Afropreneur and Program Director, Wennovation Hub
After moving to the U.S. in 2004 to study for a Master of Science in computer science at the University of Houston, Idris Bello pursued a career in oil and gas with Chevron. “I made the decision to pursue an MBA in order to broaden my horizons and build upon my technical education,” he said. The decision was a good one. “The two years of the EMBA program can be very intense. There is the temptation to focus solely on your academics. However, there is great value in the close relationships you build with your classmates and the professors.”
While a student at the Jones School, Idris co-founded the Next Cool Idea, a weekend incubator for Rice MBA students where participants brainstormed ideas and devised start-up business models in conjunction with the Jones Graduate School Entrepreneurs Organization (JGSEO). Partnering with a friend to form AfyaZima Africa Ltd, he focused on developing and executing an operational strategy to bring emerging, low-cost, highperformance health care technologies into Africa and to evaluate the technologies’ impact.
Idris is an ‘Afropreneur’ — an entrepreneur with an African focus — with experience in technology, data analytics, strategic planning, and project management in different sectors and with social and business networks spanning five continents. Profiled in 2011 as Huffington Post’s ‘Greatest Person of the Day’ and listed among CNN’s Top Ten African Technology Voices in 2012, Idris is dedicated to the development of innovation-driven, technology-enabled platforms for social enterprises across Africa.
Today, Idris also serves as the program director of the Wennovation Hub, a Nigerian-based start-up accelerator, tackling unemployment by harnessing the creative energies of young people via a collaborative platform.
"A chance lunch meeting with Dr. Marc Epstein while in the MBA program became a defining moment in my life. It moved me from my initial goal of coming to business school to seek career advancement to one of a life mission in social innovation and global health."
- Hometown: Abeokuta, Nigeria
- Listed as one of CNN’s 10 African tech leaders
- Obafemi Awolowo University, B.Sc. Computer Engineering ’02
- University of Houston, M.Sc. Computer Science ’05
- Rice University, MBA for Executives ’11
- University of Oxford, M.Sc. Global Health Science ’12
- Job during school: Information Management Champion, Chevron Corporation
- Post-MBA job: Afropreneur and Program Director, Wennovation Hub