“Africa is in the hands of Africans and we must all rise to the challenge.” Fifi Ejendu
Offiong Ekanem Ejindu aka Princess Fifi Ejindu is the CEO of Building Support Systems and the Principal Partner of Starcrest Group of Companies. She is a Nigerian Neo-traditional Architect, a fashionista, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. Fifi Ejindu is the founder of The African Arts and Fashion initiative and has been identified as one of the leading female architects in Nigeria.
Princess Fifi Ejindu was born in 1962 in Ibadan, Nigeria. She is royalty; her maternal great grandfather, King James Ekpo Bassey of Cobham Town in Calabar, Nigeria was crowned King of Cobham Town by Queen Victoria in 1893. She was born and brought up in Ibadan, but she is originally from Uyo in Akwa Ibom State.
Princess Fifi Ejindu graduated with a B.Arch degree in 1983 from Pratt Institute, a private design college in Brooklyn, New York. She was one of the first African women to be awarded a Bachelor in Architecture from the Institution. After graduating from Pratt Institute, Fifi Ejindu enrolled at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she took some courses before taking a job at Grant Associates in New York City. She then went back to Pratt Institute for her Masters in Urban Planning before relocating to Nigeria.
For a fact, Starcrest was the fruit of Fifi’s dream of birthing something new in Nigeria. The company was founded immediately she returned to Nigeria and has three subdivisions; Starcrest Investment Limited. Starcrest Associates Limited. Starcrest Industries Limited.
These subsidiaries are engaged in real estate management, construction, building and designing, oil and gas, project management, youth empowerment and investment opportunities.
Interestingly, She has designed and built several projects for individuals, the government and companies. The Spanish Ambassador’s apartment in Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria was a major highlight of Fifi’s work as she was really pleased with herself for a job well done. Her work has always been a point of reference and she gets recommendations from people she has not met, this is how she got to design the official apartment of Professor Charles Soludo, a one time governor of the Central Bank Of Nigeria. Soludo saw one of her works and contacted her for the job without prior knowledge of her expertise. This goes to tell us that we should pay attention to details and be diligent in whatever we do, you never know how far your work will travel.
Furthermore, Fifi Ejindu wanted to showcase the African culture and talent so she launched The African Arts and Fashion Initiative on Sunday, the 4th of August 2013, at The Dorchester Hotel, London. The enterprise was created to publicize Africa by exhibiting the region’s rich cultural heritage and talents globally and also create opportunities to enrich African youths.
In addition, Fifi Ejindu being an inspiring entrepreneur for other upcoming entrepreneurs to model after has won series of awards and recognitions such as the “Honorary Patron Membership” of the elite Dubai Icons Club, Featured in the Famous African Women Architect Magazine by People Maven – 2018 Edition, pronounced winner of “The Nigerian Golden Book Professional Icon Award” in 2015, Recognized as one of the Top Twenty Inspirational Women in 2015 by the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE), “Diaspora Excellence Award” in 2015.
Conclusively, according to Fifi Ejindu “the future of Africa depends on how much and to what extent we can empower our young people because they constitute 60% of our population. Also in her words, “I am a creative person so I would create for myself the things I want around me”.