Many people believe that entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted because it is not the easiest route to success. However, those that dare to go against the odds of life are the once proffering solutions to the problems of humanity through their entrepreneurship skills today.
With financial risk comes the chance to earn huge financial rewards in terms of profit. Apart from financial gains, entrepreneurs are also motivated by factors like innovation, disruption, making an impact in people’s lives, among others.
This is the reflection of the lives of Ibukun Awosika and Nnamdi Ezeigbo. Both are successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria who have done amazingly well on the country’s business landscape.
Ibukun Awosika – Showroom Manager
The story of successful Nigerian women in business will not be complete without mentioning Ibukun Awosika.
She is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, author, mother, and pastor. She is a cancer survivor and has set the standard for young women in Africa.
She was born on the 24th of December, 1962 into the family of Mr. Abdulmashood Adekola and Hannah Aduke Adekola. She is the third child among seven siblings, and hails from Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
She attended St. Paul African Church Primary School and Methodist Girl’s High School, Yaba, Lagos State. Ibukun Awosika has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Obafemi Awolowo University, and holds a post-graduate certificate and MBA from Lagos Business School and I.E.S.E Business School respectively.
After school, Ibukun Awosika served at Akintola Williams & Co (now Deloitte) during her National Youth service year. She then discovered that she was not cut out to be an Auditor; dusting and carrying files around. Her creative and hyperactive personality will not allow her to subject herself to a life of routine. For that, she left Akintola Williams & Co despite being offered a permanent employment opportunity.
She found a job as a showroom manager at Alibert Nigeria Limited. While at the job, she discovered she had flay for interior designs and architecture as she was always imagining different things she could do to a space with furniture. This made her venture out on her own after spending a little over three months at Alibert Nigeria Limited.
Ibuku Awosika founded Quebees Limited – a furniture manufacturing company established in 1989. The company has since evolved into the Chair Centre Limited and SOKOA Chair Centre Limited. SOKOA Chair Centre Limited is a merger between SOKOA S.A of France, the Chair Limited, and other stakeholders in the furniture industry. SOKOA Chair Centre Limited was created in 2014 following the federal government’s ban on the importation of furniture items in 2014. She needed the merger which was successful to produce locally.
She is presently CEO/founder of The Chair Centre Group which has different subsidiaries. The companies are The Chair Centre Limited, SOKOA Chair Centre, Furniture Manufacturers Mart Limited, and TCC System & Service Limited. The Chair Centre Group is involved in furniture manufacturing, retail, and bank way system services.
In her Philanthropic Gestures, in 2011, she co-founded the Afterschool Graduate Development Centre which is a facility established to address the high rate of youth unemployment in Nigeria. Ibukun Awosika is also the co-founder and former Chairman, Board of Trustees of Women in Management, Business and Public Services (WIMBIZ), a platform that empowers women in business.
On September 7th of 2015, the multi-talented entrepreneur was appointed the Chairman, Board of Trustees of First Bank of Nigeria. She is also the Chairperson of Intermac, the organizers of the smart card conference in Nigeria.
Ibukun Awosika sits on a number of boards including Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Digital Jewel Limited, and International Advisory Board of I.E.S.E Business School, Barcelona, Spain.
Ibukun Awosika was the Chairman, FBN Life Assurance Limited, FBN Capital Limited, and Kakawa Discount House Limited. She has served on the board of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, as well as the National Job Creation Committee (NJCC).
Ibukun Awosika is also a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative, Aspen Global Leadership Network, Institute of Directors, and Society for Corporate Governance, Nigeria.
Nnamdi Ezeigbo – Computer Apprentice
The story of Nnamdi Ezeigbo is a replica of a person who grew from grass to grace. He was born on August 4th, 1966, in Delta State, Nigeria, to parents from Nsukwe, Ubakala in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State.
Nnamdi had his basic education at Pamol Primary School, Sapele, Delta State. He attended Ogini Grammar School in Abraka, Delta State, and earned his Senior School Certificate in 1984. He proceeded to Yaba College of Technology in 1988, where he studied Electrical Electronics Engineering, and got a Higher National Diploma (HND). He had his mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) year at Guinness Nigeria PLC, in 1996.
Between 1996 and 2001, he studied Computer and Electronics Engineering at the Lagos State University (LASU), where he graduated with a second class upper. He went on to attend Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Ogbomosho, Oyo State, where he equally obtained a Master’s degree in information and management technology. He further earned an MBA from the Lagos Business School.
After searching for employment in the labour market without success, he decided in humility to become an apprentice, learning how to fix computers. Six months into his apprenticeship, he decided to move on from his employer because his boss was more into making money for himself rather than building a company with solid customer base. He squatted with a friend at Ikeja in Lagos State where he was able to open a mini shop to repair computers.
Years later, fortune smiled on him when he came across an old customer from his days as an apprentice. The customer facilitated his movement to a much bigger shop where he started to sell computers and printers. He was building the business step-by-step till he eventually bought that location for N100 million to launch his electronics and phone business, SLOT, in 1998. Presently, he has stores in virtually all major cities in the country including Lagos, Abuja, Aba, Umuahia, Owerri, and Port Harcourt.
He is the founder and CEO of the popular SLOT Systems Limited. He is also the brain behind the existence of TECNO and Infinix in the country, the fastest-selling phone brands in Nigeria.
He has also established the Slot Foundation, which is a vocational skills acquisition centre that trains young people in entrepreneurs and many other skills. Since it was created, the foundation has created jobs for over 300 people.
With the current economic realities, Nigeria needs more people to venture into entrepreneurship to complement government effort in the areas of job creation and revenue generation.