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Eric Kinoti started from the bottom, quite literally.

The now high-flying entrepreneur narrated to Citizen Digital that he worked in Malindi as a hotel cashier by night, and by day he sold eggs to hotels in Mombasa before becoming a full time businessman

 The young entrepreneur sourced his eggs from Wangige and transported them to Mombasa, earning him a tidy sum of between Sh20,000 to Sh35,000 per week.

“I would go to hotels and tell them we have a very big farm and would like to supply them with eggs,” said Kinoti.

However, as luck would have it, Kinoti had to go back to Nairobi in 2008 after the post election violence that affected most parts of the country including the coastal region.

“I had no job and no prospects at the time so I decided to start a milk selling business. I quickly found out that it was unsustainable, as it required many licenses,” he narrated.

“I would wake up at 4am and go to Wangige, usually I would make Sh2,000 by midday.”

 His milk business fell apart after he bought milk that had been diluted with water from farmers, instead of buying from the dairy centre where he sourced his milk and, on finding out the milk was impure, the customer refused to pay him.

“At that point my business went down the drain,” he said.

The incident discouraged the budding businessman and he decided to look for a job.

“I got a job as a sales rep for a local bank but I did not find it fulfilling so I quit after one month,” he said.

In keeping with his usual practice, Kinoti supplied schools with various goods even as he worked as a sales representative by day.

After he left the bank job he decided to venture into school supplies fulltime.

“In the process of supplying wares to schools, I met someone who needed a tent. I did some research and got him the tent and thus Shade Systems was born,” he said.

Since then the young entrepreneur has never looked back. His company has provided him with numerous opportunities to learn and travel and has won him various awards and recognitions that he says motivate him to achieve more than he did before.

“I have learnt how to set up manufacturing plants in any sector. I have learnt more than I would have learnt if I had not ventured into this,” he said.

“The awards I receive have motivated me to work harder and given me an opportunity to travel to places I would never have travelled to. The first time I was invited to speak on entrepreneurship was at the New York University after I was listed in the top 30 under 30 list by Forbes, that was a big moment in my life.”

Kinoti has expanded from having one company to having four and moved from being a job seeker to being an employer.

“I have employed 80 to 100 people. Sometimes they are more than 100 because we expand when we have many contracts and downsize when we have fewer,” he said.

His vision for the company he birthed is to take it beyond the borders.

“I want to go regional. I want to have Shade Systems East Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and so on. I also want to venture into solar energy,” he said.

The young CEO does not want to be lonely at the top, he has set out to mentor young men and women in business to ensure more and more people aim at being job creators instead of job seekers.

“I’ve been trying to create platforms to help people learn and not repeat our mistakes. I also use social media to encourage youths and other people to achieve their dreams,” he noted.

It is this goal that led to him creating the Entrepreneurs Boot Camp where groups of successful and aspiring entrepreneurs go to an out-of-town venue to discuss all matters investment and business.

Throughout the interview, Kinoti referenced having a positive attitude as key to success, an attribute he believes he has imparted into the minds of those he seeks to mentor.

“I have seen people’s mindsets change by them getting a positive outlook and pursuing their businesses,” he said.

“Some of them formed investment clubs with the people they met in the trucks on their way to Maasai Mara last YEAR he said.

What advice does he have for budding entrepreneurs?

Don’t neglect education

“Education is important in business because you must communicate and for you to do so effectively you must have education,” he noted.

Focus on one thing

Kinoti is a firm believer in one being focused on one thing.

“Don’t be lured into every idea you think is lucrative, that is called the shiny penny syndrome where you think one venture will make you richer that the other. Instead work at what you have and learn from your challenges.”

Put God first

“God is everything so put your belief in God the Father, not godfathers.”

Don’t copy ideas

“What works in the US may not work in Kenya so create solutions for Kenya.

Some people just want to be told unafanya kitu kali (you’re doing something amazing),” he said.

Be yourself

“You’re the asset, you’re everything so know your purpose, your weakness, use it as an asset.”

Kinoti has a 3-year-old daughter called Alma Kinoti, he is not married and tells me he is currently searching. His plan is to be married in two years time.

 
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Debbie Ogunjobi is the founder of Every Woman, a women only fashion label. Her success in her line of business has proven to be a great inspiration for women of all ages and different lines of business. But she tells us it was not always all rosy. She has gone through her own times of failures and you can learn from it.

