Rukayyat is the founder and CEO of PaceUP Invest, a fintech startup with offices in Germany, France, and Nigeria, whose mission is empowering women and underrepresented communities financially and helping them attain a responsible and sustainable future for themselves and their generation.

Explain what you do/your role in PaceUP Invest to a five-year-old.

I help women and people, in general, to help their money grow and have access to that money whenever they want.

What was your dream job? Are you currently working in your dream role?

I have always wanted to make an impact on people’s lives, especially women’s. I worked in investment banking for over 15 years before starting PaceUP Invest. Now I am making a social impact for profit. This is my dream role!

Why is empowering women to manage their finances better important to you? 

I am Nigerian by birth, with a strong lineage of strong entrepreneurial Yoruba women who controlled and invested their money. My passion and reason for going into investment banking were a result of learning how my grandmother empowered women in her community. She was a gold trader who travelled to Ghana to buy gold and sold it in Nigeria. She taught me the basics of empowering women via money to build wealth, in addition to the power of communities, as I watched her do this seamlessly when I was growing up in Nigeria. True wealth, to her, was about freedom. I learned how money can be used to create value and what value can be derived from it. 

However, working in the financial industry for over 14 years showed that the industry was not built for women. I made it my mission to change this narrative, one woman at a time.

When women manage their finances better, they can save, invest, and improve their households and communities. Empowering women financially empowers generations to come.

Does Africa have enough fintechs?

We do not have enough! We are a growing continent. 

Not only do we need more fintechs, but a growing fintech industry has the potential to create jobs, skills, opportunities, and wealth across the continent. This is very important for lifting many Africans out of poverty.

An IFC study estimates that over 230 million jobs in sub-Saharan Africa will require digital skills by 2030, creating opportunities in adjacent industries as well, notably training.

McKinsey also stated that the fintech eruption in Africa is seeding an ecosystem that could also bring several social benefits by, for example, improving access to healthcare and insurance at scale and increasing access to lending in key sectors such as agriculture. The newcomers are also proving instrumental in driving financial inclusion, particularly among women. Driving financial inclusion and wealth creation for women is the mission of PaceUP Invest 

What’s the most important wealth management advice and investment everyone should adhere to?

There are two. One is starting now! The second is being intentional about investing.

It is very common to find people starting to pay attention to their savings plans, investment plans, and wealth-building strategies only when they reach mid-age. The earlier one starts, the better! It is very important to start now, at whatever stage you are at. There is no benefit to waiting for the right time. The best time was yesterday. The next best time is now.

It is good to be intentional when investing and building wealth. The why, what, and who are below:

Understanding why you are investing puts you in the driver’s seat and sets you up to be more confident about your financial future.

Carefully choosing what you are investing in helps you understand what you are investing in and what social impacts it has. For example, you can invest based on ESG—environmental, social, and governance—criteria. It is important to know who and what your investments are supporting.

Being cognisant of who you are investing with—your financial advisor or wealth manager—is important, as that person ought to have your best interest at heart, be independent, and have fiduciary responsibilities. We are independent, licensed, and regulated financial advisors with fiduciary responsibilities at PaceUP Invest.

What (singular) achievement are you most proud of?

Having a beautiful daughter who is very empathetic at an early age. I learn a lot from her.

What’s something you love doing that you’re terrible at? 

I love singing but do not have a good singing voice. My five-year-old daughter tells me that with no filter. 

What is something you really do not like doing that you’re great at?

I am great at organising parties. I did that a lot in my 20s and early 30s. I do not like doing that anymore. I rather just go skiing, hiking, or exploring nice foods with friends and family. Perhaps it is old age 🙂 . I will still attend parties but not organise one. 

If you could be any Marvel/DC superhero, who would you be and why?

Okoye in Black Panther. She is powerful, beautiful, and physically and emotionally connected. It reminds me of these powers we Africans have within us and how we can harness them to empower one another.

Timi Odueso Senior Editor, Newsletters

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