active CEO Podcast #10 Ndidi Nnoli Edozien Magic Happens Outside the Comfort Zone

PCB Vol 10- Dr. Ndidi Nnoli
Dr. Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien – Founder & President Growing Businesses Foundation

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns and Ben Gathercole speak with Dr. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien, a remarkable lady who has provided direction, hope, inspiration and a gift to thousands of female and youth entrepreneurs, from rural areas in Nigeria and across Africa. Ndidi has worked with many of the world’s largest multinationals such as Shell, ExxonMobil and Unilever. We discuss her journey from lending to leading, why it is important to invest in the poor, the magic of vulnerability, how every moment is enough, connecting with your inner gut, embracing failure, understanding people who are unhappy, and embracing failure.

Dr. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien

Dr. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien is the founder and President of Growing Businesses Foundation, since 1999, and the President of Rising Tide Africa. Born in Karlsruhe, Germany to a Nigerian father and German mother. She found her purpose in life to be a catalyst for social change through focusing on social entrepreneurship, corporate sustainability and responsibility (CSR), and is a leading advocate on Bottom of the Pyramid empowerment.

Her education includes attending the United World College and a PhD from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in the area of “ownership and management structures”. She is an Alumnus of Wharton Business School, and has also completed executive programmes at INSEAD and Cambridge Judge Business School.

She speaks with passion, pride and humility as she delivers powerful, inspiring and emotionally connecting words of wisdom to encourage the next generation to be bold and make a difference in their life and the community around them.


Ndidi talks about:

  • The contrast between Germany and Nigeria and how that influenced her upbringing.
  • How one can harness the huge potential in Lagos, and how the world sees the huge potential and economic power.
  • United World College’s focus on transforming the world, transforming the space with which you live, and being an ambassador for your country and your people.
  • Considering the other side and how much richer that makes your perspective
  • What inspired Ndidi to start Growing Businesses Foundation.
  • Building sustainable economies around big businesses.
  • How Growing Businesses Foundation program contributed 4% of Unilever’s revenues.
  • Providing a paradigm shift in the way that big business looks at their social responsibility.
  • The incredible ripple effect of micro-financing women and youth
  • Rural telephone project
  • Less than 20% of the Nigerian population are formally employed.
  • The purpose of Rising Tide Africa.
  • Guiding businesses to succeed and even to exit at the appropriate time.
  • Learning to be satisfied with little victories.
  • Why successful people tend to have a humble and quiet confidence that keeps them going.
  • Embracing failure and what happens when you don’t deal with it.
  • “You must never be willing to die for anything. You must be willing to give it your best shot. If it fails, you must walk away from it like you never even cared.”
  • How she responded to a potential investor saying “I think you have made a bad career move”.
  • How the Wharton Business School Advanced Management Program opened up peoples vulnerabilities so intensely, allowing them to grow from their ability to be humble and honest.
  • The discipline of creating time for you is one of the things we neglect the most and need the most.
  • How she responds to people who are unhappy and not all right.
  • There is no job or anything that is more important than our personal wellbeing.
  • Her love of working with interns.
  • Why her two daughters have had the greatest impact on her career.


“It taught me that poverty wasn’t so much the lack of financial capital, but was the lack of dignity and self-confidence”. Listen to Ndidi Nnoli Edozien on the active CEO Podcast

“Don’t give charity to the poor, the poorest people who need ‘help’, look at them as potential, economic potential and socioeconomic potential, and invest.” Listen to the active CEO Podcast as Ndidi Nnoli Edozien explains how she empowers 100,000’s of women.

“Create a movement where everyone decides to do their little bit, that’s where transformation really happens.” Learn more amazing business tips with Ndidi Nnoli Edozien on the active CEO Podcast

“Love what you do. When you are able and willing to do it even when no one is looking or no one will pay you for it, you gain an inner strength and momentum to sustain and it gives you the ability to tap into that inner intuitive knowing. To be great at business its actually not the thinking or the feeling, it is the knowing.” On being an entrepreneur with Ndidi Nnoli Edozien on the active CEO Podcast


Resources Mentioned in this show:

Growing Businesses Foundation link

Rising Tide Africa link

Ndidi LinkedIn link

Ndidi Wikipedia link

Ndidi Interview Wharton Business School video

Wharton Business School


Johann Wolfgang Goethe University link

Cambridge Judge Business School link



Exxon Mobil

Recommended Reading:

Better Than Winning – Ben’s best selling book

Previous active CEO Podcast Episodes:

#9 – Mike DeNoma (KBZ Bank) Part #2 – Creating an Earthquake link
#8 – Mike DeNoma (KBZ Bank) Part #1 – Your Strengths are What Energise You link
#7 –
Trina Gordon (Boyden World Corporation) – Recruiting World Leaders link
#6 – Indiran Padayachee (RentCorp) – Winning Only Matters link
#5 – Suzie Hoitink (Clear Complexions) – Enemy of a Great Life is a Good One link
#4 – Rene Zondag (PBI) – People Are Our Greatest Asset link
#3 – Anne Gripper (NSW Office of Sport) – 6 C’s of Leadership link 
#2 – active CEO Intro (NRG2Perform) Part 2 link
#1 – active CEO Intro (NRG2Perform) Part 1 link

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