Chika Russell entrepreneur and keynote business speaker
Chika Russell entrepreneur, mentor and speaker

Chika Russell

Chika Russell is an international entrepreneur, mentor and speaker. She is a qualified management accountant and spent 10 years in banking before launching her snacks business, CHIKA’S.  The business has grown rapidly and in 2021 secured a $9.8 million series ‘A’ investment to fund further expansion.  Chika Russell has now embarked upon her most ambitious project to date with the goal of making CHIKA’S the largest independent snack company in West Africa by 2027.

Launched in 2015 in the U.K., the CHIKA’S range of Africa-inspired snacks immediately struck a chord with retailers including Waitrose, Co-Op, Holland & Barrett and Ocado and established CHIKA’S as a leader in the space. Chika Russell has grown her business with national listings and several thousand retail stockists in the UK and internationally.

CHIKA’S is now backed by Alitheia IDF, a gender-lens private equity fund supported by the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank. Alitheia founder, Tokunboh Ishmael, describes Chika Russell as: “A great entrepreneur who understands what she is doing; very dynamic and very hungry.” With financial backing from Alitheia, CHIKA’S Africa is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria and will manufacture 2 million snacks a week, employing over 300 people, including 70% women.

Chika Russell has appeared in BBC’s Dragons Den and gave what Deborah Meaden described as one of the best pitches ever. The battle between the 5 Dragons for a stake in the business was the most watched episode of the whole series. Chika is a regular on BBC Radio’s Wake up to Money and has been a guest BBC’S Question Time.

Chika is passionate about educating women and is a partner to World Vision in their Empowering Girls program. She is a founding member of the Conduit Club, which works to develop and promote positive social impact. Chika has also represented female-led SMEs at 10 Downing Street’s Women in Business events. In 2019 Chika was selected as one of the Top 30 Inspiring UK Entrepreneurs by Business Leader and was recognised by She Leads Africa for her contribution as a female African entrepreneur. She has also been recognised as a ‘Consumer Business Rising Star’ by the Black British Business Awards.  In 2022 Chika was invited to take part as a celebrity judge in Starling Bank’s Take Flight business competition.

Chika Russell is in much demand as a business speaker and her presentation themes include:

  • Entrepreneurialism
  • Women in Business
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Unconscious bias
  • Start ups
  • Branding
  • Leadership




Chika was a really engaging speaker with a personable and relatable attitude that was well received by our audience. Her honesty around her successes and failures across her career was inspiring to listen to.

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