CardinalStone Capital Advisers
Abayomi (Yomi) Oluwaseyi Jemibewon, WG’ 2005
CardinalStone Capital Advisers (“CCA”), is a West Africa focused private equity fund manager that invests in high-potential SMEs bringing transformational growth to the West African landscape and people. To date, CCA has deployed over $40m across 7 different businesses, in the process creating over 600 direct jobs and over 5,000 indirect jobs across its portfolio companies. CCA is currently managing the $64m CCA Growth Fund ("CCAGF"), a Fund targeted at providing growth capital of $5-10m to SMEs operating in select sectors of the Nigerian and Ghanaian economies. Yomi Jemibewon (WG05) & Femi Ogunjimi (WG04) are the two co-founders and co-MDs of CCA and 2 of the 4 founding partners of the CardinalStone Group, the parent Company from which CCA emerged. The CardinalStone Group today is an asset management firm that manages over $300million in assets across different asset classes.
Why did you decide to pursue this venture?
In 2008, after having lived in the US for fourteen years, from a desire to drive positive change in his home country and its surrounding West African region, Yomi returned home to Nigeria and founded the CardinalStone Group with his 3 co-founders.
What has the journey been like?
From initially successfully raising $4m at CardinalStone’s inception to almost losing it all during the first three years of operations due to the impact of the 2008 global financial crisis, to eventually learning to build a resilient brand that now has tentacles across different sectors and asset classes in the West African economy, the journey has been fun, sometimes scary, but most of all fulfilling. In 2018, Yomi authored his first book, Risk and Return—a journey of entrepreneurship and self-discovery in Africa, where he gives an account of his return to Nigeria and his CardinalStone journey (www.riskandreturnafrica.com). In a casual conversational voice, Yomi gives an honest, often hilarious and sometimes sobering account of what it feels like to chase a dream under highly uncertain circumstances. His anecdotes and reflections about navigating an unfamiliar, sometimes unforgiving, African business environment—as an idealistic returnee, an eager entrepreneur, or a young family man, continues to help readers prepare for the challenging and sometimes terrifying times that one might experience when embarking on a big life change. Yomi authored Risk and Return as a way to inspire others like him, at home and in the diaspora, to take action towards galvanizing positive change in their respective homes of origin.
How can alumni support your venture?
As a West Africa-focused private Equity Fund Manager, CCA raises capital primarily from International Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), Commercial Investors (e.g. University endowments and commercial Fund of Funds) and family offices who have interest in having private equity exposure to the West African region. Investors in the $64m CCAGF being managed by CCA include Kuramo Capital (a US Fund of Funds), the UK Government’s CDC, the Dutch development bank (FMO), the International Finance Corporation (IFC, part of the World Bank Group) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Agency (NSIA). Alumni involved with DFIs, commercial investors or family offices with interest in the West Africa private equity space can reach out to CCA to learn more about CCA's brand and approach of investing in the region.
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