The most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria - Startuppreneur

The most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria

Many people will dream of becoming an entrepreneur but few will later be, out of those that become entrepreneur less will build lasting and impactful business.

Entrepreneur is a hard discipline to be and if you reside in Nigeria it is more harder, before you find business idea, plan and execute, not to talk of becoming successful entrepreneur in Nigeria, it takes a lot of time and here in Nigeria your business can be hit with bad company policy the story of Chaka and Bamboo is still fresh in the memory.


Out of this hurdle some people still stand and build their business from scratch, despite all odds. This people through their strong spirit write a story that will forever inspire other entrepreneur who are shivering because of economic woes that Nigeria is in.

Success in itself is subjective, what you term success will definitely deferent from mine. our definition of success in startuppreneur is not riches but impact, this is why we make our list of successful entrepreneur in Nigeria according to the impact they have in Nigeria; what help has their business done to Nigeria, how many job have they created, where do they site their business and lastly how many other entrepreneur have they help.


Though we did not write this out but it is the criteria we follow to write this list

The most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria

Behold here is our list of entrepreneurs in Nigeria


Of course who will take the first position if not the most industrious and richest person in Africa.

Dangote business did not start today, it started from passion and love for business, as he recall in one of his interview he would buy some candy with his money and sell it to his classmate.


Like other entrepreneur Dangote did not launch immediately he was out of university instead he employed Igbo system of apprentice by learning and working for his grandfather.

It was after his training that he was loan a sum of #500,000 of course the value is more than that in today valuation.

To his grandfather surprise Dangote pay back the money in three month form his selling and buying business since then he has been moving.

Date of birth: 10th April, 1957

Education: He obtained degree in business administration from al azhar university
Business he engage in: cement, sugar, flour, refinery

Net worth: Over 10 billion dollar

Mike Adenuga

Mike Adenuga is the second most successful entrepreneur in Nigeria, unlike Dangote, Mike did not have a rich uncle to mentor him he let trial and error do that.

He start his business with soft drink, what! yes I know you are surprise, I was too, been the second richest person in Nigeria no one can think he started humble.

He makes most of his fortune form oil business (Conoil) and communication business (Glo). Currently he is the third richest person in Africa.

Date of birth: 29 April, 1953

Business he engage in: Telecom, Oil and Banking

Education: obtained business admistration degree from pace university

Net worth: $7.7 billion

Abdulsamad Rabiu

Abdulsamad share the same birth place with Dangote and funniest part is that he also engages in the same cement and sugar business as Dangote and this make them a rival.

Abdulsamad did not let Dangote shadow cast a fear on him as he has build a billion dollar business from sugar, cement and other venture.

He is from a rich families and one of the thing that help his business was land the he inherited from his parents.

Date of birth: 4th August, 1960

Business interest: Cement, Sugar and Real estate

Net worth: Above$ 3 billion

Folorunsho Alakija

Folorunsho Alakija is the exception, she has shown that female too can become a successful entrepreneur, she is an inspiration to women that see entrepreneur as thing for man.

She did not get to the top like other entrepreneur, the process was slow, she started from grass to grace; she started as a secretary then a fashion designer business and when opportunity open in oil business she took it and started company business which bring her to limelight.

She has helped a lot of people and she has never been wanted when female education is concern.

She is the richest woman in Nigeria, third richest person in Nigeria, second richest woman in Africa and 2oth richest person in Africa

Quick fact about Forunsho Alakija

Birth place: Lagos

Date of birth: 12th July, 1951

Business interest oil transportation

Femi Otedola

Femi Otedola is another successful entrepreneur in Nigeria. His success can be link to his status as the former Governor of Lagos state son.

Though he would have relent since he has many things (money, material) to himself, he did not let it freak him as he work to build his own empire.

Femi Otedoa was once the second richest person In Nigeria but due to some problem he lost everything and started again and to God be the glory he is still standing tall today.

He relates well with people on social media and has ditch out many entrepreneurial lesson that can help aspiring entrepreneur.

Quick fact about Femi Otedola

Birth place: Ibadan

Place of residence: Lagos

Date of birth: 4th November, 1962

Business he engaged in: oil business/ haulage (Forte oil)

Education: He went to Obafemi Awolowo university to obtain is degree

Tonu Elumelu

Tony Elumelu is more of an investor than Entrepreneur but his love for helping other entrepreneur through his Tony Elumelu foundation made us list him as one of the successful entrepreneur in Nigeria.

He owns a large share in Transcorp and UBA, Which he was once an MD. He also has a stake in MTN, a telecommunication company in Nigeria.

He currently worth $700 million and this placed him as the 31st richest person in Africa.

Quick fact about Tony Elumelu

Birth place: Jos plateau

Place of residence: Lagos

Date of birth: 22 march, 1963

Business interest: Investment, Banking and Agriculture

Education: he holds master degree in science from the University of Lagos

Jim Ovia

I’ve you heard of Zenith bank I’m sure you would have, Jim Ovia is the brain behind it. He started the bank in 1980 and he worked on it all his life from being MD to board chairman.

He also founded Visaphone but it did not take of well before he was acquire by MTN. According to Forbes currently he iworth $550 million.

