We all love reading the success stories of entrepreneurs in Nigeria because usually, they inspire us and show us that nothing is impossible. This is yet another article where the top 10 most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria will demonstrate to you how to be successful. Embark on the journey to the world of success and read about the most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria!
Nigeria is a naturally endowed country. The country has all kinds of natural, mineral, and human resources, and human resources include the hardworking and decisive individuals who have rightfully made themselves a name in the world of entrepreneurship.
Rather than the wealth of these business people, we will discuss their influence on society and their great entrepreneurial skills. Read further about these successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria and their business, and get inspired by their willpower and leadership skills.
List of successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria
Here are the top 10 most successful business persons in the country and the influence they have on entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
10. Femi Otedola - $550 million
This entrepreneur, who is also a well-known philanthropist and oil magnate, was born in 1962 in Ibadan, Oyo State. He has established companies in Nigeria and abroad. Some of his most prominent businesses are Forte Oil PLC, the fuel production importer which he is a chairman of, and Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, which specializes in distribution and marketing.
He has made huge investments in other business spheres, such as finance, real estate, and shipping. Besides that, he invested in power generation, which is supposed to become a part of sector liberalization in Nigeria.
A huge part of his wealth comes from the energy sector. Femi's net worth is estimated to be about 550 million US dollars.
Femi Otedola is also a happy family man, and all of his four children are successful in their own different ways. For instance, his oldest daughter, Florence Otedola, is a famous musician, known under the name DJ Cuppy, and she is also a tourism ambassador of Nigeria.
Temi Otedola, her younger sister, is a popular fashion blogger and an aspiring designer. The billionaire Femi Otedola has not just made a name for himself but has also inspired his family to be just as successful as him.
9. Oba Otudeko - $650 million
This business entrepreneur is known for being chairman of such huge companies as Honeywell Group and FBN Holdings PLC, which specialize in oil and gas, real estate, marine transportation, and flour milling. He was born in 1943, and his native city is Ibadan, Oyo State. Oba Otudeko came from the royal family.
He is an Accountancy graduate of Leeds College of Commerce, United Kingdom. He has worked as a banker, accountant, and corporate secretary.
Oba Otudeko is a respectable man who is involved in dozens of various businesses and who has received a lot of awards. Of course, he is most famous for Honeywell Group, but he has also helped a lot of other businesses grow.
He also founded the Oba Otudeko Foundation, which specializes in charity and philanthropy. He is happily married to his wife Adebisi Aderonke Otudeko. Oba Otudeko net worth is about 650 million US dollars.
8. Jim Ovia - $1 billion
Famous for being a founder of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, who was born in 1951, is an educated and powerful man. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Southern University in Louisiana, as well as a Master’s degree from the University of Louisiana in the same discipline. He is also a graduate of Harvard Business School.
In 1980, Jim Ovia founded Zenith Bank, which is now one of the most influential banking institutions in Nigeria. Currently, Jim Ovia is worth is 1 billion US dollars.
Jim Ovia is not just a businessman – he is also involved in philanthropic work. He founded the Youth Empowerment ICT Foundation, an organization which is focused on improving Nigerian youth welfare and helping them embrace new communication and information technologies.
8. Folorunsho Alakija - $1billion
Born in 1951, Folorunsho Alakija is now the most successful and rich Nigerian businesswoman, who is also one of the wealthiest women in Africa, as well as one of the wealthiest black women in the world. According to Forbes, Folorunsho is worth 1 billion US dollars.
Her career started in the mid-70s when she worked as a secretary. She is mostly known as the group managing director of the company “Rose of Sharon Group”. She is the executive vice-chairman of “Famfa Oil Limited”, from which she makes huge profits. She is also the founder of the fashion label “Supreme Stitches”, which produces clothing for rich clients.
Folorunsho Alakija does a lot of charity – for instance, she donates to widows through the “Rose of Sharon” foundation. She is the most prominent example of success for Nigerian young women, and she shows how powerful they can be if they work hard enough and believe in themselves.
7. Orji Uzor Kalu - $1.1 billion
Orji is a graduate of three universities: University of Maiduguri, Abia State University, and the prestigious Harvard University. Currently the chairman of SLOK Holding and the owner of Daily Sun Newspaper, the rich and famous Orji Uzor Kalu always knew that he wanted to be the best.
From a very young age, he attempted to start his own businesses. Once, he started a profitable business with only $35 dollars in his hands, borrowed from his mother.
Young Orji Uzor Kalu started his entrepreneurship by palm oil trade, as he bought the commodities from the eastern regions of Nigeria and then sold it to the northern ones. Sometime later, Orji Uzor Kalu switched from selling palm oil to furniture trade, which became a huge success.
In the end, the business skills of Orji Uzor Kalu grew so quickly that he established his own company called SLOK Holding. This business conglomerate blew up and now it has branches not only in Nigeria but also in South Africa, Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Benin Republic, Botswana, and even Korea.
