Saturday, 6 February 2016

Inspiring Stories of Successful Nigeria Entrepreneurs







Arguably Nigeria Entrepreneurs faced some of the biggest challenges worldwide.






I could remember when I went to my financial institution to source for loan for one of my businesses. I wasn't attended to because the idea was a new one. I tried to talk to some investors. One of the investors said he can't invest in the business because the Idea is relatively a new one.

Aliko Dangote could have be like one of the many Nigerian that has very nice business idea, killer business strategy but without resources to prosecute the business. His story changed when his uncle Dantata offer him a huge soft loan.

The essence of this article is to inspire those that choose to be entrepreneurs. Here is the stories of the most successful Nigerian Entrepreneurs:

Aliko Dangote
Born on 10th April, 1957. He is the most successful Nigerian business man- the founder of Dangote group. Has a degree in business Education from Al-Azhar University, Egypt . He is currently,  Forbes Africa's richest man despite the fact that he lost $5 billion in 2015 due to Naira volatility, #71 most influential man and 67th richest man on earth(Forbes 2015 list).

Dangote group currently employs over 12 thousand Nigerian- making him one of the largest employers of labour next to the public sector.

He is an inspiration to many Nigeria Entrepreneurs because of the way he build his unique brand, unconventional business strategies and ability to Identify and create opportunities.

He got a big breakthrough in 1977 when his uncle Alhasan Dantata offered him a soft loan of 500,000 naira which he used to launch his commodity trading companies.

Today, 'Dangote' is a household and consumer friendly brand in Nigeria and lately accros African continent.
Dangote sugar is the most capitalize stock on the Nigeria Stock Exchange. Dangote sugar refinery is the largest in Africa and third largest in the world. Dangote group also own Salt factories and floor mills. In fact, Dangote conglomerate is the largest industrial group in west Africa.

With Dangote petroleum refinery on the verge of completion, he will save Nigeria foreign exchange in excess of $6 billion annually(Report by CBN).


Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga(Jr)
Born on 29th April, 1953. He a successful Nigeria business man- Forbes number 7 richest man in Africa(2015). He has MBA from pace University, New York.

He is a great inspiration to Nigeria Entrepreneurs because of his success in globacom. A man from a humble baground. He worked as a Taxi driver to fund his University education.

His company, consolidated oil now conoil was the first indigenous oil drilling firm while globacom is the first and only indigenous telcom firm.


Orji Uzo Kalu
Orji Uzor Kalu(born on 12th April 1960). He  is the chairman of slot group, daily sun and the new telegraph.  A formal two term Governor of Abia state, Nigeria. 

He had admission to the University of Maidugiri to study political science. During his time, he got involved in the student union Government and took part in 'Ali must go protest' which turned violent.

The union leaders were suspended, some challenged the school authority in court. Orji Uzo Kalu was restated. However, he declined because the other student union members who challenged the school authority in court were not restated.

During the suspension, he  borrowed $35 from his mother which used in trading Palm oil from south east to the North. He also ventured into furniture business. He Later got admission to Abia state university for his first degree. He also has a certificate in business administration from Havard University and was later honored with a Doctorate degree by University of maiduguri and Abia State University.

He founded the Slot holdings, a conglomerate that comprises of over a dozen succesful companies.

He was given a national merit award by president Ibrahim Babangida at the age of 26 in 1986 and became the youngest recipient of such award.

He is an inspiration to young entrepreneurs because, his story is that of some one who make progress against all odds.

Pascal Dozie
Born on 9 April, 1939. He is a successful Nigeria Entrepreneur- the founder of Diamond Bank, Co Founder, partner and non executive partner of Capital Alliance, and founder of Kunoc limited.

He holds bachelor of science in Economics from London school of Economics and Political Science, masters of science of Econometrics from city University, London.

He is renown for pioneering electronic payment system which lead to the establishment of Diamond Bank plc in Nigeria.

Mr Dozie served on the board of both public and private companies as executive and non executive director apart from those he directly founded. He is a founding member of MTN Nigeria and also serves as the chairman of MTN Nigeria.


Jim Ovia
Born on November 5th, 1951 . He is the founder of Zenith Bank plc, and visa phone which he recently sold to MTN Nigeria. He is Forbes 37th richest person in Africa.