In a recent interview with The Nation Online, Debbie Ogunjobi talks about that time in her business when all was not going as desired.

These are three lessons that immediately hit home:

FAILURE HAPPENS

Every Woman had a period when it seemed they would close shop but she fought hard and they ended up coming out strong. She narrates the story:

The first two years were very successful and unrealistically successful. Then, the third and fourth year made me come back to earth. I think the fourth year was the year I declared a loss and it was very humbling.

LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE

Instead of giving up, Debbie Ogunjobi sought to find out the reason behind the slump and she did!

“It was a hard lesson to learn because I decided that I was my own customer. I am athletic and slim and I let my taste decide the choice I bought. Unfortunately, not everybody was as lean as I was. In four years’ time, I will be fifty. I am not the typical Nigerian woman with the typical Nigerian body. The typical Nigerian body is size 18, which is the average size. The time I was talking about, I was size eight or ten and it was totally unrealistic to buy clothes of these sizes as the main line” she said.

FIND A SOLUTION AND GET BETTER

According to Debbie,  she  had to

“realigned my thinking with the typical Nigerian body So, I learnt the transition women go through with their bodies, and now I am an authority on this.”

Going through the steps helped her pull through that phase of her business – it can help you too

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Folorunsho Alakija is the richest self-made woman in Africa and one of just two female billionaires on the continent.

In an address to students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) during a United Nations’ International Youths Day, the CEO of Famfa Oil challenged the students to dream big and work hard.

Below is her speech:

“I come from Ikorodu, Lagos state. I am married to a dashing young lawyer of 70 years of age and we have four grown up gentlemen and grandchildren. It has not been a rag to riches fairytale. It has not been an overnight phenomenon like some cases which you find here and there all over the world.

For as long as I can remember, I had always wanted my own business. Hard work…am trying to tell you how I got to where I am if you want those billions. Hard work, diligence, persistence… days where you nearly gave up, but I chose not to give up.

It would have been easy to compromise but I chose not to and I stayed focus. I could have stayed a secretary as my father desired according to his plan for me but I had bigger aspirations. I dreamt big. God strengthened me and gave me wisdom. I had a passion and burning desire to succeed. Being a secretary, a banker, a fashion icon, a cooperate promoter and printer, a real estate owner, an oil magnate, that I can assure you was no easy feat. Firm belief that what is worth doing is what doing well or not doing at all. I took charge of my life with the tools I have shared with you.

I chose to become born again at the age of 40. I chose to make a covenant with God that if he would bless me I would work for him all the days of my life. I chose to hold on to the cross and look up to him every step of the way. Today additional accomplishment includes a wife of almost 40 years, a mother, grandmother, ministry, counseling, outreach, NGO Rose of Sharon Foundation for widows and Author, writer, author of several inspirational books. All I say to the glory of God.

So I am 63 and I am not yet done. So what is your excuse? I never went to a University and I am proud to say so because I don’t think I have done too badly. You do not have to have a University education to be able to make it so count yourselves privileged to have that education as part of the feather in your cap
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Chude Jideonwo was born on March 16, 1985 to Mr. Ifeanyi I. Jideonwo and Mrs. Ngozi A. Jideonwo. He is a
Nigerian lawyer, award-winning journalist and a media entrepreneur.

Chude Jideonwo attended K. Kotun Memorial Primary School, Adebola Baptist High School and the famed Mayflower School, Ikenne. After his secondary education, Chude attended the University of Lagos and graduated as the Best Law Student. In the year 2007, Chude was called to the Nigerian Bar in November 2007. After his call to bar, Chude attended Pan-African University, Lagos where he obtained his Masters Degree in Media and Communication.

Chude began his career as a TV presenter on the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA even before he became a lawyer, i.e between the years 2000–2005. He later worked as a researcher with a T.V show syndicate, Celebrating Jesus (MBI) and Inside Out with Agatha across Nigeria. He was also with the program, New Dawn, which showed on the Nigerian Television Authority Network for three years. Chude rose to become an Associate Producer as well as head of the Special Projects division.

Chude has written and/or  edited over fifteen books both within and outside Nigeria. He worked with the defunct NEXT Newspapers and ran a column, Sons and Daughters, for three years in the Sunday edition of The Guardian, profiling children of the rich and famous.

