… How they are making Nigeria proud across the globe.
Over the past five years, human capital has inadvertently overtaken natural resources as Nigeria’s source of foreign exchange. The human capital shift has taken roots and has continued to gain ground from simple paid jobs abroad to building businesses with a wide reach in major countries around the world.
The world now looks to Nigeria more for the promise of its people than for its physical resources. The ingenuity of the Nigerian is finding fertile grounds across borders to blossom, as immigrants increasingly escape from disabling home environment bereft of basic infrastructures.
In three years to 2021, Nigerians in diaspora remitted more than $60 billion that helped the Central Bank of Nigeria limit a rundown of external reserve. This year, a lot of hope is placed on 7 percent projected increase in diaspora remittance inflow to contain the nation’s foreign exchange crisis.
Apart from the worsening environment for business at the home front, Nigerians in the diaspora are deterred from building businesses back home for the absence of somebody to trust and a system that works. Most of efforts in that direction ended in woeful losses and painful regrets.
Two major developments are spurring the springing of Nigerian businesses in the diaspora. The first is the increased arrival of better trained and well exposed immigrants’ children born and trained abroad at the workplaces around the world. With the best of education and abounding opportunities, their innovative skills and entrepreneurial acumen are running rampant.
The second is the high emigration of skilled Nigerian professionals to Europe, North America and Asia in search of greener pastures. Having experienced tough operating situations at home, they easily excel in business-friendly environments abroad.
Quite unlike the mostly unskilled labour that started the emigration binge, the professionals are finding places and opportunities in the mainstream jobs and businesses.
The trend is driven entirely by self-determination and individual struggles on the part of these Nigerians from start to finish. Without any form of home government support, they go through the thick and thin to break the ground, engraft themselves into age old structures and systems to build businesses that are making waves across the globe.
Nigeria hasn’t done much in building the human capital from which it is reaping demographic dividends. The country has neither an educational policy good enough to give its citizens the best of global education nor exposure to a strong domestic economy with an enabling home environment to groom them to function in other economies.
There is also a complete absence of any form of business support framework for cross-border investments by Nigerian nationals. Yet the government is desperately counting on increased diaspora remittances to reverse the country’s declining foreign reserves and worsening current account deficit.
Despite the absence of home government support of any kind, Nigerians in diaspora have developed a crop of entrepreneurs that have made notable contributions to their host economies and to the global business space.
Reviewing the large and growing list of these able Nigerian men and women, who have emerged international business tycoons unaided, it proved quite a tough job for the editors on who makes the top 10 listing. The top 10 members of the group recognised here do share the honour with so many highly acclaimed others that could not scale through the final round.
The top 10 listing is made up of Nigerians who have built flourishing business conglomerates and multinational companies with diversified holdings across sectors and industries and across countries and continents.
On the list is Dr. Kase Lawal, an Ibadan-born businessman, who has established a strong foting in corporate America and founder of a diverse group of affiliated companies, Camac International Corporation. Mr. Echendu Ndubuisi Anthony, the Rivers State-born entrepreneur who has nursed and nurtured a vibrant conglomerate, employing over 1000 personnel in more than 15 business operations across continents, is on the list.
The list includes Mr. Yemi Edun, who owns a London-based estate agency acclaimed as London & #39;s finest property managers and Mr. Gregory Ozegbe, who heads an investment banking group that provides local and on-the-ground investment banking services across the African continent.
The group includes Mr. Adebayo Ogunlesi, a Nigerian-born lawyer and investment banker and founder of a private equity firm that owns key airports in London. Listed also is Mr. Tope Awotona, founder of a scheduling software company based in the United States that has created a problem-solving product that serves hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
Mr. Alafa Kariboye-Igbo, the Rivers State-born entrepreneur, who has built an empire of multifaceted business chains in the United Kingdom, also made the top 10 list. Prominent also is the Nigerian-born, British-trained Dr. Daniel Moses, a big-time investor in property income generated businesses with over £7 million in clients’ property portfolio under management.
The rest are Mr. Festus Uzoma Mbisiogu, the Imo State-born founder of a logistics firm that handles group-page/personal containers from any city in China and Mr. Chinedu Echeruo, the business visionary and innovator, who sold his organization to Apple for $1 billion.
Dr. Kase Lawal: chairman/CEO of Camac International Corporation
Dr. Kase Lawal, a Nigerian-born businessman, who has established a strong footing in corporate America, is founder and chairman/CEO of Camac International Corporation – a diverse group of affiliated companies. The group has evolved from an agricultural commodity trading company he established in 1986 into a diversified chain with portfolio of assets in financial services, technology and venture capital, energy, logistics and real estate.
Members of the group include Camac Holdings Inc., an oil and gas exploration and refining company based in Texas. Unity National Bank is a member of the group, which is reputed as the only licensed and federally insured African-American owned bank in Texas.
Erin Energy Inc, a global energy firm, which he founded in 2010, is also a member of the Camac group. The group also includes Allied Energy Corporation, its operating arm in West Africa that came on stream in 1991.
The global energy company consists of two groups, a U.S. group and a non-U.S. group that apply a coordinated approach to pursue the exploration, development and operation of oil assets in Africa and South America. Its business units include oil exploration & production, engineering, project management and procurement services, crude oil and refined products trading and natural gas & power.
