Nigerian Entrepreneurs Success Story

June 23, 2021

None of these successful entrepreneurs ever knew they would be this successful even in their wildest dreams but they worked twice as hard as the best workers in the industry. We are showing their story to remind us that impossibility is not a word that should be in our dictionary.

These are our top 10 list of successful Nigerians from varied niches who had to quit something for what they truly wanted, In no particular order.

Khalil Halilu

Nigerian Entrepreneurs Success Story,

From selling ice blocks to neighbours to founding West Africa’s First Eco-friendly Technology hub, Khalil Suleiman Halilu is a living testament that anything can be achieved if you give your mind to it.

Born on the 29th of October, 1990, in Kano, Nigeria, Khalil is the eldest of five children. Born into a family recognized for its input in the trade sector of Nigeria, Khalil preferred to dance to the rhythm of his own drum than ride on his family’s name and its accomplishments.

Khalil attended the Rainbow Primary School in Kano in 1996 and soon after, began his Secondary School Education at St. Thomas Catholic School (2001-2003) which he completed at Prime College, in Kano (2006).

After graduating from high school, Khalil enrolled at the University of Hertfordshire and obtained his Bachelor of Science (B. Sc) degree in Business Administration, as well as his Master’s degree in International Business.

Today Khalil is linking his love for technology with his enthusiasm for finding viable solutions in his field of activity. His determination, dedication and hard work has not simply added quality to humankind but also transformed the narrative of automation on the African continent.

In the year 2018, OyaOya Strategic Services Ltd and ShapShap Logistics Ltd. came into being by Khalil OyaOya is a technological application designed to connect commodity traders in an ecosystem that is both fast and efficient.

ShapShap the on-demand platform popular in Africa for catering for personal and business logistical needs.

A technological application, ShapShap connects clients with drivers supported with flexible route options and insurance cover on goods being transported.

The app’s primary aim is to encourage SME growth and help bridge the gap between businesses and the unbanked people in Africa.

Khalil currently serves as the Chairperson of MACE Nigeria Ltd., which introduced the first digital content marketplace in Africa.

Chimamanda Adichie

Nigerian Entrepreneurs Success Story,

Left Medicine to become a Writer and an Author. Born in Enugu, Nigeria.  Chimamanda Adichie studied Medicine and Pharmacy in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka at the request of her dad.  She’d wanted to be a writer after reading novels of Chinua Achebe. 

She stopped studying medicine after one and a half year and left for the United States of America to study communications and political science at Drexel University in philadelphia.  She then moved to Eastern Connecticut State University to live closer to her sister. 

She is a widely celebrated writer together with her three bestselling novels; Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah (selected as one of the New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2013). She was ranked among the 50 most powerful women in Africa by forbes Africa.

Aliko Dangote

Nigerian Entrepreneurs Success Story,

Africa’s Richest man, Aliko Dangote, currently worth $12.3 billion (mid-August 2017), is a role model to African entrepreneurs around the continent. 

While his business venture now spread across Africa, Dangote’s remarkable fortune was constructed from very humble beginnings. 

He began his company in 1978 with 500,000 Naira made out of his grandfather.  That’s about $1,400 in the current terms. A common mistake we often make as entrepreneurs would be to forget and take for granted those sources of funds that are around us and within our reach. 

Friends, family members, work colleagues, acquaintances and individuals in our social world could be interesting sources of funds, particularly in the first phases of business.  And since company flourished, Aliko Dangote was able to repay the loan to his grandfather in roughly six months.

In the early years, Aliko Dangote concentrated on importing soft commodities, including rice, frozen fish, sugar and baby food to Nigeria.

Today, Aliko Dangote business empire interests have expanded into local manufacturing of cement, real estate, salt, flour and lately, petroleum refining in lagos, Nigeria. 

Nowadays, the banks, both institutional and private investors are eager to invest in Aliko Dangote’s companies because of the history of success he has achieved through the years.

But at the beginning, it might have been hard — if not impossible — for him to raise startup capital from one of these sources. 

Keep in mind, only people who know, like and hope you will be prepared to take a chance on you in the first days of your business.  While it’s nevertheless a great option, I will show you some of the positive and negative sides of raising capital from friends and family from the free course.

Dr Raymond Dokpesi

Nigerian Entrepreneurs Success Story,

Creator of DAAR Communications

Birthed in Ibadan.  Full name Dr. Raymond Anthony Aleogho Dokpesi was part of the pioneer students of the University of Benin-Edo State, where he had his undergraduate studies. 

He finished his studies in the University of Gdansk, Poland where he earned his Doctorate in Marine Engineering under the sponsorship of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur who sponsored his education from his secondary school days to his university degree. 

He practised what he analyzed at the Nigerian Port Authority until he decided to pursue his dream of starting a radio station during the Ibrahim Babangida regime when the air was conducive due to the deregulation of broadcasting in Nigeria. 

He launched the first Nigerian private FM radio station in 1994 and also he launched Africa Independent Television — (AIT), the first private television network in Nigeria operated by Daar Communications two years later. 

Mrs Adenike Ogunlesi

Nigerian Entrepreneurs Success Story,

Left studying law at ABU to become an Entrepreneur and Founder of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble. 

