Tosin Faniro-Dada

Years in Tech


Current Role

Head, Startups (Lagos Innovates), LSETF

Core Skills

While at PricewaterhouseCoopers, I developed analytical thinking skills which contributed immensely to my ability to successfully deliver on client engagements as a Lead Senior. This included planning and executing financial statement audits, managing associates, and keeping partners and clients well informed of the audit progress. In addition, I have developed team management skills from working on diverse teams since the inception of my career. My communication skills were sharpened at ARM and Skye bank presenting diverse projects for investment decisions and managing client relationships. The culmination of all these skills was my ability to deliver in my role as Head Strategy and Partnerships when I joined the LSETF. The role required that I work as part of a team to deliver on fundraising targets while managing local and international stakeholders for the Fund.

Interview Date

14th December 2018

Tosin leads the Lagos Innovates team at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF). She successfully launched and manages Lagos Innovates programs, aimed at providing an enabling environment for Tech Startups and Innovation Driven Enterprises to thrive in Lagos State. Through Lagos Innovates, Startup founders have access to co-working spaces, talent, event sponsorship, etc.

Tosin joined LSTEF as the Head of Strategy & Partnerships in 2016. She was responsible for raising private sector finance to fund the activities of the Fund while cultivating strategic partnerships to promote the Fund. Prior to working at LSETF, Tosin worked in the Corporate Banking Division at Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank) where she executed Oil & Gas Upstream transactions. Prior to her banking experience, she was a Financial Analyst at ARM for Hospitality and Retail Projects. Tosin spent three years in PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston auditing mutual and private equity funds.

Tosin graduated Summa Cum Laude (highest honours) with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 2006 from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth and a Master’s degree in 2009 from Boston College. Tosin is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Massachusetts.
Tosin loves boxing, travelling and eating out.

What experiences led you to technology and how did you develop the skills to compete in the industry?

Prior to the establishment of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, Tech startups and innovation-driven enterprises have thrived in Lagos State with little or no support from the Government. The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund as part of its mandate is throwing its weight behind Lagos-resident founders and Lagos-based high impact, high-potential startups in smart ways, drawing from the experience and successes of similar government-led initiatives like Startup Chile, Startup India and Startup Singapore.

With an opening for the position of Head, Lagos Innovates, I decided to give it a shot. With my background in finance and project management, I believed I was equipped with the necessary skills. Coupled with the fact that I was involved in the strategy, design and development of the Lagos Innovates framework, I believed it was the right move to make.

How has your background helped/differentiated you in the tech industry?

Working for the Lagos State Government certainly sets me apart in tech. There is an element of policy impact that my work has on the tech ecosystem in Lagos that goes beyond financial support for the startups. I am in a unique position to make a difference not only financially through our hub loan program, but with infrastructural support through our workspace voucher program, and a talent pipeline through our talent development program.

My accounting and finance background helps me understand the numbers for the businesses we support. My project management skills help me manage Lagos Innovates programs adequately especially in dealing with partners and vendors, and finally, my fundraising skills come in handy with raising private sector funding for Lagos Innovates.

What advice would you give to women considering a career in technology? What do you wish you had known?

Do it even if you are afraid!!! Technology is the future; be it in banking, science, agriculture, commerce, etc. Getting in the space early means you can chart your own path and create your own future. Be eager to latch on to opportunities when they present themselves. I had no prior formal knowledge in tech, but I decided to seize an opportunity to learn how the space works. That opportunity has opened doors for me and introduced me to a new career path.

Any other thoughts on women in technology?

Women deserve a seat at the table. We have worked hard, continue to work hard and we should not be afraid to put ourselves out there.