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Original short description: "Nigerian-American businessperson (b. 1983)"
12 June 1983
Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
Chike Ukaegbu (born 12 June 1983) is a Nigerian American businessman, educator and entrepreneur. He is the chief executive officer of Startup52. At 35, Chike became the youngest person in Africa to officially run for the Seat of the President, as the 2019 youngest presidential candidate in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and its largest economy.
Chike was born in Owerri, Imo State, a Southeastern state in Nigeria. He is of the Igbo tribe and speaks the Igbo language. Chike is one of six siblings currently living in 5 countries on 4 continents.
Chike grew up in Aba, Abia State, a vibrant commercial city in Southeastern region of Nigeria where he attended both nursery and primary schools. His First School Leaving Certificate (Primary 6) was from St Bridget's Primary School, Abayi, Aba. He thereafter went to the Federal Government College, Port Harcourt between 1994 and 1997 for Junior Secondary School and obtained his Junior Secondary School Certificate (otherwise known as Junior WAEC). He spent the next three years (1997-2000) at Dority International Secondary School, Aba and graduated with his Senior Secondary Certificate (WAEC and NECO).
Chike left Aba to study Chemistry at the University of Lagos at age 17. At 19 he left Nigeria for New York City to study Biomedical Engineering.
Chike became a Colin Powell Leadership Fellow on public policy at 20. He focused his three-year research on youth disconnection, the phenomenon of youth who are out of school and not working.
At 23, he authored a model for empowering and engaging youth lives - The HEROES Model. HEROES is an acronym for Heritage, Education, Relationships, Opportunities, Entrepreneurship and Service. These are 6 crucial areas for effective youth development and engagement.
As a student, Chike's research areas included - designing and enhancing the artificial heart, portable heart rate monitor, effects of blinking and eye motion using Electro-encephalography (EEG), biomaterials and bone tissue engineering. Alongside his senior design team, Chike worked for Stryker Orthopaedics to design and prototype a hip replacement prosthesis for Stryker's Japan market of surgeons and patients.
Furthermore, as a Colin Powell fellow, Chike helped develop a third wave of democratization and led a student team that helped archive ex-UN Secretary General, the late Kofi Annan's papers, among other research areas.
As a lover of the arts, Chike minored in Musical Theater and was heavily involved in other forms of creative arts. He directed both The Lion and The Jewel and The Trials of Uncle Jero at The City College of New York, both by reputable Nigerian Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka. Chike also played lead and supporting roles in off Off-Broadway musical versions of ‘Once of this Island’, ‘You’re a good man, Charlie Brown’, as well as lead roles in ‘Moon on A Rainbow Shawl’, among others.
At 25, Chike started teaching math at City College of New York, his alma mater, and later Entrepreneurship, focused on at-risk and disconnected populations. He did this for seven years before launching Startup52. In addition, Chike studied Venture Capital and Investment at Stanford University, took General MBA courses at University of Pennsylvania and studied Executive Leadership and Management at Cornell University.
At 26, Chike co-founded a nonprofit called Re:LIFE Inc with a mission to empower disconnected and at-risk youths through education, technology and entrepreneurship. Re:LIFE’s foundation is rooted in the HEROES Model to ensure that its work and impact was holistic.
Chike believes that what he learned from working with invisible communities like the formerly incarcerated, foster care, homeless, at-risk, young parents, etc is part of what made him the man he is today. According to him, he was so moved by the disheartening experiences of one of the foster care youths in the program that he decided to become a foster care parent to help out.
At 28, Chike officially became a Certified Foster Parent. To him, his life was no longer his and that of his immediate family. There were now others whom he could not disappoint nor lead astray.