Quick fact about Jim Ovia

Birth place: Agbor Delta State

Date of birth: 4th November, 1951

Business he engaged in: Telecommunication and Real estate

Education: he hold a degree from university of Louisiana Monroe

Theophilus Danjuma

Theophilus Danjuma wear many hat the like that has not been seen before; he is a military general, politician and a business man.

He took the most three demanding pillar of society and he did not slack in any of the discipline. He is well known for founding South Atlantic Petroleum an oil export company that have presence in Cameroun, Central African Republic and Nigeria.

He also found a shipping company and fertilizer manufacturing company, what a great feat.

Quick fact about Theophilus Danjuma

Date of birth: 9th December, 1938

Business interest: Oil, Manufacturing and shipping

Mitchel Elegbe

Mitchel Elegbe is a tech entrepreneur. He founded Interswitch in 2002 when many people in nigeria does not even know what tech his all about.

It was hard then for him but he keep on pushing and now interswitch is one of the top tech company we have in Nigeria.

Mitchel Elegbe did not wake in a day and start interswitch no! he started by working in a tech companies and that is where he learn the intricacy of tech startup.

He is currently worth $100 million

Quick fact about Mitchel Elegbe

Business interst: Fintech

Eduction: He hold a degree from university of Benin

Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma

This is my man
While many people think education is the only gate way to become successful Innocent say no.

He build the first auto mobile manufacturing company in Nigeria, note not coupling company but full fleged auto mobile manufacturing Company.

70% of the materials he use are sauce locally while the remaining one are source form japan and china.

Like other entrepreneur he did not start big, in fact he started as automobile spare part seller for and he was in it for many years before he move to manufacturing. One of the thing about Innocent is that he knows his industry in and out.

Quick fact about Innocent

Date of birth: October, 1961
Business interest: Automobile

Oba Otudeko

Oba Otudeko is another successful entrepreneur in Nigeria. He is the founder of Honeywell group, a conglomerate that have interest across many business such as oil and gas, flour milling, shipping and real estate.

He is also the chairman of FBN group and according to Forbes 2014 he is worth $550 million.

Oba otudeko give back to society through his foundation called Oba Otudeko foundation.

Quick fact about Oba Otudeko

Date of birth: 18th august, 1943

Net worth: $550 million

Business interest: oil, four milling and shipping

Orji uzor kalu

Many people know Orji Uzor Kalu to be politician but what if it tell you he is also an entrepreneur who has builds billion dollar business.

He is currently the chairman of Slok holding a conglomerate that deal in the following business shipping, banking, oil trading, manufacturing and media.

He also own a a share in Daily sun and New telegraph.

Quick fact about Orji uzor kalu

Date of birth: April 21, 1960

Uzoma dozie

Uzoma dozie was GMD of diamond bank and he was known for spear heading the merging of diamond bank and Access bank in 2018.

After stepping down as GMD he founded a tech company called sparkle. Accoding to rumor he is worth more than $500 million dollar

Jimoh ibrahim

Jimoh Ibrahim is strong will man who have a strong determination to be successful in life. He earn is degree and master degree form Obafemi Awolowo university and Asterwaed respectively.

He is the chairman of Global Fleet Group; a conglomerate that deal with many business such as investing, real estate, baking and insurance.

They have their presence in Nigeria, Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe
According to Forbes he currently worth $1.1 billion

Quick fact about Jimoh ibrahim

Date of birth: February 24 1967 in Okitipupa Ondo state.

Business interest: Hotel, real-estate, oil and gas, insurance

Education he obtained a degree from the University of Lagos

Net worth: $1.1 billion

Q and A

Who is the richest entrepreneur in Nigeria?

The riches entrepreneur in Nigeria is Dangote the founder of Dangote cement his net worth according to Forbes 2020 is $10.1 billion.

How entrepreneur in Nigeria became successful

Most successful entrepreneur in nigeria


As I sated in the introduction entrepreneur is hard especially if you are living in Nigeria but this entrepreneur listed above has proof that someone can still make as an entrepreneur in this country the only question is how.



They are not quitter

Not that they did not encounter problem in their entrepreneur journey of course they have battle many challenges that will make undetermined entrepreneur shiver and quit.

They understand that quitter never win so they keep going. For instance Femi Otedola once lost everything instead of wallowing in sorrow and drink to stupor he stand up and try again.

Keep trying never give up.

They understand their business
Most of them did not just jump into any business they calculated their move and some like Dangote take time to learn the industry he want to invest in.

If you want to become a successful entrepreneur read about the industry you want o start from and have a mentor in that industry, if you can do this your success will come quick.

One hit wonder

Do you want to become successful, if yes you have to keep hitting the bull’s eye, you can’t hit the top today and get satisfied you need to keep learning and aiming only then will you remain at the top, look at Dangote he keep building company, he didn’t let the money he has acquire get into him.

They work hard

Haa, business is hard forget about what you see in movie, most time you will sleep late in the night because you need to get some calculation right, many people are depending on you.

They have a social goal

If you want to become entrepreneur or already an entrepreneur because of only financial gains you will get frustrated and will eventually quit, you have to like what you ae doing and let the change you want to effect drive you, is it that you want to create job, improve Nigeria economy.

Find a social goal that you can always bank on when thing go south.


Above is the list of most successful entrepreneur in Nigeria, while it is fun reading about them I want you to let their life inspire you to become the best version of yourself.

It is time to move away from wantrepreneur club, start that business today and become startuppreneur.

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