We all love reading the success stories of entrepreneurs in Nigeria because usually, they inspire and show us that nothing is impossible. Here is an article where the top 10 most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria will demonstrate to you how to succeed. So, embark on the entrepreneurial journey and learn how the wealthiest individuals do it in Nigeria.
Nigeria is a naturally endowed country. The country has all kinds of natural, mineral, and human resources. Human resources include hardworking and decisive individuals who have rightfully made an excellent reputation in entrepreneurship.
Apart from the wealth of these successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria, you will learn their influence on society and excellent entrepreneurial skills. Who are they, and how did they make their wealth?
List of successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria
Have you ever wondered how the rich make their money? As you will see from the list of entrepreneurs in Nigeria, the most exciting thing is that they don't have a single source of income but invest in multiple businesses. So, who are the wealthiest?
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10. Oba Otudeko - $550 million
- Date of birth: August 18, 1943
- Age: 78 years old as of 2021
- Birthplace: Ibadan, Oyo State
- Business interest: Oil, gas, flour and more
- Education: Executive management training programmes at Harvard University, Hult International School of Business, Accountancy graduate of Leeds College of Commerce Leeds College of Commerce
This entrepreneur is known for being chairman of such huge companies as Honeywell Group and FBN Holdings PLC, specialising 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 a 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 involved in dozens of various businesses and has received a lot of awards. Of course, he is most famous for Honeywell Group, but he has also helped other companies grow.
He also founded the Oba Otudeko Foundation, which specialises in charity and philanthropy. He is happily married to his wife, Adebisi Aderonke Otudeko. Oba Otudeko's net worth was about $550 million, according to Forbes ranking in 2014. His net worth has likely increased since then, but there isn't a substantive figure of the same.
9. Tony Elumelu - $700 million
- Date of birth: March 22, 1963
- Age: 58 years old as of 2021
- Birthplace: Jos, Plateau State
- Business interest: Investments, banking, agriculture, hospitality, oil production and more
- Education: Master of Science degree from the University of Lagos
Tony Elumelu was born in 1963 in Plateau State. He attended university in his native country 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 organisation empowers and supports African entrepreneurs.
Tony is married to Awele Vivien Elumel, with whom he has 7 children. He is also the brother of Ndudi Elumelu, a politician.
Tony Elumelu was ranked the 31st richest person in Africa with a net worth of $700 million in 2015 by Forbes. However, there hasn't been any further view of his wealth since then, and it has likely increased.
8. Jim Ovia - $900 million
- Date of birth: November 4, 1951
- Age: 60 years old as of 2021
- Birthplace: Anambra State
- Business interest: Banking, telecommunication, property and more
- Education: Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana, Monroe, Louisiana USA, Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA (1977)
Famous for being the founder of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, who was born in 1951, is an educated and powerful man. He joins the list of successful entrepreneurs because of his massive wealth.
He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Southern University in Louisiana and 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, one of the most influential banking institutions in the West African nation. Currently, Jim Ovia is worth $900 million, making him one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Moreover, his net worth is expected to grow, considering his massive business success.
Jim Ovia is not just a businessman – he is also involved in philanthropic work. He founded the Youth Empowerment ICT Foundation; an organisation focused on improving Nigerian youth welfare and helping them embrace new communication and information technologies.
7. Folorunsho Alakija - $1billion
- Date of birth: July 15, 1951
- Age: 60 years old as of 2021
- Birthplace: Lagos
- Business interest: Oil, transportation and more
- Education: Secretarial studies at Pitman's Central College, London
Born in 1951, Folorunsho Alakija is now the most successful Nigerian businesswoman. According to Forbes, Folorunsho is worth $1 billion.
Her career started in the mid-70s when she worked as a secretary. She is mainly 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 enormous profits. She is also the founder of the fashion label Supreme Stitches, which produces clothing for affluent 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 young Nigerian women, and she shows how powerful they can be if they work hard enough and believe in themselves.
6. Orji Uzor Kalu - $1.1 billion
- Date of birth: April 21, 1960
- Age: 61 years old as of 2021
- Birthplace: Abia State
- Business interest: Furniture, manufacturing, and transportation
- Education: Political Science at the University of Maiduguri
Orji is a graduate of three universities: the University of Maiduguri, Abia State University, and the prestigious Harvard University. Currently, he is 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.
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 them to the northern ones. Orji Uzor Kalu switched from selling palm oil to the furniture trade, which became a huge success.