The gas & power business focuses primarily on developing energy systems to bring electricity, including renewable energy, to rural locations in parts of Africa without access to modern fuels.
Operating from the head office in Houston, Texas, the group has presence in Johannesburg, Cape Town, London, Grand Cayman, Lagos and Abuja.
Lawal has earned his reputation as an oil and gas baron, who comes next in ranking after David Steward, Oprah Winfery and Robert Smith as the fourth richest black person in America. He made it to the number one spot in 2002 and 2003 on the list of the top 100 black-owned businesses in America.
He charted the course and opened up the traditionally white-held oil business in America to blacks and other nationalities. “I want to encourage more blacks to get involved in the oil industry as entrepreneurs,” he told Black Enterprise.
Camac International Corporation and its affiliated group of companies collectively represent the largest African-American owned energy services enterprise in the United States. The chain of operations cut across upstream and downstream activities that include oil and gas exploration and production, trading of crude oil and refined products for markets in Africa and Europe and in the transportation industry in South Africa.
The group owns or leases oil and gas reserves offshore in West Africa and onshore in Colombia, South America. It is one of the first independent energy enterprises to discover the potential of West Africa’s untapped offshore resources; the first independent oil and gas producer to hold a Nigerian deep-water licence in 1992 and the first to make a deep-water discovery in offshore West Africa in 1995.
Lawal was born in Ibadan to a local politician and textile-trader father. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Texas Southern University in 1976, and his MBA in finance and marketing from Prairie View A&M University in Texas in 1978.
In his early career, Lawal worked as a process engineer for Shell Oil Refining Company and as a research chemist for Dresser Industries. He held the position of vice president, Suncrest Investment Corporation and president, Baker Kase Investments, a real estate mortgage and investment company.
Camac’s agricultural commodities trading root is traced to Lawal’s strategic move to establish and finance direct trade link between American tobacco producers and processing companies in Cameroon in 1986. He opened up a major international agricultural trade between the United States and Africa, shipping tobacco direct from the U.S’. farms to the African processing plants.
The next big step forward was a shift of focus from agriculture to oil in the late 1980s. This gave birth to Allied Nigeria with which he secured oil production rights to large tracts of land in the country.
A joint venture deal with oil giant – Conoco followed in 1991 under which over $500 million dollars were pumped into Nigeria over the next decade. By late 2002, the venture was still producing over 20,000 barrels of oil per day. The partnership was expanded to launch several oil exploration projects in Angola.
The group’s oil and gas business expanded rapidly to include stakes in inland and offshore oil and gas producing properties, drilling operations, oil transportation, technical advisory services and construction for the oil industry in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
A downstream operation was added in 1999 with the acquisition of an oil refinery and the establishment of an energy trading company. Speaking on the change of operating status, Lawal told Black Enterprise what the move meant for his group. “We used to produce oil and rely on someone to sell it; we decided that we could get contracts, and assemble a risk management team that could deal with the volatility of selling oil and gas.”
By getting the downstream to complement the upstream, Camac group got the big break. In four years, group revenue jumped close to nine times to cross the billion-dollar mark by 2022.
Lawal was a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Business Advisory Council and in 1994, he was a finalist for the United States Business Entrepreneur of the Year. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in philosophy from Fort Valley State University.
In 1996, he was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce to a position on the United States Council on the Business Development Committee of the United States-South Africa Bi-national Commission. His presence in the committee afforded him an opportunity to drive his interest in the well-being of the African continent.
President Bill Clinton also appointed Lawal a member of the United States Trade Advisory Committee on Africa, a role that enabled him to develop trade policies for the continent.
In 1999 Lawal was appointed a commissioner of the Port of Houston, the largest American port in terms of foreign tonnage, which also houses the country’s largest petrochemical complex. In 2000 he was elevated to the role of vice chairman of the port.
He has also served as chairman of the Houston Mayoral Advisory Board on International Affairs and Development. The mayor also tapped Lawal to be vice chairman of the board of directors of the Houston Airport System Development Corporation.
Echendu Ndubuisi Anthony: Echendu Ndubuisi is founder, Echendu Group
Lord. Echendu Ndubuisi is founder, Echendu Group, a multinational conglomerate based in the United Kingdom with a variety of successful business ventures. The Group’s portfolio includes oil and gas, real estate, and construction, contracting & engineering, industrial & commercial trading, freight services, megastores, agribusiness and travel & hospitality management.
Founded in 2009, Echendu Group played a pioneering role in entrepreneurship development in its domain and has maintained a prominent position of leadership among its peers. Echendu has nursed and nurtured the business enterprise to become a vibrant conglomerate, employing over 1000 personnel in more than 15 business operations across West Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Dubai region.
The Echendu Group’s CEO is reputed for his wealth of knowledge and experience in engineering and construction, having served for several years at the executive management level with Corporate Energy. He has been recognized as a global leader by World Chamber of Business Leaders, in the field of engineering and business procurement for his contributions to the growth of entrepreneurship across the globe.
The chamber, which aligns its activities with the United Nations’ Decade of Action, is a global business think-tank with more than 120 countries in membership and Lord Echendu is one of the few Nigerians to be part of the select group of global business leaders.
