At age seven, she travelled to the United Kingdom to begin a four-year primary education at Dinorben School for Girls in Hafodunos Hall in Llangernyw, Wales. After returning to Nigeria, she attended Muslim High School Sagamu Ogun State. Afterwards, she returned abroad for her secretarial studies at Pitman’s Central College, London. She also studied fashion design at the American College, London and the Central School of Fashion.
Married to a lawyer in November 1976, Folorunsho Alakija is a Nigerian business tycoon involved in the fashion, oil and printing industries who is the second richest African woman. She is the group managing director of The Rose of Sharon Group which consists of The Rose of Sharon Prints and Promotions Limited and Digital Reality Prints Limited and the executive vice-chairman of Famfa Oil Limited.
Folorunsho started her career in 1974 as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises, Lagos. She moved on to the former First National Bank of Chicago, now FinBank later acquired by First City Monument Bank, FCMB where she worked for some years before establishing a tailoring company that she called Supreme Stitches.
The company rose to prominence and fame within a few years, and as Rose of Sharon House of Fashion, became a household name. As national president and lifelong trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria, FADAN, she left an indelible mark, promoting Nigerian culture through fashion and style.
In May 1993, Folorunsho Alakija applied for the allocation of an oil prospecting license and the license to explore for oil on a 617,000-acre block, now referred to as OPL 216—was granted to Alakija’s company, Famfa Limited.
In September 1996, she entered into a joint venture agreement with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited and appointed the company as a technical adviser for the exploration of the license, transferring 40 percent of her 100 percent stake to Star Deep.
As of 2014, Alakija is listed as the 96th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. In May 2015 two Nigerian women, former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Alakija were listed by Forbes among the world’s 100 most powerful women. Alakija was 87th on the list.
Alakija is ranked by Forbes as the richest woman in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion.
Folorunsho Alakija has a foundation called the Rose of Sharon Foundation that helps widows and orphans by empowering them through scholarships and business grants. Her company is also part of the sponsors of the Agbami medical and engineering scholarship scheme, one of the most reliable scholarship scheme in Nigeria with over a thousand people yearly as beneficiaries.
On July 1, 2013, the federal government of Nigeria inaugurated the National Heritage Council and Endowment for the Arts and appointed Alakija as vice-chairman of the body.

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