Chief Rasaq Okoya, founder & chairman, Eleganza Group of Companies, governs one of the biggest homegrown conglomerates in Nigeria with a workforce of over two thousand people. The group has over six factories and produces a wide range of goods that are household names in Nigeria and neighbouring African markets.
The products include cutlery, collieries, food warmers, ice chest, electric fan, cosmetics and ballpoint pen that meet the needs for events, leisure, lifestyle and daily needs. Other products are coolers, luggage boxes, diapers, plastic chairs, hair threads, footwear and more.
In the group also is RAO Property Investment Company that runs the group’s large investments in real estate. In a recent rebranding, Eleganza Industrial City was created, which is intended to increase operating capacity to meet the growing demands for its products and services.
Mrs. Sade Okoya, is managing director/CEO, Eleganza Industrial City Ltd and has responsibility for the day-to-day running of the company. She seats on the board of Eleganza Group and RAO Investment Property Company Limited. She is also in charge of Eleganza Fashion Products Limited and Eleganza Cruise & Travels Limited.
Sade brings in her expertise in repositioning the company to overcome its setbacks and shape a new direction for the business. She has a big dream for the group, which is to have its products exported all over the world. She is on the driving seat of the vision of making the company the foremost producer of various household items in Nigeria and lifting products quality to international standard.
Rasaq took his first step into manufacturing in jewelry and that gave birth to Eleganza Jewelry, which turned out to be a phenomenal success. The second venturing into local production gave rise to Eleganza buttons and the third resulted in shoe manufacturing. Then the industrial line began to increase one after the other to now include a wide range of household names in Nigeria.
Rasaq traces his success to his belief that there are opportunities in Nigeria’s challenges. His own inspiration came in the course of sourcing goods for importation from various manufacturing companies overseas. He was fascinated by the manufacturing business in other countries that were generating Nigeria’s imports. He developed a burning desired to take Nigeria in that direction – which has become a great mission accomplished.
Taking steps to proffer solutions is the key to business success, he counsels. Nigeria, he said, has a big advantage and that is its large internal market. All that is needed is for people to focus on what they want to do and work hard towards it, he said.
Sade has a good educational backing to drive her aspiration of taking the family business to a greater height. She studied banking & finance at the Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo and proceeded to the University of Lagos where she studied sociology. She also has a Doctor of Science DSC (Honoris Causa) in business management and corporate leadership by the senate of European American University.
Her dream was to be a businesswoman able to stand on her own in matters of money. Her marriage to Rasaq paved an expressway for her to attain her dreams. Yet, it was a story of hard work and overcoming challenges that strew the path of running a business empire in Nigeria’s difficult operating environment. It was for her a great opportunity to unleash the innate hardworking drive longing for practical expression in the world of business.
Leadership succession is the key element in any enterprise and that is more so for a business empire of Eleganza Group’s status. Rasaq needed someone who has a will and a drive in shaping the future of the business. He found an answer in Sade’s spirit of fighting to win. “I don’t believe in failing. I get a little bit shy of failure. I don’t want to fail in whatever I tried to do. There is a no-go area for me,” she said.
Rasaq is in himself a university of business and he took Sade through the courses. That is what it took for a young lady aspiring to be a simple businesswoman to become a driver of a large business empire. Getting priorities right is the key and that is what Rasaq took steps to ensure in Sade.
Speaking of her husband, she said, “he taught me how to make use of every minute and today, I’m singing another song of success got from hard work and dedication to duties”. Sade has stood up to the challenges of running the husband’s business empire to the extent of local and international recognitions of her accomplishments as a leading business executive.
She has employed her female traits in building relationships to build a solid staff strength with which she is extending the frontiers of the business. She has also built bridges of good relationship within her family and across the society through empowerment.
Rasaq and Sade constitute one power couple that impacts the length and breadth of Nigeria’s economy, creating jobs and changing lives. The business empire is a big dream of bringing home the industrial capacity that Rasaq saw working in other countries.
Sade has joined hands with him to make it thrive and make it grow. In doing this, they have jointly lifted society greatly through the multiplier effects of job creation, local sourcing of inputs, creation of affordable products and saving of foreign exchange for the nation.