He holds a bachelor of science from southern Louisiana in 1977 and masters of science degree from Northern Louisiana University in 1979, USA. He is also an alumni of Harvard business school, USA. He is the proprietor of the University of ICT, Agbor, Delta State. 

Jim Ovia is a sucesful  Nigeria entrepreneur and an inspiration to young Nigerian Entrepreneurs because of Zenith bank plc.


Jimoh Ibrahim
Born on 24th February, 1967, He is  the Founder and chief executive officer of global fleet. A business conglomerate which has about a dozen subsidiaries including Nicon insurance, Reinsurance corperation of Nigeria, Nicon luxury corporation-Abuja, meidan Hotel-Lagos, Newswatch Magazine and Newspaper, National Mirror news paper etcetera.

He holds bachelor of law(LLB) and master of public administration from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, south west Nigeria. He also holds masters of law and master of international taxation from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. 

Mr Jimoh Ibrahim is a successful Nigeria Entrepreneur and an inspiration to Many entrepreneurs for his ability to revive many companies at the verge of collapsing.


Tajudeen Afolabi Adeola
He is the founder of Fate Foundation and Guaranty Trust Bank. Fate foundation foster wealth creation by promoting business and entrepreneurship development among Nigerian. The foundation has trained over 30,00 Nigerian since year 2000.

He obtained deploma in accountancy from Yaba college of technology in 1975 and became a chartered accountants in 1980. He received professional development training from Harvard business school, INSEAD, International institute of management Development, Switzerland.

He served as a chairman in several public and private institutions, received numerous award. His story is unique because of the way promote entrepreneurship and founded Guaranty Trust Bank.

Chief Cletus Ibeto
Born on 6 November, 1962. Chief Cletus Ibeto is a successful Nigeria entrepreneur- the founder and chairman of Ibeto group with subsidiaries including Ibeto auto spare parts and petrochemicals.

Chief Ibeto who started as a vehicle spare part apprentice ventured into auto spare part importation and launched his own Factory in 1988 and became the largest auto spear part manufacturing outfit in Nigeria by 1995.

He has nice words for his uncle who he Eulogies "He was my great uncle. I would love you to read the tribute I wrote about him. He was a very intelligent man, hardworking. He was the man I emulated. He influenced me in everything I am doing in Business today......." he was quoted in an interview with Thisday Reporter Funke Olaode.


Cosmos Maduka
Born on December 24, 1958. He is the chairman of cosharis group with subsidiaries including casharis technologies, petrochemical, beverage, medical and food and cosharis biosdadt.

He Survived all odds. At age 4, he lost his father. Became an auto spare part apprentice at age 7.
In 1976, His uncle which he served for over seven years reluctantly settled him with  two hundred Naira which he used to start his own spare part business. 

Got married at 19, started auto spare part importation with  three thousand Naira but lost all his startup capital due to an error in the order number. He got his next shot when his friend borrowed him five thousand Naira which he used for business in 1979 and make thirteen thousand naira aside the capital same year.

He was awarded honorary Doctor of business administration by University of Nigeria Nsuka. An alumni of Harvard business school under executive education program.

Chinedu Echoruo
Chinedu Echoruo is the founder of three highly rated tech companies.

He founded Tripology in 2007, a travel agent lead generation website which connects travellers with travel agents worldwide. In 2010, the company was acquired by Rand McNally, USA today travel media group. However, Tripology is currently shut down because the buyers were unable to grow it as expected.

Apple in a dollar range deal in 2013. Hotspot was a platform offering real time city direction service in 600 cities across the world. Founded in 2005, hotspot was named One of the top 100 growing software companies in the U. S in 2011.

He founded hotspot which was acquired by Apple.
However, hotspot service was discontinued in October, 2015 due to early release of ios 9 update.

The inability of those who acquired his businesses to properly managed it shows his ingenuity.

He founded gigameet in June, 2015. Gigameet is a cause-direction platform that facilitates human connection.


He holds Bsc in finance and accounting from Syracuse university and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


He worked briefly with AM Investment. He also worked in a broad range of M&A, Financing and private equity transaction at J. P Morgan Chase prior to his entrepreneurial journey.


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Inspiring Stories of Successful Nigeria Entrepreneurs

Arguably Nigeria Entrepreneurs faced some of the biggest challenges worldwide. I could remember when I went to my ...