She left Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria as an undergraduate law student when she had been unsure about what to do with her life. 

She later reluctantly accepted her mum’s invitation to work in her women’s tailor shop that helped her find who she was and exactly what she wished to perform. 

From her mother store, she and her mum as the major employees turned Ruff ‘n’ Tumble to grow into one of the very best manufacturers of children’s clothes in Nigeria. 

Today, Ruff ‘N’ Tumble is a thriving business with over 50 employees and supply across the West African shore. She is one of the most successful female entrepreneur in Africa.

Omotola Jalade Ekeinde

Nigerian Entrepreneurs Success Story,

 Actress, Singer. Wanted to study Business Management, studied Estate Management and needed a short stint at modelling before becoming an actress and a singer. 

Omotola’s Unique career ambition was to operate in Business Management while awaiting her outcomes in university, she began modelling to earn a living. 

She had been Obafemi Awolowo University before departing to eventually finished her studies at YABATECH.  She studied Estate Management in Yaba College of Technology, Lagos between 1996 – 2004 (1996-2004), in which she analyzed Estate Management. 

She got her first acting gig when accompanying her version friend to an audition.  Her first acting role was in the 1995 movie, “Venom of Justice” led by Reginald Ebere.

She’d appeared in over 300 films.  She started her music career in 2005.  In 2012, started her reality show, “Omotola: The Real Me” on Africa Magic Entertainment. 

Linda Ikeji

Nigerian Entrepreneurs Success Story,

Wanted to study Mass communicating to become a journalist but researched English in UNILAG she’s a Media Entrepreneur and also a successful blogger. 

Linda Ikeji was admitted to learn English at the University of Lagos contrary to her class choice; Mass Communication.  Her fantasy was to become a journalist. 

She worked hard to break into journalism, launching her media business, Blackdove Communications, a modelling agency and events management outfit. 

She had a modelling career from 1998 to 2005 she started her magazine in 2006 that had just two editions and in the same year, Linda Ikeji began her blog,

Her website is the most popular amusement online platform in Nigeria; rated 2907th in the world. She had been listed on Forbes Africa among the highest-paid bloggers in Nigeria in August 2012. 

Jason Njoku

Nigerian Entrepreneurs Success Story,

Failed to practice Chemistry, quitted his recruiting consultant job to become a sequential and CEO of Irokotv which is his 11th attempt at starting a company. 

Graduating with a second class upper, diploma in Chemistry from the University of Manchester, at the uk in 2005. 

Jason launched a magazine for students called Brash that was financed by loans from a bank and friends, with youthful enthusiasm.  He admitted Brash was his most epic failure. 

He spent three years studying how to run a company with Brash.  He left his recruiting adviser job to co-founded ‘Roll on Friday’ — a blog network and news site for young professionals in banking, consultancy and law that lasted two years and was also a failed venture. 

He did other company to pay the invoices which include a T-shirt company, a web design enterprise.  He was able to see an opportunity in the Nigerian movie industry, nollywood along with also the concept of Iroko Partners was first born. 

Today, he’s the co-founder and CEO of Irokotv which was his 11th effort at starting a company. Irokotv is a web platform that offers Nigerian movies on-demand, and among Africa’s earliest mainstream online film steaming websites, providing quick and free access to over 5,000 Nollywood film names.

Okey Bakassi

Nigerian Entrepreneurs Success Story,

Studied Agricultural Engineering but followed his enthusiasm to become an actor and also a comedian. 

Following his secondary schooling, Okechukwu Anthony Onyegbule a.k.a. Okey Bakassi got admitted in the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt to study Agricultural Engineering graduating in 1992.

Okey Bakassi decided to build his own career around his passion for entertainment and turned into a professional movie actor in 1994 following his national youth service (NYSC).  

He got appointed as a Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Imo State on Entertainment Industry Matters from October 2008 till August 2011. 

Jide Ipaye

Nigerian Entrepreneurs Success Story,

For more than a decade Jide Ipaye functioned as a IT professional, but deep within his heart, he wished to perform something considerably different.  He wished to create trendy footwear.

From a young age he always loved shoes however the choices offered to him were very restricted due to his foot dimensions — he is a size 48 (European), thus finding shoes which are the ideal size and match had been a struggle.

So, instead of simply make bespoke shoes for himself, Jide hatched an idea to fabricate cool and high quality footwear in Nigeria. 

That is how Keexs, his Africa-inspired manufacturer was born. It was not easy at all for the African entrepreneur, there wasn’t any funding opportunities to finance his dream. In 2015, he raised £17,871 on Kickstarter, the planet’s biggest crowdfunding platform. 

Jide used these funds to generate the first batch of 1,200 shoes that effectively established the brand and made it a fact.

Crowdfunding is quickly turning into one of the greatest sources of funds for enthusiastic men and women that want to bring their business ideas, dreams and projects to life.

In 2015 alone, the worldwide crowdfunding industry raised $34.4 billion to encourage entrepreneurs throughout the world.  However, in Africa, crowdfunding remains mostly unknown to entrepreneurs around the continent.

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