In the end, he established his own company called SLOK Holding. This business conglomerate blew up, and now it has branches in Nigeria, South Africa, Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Benin Republic, Botswana, and even Korea.
The businessman's net worth is approximately $1.1 billion. Orji Uzor Kalu firmly believes that people who want to be successful should have their heart in it and see new opportunities everywhere.
5. Jimoh Ibrahim - $1.1 billlion
- Date of birth: February 24, 1967
- Age: 54 years old as of 2021
- Birthplace: Igbotako in Okitipua, Ondo State
- Business interest: Hotels, airlines, resorts, real estate, banking, publishing, insurance, and oil and gas distribution
- Education: Law degree from the Lagos State University
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. His investment sectors are hotels, airlines, resorts, real estate, banking, publishing, insurance, and oil and gas distribution.
Today, Jimoh Ibrahim is the chairman of the Global Fleet Group, a large, diverse Nigeria-based conglomerate company. It has a vast amount of subsidiaries in different cities of Nigeria, mainly Lagos, and in other African countries – Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe, 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 National Mirror Newspaper.
His current net worth is approximately $1.1 billion. Ibrahim is married to Modupe Jimoh Ibrahim, and they have four children.
4. Femi Otedola - $1.8 billion
- Date of birth: November 4, 1962
- Age: 59 years old as of 2021
- Birthplace: Ibadan, Oyo State
- Business interest: Oil, haulage, utilities and more
- Education: Obafemi Awolowo University
Femi is one of the most prominent entrepreneurs in Nigeria. He is a well-known philanthropist and oil magnate who 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, and Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, which specialises in distribution and marketing.
He has made considerable 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 liberalisation. A considerable part of his wealth comes from the energy sector. Femi's net worth is estimated to be about $1.8 billion.
Femi Otedola is also a happy family man, and all of his four children are successful in their 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 famous 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.
3. Abdul Samad Rabiu - $4.9 billion
- Date of birth: August 4, 1960
- Age: 61 years old as of 2021
- Birthplace: Kano
- Business interest: Cement, sugar, real estate and more
Abdul Samad Rabiu is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria. 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 the country to run the family business.
In 1988, Abdul established BUA International Limited for 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 4.9 billion US dollars, and it is expected to be higher in 2022.
2. Mike Adenuga - $6.5 billion
- Date of birth: April 29, 1953
- Age: 68 years old as of 2021
- Birthplace: Ibadan, Oyo State
- Business interest: Telecom, oil, banking and more
- Education: Master of Business Administration from Pace University
Born in 1953, Mike Adenuga is the second richest Nigerian entrepreneur with a $6.5 billion net worth. He received his higher education at Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Pace University.
The company founded by Mike Adenuga, called Globacom, is the second-largest telecommunication operator in the West African nation. It also has offices in Benin, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire.
Apart from this, the businessman is the owner of Conoil Producing Limited, one of the country's biggest oil companies.
1. Aliko Dangote - $12.6 billion
- Date of birth: April 10, 1957
- Age: 64 years old as of 2021
- Birthplace: Kano
- Business interest: Cement, sugar, flour and more
- Education: Bachelor of Arts/Science from Al-Azhar University
If you search “Who is the successful entrepreneur in Nigeria?” the result would give you Aliko Dangote. He tops the collection of successful entrepreneurs with a net worth of $12.6 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 Dangote Business Group. To start him off, he got a generous loan of N500,000 from his grandfather, Alhaji Sanusi Dantata.
Aliko Dangote's firm started as a tiny company that specialised in trading. It is now a substantial multi-billion corporation with branches in Nigeria and other African countries like Ghana, Benin Republic, and Togo.
The Dangote Group is famous for being the most influential industrial group in the Western Africa region. It has about 30,000 employees.
Successful female entrepreneurs in Nigeria
Women worldwide 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 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
Who is the richest entrepreneur in Nigeria?
The wealthiest entrepreneur in the country is Aliko Dangote. According to Forbes, the Tycoon is worth $12.6 billion. He is the president and founder of Dangote Group, whose headquarters are in Lagos, Nigeria. Young entrepreneurs in Nigeria look up to him as he is the epitome of success.
What is the richest business in Nigeria?
Aliko Dangote has earned too much money from his business that increases his wealth every year. That is why it is no surprise that his business empire makes the most considerable profits in Nigeria.
The most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria have worked hard to become who they are now, and their efforts are fully paying off. They are a great example to aspiring entrepreneurs that want to create business empires as big as theirs.
Of course, the list has some of the most successful footballers globally that are winning their teams many titles. So, who are the richest in 2021?