Currently, Chude is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Red Media
Africa/The Future Project, a media-content, communication and development company that has worked for several national and international brands. The firm is also the owner of The Future Nigeria Awards, reputed as Nigeria's biggest youth event. Chude became the editor of Y!/YNaija! in July 2010. He is also the founder of EnoughisEnough Nigeria, one of the country's foremost civic participation groups that has received funding from the Omidyar Network and the MacArthur Foundation.

Chude is the Chairman of the Public Relations & Communications Committee, a position with which he has secured buy-in from national and international media including CNN, BBC, Radio France, Reuters,The Associated Press,etc. The Committee was also a driver for Nigeria's first ever youth-centered presidential debate in March 2011.

Chude is a public speaker who has spoken at events, schools, churches, seminars and conferences including the 2010 ICT and Civic Engagement Symposium organised by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society in conjunction with Harvard University and the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.  He has also motivated the youth across Nigeria and beyond. He has also worked as Project Defense Panelist/Judge for several organizations including the United Nations Information  Technology Service (UNITeS), YGC Africa etc.

Chude is a recipient of the Nigeria Media Merit Award, winning for Entertainment Journalist of the Year. Other awards and nominations won by Chude includes the Olive Award for Media and Production, the Green Yaggy Achievement Award, the Sowambe Awards as Best Social Media Activist, Just U Award, Dynamix Awards, the Life Changers Award for Best Advocacy Campaign of the Year, and the Inside Out Role Model Award, 2007, Young African Leaders by the African Business Forum.

In May 2012, Chude was appointed the youngest member of the awards committee for the Ford Foundation Jubilee Transparency Award, alongside distinguished Nigerians like Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte and Rev. Fr. Matthew Kukah and in July was appointed into the British Council's Steering Group for its Creative Industries Expo.

In the year 2012, The Punch listed Chude alongside thirteen others, as one of the young people to watch in 2012. Also, in the same year, BusinessDay included him and his business partner, Adebola Williams, in a 40 under 40 list. In February 2013, both Chude Jideonwo and Williams were named in Forbes 30 Under 30: Africa's Best Young Entrepreneurs. Both of them have also partnered on various projects  Nigeria, including running the media campaign for the APC Presidential Candidate at the 2015 general election in Nigeria.
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Forbes magazine has published its ranking of African billionaires for the year 2015.

Nigerian cement magnate, Alhaji Aliko Dangote tops the list for the second year running with a net worth of $16.7 Billion.

The Chairman of Globacom, Mike Adenuga also made the list with a net worth of $3.5 billion.
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African Start-Up’ on CNN International meets Abiola Olaniran, a Nigerian entrepreneur who created his first game at University and then launched Gamsole, after spotting the growing demand for games worldwide.

Olaniran came up with the idea in 2012, and his first game, Road Blazer
Meet Nigerian Entrepreneur: Abiola Olaniran

was downloaded 40 thousand times. Since, he has had his games for phones and tablets downloaded more than 10 million times across 191 countries. Olaniran tells ‘African Start-Up’, “We realised there are not so many African games out there, and what we want to do is create African stories for the global audience.”

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Nigeria’s gaming market will reach $170 million by 2017. Olanarian and Gamsole are central to that growth as African sales make up a healthy five per cent of his company’s growth.


It is Latin American though, where most of the downloads come from. Olaniran tells ‘African Start-Up’, “We tend to have a lot of downloads in regions like Latin America, for instance, we get like 24 per cent of our downloads from Brazil. In some other regions like India, in Asia and a couple of other countries like Indonesia, we get a lot of downloads from there.”

Olanarian talks to ‘African Start-Up’ about of the early days of his company, recalling he received $35,000 in seed funding, which allowed him to expand. To date, Gamsole has released 35 games and generates over $30,000 a month, selling the games for free but placing advertisements in them.

He concludes African Start-up by saying: “We want to create games that everybody all around the world will appreciate,” notes Olanarian. “If you are going to put the game in either Google Play or the IOS app store, or Windows store, those stores are global, so why limit yourself to the local audience.
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South African Nunu Ntshingila rose through the ranks and worked her way to become one of the world’s most powerful women in advertising.

last two weeks it was revealed that she has been hired to head Facebook’s new Johannesburg office in Melrose Arch — the social media giant's first in Africa.

It’s one of the biggest jobs in technology, and will make Ntshingila a pioneer of sorts. Facebook is looking to Africa, and its huge mobile markets, for its next billion subscribers.

