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5 Entrepreneurs Who Took a Risk on Nigeria and won

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MIKE ADENUGA JR: The 60 year old billionaire is quoted to be worth in the Neighborhood of $15Billion by the researchers at LIVEN Capital although Forbes places him at a mere $4.8Billion.

Otunba Mike Adenuga Jr or The Bull as his is known in personal circles is the Founder of Globacom a Nigeria telecommunications marvel that has created many firsts. He was the first to offer second by second billing in Nigeria, first ever individual in the world to single handedly lay an intercontinental submarine cable at a cost of nearly $1Billion and his arsenal of telecommunication investments includes heavy investments in mast infrastructure, intense retail coverage, submarine, inland and over air broadband assets and the strongest operational base of any carrier in Nigeria.

Globacom remains the most financially invested telecom firm in Nigeria in terms of assets to valuation, with immense real estate and administrative presence, as opposed to the other carriers whose head offices are in India, Dubai and South Africa, Globacom is a wholly Nigerian operation ran from Victoria Island, Lagos while reaching 6 countries in the West African sub region.

He also owns Conoil Producing, an oil exploration, distribution and services company which owns a few of Nigeria's most productive oil fields and a national network of retail outlets. He started at 26 when he returned to Nigeria after studying in the U.S. where he paid for tuition by driving a cab and took over his mother's sawmill business also distributing lace clothing and beverages. He eventually forayed into government contracts and was later granted an oil prospecting license by Gen Ibrahim Babangida rtd. From then he built Conoil Producing and became the first Nigerian to strike oil in commercial quantities. He would eventually start Equatorial Trust Bank which was later merged to form the current Sterling Bank Plc.

His placement on this list comes from his willingness to continue to bet on Nigeria even through constant frustrations from the then government of Olusegun Obasanjo when he decided to foray into telecommunication. Today his is one of Nigeria richest and most notable citizens even though his reclusive nature leaves him hard to understand.

INNOCENT CHUKWUMA: The youngest of 6 children, born into an industrious family, to an industrial people (Nnewi) and in Nigerian’s most entrepreneurial state (Anambra). Dr. Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma still shocked an awed when he finally implemented his dreams. He decided to setup an auto manufacturing company in 2007 to the shock of many, in a country with dilapidated electrical infrastructure the concept of manufacturing was a fast dying idea and for those who dare to venture in, cars were out of the question.

Dismissing sentiments and opinions Ifediaso built the first indigenous vehicle manufacturing company in Nigeria which currently produces a range of consumer and commercial vehicles including mass transit buses and trash compactors.

He is also the largest local producer of plastics in Nigeria with his Innoson Technical Industries in Enugu, Nigeria. He is also part of a joint venture that operates a tire manufacturing plant and is engaged in numerous other manufacturing activities.

As a pioneer in the Nigerian auto industry he still continues to take risks, pushing the bar by attempting to manufacture a majority of his car components in Nigeria. In March, 2014 he was awarded the honors of Accomplished Entrepreneurs at Nigeria’s Centenary Anniversary Celebration along with Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr. (above) and Alhaji Aliko Dangote (below). He remains a national treasure for most Nigerians and continues to push the envelope by building world class vehicles on Nigerian soil.


ALIKO DANGOTE: The 57 year old Nigerian entrepreneur started business selling sweets in school as a child, after his University education he took a ₦500,000 loan from his uncle and stated trading commodities. Currently he is worth $25 Billion and is the owner of the largest Cement manufacturing plant in African and possibly the world. He is the 23rd richest man in the world and his Dangote Group is the largest private employer in Nigeria.

 His classification by Logbaby as a risk taker comes from the risks he took to get to his current position. In the early 2000’s when Nigeria instituted a backward integration policy limiting cement imports and encouraging manufacturing, Aliko went into full swing, buying dilapidated state plants and building his own plants in rapid succession. At a time when many moved money abroad he was confident in the progress of Nigeria and sank billion of dollars in loans and cash to build the largest cement manufacturer in Nigeria.