The Rivers State-born entrepreneur attended the University College, London where he obtained a degree in chemical engineering. He also obtained a professional certification in engineering from the King’s Entrepreneurship Institute, UK. A professional certificate in Oil and Gas from Duke University, Another Global Diplomacy in modern world from University of London and professional business management certifications from Metropolitan Business School London, Harvard Business School and from the International Business Management Institute, Cambridge.
Lord Echendu has held various executive and senior management positions in the manufacturing and construction industries where he has established a track record of successfully establishing, growing and turning around business enterprises.
He is also an energy insider of Bill Gates Note on climate change and has worked as an engineering contractor and construction management for 13 years with Eshworld. He began his entrepreneurship at the age of 23, when he launched Esh Services, a warehouse construction company. In late 2009, he ventured into the oil and gas sector with the establishment of Echendu Oil and Gas Ltd.
The company is the group’s subsidiary for its operations in the oil and gas sector, which started out as an offshore servicing company and later expanded into oil refining, petrochemicals and water cargo handling and general petroleum engineering services in the United Kingdom.
The oil and gas company has emerged a key player in the oil and gas business across Nigeria, Ghana and the United Kingdom. Its operations cover upstream and downstream businesses, designed to optimise its role and contributions in the development of Nigeria’s huge petroleum resources for greater impact on the economy.
The group’s real estate business undertakes property development and management in its commitment to help bring into reality the dream of every African citizen to own a decent home. Esh Properties is the group’s member company set on a mission to deliver affordable houses to Nigerians and Africans on a consistent basis.
The group’s travel and tour operations are carried out through Skytravel, a member of the Echendu Group. The company offers a full range of travel and tour services, including international school placement, online services, ticket bookings and vacation planning. It plans to expand these services in the future to propel the aviation and tourism industries in Africa. It also holds significant stakes in the associated hospitality industry.
The group’s diversified business interests include manufacturing, which it positions as a primary source of inducing prosperity in the economy. The portfolio of companies and businesses also includes energy services, commodities trading and ICT. Other stakes are in logistics and supply chain, financial services, craft, sports, digital news agency, health care (procurement and supply) and charity operations.
Echendu has attracted investments into Africa, beginning from 2011 when he partnered with an Irish investor to introduce the Shindig energy drink in the Nigerian and Ghanaian markets, while also making investments in cash and carry stores. In 2014, he partnered with Masri Mohammed, the billionaire chairman and president of Mas El Masri Limited to establish an arm of the warehouse and office space construction company in Ghana.
The activities of the UK-trained chemical engineer transcend the business world to include help for humanity. Through his Charity Foundation, which operates as The Echendu Unify, Now Known and called Lord Echendu Foundation, he is uplifting lives in Africa through a number of charity projects in Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic, Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire.
Some of the most recent projects include feeding of prisoners at the Ankaful main prison in Cape Coast, donation of foodstuffs to orphanages, distribution of food and relief materials to 10 communities in Rivers State. On annual bases Lord Echendu Pays and empower Rivers State Youth, He has carried out youth empowerment in Nigerian Ghanaian, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire.
He has been recognized by the United Nations as an ambassador for Modern UN and was a keynote speaker at the UN’s Peace Across Borders event. By this appointment, he joins a selected class of international business leaders that are committed to improving economic growth and a better society for all across the world.
He is a member of the Nigeria Society of Petroleum Engineers and a two-time winner of the Biz Awards in 2011 and 2018, as Young Creative CEO. He is also the recipient of Best Global CEO and Founder of the year Africa Foya Awards.
Yemi Edun: Mr. Yemi Edun, is the CEO of Daniel Ford & Co Ltd
Mr. Yemi Edun, is the CEO of Daniel Ford & Co Ltd, a London-based estate agency acclaimed as one of London’s finest property managers and acquisition agents in its over 20 years of operations. The company follow a business path with the high ethical standards in the residential property management and acquisition sector.
The company has a team of consummate professionals that speak favourably for it in skill, knowledge and commitment thus creating a superior value in buying, selling, managing, refurbishing, and renting properties in the marketplace.
The value delivered is above the competition and this sets Daniel Ford apart from other agencies, propels its growth and reinforces its edge in the business. Distinctive referrals and repeat business
speak loudly of its steadily growing reputation and continuing success.
Yemi Edun haven worked in the industry for a few years created a niche for Daniel Ford
He saw an opportunity in the sub-Saharan countries when their economies opened in various
Sectors s such as the telecommunications, oil and gas, entertainment and sports industries.
The phase provided a springboard for Daniel Ford to offer an unrivalled property management service to landlords in London, including overseas resident homeowners, corporate property owners and ‘time poor’ Londoners. Its success strategy was to build a trusted brand on either side of tenants and landlords alongside fulfilment of statutory requirements in an extremely competitive and highly regulated industry.
To study the market and feed it with what it needs by way of value added is Yemi Edun’s winning strategy to gain market acceptance. His growth drivers are to always stay ahead of the game and to innovate.
He leads a team of over 10 experienced consultants, schooled on giving the customer the first place on a consistent basis. He strives to fulfil a great mission to build a service giving enterprise that will
shine in every area of the business, continually reinventing itself and regularly reviewing its structure and systems.
The strive is to ensure that the company’s aim of taking the stress and anxiety out of property transactions is undented in every transaction from day to day. The company holds itself with a duty of friendly and experienced services with consultants on hand at all times and makes sure it fulfils it with the highest level of skill and client service possible.
