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A black-and-white headshot of a Black man slightly smiling for the camera. He wears a woven, brimless hat and a white top with embroidery work. Behind him are three graphic circles: one dark blue, one light blue and one white.

Olusola Owonikoko

Columbia University Scholars 2022-2023

Role

Executive Director, Stanforte Edge; Founder, Project Enable Africa

Location

NIGERIA

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Biography

Olusola Owonikoko is a development practitioner working with businesses and legislators to promote inclusive policies and programs to increase the hiring of people with disabilities in Nigeria. Olusola is the Executive Director of Stanforte Edge, an organization that has provided training to 250 corporations to develop disability-inclusive policies, practices, and programs. To improve the developmental outcomes of people with disabilities and to remove barriers to employment, Stanforte Edge’s disability-focused digital skills program has trained 5,000 youth with disabilities in sought-after skills, connected 1,500 youth to job opportunities, and provided business support to 1,000 entrepreneurs with disabilities since 2014. Stanforte Edge’s advocacy, education and training programs are all co-created with the communities they serve. The organization has supported four people with disabilities in their run for public office, and the organization’s Disability Audit Toolkit, which was created using feedback and solutions from people with disabilities, is used by organizations across Nigeria. Olusola’s work with state-level policymakers contributed to the successful implementation of disability-inclusive public policies in four Nigerian states.

Olusola was named one of the 100 Most Influential Young Leaders in Africa by the Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Foundation. He is a member of The World Bank’s Skills for Employment Youth Advisory Group and he is the president of the Carrington Fellowship Network, a U.S. Government civic leadership program in Nigeria. Olusola holds a master’s degree in globalization, business and development from the University of Sussex and a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Ilorin.