Systems. She is also the founder of the African Arts and Fashion Initiative, launched in 2013 at Dorchester Hotel in London. This has grown to become a platform for displaying Africa’s cultural heritage and talent to the world and creating opportunities for African youths.

She is the Grand Patron of the Prestigious Icons Club of Dubai.

Awards and recognitions

Fifi Ekanem Ejindu has quite a profile to reckon with, especially in business circles. Thanks to her several noble accomplishments, Princess Fifi Ekanem Ejindu has received awards and recognitions in their numbers. In 2013, she was the recipient of the “Lifetime Achievement Award” awarded by the African Achievers Awards. She also received the 2014 African Child Nobel Prize, as well as the “Diaspora Excellence Award” in 2015.

Ejindu was recommended by the Georgia House of Representatives, America, for her achievements. In 2013, she was awarded the “African Female Economic Champion”. In the same year, she was also listed as one of Africa’s top 20 Women of Influence in 2013 and enlisted into the Global Women Leaders Hall of Fame – African Chapter. She was pronounced the winner of “The Nigerian Golden Book Professional Icon Award” in 2015. In 2018, Ejindu was featured in the Famous African Women Architect Magazine by People Maven.

Princess Fifi Ejindu is a member of the Nigerian National Heritage Council. She also served as one of the eleven-member technical committees set up by the Akwa Ibom state government to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the state.

She was presented with the “Patriotic Women of Integrity International award” in 2004. She holds an “Honorary Patron Membership” of the elite Dubai Icons Club.

There is no publicly verified source to determine her net worth, but with the group of companies she has established and controls and her investments across the world, it is safe to say that her net worth runs into hundreds of millions in dollars.

[Nairametrics]

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