Orji Uzor Kalu firmly believes that people who want to be successful should have their heart in it and see new opportunities everywhere. The businessman's net worth is approximately 1.1 billion US dollars.
6. Jimoh Ibrahim - $1.1 billlion
The politician, businessman, lawyer, and philanthropist Jimoh Ibrahim always knew that success would come his way one day and that he needed to work hard for it. He was born in 1967 in Ondo State.
Jimoh Ibrahim was a Law student at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University in Osun State, where he obtained both Bachelor's and Master’s degrees. Afterwards, he went to the United States to study at Harvard University.
After completing his education, he began investing in a lot of profitable sectors. Some of his investment sectors are hotels, airlines, resorts, real estate, banking, publishing, insurance, and oil and gas distribution.
These days, Jimoh Ibrahim is the chairman of the Global Fleet Group, which is a large diverse Nigeria-based conglomerate company. It has a huge amount of subsidiaries in different cities of Nigeria, mainly Lagos, as well as in other African countries – Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe, just to name a few.
Jimoh Ibrahim is a published writer – he has been credited as an author of three books. He is also the publisher of the Nigerian National Mirror Newspaper.
Jimoh Ibrahim is married to Modupe Jimoh Ibrahim and they have four children. His current net worth is approximately 1.1 billion US dollars.
4. Tony Elumelu - $1.4 billion
Tony Elumelu was born in 1963 in Plateau State Nigeria. He attended university in Nigeria and has 2 degrees in economics. He also has a Master's Degree from the University of Lagos.
Elumelu founded Heirs Holdings, a company that invests in power, real estate, healthcare, hospitality, and oil & gas, in 2010. Tony is also the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. This organization empowers and supports African entrepreneurs.
Tony is married to Awele Vivien Elumel, with whom he has 7 children. He is also the brother to Ndudi Elumelu, who is the minority leader in the Federal House of Representatives. Tony Elumelu's net worth is about 1.4 billion US dollars.
3. Abdul Samad Rabiu - $3.2 billion
Abdul Samad Rabiu is one of the most successful Nigerian entrepreneurs. He was born in 1960 in Kano to Khalifah Isyaku Rabiu, who was also a businessman.
He studied at Capital University in Ohio, United States. When he was 24, he returned to Nigeria to run the family business.
In 1988, Abdul established BUA International Limited with the purpose of commodity trading, importing rice, flour, oil, and iron. Eventually, the company grew and expanded into steel, production of billets, and constructing rolling mills.
Currently, there are 5 subsidiaries of BUA Group including BUA Ports & Terminals, BUA Estates, BUA Oil Mills Ltd, BUA Sugar Refinery Ltd, and BUA Cement. Forbes estimates Abdul Samad's net worth to be 3.2 billion US dollars.
2. Mike Adenuga - $5.8 billion
Born in 1953, Mike Adenuga is the second richest Nigerian person and a multi-billionaire entrepreneur. He received his higher education in Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Pace University.
The company founded by Mike Adenuga, called “Globacom”, is the second-largest telecommunication operator in Nigeria. It also has offices in Benin, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire.
Apart from this, the businessman is the owner of Conoil Producing Limited, which is one of the biggest oil companies in the country.
According to Forbes Magazine, Mike is worth 5.8 billion US dollars and ranks 3rd in the list of Africa's billionaires in 2020.
Who is the richest entrepreneur in Nigeria?
The richest entrepreneur in the country is Aliko Dangote. Currently, he is both the richest man in Africa and the richest Black man in the world. According to Forbes, the Tycoon is worth $8.3 billion US dollars. He is the president and founder of Dangote Group, whose headquarters are in Lagos, Nigeria.
1. Aliko Dangote - $8.3 billion
He was born in 1957, and his birthplace is Kano State. In 1977, when he was only 20 years old, the young man started the business group called “Dangote Group”. He got a generous loan of N500,000 from his grandfather, Alhaji Sanusi Dantata, to start him off.
Aliko Dangote’s firm started as a very small company that specialized in trading. Now, it is a huge multi-billion corporation with branches not only in Nigeria but also in the other African countries like Ghana, Benin Republic, and Togo.
The Dangote Group is famous for being the biggest industrial group in the Western Africa region. It has about 30,000 employees.
Successful female entrepreneurs in Nigeria
Women all over the world continue to make a name for themselves in politics, education, science and technology, and entrepreneurship. The most successful female entrepreneur in Nigeria is currently Folorunsho Alakija. Other successful female entrepreneurs in Nigeria include:
- Nnenna Kalu Makanjuola, founder of Radiant Health Magazine
- Dr. Ola Orekunrin, founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria
- Tara Fela-Durotoye, founder of House of Tara
- Kofo Akinkugbe, Chief Executive Officer of SecureID Nigeria Ltd
- Adenike Ogunlesi, founder of Ruff ’n’ Tumble
The most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria have worked very hard to become who they are now, and their efforts are fully paying off.