At 29, Chike wrote his personal creed that brought clarity to purpose. This is it:
"I don't care how many times I fail, or how high the hurdle seems, but I am sure that before I die, I will fulfill my life's goal and mission of uplifting The Black Man, The Black Race, Humanity - every minute, every hour, every week, every month and every year;
literally long as I have breath in me. I am not scared of the No's from those I seek to help; nor the rejections from those that I beseek to help with me; nor failures that I encounter each time I try, each time I persevere - today, tomorrow; whenever, wherever;
because I am SURE that each trial knocks down another hurdle, one at a time; teaches me another strategy, most times better; births a stronger plan; all while bringing me closer to my goal every single time, with a renewed stride. I will therefore not relent.
I aim to uplift the black man, black race, consistently... continually, through positive impact and action, scholarly research, practicality, spirituality, genuine love and unwavering commitment to its young lives" – October 31st, 2012"
At 30, Chike went back to Nigeria to launch the Entrepreneurship, Education, Leadership Fund that provided academic scholarships and seed capital for young entrepreneurs. To him, that experience was a crowning of efforts because it made him understand the intensity of talent and amazingness in untapped communities like NIGERIA, and kept wondering how to harness this passion, energy, talent, hustle and hunger to empower such communities
At 31, Chike did his first TEDx talk on "Entrepreneurship and The Side Hustle" in Hawaii. His talk explained the importance of fusing entrepreneurship into educational curricula and how in his teaching experience, entrepreneurship and education have the same critical outcomes -
- Learn: Engage the mind constantly
- Think: Creatively, innovatively, entrepreneurially, analytically, critically
- Communicate: Effectively - orally and in writing
- Collaborate: Diligently, enthusiastically
- Apply: Learned knowledge, optimistically
- Fail/Succeed: Without limitations; Fail without fear. Excel without bounds
- Evaluate: With minimum bias, consistently
- Reflect: Improve on process, then repeat
Also, at 31, Chike began his current research, Eduengageology, which focuses on the pedagogy of learning. It looks at how we best learn by leveraging four ‘learning’ triggers (incentives, consequences, connection and repetition) in understanding and designing educational and engagement models that provide insight into how best to engage communities. A combination of the HEROES Model and Eduengageology, when effectively implemented drive engagement and positive outcomes exponentially.
At 32, Chike launched Startup52, NYC’s premier and award-winning diversity-focused accelerator to provide better access to capital and resourceful networks for founders from untapped communities – People of Color, women, veterans, founders with special abilities, immigrants, seniors, and other marginalized groups. In its first year, Startup52 was named one of Entrepreneur Magazine's Top 360 America’s Best Businesses and has gone on to receive many more accolades, including recognition by NYC’s Mayor Bill De Blasio.
At 33, Chike was invited to the White House to do a briefing on empowerment of underserved and marginalized communities through technology, education and entrepreneurship and since then have sat down to teach several foreign delegations across 6 continents on building inclusive and viable tech and entrepreneurial ecosystems, including China, Chile, The European Union, South Africa, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, among others.
At 34, Chike was named one of UN's Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD).
At 35, Chike became Nigeria and Africa’s youngest ever presidential candidate. He was also inducted into the UN MIPAD's Hall of Fame at 35 as its first and only Global Young Leader. Chike was also named one of the Most Influential Young Nigerians by Avance Media.
According to Chike, “The ability to inspire, empower and fight for untapped, underserved and marginalized communities is what drives him everyday.
The decision to stand up now to fight for our lives and the lives of other Nigerians from leaders who do not care about us, stems from the lessons I have garnered in understanding that wellbeing (economic, social, psychological, etc), many times is about creating the right equitable opportunities and nurturing environments for all people regardless of our differences.
City College of New York and The Colin Powell Fellowship created a moment that has created my lifetime, one that is committed to fighting for a world that gives all of our citizens equal access to opportunities, wealth, peace, security, love and freedoms.
Your simple defying decision may be that moment that creates the lifetime of an Amazing world we all hope for.”