A lot is involved in operating in the UK property market and Daniel Ford & Co has proved it has all it takes to distinguish itself in the highly regulated industry, including continuing adaptation to various market reforms. The company painstakingly oversees the much that are required when letting out any property. This includes getting the property ready to let, dealing with mortgage lenders, sorting out rent collection, tax matters, insurance cover, utility bills, keys and inventories, and acquiring safety certificates for gas, electricity, appliances and more.
Clients, on their part, respond in a manner that affirms they value the superior management services they get. In more than ninety percent of properties under its management, both tenants and landlords renew their agreements, according to the company’s records.
Daniel Ford’s high quality professional services have been recognized by property professionals. Her CEO was honoured in the Lettings Agency of the Year Awards 2012 in Association with The Sunday Times and The Times of London.
Edun was also named one of the UK’s 100 most influential black people in ‘The Powerlist 2021 & 2022’. He made it to a listing that included top names like Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Joshua, and other renowned personalities. This, to him, is a recognition of hard work, earning trust, inspiring the industry and adding value to clients and to the community.
Gregory Ozegbe: chairman/CEO, Africa Alliance Group
Mr. Gregory Ozegbe is chairman/CEO, Africa Alliance Group, an investment banking group that provides local and on-the-ground investment banking services across the African continent. Since it launched operations in 1992, the company has invested heavily in building structures and professional teams throughout the continent to meet the investment banking needs of clients. These include national governments, municipalities, parastatals, pension funds and large to medium-sized public and private companies.
For three decades, the Group has remained devoted to building a substantial pan-African investment banking platform. The mission is informed by an understanding of the need to build African markets from small or non-existent platforms to achieve a base that will enable the continent take its place among mainstream developing markets and capitalise on its abundant resources. This involves grass-roots focus of providing Africa’s vast untapped low end of the financial markets with financial products.
Ozegbe has been in charge of overseeing the group’s developmental operations since May 2000. He has led it to build unit trusts where there are none, create bond markets and yield curves to price capital, research equities and bonds, manage pension funds and raise private equity for opportunities. Trading funds are created to eliminate price inefficiencies and its advisory business partners with local and international capital to create economic value.
After starting in Eswatini, the company’s development model has been extended to most parts of Africa. The company expresses its commitment to building and developing local talent – which it ranks a core value and the most essential ingredient of its success. It is presently on a new phase of establishing and adapting the model to the rest of the continent over the next two decades.
Africa Alliance Group’s model is one of long-term commitment to build people and markets, which differentiates it from short-term orientation of the present age. “We understand that pioneering work is lengthy and difficult. Importantly, our shareholders fully support our long-term, multi-generational vision, the company stated in its corporate profile.
The company’s operations cover the broad areas of asset management, corporate finance, stockbroking, private equity and third-party administration.
Its asset management activities are designed to provide unique investment solutions to private and institutional investors operating locally and internationally. The business has expanded from its starting point in Eswatini to Botswana to Kenya and Lesotho as well as offering pan-African products out of the company’s South African office. Its clients include governments, parastatals, pension and endowment funds, corporate institutions and non-government organisations with assets under management of $1.1 billion at the beginning of 2020.
The company serves institutional investors across Africa through its investment vehicles, which include Segregated portfolios, Unitized portfolios, Listed funds and Structured products. It has a consistent long term track record of value creation to show for its investment management services.
It links its impressive track record to the breadth of its business and the Group’s physical presence across the African continent, which enables superior understanding of local African markets that are charaterised by informational inefficiencies. It figures out unique investment opportunities with its expansive physical African network of offices and professionals.
Its investment decisions are then guided by its robust research resources and a long-term value-based investment philosophy. Its portfolio construction is tailored to clients’ balanced, equity, fixed income or cash mandates.
In order to meet the needs of private investors, African Alliance Asset Management has pioneered unit trust markets across its physical African presence. It is the first asset managers to launch unit trusts in Eswatini, Botswana and Kenya as well as entering the Lesotho market. This is in its commitment to foster a culture of savings and drive the development of capital markets in Africa. It assures that collective investment schemes are the most appropriate investment vehicles to achieve these objectives.
African Alliance’s range of unit trusts offer investors cost effective access to highly qualified and experienced investment professionals, competitive returns, liquidity and easy access to money, diversified investment exposure, convenient and flexible investing and investor protection.
Ozegbe is steering the wheel of African Alliance’s investment drive for Africa in its recognition of the continent as the great emerging market and the last investment heaven of the world. The company has launched pan-African products to provide investors with direct access to emerging African opportunities. Served by an experienced team on ground, the investment products offer a unique opportunity to capitalise on the growth of the emerging African consumer in a structured and risk focused manner.
The big investment opportunity around which the Group has designed its pan-African products springs from the continent’s credentials – the second largest in the world, covering 20 percent of landmass, home to approximately 15 percent of the world’s population and a GDP higher than that of India and ranks with Russia and Brazil.
It projects Africa as a compelling emerging investment story with a sustainable growth trajectory that reflects its rapid population growth and increasing rate of urbanisation. The continent is projected to be home to one-fifth of mankind by 2050, offering the biggest labour force to the world with increased productivity pointing to improved economic fundamentals.
