Successful entrepreneurs are those who can pick existing elements and mould them into bigger and better things that would be celebrated by society. They can also develop products and services or even scale up existing ones to solve unique problems that will change the business face of the organization, thereby creating revolutionary business growth. Pascal Dozie and Kase Lawal have demonstrated these qualities and have remained outstanding among their peers over the years.
Pascal Dozie – An Economist
Pascal Gabriel Dozie was born on 9 April 1939 into the family of Charles Dozie, a Catholic Catechist. Pascal is a native of Owerri, Imo State. He attended Our Lady’s School Emekuku where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC). Thereafter, he proceeded to Holy Ghost Juniorate Seminary and Holy Ghost College, Owerri. There, he obtained his West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Following that, he obtained a B.Sc degree in Economics from the London School of Economics. Dozie also studied Operational Research and Industrial Engineering from City University in London and graduated with a Masters degree in Administrative Science.
Pascal started his career as an Economist at the National Economic Development Office in the United Kingdom. Afterwards, he worked as a part-time lecturer at the Northwestern Polytechnic, London. In 1970, Pascal served as a consulting economist at African States Consulting Organisation in Uganda. Thereafter, in 1971, Dozie quit his Uganda job and returned to Nigeria after the Biafran war.
Subsequently, Clement Isong, the then Central Bank of Nigeria Governor hired Pascal to conduct studies on Co-operatives and Commerce institutions in the country.
This business magnate is a former director at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); former chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group; former president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange; former chairman of Nigeria Business Support Group; Co-chair of the Commonwealth Business Council; former chairman of Progress Bank; and Chairman of Kunoch Ltd.
On his return to Nigeria in 1971, Pascal gathered his international experience to start his first company known as Africa Development Consulting Group (ADCG). The company worked with high-profile brands including Pfizer and Nestle.
In 1985, Dozie applied for a banking license for the purpose of helping traders in Southeastern Nigeria who had banking challenges. This initiative birthed Diamond Bank, a multinational financial service provider.
When the bank started, the share capital was N10million ($28,000) and only 21 shareholders were interested in it. However, in 1990, he met the CBN standard bank requirement of N20million and swan into operation in 1991 from his office in Victoria Island. As at June 2013, the bank operated 267 branches in Nigeria.
Pascal Dozie served as the chairman of Diamond Bank till 31 December 2006. Thereafter, he handed over to Emeka Onwuka who also served till 2011 before handing over to Alex Otti. Pascal’s Son, Uzoma Dozie became the Chairman of Diamond Bank in 2014 until its merger with Access Bank.
In December 2018, Diamond Bank Plc was acquired by Access Bank but the merging process was fully completed on 1 April 2019. The new banking institute retained the Access Bank name with a diamond-shaped logo. The new arrangement allowed every Diamond Bank Shareholder to get two Access Bank shares on every seven Diamond Bank shares owned.
Kase Lukman Lawal – A Research Chemist
Kase Lawal is a Nigerian-born businessman best known for his large oil company CAMAC, headquartered in Houston, Texas. He also leads a diverse group of affiliate companies that comprise the second-largest African-American-owned company in the United States, with more than 1,000 employees worldwide.
Kase Lawal was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1954. During his teenage years, he became interested in the United States and especially the American civil rights movement. Lawal persuaded his father, who was an Ibadan politician, to send him to a university in the United States. Lawal first headed to Georgia and studied Chemical Engineering at Georgia Tech. He then later moved to Houston where he attended Texas Southern University. In 1976, he graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. Lawal later received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Texas Southern University, and an honorary doctorate in philosophy from Fort Valley State University in Georgia. He earned a Master’s of Business Administration in Finance and Marketing from Prairie View A&M University of Texas.
Lawal went on to work as a research chemist for a company that is now called Haliburton. He later worked as a chemical engineer for Shell Oil Refining Company. During this period he met his wife Eileen and they had three children.
Lawal established CAMAC in 1986 and it operated as a company trading agricultural commodities such as rice, sugar, and tobacco. After the Nigerian government started to develop its energy market in the early 1990s, Lawal made a jump with CAMAC into the energy sector. In 1991, CAMAC made a deal with oil giant Conoco and agreed to jointly operate and share production from any Nigerian discoveries.
A combination of his political contacts, local market knowledge, and the backing of a major oil firm made Lawal’s company a major competitor in the oil industry. CAMAC has since expanded and now has offices in London (UK), Johannesburg (South Africa), Lagos, and Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and is equally linked to the exploration, refining, and trading of oil. Lawal served as the CEO until 11 April 2011. He currently occupies the position of chairman of the board with the company.
Lawal is the founder of Erin Energy Corporation and has been its CEO since 12 April 2011. He serves as the chairman of Allied Energy and is on the Houston Mayoral Advisory Board. He is a member of the board of directors of Unity National Bank, the only federally insured and licensed African-American owned bank in Texas, and Cape Investment Holdings. Lawal was appointed in February 1999 as a member of the United States Trade Advisory Committee on Africa which was an advisory group to the U.S. president and U.S. trade representative on trade policy on Africa.
His net worth is $3 billion. Lawal received the 1997 award for US-Africa Business Person of the Year. In 2002, CAMAC was named the largest African-American owned company on the Black Enterprise 100 list.