But more importantly, Facebook is looking to Africa for advertisers, which generates most of the social networks revenue.

Sources say Facebook has been winning friends and influencing people by offering free Internet in 13 of the world’s developing countries, including six in Africa.

But right now, the spotlight is on Nunu Ntshingila, the new head — and face — of Facebook Africa.

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Many entrepreneurs are stymied by the question: how am I actually different from the competition? We know it’s essential to identify a “unique selling proposition,” but in a competitive marketplace where it seems everything’s been done, it can sometimes be hard to articulate your specific value.

That’s why one of the people I profile in my new book Stand Out is television chef Rachael Ray -- precisely because, on the surface, she didn’t stand out at all. But as her example shows, one important strategy entrepreneurs can follow is reframing your expertise so that what’s banal in one setting becomes revelatory in another.

In her world -- the world of cooking -- it’s pretty clear what “expert” means: you run a high-end restaurant, or you’ve been trained at elite cooking schools. Rachael Ray did neither. As Boris Groysberg and Kerry Herman revealed in a fascinating Harvard Business Review case study, she started out as the food buyer for a gourmet market in Albany, N.Y. and began doing “30-minute meal” cooking demonstrations at the store. The store didn’t choose her for the role because of her prodigious talents; it was because no chef in the area would accept the store’s low rates.

She eventually got her big break when someone gave a copy of her cookbook (published by a one-woman press) to a Today Show producer. When a snowstorm prompted a wave of guest cancellations, the producer called up Ray – who, after driving nine hours in the snow, made her first appearance and was an immediate hit, leading to a lucrative contract with the Food Network.

Ray was derided because she lacked the credentials of illustrious peers like Emeril Lagasse or Mario Batali. She acknowledged the criticism, the HBR case study notes, and even warned the Food Network that “I’m not a chef, you’ve been duped.” But that was exactly why they wanted her.

The Food Network was chock full of elite chefs who made beautiful meals but the trouble was, their professionalism and perfection risked making them unrelatable to everyday people. But viewers intuitively felt that if Rachael Ray -- a spunky everywoman with no formal credentials -- could make a dish work, they could, too. If she were just another neighbor on your block, her ability to make tasty 30-minute meals would be nice, but not earth shattering. But in the context of the Food Network -- which had built a brand around celebrity chefs -- she was a revelation.

Today, Ray has created an entrepreneurial empire, replete with television shows, endorsement deals and product extensions -- and her example holds lessons for all entrepreneurs. Too often, we compare ourselves to the most “qualified” people in our field and are concerned about not having the most prestigious diplomas or formal qualifications. But as Ray shows, those often aren’t necessary, and you don’t need to compete head-to-head on credentials. If you can offer something distinctive in a given context, you can succeed.

Think about who needs your skills or approach but doesn’t typically have access to them. There are 400 million Spanish speakers worldwide, but there may be very few who serve people in your industry or your community and that could be your competitive advantage. And there may be plenty of people with good communication skills but surprisingly few who blend that with an understanding of engineering or technology. The talents that seem banal in one context can lead to breakthroughs in another.

Ask yourself what perceived weakness could become your strength, and if there’s an area where you don’t have credentials or expertise, which could become a selling point. You may not think you have anything unique to offer but as Rachael Ray discovered, changing the context changes everything.

Source: Dorie Clark for Entrepreneur.
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Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian billionaire businessman, has disclosed why he wants to buy English Premier League team, Arsenal but he’s not looking at buying clubs in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, speaking to a group of senior editors, Dangote said: “the issue is that if I buy all the Nigerian clubs, the Nigerian flags will continue to remain here. But buying Arsenal will take the Nigerian flag worldwide. Just like whenever Abrahamovich is mentioned, the name of his country, Russia comes up, everyone knows he’s Russian.

I still hope, one day at the right price, that I’ll buy the team,” Dangote said in an interview on a flight between Addis Ababa and Lagos in May this year,” he added.
“I might buy it, not at a ridiculous price but a price that the owners won’t want to resist. I know my strategy.”
If Dangote is successful with a future bid, it would make him the first African owner of a club in United Kingdom.
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12) Hakeem Belo-Osagie – Net Worth: $600 Million

Hakeem Belo-Osagie is a 58-year old Nigerian businessman listed by Forbes as the 40th richest man in Africa. Harvard Business School-trained petroleum economist He is the chairman of the Nigerian operations of the UAE based telecom service provider Etisalat, This 59 year old self-made millionaire is married and based in Lagos.