After the Not Too Young To Run bill was passed, on 31st May 2018, Chike announced his intentions to run for the 2019 Nigeria presidential general election at the age of 35. In August 23, 2018, he joined the Advanced Allied Party (AAP) noting that the party aligns with his vision for Nigeria. Chike became AAP's Presidential flag bearer after unanimously winning the party's primary on October 6th, 2018.
Press and accolades
Chike Ukaegbu was named by United Nations as one of 100 under 40 Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) and is currently inducted into MIPAD’s Hall of Fame as the only Global Young Leader for the courage in his candidacy. He is also named as one of Nigeria’s Most Influential Young Leaders of 2019 by Avance Media and ‘Ndigbo Times’ Young Achiever of The Year. Chike's endeavors have been featured in WIRED Magazine, Fast Company, Black Enterprise, Forbes, Ebony, Sanvada, BizJournal, Opportunity Lives, Entrepreneur, UrbanGeekz, Harlem Times, and much more. Chike has also been interviewed by several international media platforms including CNN International, BBC World, BBC Africa, The New Republic, BBC Igbo, Al Jazeera, Swiss TV, Deutsche Welle TV, Radio France, AFP, CNBC Africa, The Root, Financial Times, ARISE TV, Australia Broadcasting Corporation, ChannelsTV, AIT Africa, TVC Africa, WazobiaMax TV, among many others.
Africa/Nigeria’s Youngest Presidential Candidate in History
United Nations MIPAD Hall of Fame Inductee, Global Young Leader Recognition
United Nations 100 Under40 Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD)
Most Influential Young Nigerians (MIYN), Avance Media
Most Influential Young Achiever of The Year, Orient Magazine
Young Achiever of The Year, Ndigbo Times Merit Award
Black Enterprise 100 Modern Men of Distinction
Forty Under40 Honoree by The Network Journal
Ten Nigerian-Americans Making Waves in Tech, UrbanGeekz
National Judge, GentlemanJack + WIRED Magazine Pitch Distilled Competition
Social Impact/Entrepreneurship Fellow (US State Department Delegate to Zambia)
Global Innovation Fellow (US-China Entrepreneurship Cooperative, US Department of State)
USCIS National Interest Waiver Award For Extraordinary Ability
Patron of Progress, CuriosityLab
20 Inspiring African Americans Impacting The World Through Social Impact & Social Innovation, Causeartist
As a leading voice on several topics related to Tech, Business, Venture Capital, 'Diversity, Inclusion, Equity & Engagement', Politics, Africa, millennials and untapped communities, and more; Chike has spoken and continues to speak at several tech and venture capital conferences across the country and internationally, including at The White House, Harvard, NY Gov Cuomo’s MWBE Forum, NYU Stern, The WCA Executive Investment Summit in Marrakech, Morocco, and so much more.
In 2018, Chike also headlined the last bi-annual ‘All About Human’ tech conference in Melbourne, Australia. His endeavors have also been featured in CNN International, WIRED Mag, Vogue Italia, Fast Company, Black Enterprise, Forbes, Ebony, BizJournal, Opportunity Lives, Entrepreneur, UrbanGeekz, etc and has been interviewed by Randi Zuckerberg on her SiriusXM show, Dot Complicated!, on CNN International, BBC World, BBC Africa, BBC Igbo, Al Jazeera, Swiss TV, Deutsche Welle TV, Radio France, AFP, Financial Times, ABC-Australia, among many other global media outlets.