He has followed this up with foray into sugar and flour manufacturing even going as far as procuring 100,000 hectares of land for sugar cane plantations. His investments in Nigeria especially when many felt it was a dying horse and the extent of their comprehensiveness make him a risk taker worth emulating. In a country with epileptic electricity his Obajano cement plant in Kogi State is supported by a 200mw power station which supplies the neighboring community also.









He took a chance on Nigeria and it made him the 23rd richest man in the world and a notable personality in all circles of Nigerian society.


RAYMOND DOKPESI: Raymond Anthony Aleogho Dokpesi is the pioneer of Private Television in Nigeria. Until 1990 television transmission was the strict purview of the government but in 1990 Gen. Ibrahim Babangida deregulated the industry. Dokpesi went into action starting the first private radio station and the first satellite television station in Nigeria A.I.T (African Independent Television).

 Today A.I.T remains a thing of pride for Nigerians and a standard to be met or beat for new entrants. His company DAAR Communications Plc is a publicly traded media company that owns a slew of media assets including DAAR Sat, Raypower Radio and the world famous A.I.T.

The 63 year old mogul was born in Ibadan to Edo parents and eventually attended the Immaculate Conception College (ICC) Benin City where he was the pioneer member of Ozolua Play House, a dance/drama group. With a Doctorate in Marine Engineering he started his career as the personal assistant to Alhaji Bamaga Tukur a General Manager of the Nigerian Ports Authority. He eventually started the first indigenous shipping line Africa Ocean Lines (AOL) which did not last long but made many positive impacts.






Presently, AIT is received in America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe-wide on the Hotbird satellite as well as countries within Africa through direct transmission and cable providers like DSTV.

Dokpesi finds a prime position on our list because he;

  • Established the first indigenous shipping line in Nigeria.
  • Established the first privately owned radio station Raypower FM in Nigeria.
  • Pioneered Nigeria’s First global TV which was Africa’s first ever Satellite TV station.
  • Established the first TV station to run 24 hour broadcasting in Nigeria.
  • And continues to lead the way in African media even today.


COSMOS MADUKA: The dropout Christian Charismatic is one of Nigeria’s most visibly intelligent entrepreneurs, till date his integrity remains unquestioned and so his source of wealth. He started business as an apprentice and later a trader in automobile parts and eventually became the number 1 auto parts dealer in the country.

 Hailing from the entrepreneurial town of Nnewi like the no 2 on our list he was expected to succeed but with the limits of educational muscle he was not expected to do what he did next. Mr. Cosmos Maduka refused to remain a trader and started to cut his teeth into real entrepreneurial endeavors. He pursued exclusive and contracted distribution of vehicles and auto related products.

Today he is the sole distributor of all BMW products in Nigeria including Rolce Royce. He is also the lead distributor, dealer and service center for Ford, Land Rover, Mini, MG and SIXT. Furthermore he is the core distributor of ABRO petrochemical products and is their #1 global distributor, clocking sales of over $150million annually.




Today Cosmas Maduka runs a multi-billion dollar empire and LIVEN Capital analysts peg his net work around $900 million although his quiet disposition does not lend him the attention from outside observers. Dr. Cosmas M. Maduka, DBA, is the President and Chairman of Coscharis Group, he has also served as a Non-Executive Director of Access Bank Plc. He is the Vice President of the Nigeria-Japan Association and a Trustee of Human Development fund of The United Nations Development Program.

His ranking on our list stems from a deep commitment to Nigeria that has seen him domicile his businesses, accounts and most notably his children in Nigeria, directing them to school in Nigeria public universities even when his finances can pave the way to Yale.



Author: King Ifeanyi Oruruo is the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s leading Business Development Firm LIVEN Capital. Connect



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Updated 6 Years ago

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Tags:     Mike Adenuga Jr.     Innocent Chukwuma     Aliko Dangote     Raymond Dokpesi     Cosmas Maduka.