Investment banking services of the Group are carried out across the African continent by its subsidiary, African Alliance Capital. Its services cover capital raising, corporate finance, advisory services, privatisation, debt issuance and debt restructuring. Its clients include national governments, municipalities, parastatals, pension funds and large to medium-sized public and private companies.
Its structure of engagement is long term in line with its commitment to sustained development of African economies. Its objective is to assist in deepening and advancing capital markets and, where necessary, challenge the legislative environment to promote greater investor opportunities and protection.
Adebayo Ogunlesi: chairman/managing partner, Global Infrastructure Partners
Adebayo Ogunlesi, a Nigerian-born lawyer and investment banker, is chairman/managing partner, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) – the private equity firm that owns key airports in London.
The firm bought London City Airport in 2006 and in 2009, it acquired majority interest in London Gatwick Airport in a deal valued at £1.455 billion. GIP bought Edinburgh Airport in 2012 and the list of acquisitions grew yet in 2018 when it bought Nuovo Transporto Viaggiatori – an Italian high-speed train operating company.
GIP is a leading global independent infrastructure fund manager that Ogunlesi started in 2006 as a joint venture with initial investors including top names as private banking giant – Credit Suisse and world energy leader – General Electric.
The company is set on a mission of creating value for investors by driving businesses that deliver high quality services to customers and communities. It targets infrastructure businesses and assets in energy, transportation, digital, water and waste sectors where its expertise and relationships place it at a competitive advantage.
GIP capitalizes on in-depth knowledge of target industries to build capabilities to originate proprietary transactions, conduct deep and extensive due diligence, structure and close investment deals, employ best practice operating management, manage stakeholder relationships effectively and act promptly on exit opportunities.
Ogunlesi has grown GIP to become one of the world’s largest infrastructure investing firms with $84 billion in assets under management on behalf of its global investor base. The companies in its equity portfolios have combined annual revenues in excess of $68 billion and a workforce in the region of 100,000.
The cornerstone of the company’s business is its infrastructure equity funds that represent more than 71 percent of the assets under management. It focuses on energy, transport, digital, and water/waste infrastructure sectors; proprietary, proactive and selective deal origination; large-scale, complex transactions with limited competition; strategic joint ventures with leading industrial partners among others.
Its global equity funds target core-plus infrastructure investment opportunities predominantly in the OECD countries.
Ogunlesi trained at Oxford University in England from where he received a B.A. with first class honors in philosophy, politics and economics. In 1979, he received a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, which he pursued within the same space of time. During his time at Harvard, he was on the Harvard Law Review.
From 1980 to 1981, Ogunlesi served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. He was an attorney in the corporate practice group of the New York City law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where he had been a summer associate while studying for his M.B.A.
He joined First Boston – an investment banking firm in 1983 as an advisor on a Nigerian gas project. There, he worked in the Project Finance Group, advising clients on transactions and financings. From 1997 to 2002, he headed the Global Energy Group of Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) as renamed and was appointed Global Head of the bank’s investment banking division in 2002. In the same year, he served as a member of CSFB’s executive board and management committee and became executive vice chairman and chief client officer of the bank from 2004 to 2006.
Ogunlesi is a member of the District of Columbia Bar Association. While working at Credit Suisse First Boston, he was a lecturer at Harvard Law School and the Yale School of Management, where he taught a course on transnational investment projects in emerging countries.
In October 2012, he was appointed to the board of Goldman Sachs and was named lead director in 2014. In 2016, he was one of the business leaders appointed to be part of Donald Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum.
GIP has a number of specialized equity platforms with specialised focus on economies and markets. These include GIP Australia, which was formed to provide larger scale local and global investors with access to high quality, larger scale, Australian infrastructure investment opportunities via transactions executed and managed by GIP.
GIP Emerging Markets team brings in its deep insight in emerging markets fundamentals, extensive investment expertise and market leading local experience and networks. It seeks to provide investors with a differentiated investment opportunity to access the emerging markets in Asia and Latin America. The team employs a strategy consistent with GIP’s global equity funds, focused primarily on energy, transport, digital, water/waste and other industries where the team has proven capabilities.
GIP ATLAS is another specialised equity platform, which invests exclusively in listed infrastructures. Its approach to the sector matches that of the private infrastructure investor with a focus on the returns associated with the long-term cash flows of the assets of listed infrastructure companies.
The team takes close account of the duration of contracted revenue, the regulatory environment, the impact of inflation and interest rates and evaluates the specific risks associated with revenue streams of each listed company, with particular attention to climate related risks.
There is also GIP Credit formed in 2015 to make non-equity investments with the mandate to transact across multiple entry points in the capital structure. The team targets energy, transport, digital, water/waste and other industries or projects with infrastructure-like characteristics. It is positioned to leverage the broader GIP platform, creating a symbiotic relationship to source and structure bilaterally originated credit opportunities where the company can act as the lead or anchor credit investor.
Tope Awotona: founder/CEO, Calendly
Tope Awotona is founder/CEO, Calendly, a scheduling software company he birthed in his quest for a solution to back-and-forth emails that used to precede scheduling meetings. His company specializes in scheduling software that simplifies the process of scheduling meetings and appointments.
He set up Calendly in 2013, which has grown exponentially to a valuation of over $3 billion after closing an investment of $350 million in a 2021 funding round.