11) Tunde Folawiyo – Net Worth: $650 Million
Tunde Folawiyo is a Nigerian businessman. He is the managing director of Yinka Folawiyo Group, a conglomerate founded by his father, Wahab Folawiyo. He took over the company in 2008 when his father died, a conglomerate with interests in agriculture, energy, shipping, engineering and real estate.
Born: April 12, 1960 (age 55),

10) Mohammed Indimi – Net Worth: $670 Million
This 65 year old self-made Nigerian millionaire resides in Maiduguri. He is married and has eight children. He is the chairman of the Oriental Energy Resources, a private Nigerian oil exploration and production company.  He has over 20 years' experience in the Nigerian Upstream oil and gas sector

9) Abdulsamad Rabiu – Net Worth: $700 Million
AbdulSamad Isyaku Rabiu CON is a Nigerian businessman. His father, Khalifah Isyaku Rabiu was one of Nigeria's foremost industrialists in the 1970s and 1980s. This 54 year old self made Nigerian billionaire is based in Lagos. He is the founder of BUA group, a Nigerian conglomerate with investments in real estate, cement production, sugar refining, manufacturing, port concessions, steel, shipping and oil and gas.
Born: August 4, 1960 (age 54)

8) Jim Ovia – Net Worth: $850 Million
This self-made millionaire is married and has two children. He resides in Lagos. This successful banker founded Zenith Bank Group. With market capitalization of more than $4 billion, it is one of Nigeria’s largest financial services groups.

7) Orji Uzor Kalu – Net Worth: $1 Billion
Orji Uzor Kalu is a billionaire as of 2014. He is the founder of Slok Holding, a $2.5 billion West African conglomerate with interests in banking, shipping, manufacturing, oil trading and media. Orji Uzor Kalu is the chairman of SLOK Holding and the Daily Sun and New Telegraph newspapers in Nigeria, who served as the governor of Abia State, Nigeria from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007.
April 21, 1960 (age 55)

6) Tony Elumelu – Net Worth: $1 Billion
Tony O. Elumelu is an economist by training, a visionary entrepreneur and a philanthropist. Tony is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. Nigerian-born self-made billionaire is one of Africa’s most revered business leaders. He made his fortune through a variety of investments, including a controlling interest in Transcorp.
Born: March 22, 1963 (age 52),

5) Femi Otedola – Net Worth: $1 Billion
The self-made millionaire is married and has four children. Femi Otedola’s Zenon Petroleum is one of the largest diesel distributors in Nigeria. Its annual sales is more than $2 billion. In 2009 he was among Forbes Billionaires but dropped out of the list after shares of Zenon Petroleum plunged more than 80%, Otedola is the controlling shareholder of Forte Oil, with a 78% stake.
Born: 1967, Epe, Nigeria

4) Theophilus Danjuma – Net Worth: $1.1 Billion
Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma GCON FSS psc is a Nigerian Jukun soldier, politician and multi-millionaire businessman and philanthropist. He was Nigerian Army Chief of Army Staff from July 1975 to October 1979.The self made Nigerian billionaire resides in Abuja.  He served as the defense minister of Nigeria. He is the chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum.
Born: December 9, 1938 (age 76)

3) Folorunsho Alakija – Net Worth: $ 2.5 Billion
This 63 year old self made billionaire is the second richest woman in Africa. She controls Famfa Oil, which pumps about 200,000 barrels a day. Her tailoring company Supreme Stitches has many elite clients. She founded the Rose of Sharon Foundation in 2008. This foundation helps widows and orphans.
Born: 1951, Ikorodu, Nigeria
and mother to african number one dj  DJ Xclusive

2) Mike Adenuga – Net Worth: $4.6 Billion
This self-made Nigerian billionaire is the founder of Globacom, Nigeria’s second largest mobile phone network. Born: April 29, 1953 (age 62)

1) Aliko Dangote – Net worth: 21.6 billion USD (2015) Forbes
Aliko Dangote GCON is a Nigerian billionaire businessman, who owns the Dangote Group,which was founded in 1891, which has interests in commodities. The company operates in Nigeria and other African countries, including Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Togo and Zambia. He is the richest man in Africa and richest black in the world.
Born: April 10, 1957 (age 58), Kano, Nigeria
Education: Al-Azhar University.
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