Josephine Okot is the founder and managing director of Victoria Seeds Ltd., established for disseminating certified seed to smallholder farmers in East Africa. She steered it from a struggling startup to one of Uganda’s leading seed houses, ranked sixth in the 2018 Access to Seed Index for East and Southern Africa. Okot’s outstanding work has been recognized through numerous national and international accolades. Okot is the 2007 Yara Prize laureate (now the Africa Food Prize), awarded in recognition of her work to reverse Africa’s declining agricultural productivity and her standing as an outstanding example of African entrepreneurs willing to take risks and break new ground. She was the recipient of the 2009 Oslo Business for Peace Award in recognition of her work in promoting socially responsible and ethical business practices. Okot was honored as the African Woman of the Year for her outstanding work in supporting, promoting, and mentoring women and demonstrating the qualities required to succeed in business at the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship in 2011. She served on the Third Presidential Investors’ Round Table, chairing the Food and Agro-processing technical working group, and on the boards of the Uganda Investment Authority, the African Seed Trade Association, the African Agriculture Technology Foundation based in Nairobi, and Stanbic Bank Uganda Ltd. Okot also served on the board of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), based in Ibadan, Nigeria, and the board of Uganda Development Corporation. She was board chair of Soroti Fruit Ltd, the first subsidiary of the Uganda Development Corporation. Presently, she chairs the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee on the IFDC board.
Okot holds a post-graduate diploma in marketing from Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration and a master’s degree in international business from Washington International University. She acquired additional skills in business through the Executive Education program at Harvard Business School, the ASTA Management Academy at the University of Purdue and, most recently, the Stanford Graduate School of Business.