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Successful Entrepreneurs in Nigeria – Their First Jobs (Part 3)

Successful people are known for consistency in action. Even when they make mistakes, they do not quit. They are people with a very sharp focus. They dream and work towards achieving their dreams. No entrepreneur got to the top without a beginning, even though it may not always be a rags-to-riches success story. The stories of Aliko Dangote and Wale Adenuga are not any different.

Aliko Dangote – Selling Sweets to Survive as a Young Person

Aliko Dangote is one man who is not just a mentor to many but whose name is in the lyrics and lips of most Nigerian musicians. In the last ten years, he has remained at the top of the list of the wealthiest people in Africa.

But what was his early career?

At an early age, Aliko Dangote lost his father. His grandfather, Sanusi Dantata, a business guru known as one of the richest men in Kano State took him in. He developed an interest in business and sold sweets to raise money from his primary school years till he finished secondary school. With that, one can say that Dangote dived into the business world pretty much early in life.

Aliko Dangote
Aliko Dangote Talking malnutrition with Bill Gate

Aliko Dangote obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business Studies and Administration from Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt. After graduating he took a loan of 500,000 naira (2.300 Euros) and three trucks from his uncle to start a business. With the loan, he went into the importation of food commodities such as sugar and rice, as well as cement. The importation business became profitable, and in 3 months, he paid off the loan.

Read Also: Successful Entrepreneurs In Nigeria- Their First Jobs (1)

After years of being a middleman, Aliko Dangote took the bull by the horns and decided to produce those commodities he sells. That was how he became a producer of pasta, sugar, salt, flour, etc.

Today, the 63-year old business tycoon and president of Dangote Group is not ready to quit the money-making business. He has been the richest man in Africa; ten years in a row. He is also the largest cement producer in sub-Saharan Africa and the third-largest producer of sugar in the world. With a net worth of $12.1 billion, Dangote is the richest black man in the world.

The Dangote Petrochemical Refinery project in Lagos is now 80 percent complete. It is expected to commence production by the middle of this year. Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals Complex Fertiliser Plant, and Subsea Gas Pipeline projects at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, are meant to revolutionize Nigeria’s impact in the energy and agriculture sectors, as well as allied areas.

Wale Adenuga – Cartoonist and Comics Publisher

Wale Adenuga is one man synonymous with the adage ‘we are nothing but pencils in the hand of the creator’. Many young people grew up in the last three decades watching his television series. He is known by many as the king of suspense in TV entertainment in Nigeria. Commentators noted that viewers only needed to watch any of his series once or twice to get hooked. “This Life” and “Super Story”, two of the most popular series produced by Adenuga ran for years till the emergence of subscription-based television services in Nigeria. Presently, Wale Adenuga has channels running on Dstv and Startimes, the two leading Pay-TV firms in Nigeria.

What was Wale Adenuga’s first job?

Adenuga’s career started from secondary school in King’s College, where he was a member of a pop band. Leaving King’s College in 1971, he attended the University of Lagos, where he studied Business Administration. While in UNILAG, his talent in drawing stood him out. He was the cartoonist and later the chief cartoonist of the campus magazine.

Wale Adenuga
Wale Adenuga

After graduation, Wale Adenuga put his talent to maximum use by publishing comics like “Ikebe Super” and “Binta”. He later established his entertainment outfit, Wale Adenuga Production Limited, WAP, in 1983. With the move to electronic media, he made film versions of most of his published works. “Ikebe Super” became the popular television series, “Papa Ajasco”. “Papa Ajasco” later made history as one of the most successful English comedies in an industry dominated then by Yoruba productions.

Read Also: Successful Entrepreneurs in Nigeria – Their First Jobs (Part 2)

Wale Adenuga has since produced other television series such as “Binta”, renamed “Binta My Daughter”, “Nnenna and Friends”, and many popular family TV drama series. He also established the Pencil Film and Television Institute, PEFTI Film Institute. Adenuga and his wife founded one of the most popular schools in Lagos, Binta International School.

After years in the television series, Adenuga released his first movie entitled “Knockout” with characters from “Papa Ajasco” and the Nigerian film industry.

Wale Adenuga, though has an artistic background, is one of the most successful men in Nigeria with a net worth of about $14 million.

Recognizing one’s passion is one of the keys to success. What keeps one going when everything else fails is passion. Dangote had a passion for trading, while Adenuga was a passionate artist. Each of them turned their passion into a profitable business.

There is no easy way to achieve success, even some that look like an overnight success took a long time to come alive. So dream, visualise, and work towards your dream.

Faith Omo-Ohioze

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