Still in celebration of Glazia Black History Month, today, we are celebrating Mark Anthony Essien – Nigerian Entrepreneur, Software Developer and Startup Investor.

Mark Anthony Essien
Nigerian Entrepreneur, Software Developer and Startup Investor.

“No country (or state) can progress where wealth for citizens is to be created through government owned businesses or government subsidized businesses. It’s about people owned and controlled businesses, competing against each other.”

Mark was born on 18th December 1980 in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, South-South region of Nigeria. After his secondary school in Federal Government College, Ikot Ekpene, he went to Germany for his tertiary education, where he acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering and a Masters in Science. In that time he honed his coding skills and started building applications for the then – nascent Apple App Store. I have since then returned to Nigeria to set up Hotels.ng.

Upon his return to Nigeria from Germany, he founded Hotels.ng, one of the first and largest online hotel booking websites founded in Nigeria , where he is also CEO. As at 2019, the company, hotels.ng had raised over $1.5m in Venture Capital to list over 10,000 hotels across 320 cities in Nigeria with pictures and reviews. The site also had over 5000 places of interest in Nigeria.

Interestingly, before he founded Hotels.ng in 2013, Essien had previously built a file sharing software called Gnumm (acquired by Snoopstar.com), followed by a language learning startup called Ingolingo. In 2016, Hotels.ng co-invested with Jason Njoku and Spark in OgaVenue,[14] an events booking platform. Essien serves as a director on the board of OgaVenue.

Also in 2016, he started a Remote Internship Program on software development for young people as a means of availing them the opportunity to transform their ideas into innovative businesses. The Interns under this initiative are usually presented with real-life challenges which they are expected to solve using programming and design skills.

Essien is also a frequent TEDx speaker. He has delivered talks on leveraging networks to build a business and how Africa can lead in the global technology space, speaking at TEDxEuston and TEDxGbagada respectively.

In 2015, he was listed among 21 Nigerian Tech CEOs at the top of their games, and also included in the 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians and Most Influential Young Africans in 2016. Mark also made the Forbes list of 30 Young Entrepreneurs in Africa in 2015 and He has been nominated for the Nigeria Future awards amongst others.

Mark is currently a Board Member of the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council, and a Committee Member of the Nigerian Federal Government Advisory Group on Technology and Creativity.

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