Awotona’s idea of creating a scheduling product was inspired by his personal challenge encountered in the process of scheduling a meeting. Frustrated by too many emails that had to fly back and forth, he researched the market and spotted the gap – that none of the scheduling products, permitted multiple users to share availability.
Calendly is his step forward to fill the gap in a ready market by offering a simple scheduling app. The market responded with 20-30 million subscribers worldwide and more than $60m annual revenue in seven years. That has lifted the Lagos-born tech expert to one of America’s richest immigrants.
Demand is doubling from year over year, creating a success rate that far exceeds the expectations of even the most ambitious business adventurers.
Awotona immigrated to the United States as a teenager and studied management information systems at the University of Georgia. After graduating, he worked for tech firms as salesman, including IBM and Dell EMC.
His dogged desire to move up the ladder of success got a big boost when he joined Perspective Software – a scaling start-up company in Kansas City as an account executive selling to more than 50 colleges and universities. Speaking of the experience, he recalls: “it was the best thing that ever happened to me! I had to learn how to make customers happy, sell the product and work with legal, all while maintaining a $2 million quota.”
The job exposed him to the different functions of a software business quite a preparatory training for what was to come. “The company was growing so fast. I was working with a team of brilliant, hardworking and passionate people in an inspiring building. This is what I knew I wanted,” he said.
Driven by a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Awotona went into a few businesses that flopped. The first was a dating website, STT Media, which never launched for lack of skills and the means to do it as well as he wanted.
His second start-up was an e-commerce website he built for selling projectors. It also didn’t go far for being an unfamiliar field for him without much passion as well. “I didn’t know anything about projectors and honestly I didn’t want to know about them,” he said.
Yet another step in his entrepreneurial journey was a grills selling website, yardsteals.com. Though it was more rewarding than his experience with projectors, the same problem of insufficient knowledge and lack of passion kept him searching for something fulfilling.
As a growing up child, he was focused on making sure that money should never be a problem but at this stage he came to realise that self-fulfillment is the key element of success.
The narrow idea of starting a business to make money by reselling products needed to give way to knowledge-based, problem-solving product that would capture a good part of the value chain in a critical field.
“In my life, I’ve benefited from not taking the conventional wisdom. It’s benefited me personally, and I think it has benefited the business,” he said.
All along, Awotona knew quite clearly, he wanted to be an entrepreneur and was eagerly testing and trying ideas and opportunities to log on to the perfect path to destination. Perspective Software provided the door for him as well as the knowledge guide to step ahead and move on. Calendly couldn’t have happened without Perspective Software, according to him.
A historic moment came one day when Perceptive Software’s founder told the staff at a meeting the story of how his company moved from an idea to fruition. The many twists and turns in the company’s operating story, the mistakes and the learning therefrom, the persistence and the resulting great success provided a rich vineyard of entrepreneurial knowledge to Awotona.
From the Perspective Software’s corporate story, he realized for the first time that success in business enterprise doesn’t often come through straight and easy paths. It was first-hand learning for him that it takes smart people to start great companies but more importantly, it takes decisive actions on opportunities to succeed and tenacity to survive and grow.
“It made entrepreneurship all of a sudden more attainable. I knew if they could do it, I could too,” he said.
When he discovered the gap in the scheduling app, he was convinced within himself that it was a problem he quite understood and therefore a problem for him to solve. The product idea filled the missing elements of something he understands and something he has passion for. Leaning on his software experience, he was quite convinced it was something he could build, scope and manage the execution. “I just knew I could do it. I knew there was a business there,” he said.
In building Calendly, Awotona invested every single dollar he had ever made in it not knowing how big it could be, but quite convinced it was such a great opportunity. It was a matter of all eggs in one basket that either succeeds to a great height or falls to a great disaster. Recalling the level of risk exposure, he said “if it hadn’t taken off, it would have set me back many, many years.”
He has experienced the emotional roller coaster that marks the story of building an enterprise and learned from the daily exciting and humbling developments that shape the corporate future. He has seen the results of deliberate decisions and can distinguish same from luck that sometimes happen in the process. The key, he said, is to figure out the things that are pure luck and leverage them to advantage.
Awotona has positioned Calendly as a problem solving product that serves hundreds of millions of people worldwide. He recommends the path he has followed: “if you want to be an entrepreneur, become really good at something. Make sure you fully understand the problem, and be well informed enough to have strong opinions about the solution. Only then are you ready to start a company. I learned that the hard way. Don’t try to solve a problem you don’t understand and be honest with yourself about what you are really good at.”
Alafa Kariboye-Igbo: founder, Oil Money Group
Alafa Kariboye- gbo, founder, Oil Money Group, is the Rivers State-born entrepreneur, who has built an empire of multifaceted business chains in the United Kingdom. He is a successful investor in real estate, oil and gas, entertainment and car dealership, event promoter and philanthropist.
He has grown his business across the business segments to become a business tycoon, creating wealth across the different businesses. He was counted No. 3 among the richest Nigerians in 2021 and he has made it to the Wikipedia’s Nigerian billionaires’ listings for 2020 and 2021.
He has emerged one of Africa’s most exquisite personalities, an international business magnate with vast connection that cuts across several boundaries. He is the owner of Oil Money Records, a record label that deals with signing and raising young talents.
He founded the British record label in 2020 and officially started his record label in 2021 with the objective of promoting artists. The outfit ranks as a trusted recording media company duly registered in the United Kingdom with the name “Oil Money Records”.
