Face of African polo, Neku Atawodi-Edun has been unveiled as Access Bank W brand ambassador.
Access Bank Coordinator, Women Banking Initiative, Ayona Aguele-Trimnell who unveiled the new ambassador at a media event in Lagos yesterday, described Neku as a Nigerian polo player, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and an investor.
Access Bank Group Head, Corporate Communications, Amaechi Okobi, described the W Ambassador as a consummate brand who champions healthy lifestyle and promotes the development of women polo in Nigeria and beyond.
Neku Atawodi-Edun, who accepted the endorsement, said she is thrilled at the opportunity offered by Access Bank to carry through her passion for promotion of women empowerment and encouraging women polo in Nigeria to an acceptable international level.
She told media executives in an interactive session that as Access Bank ambassador, she hopes to be playing more in the European season that recently galloped off after the climax of the US season in April.
Neku listed some of the countries she would be flying the flag of Access Bank, to include United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany. Neku hopes to play more in Africa, with the forthcoming 2019 Access bank UNICEF Charity Shield tournament billed for Kaduna in June.
Highly revered as one of the few black female polo players in the world, and the first to play professionally, Neku Atawodi-Edun is an equine sports scientist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and investor.
Neku grew up in Kaduna and her childhood revolved around a local polo club in Kaduna, northern Nigeria. At age 16, Neku told her parents she wanted to play polo professionally, at a time when the “sport of kings” was only synonymous with men and royalty.
Her parents tried to deter her and at a point, stopped paying for the upkeep of her horses but she was able to convince a polo club in England to give her a job basically to protect her passion for the noble game.
About a decade later, Neku followed up her passion and today, she had played polo professionally in 14 cities professionally, bagged a degree in Equine Sport Science, an MA in International Business, and the first woman of color to play the game of polo professionally.
Neku is also the founder of Ride to shine – a self-funded non-profit organization that teaches African Orphans about Equestrian Sports. She is an Associate fellow of the Royal Commonwealth society and was a Clinton Global Initiative Lead mentor.
In 2016, Neku was named in Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30: Africa’s Most Promising Entrepreneurs list. She is also a Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum and has represented Nigeria at the WEF in Davos.
Neku is also the Nigeria Country Director of MEST, where she’s overseeing incubator operations and strategy, startup support, stakeholder engagement, business development and fundraising efforts. Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) is a year-long entrepreneurial training program, seed fund and incubator for African tech startups.
In 2018, Neku was named the face of Africa Polo Open, an offshoot of the 110-year old Prince of Wales Polo Cup, Africa’s oldest polo tournament.