Past speaking engagements
Above All, Human Tech Conference - Melbourne, Australia
Community Development Venture Capital Alliance Conference - Washington, DC
Wharton Executive Investment Forum - Marrakech, Morocco
White House diversity & inclusion initiatives on STEM, education and entrepreneurship in underserved communities - Washington, DC
Black Entrepreneurs’ Summit (Keynote) - New York, NY
Africa Economic Conference, Columbia University - NY, NY
NYU Stern in Africa Business Summit - New York, NY
Tech Inclusion Conference - New York, NY
TEDx Speaker - Kamuela, Hawaii
GentlemanJack + WIRED Magazine Pitch Distilled Competition - Atlanta, GA
Harvard Business School, African Development Conference - Cambridge, MA
Get Shit Done Conference - New York, NY
George Washington University NSBE Conference - Washington, DC
American Express + Ashoka Changemakers AMA event - Twitter
Pipeline Angels Conference (Only Male Speaker) - New York, NY
SUP-X: The Startup Expo Conference - Fort Lauderdale, FL
PropellerFest Event - Jersey City, NJ
Tech-in-Motion’s Timmy Awards (Judge) - New York, NY
UIU National Conference - Los Angeles, CA
NYS Gov Cuomo's MWBE Forum - Albany, NY
Startup Spectacular Conference - New York, NY
HarlemTechWeek Summit - New York, NY
EMBLEM Women and Minority Entrepreneurship Conference - Boston, MA
Colin Powell School on Civic Leadership Involvement Conference - New York, NY
Entrepreneurship Summit, LIU Downtown Brooklyn - Brooklyn, NY
Keynote - Africa Business Conference, University of Rochester - Rochester, NY
Startup Playbook Podcast - Melbourne, Australia
Dot! Complicated Interview by Randi Zuckerberg
iSTANDTV Interview on diversity and inclusion
WuraTV interview on Entrepreneurship
Smart Brown Voices podcast interview
ShoppeBlack Magazine Interview
Marketplace.org radio/podcast interview
SUP:X radio/podcast interview
Chike continues to develop and implement effective frameworks, models and novel methodologies relevant to building, inspiring and engaging target audiences and communities.
- "Is presidential hopeful Chike Ukaegbu the face of a new, younger Nigeria?" (in en-AU). ABC News. 29 August 2018. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-29/is-chike-ukaegbu-the-face-of-a-new-nigeria/10140850. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
- ""Diversity and inclusion is my own missionary work" – Startup52 CEO Chike Ukaegbu Shares His Startup Experience And Top Tips To Fund New Start-Ups". 3 July 2018. https://www.glamafrica.com/2018/07/03/diversity-and-inclusion-is-my-own-missionary-work-startup52-ceo-chike-ukaegbu-shares-his-startup-experience-and-top-tips-to-fund-new-start-ups/. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
- Admin. "Is presidential hopeful Chike Ukaegbu the face of a new, younger Nigeria?". https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-29/is-chike-ukaegbu-the-face-of-a-new-nigeria/10140850. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
- "He's 35 and wants to be Nigeria's next president". CNNMoney. https://money.cnn.com/video/news/economy/2018/07/18/qmb-nottooyoungtorun-nigeria-president-election.cnnmoney/index.html. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
- "Meet Chike Ukaegbu, the 35-year-old running for President of Nigeria - CNN Video". https://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2018/07/10/chike-ukaegbu-nigeria-candidate-35-year-old-entrepreneur-vpx.cnn. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
- Toromade, Samson. "35-year-old Chike Ukaegbu joins new party, Advanced Allied Party (AAP), to run for President". https://www.pulse.ng/news/politics/chike-ukaegbu-joins-new-party-aap-to-run-for-president-id8765359.html. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
- "35 year old Chike Ukaegbu, emerges AAP presidential candidate". The Sun Nigeria. 9 October 2018. http://sunnewsonline.com/35-year-old-chike-ukaegbu-emerges-aap-presidential-candidate/. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
- "Nigerian, 35, takes a shot at 2019 presidential vote". News24. https://m.news24.com/Africa/News/nigerian-35-takes-a-shot-at-2019-presidential-vote-20180628. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
- Toromade, Samson. "Buhari, Atiku and a list of All Presidential Candidates of Nigeria (APCN)". https://www.pulse.ng/news/politics/buhari-atiku-and-a-list-of-2019-presidential-candidates-id8951231.html. Retrieved 10 November 2018.