Kariboye-Igbo is a graduate of the London University and operates his network of businesses from his base in the United Kingdom.
In his foray into the entertainment industry, Kariboye-Igbo now wears the crown of an expert. He has helped to boost the prospects of Nigeria’s music industry through discovering upcoming artists and bringing them to the limelight. He is reputed for his wide expertise in the creative sector that has taken the Nigerian brand to the forefront of the global scene.
He has a lofty goal defined in the entertainment industry and he is set on fulfilling it. “Our desired goal is to operate with a high standard of excellence in business organisations and effectively manage music licensing and copyright processes, song promotion, royalty collection and key partnerships around the world,” said Kariboye-Igbo.
His aim is to make Oil Money Records bigger and influential while producing stars in the industry in an ambitious mission to take over the global music industry and direct it.
His company’s label manages the development of songs, production of music, manufacturing of merchandise, creative marketing and distribution of the products they create.
“Our desired goal is to operate with a high standard of excellence in business organization and effectively manage music licensing and copyright processes, song promotion, royalty collection, and key partnerships around the world”, he said.
Kariboye-Igbo has been greatly influenced by renowned and successful businessmen and achievers across the world who have made it big in their respective endeavours. He has come through the thick and thin to become one of the top names of Nigerians in the Diaspora. He has successfully attained great heights as a top business icon and accomplished major goals through hard work and perseverance.
From a very humble beginning, he has been able to develop himself to become a result-oriented entrepreneur with a clear mind-set focused on actualizing goals. It has been his childhood dream to stand out as a successful business owner, which he believes has been divinely orchestrated by God.
“You can’t believe that I always had this passion of owning my own business since I was very young, I did pray to God that He should grant my heart’s desires. And with this mind-set, I worked very hard to see myself through the thick and thin of this world to be what I am today. I thank God for helping me achieve my heart’s desires. It‘s God’s doing, not my power,” Kariboye-Igbo stated.
He also undertakes robust philanthropic activities under the umbrella of Oil Money Foundation, which began in 2020 for impacting lives in society. Speaking on the his philanthropic gesture, he said “I am aware that people face difficult choices and obstacles along the way, so I try to lend a hand and assist them to scale those hurdles of life and give impetus to their dreams.
His focus as a philanthropist is to provide empowerment for young people on anything that can give them leverages in life. “I believe that any assistance I render to any person improves the lot of humanity in general,” he said.
Despite the thick and thin of personal struggles and hard work that have paid off, Kariboye-Igbo recognises the invisible hand of God for having survived where others failed.
Daniel Moses: founder, Property Wealth Corporation, Property Wealth Education, Property Wealth Estates
Dr. Daniel Moses, founder, Property Wealth Corporation, Property Wealth Education, Property Wealth Estates, and big-time investor in property income generated businesses, is also an author, podcaster, property trainer, speaker and mentor based in London, United Kingdom.
Property Wealth Over the years has grown from a simple idea of wealth creation through property and helping others do the same. Property Wealth has over the past 5 years become an expert organization providing investment opportunities, professional training, and professional property services to the industry. As an organization we primary deal in Property Management, Property Development, Property Education, Business Education, Property Investments and Partnerships.
Dr.Daniel has built a business empire comprising a real estate portfolio, management company, Education business and a property investment company with a total value of over £7 million and served over 1,000 clients across its Subsidiaries and counting since its inception.
The Nigerian-born, British Resident-groomed property management expert is an acclaimed specialist in creating wealth through the property market. “he specialize in creative strategies that is unconventional which allow many build multi million pound property portfolios.
He is driven by a conviction that anyone can start in properties and make an exceptionally good business out of it. He brings in his vast experience in the industry to mentor a wide range of people, ranging from beginners with limited funds to working professionals, who want to make their money grow.
Moses has structured Property Wealth Education and its subsidiaries to deliver the mission of creating opportunities, developing people, and building generational wealth.
His property portfolio service takes the stress and the headaches in acquisition of properties for those looking invest or build wealth through property and helps owners create truly passive income while they wait for capital appreciation.
Property investors can therefore create tailored, profitable portfolios without having to go through the stressful and time-consuming process. The company’s approach takes into account the critical elements of timescales, financial considerations and individual objectives.
Its competitive edge lies in its extensive network that enables it to source great deals, which are not available to the general public – thus availing clients houses listed below market values. Its services also carry a distinctive feature of connecting investors with vast industry experts.
Dr Moses ranks properties as an asset class with one of the most secure forms of investment at a time where demand for housing far outweighs supply. He has been in the business of Developing, managing luxury HMOs or living space market since 2017.
He traces the unique opportunity in the U K property market to the country’s growing population against a relatively small space of land – which sets property values constantly rising. He is positioned to make the most of the opportunity with the highly specialised approach he employs to rake in rental income and capital appreciation for investors.
“We know if you buy a house in England, over time it doubles in value. You can create a cash flow monthly, or a full-time income, allowing you to live your life on your own terms,” Dr Danie Moses said.
The company’s Property Wealth Education services sprang out of his discovery that many people who went into properties lacked a sense of direction, which made it difficult for them to succeed. In stepping out to bridge the knowledge gap, he has launched his brand to focus on giving clients clarity and direction through training, providing mentoring and other services to build mindsets and businesses in property that will generate wealth for all involved.
Under its property wealth portfolio service, the company undertakes real estate investments on behalf of clients, who are limited on time either to invest or to learn the ropes.
Earn and learn is another of the company’s property investment product – a unique offering that gives large portfolio investors a chance to develop property empires with minimal stress. The programme avails investors everything they ever need to know about the UK real estate market under the company’s Property Wealth Education and yet offers a return on the money.
Moses’ property management expertise covers the entire spectrum of the housing market – single-lets, residential homes, care homes, assisted living spaces, HMOs or serviced accommodation with a promise to deliver superior returns.
He also has great values to add to existing property portfolios by professionally analyzing content to make the money invested go further by applying his buy, refurbish, rent, refinance strategic options.
With over £7 million in personal net worth and Multimillion pounds with his clients’ property portfolio under management, Property Wealth takes a firm standing as the savvy investor’s ideal partner. It boasts a wealth of industry expertise fitted for highly personalized services.
Dr. Moses’ success has come after multiple failures that climaxed in a loss of over £150,000 in his Nigerian business in 2015. He did hit a brick wall and came to ground zero but refused to quit. Instead, he took on sweat and struggle, testing and trying every possible way. “It is a journey for the brave not for the faint hearted,” he said.
Dr. Moses is aiming much higher. “We aim to become the biggest name is property education primarily in the UK but eventually across Europe and further. My goal is to build the very first successful black property education company in the UK and possibly, globally”.
He isn’t hoping to travel on the property wealth road alone but is fully persuaded to give anyone willing to ride along the mindset it takes to hop in and stay on. “Mindset is something I am passionate about because I have seen the importance of how this can make such a massive impact on people’s lives. I want to be able to be a catalyst of wealth creation through the right type of mindset,” he said.
His message and his persuasion centre on the business he knows best – properties and the fertilizing ingredient of success – mindset. “I am passionate about being able to create an outstanding wealth through property business in the UK. I want to reach the entire world with my message and my story.
“With resilience and consistency, I do believe I have what it takes to spread a strong message around wealth creation through property, through mindset and I am really passionate to make that happen and whilst I’m doing that, build a legacy in the hundreds of millions”.
Festus Uzoma Mbisiogu: chief executive officer, Blue Diamond Logistics Group
Mr. Festus Uzoma Mbisiogu is chief executive officer, Blue Diamond Logistics Group, a logistics firm that handles group-page/personal containers from any city in China, funds the freight and customs clearing costs on behalf of Nigerian-based clients.
The company’s business is to bridge the gap between Nigerian importers from China and Chinese producers. It handles as much as 80 per cent of Nigerian imports from China. “We help them to communicate with manufacturers in China; we stand as a middle person and help them coordinate what they are buying; we ship and also clear for them”, the group CEO explained.
Mbisiogu’s vision is to place Blue Diamond Logistics among the top 10 logistics companies in the world with a mission to ensure accuracy, speed and safety of customers’ goods and achieving stress-free movement of goods.
The group operates through its network offices across China, Hong Kong, Dubai, Vietnam, New Jersey and Europe with a collection centre in Holland. “We handle all documentation for companies’ personal container just as we act as middle person between the buyer and the supplier in case of language barrier,” its CEO said.
Mbisiogu attended the University of Lagos and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 2007. He also holds a Master’s degree in business administration from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China. He attended many local and international business/entrepreneurial summits and training courses.
He speaks of himself as a living example of one of a few success stories of Diaspora Africans who have explored China’s vast business empire and excelled virtually in every area. He made humble beginning in the city of Guangzhou as a trade agent, driven by a keen interest to excel in the business world. “Through committed efforts and perseverance, I became one of Africa’s prominent business owners and employers of labor in both Africa and China”, he said.
Subsidiaries of Blue Diamond Group include Shanghai Engineering Construction & Industrial Works Ltd, Uzotex International Nigeria Ltd, Blue Diamond Hotel in Dubai, a freight forwarding company, Maranatha’ and Logistics Super Diamond Products, manufacturers of household items.
Shanghai Engineering Construction Works started operations in 2012 focusing on railway engineering, road construction, airport design and construction, housing and building construction and logistics business. It has a track record of completion of a number of outstanding Sino Engineering projects in China. The company operates a multi constructions and consultancy services in integrated engineering and project management from preliminary studies through design to actual project execution.
Mbisiogu decided to move the entire manufacturing base of the company back home in Nigeria. The Company’s objective is very specific in its provision of complete integrated engineering and project management services from preliminary studies through design to actual project execution.
The company’s partnership with one of China’s foremost engineering companies has given it an edge above the competition in construction with established competence in transportation & logistics, transport support services and general engineering works.
It has capacity to confidently embark on mega projects like the Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing South Railway Station, among other mega engineering construction projects the company has undertaken in China, Angola, Turkmenistan, etc.
The company’s cutting-edge advantage arises from its combination of highly diversified and experienced staff from various professional engineering background cutting across over five countries around the world. The company manufactures PVC pipes and ceilings, aluminum corrugated roofing sheets and security doors.
It also undertakes civil and mechanical engineering, estate development and management, highway design and construction, dredging and environmental services, oil and gas operations and water resources and supply.
Mbisiogu is a frequent representative of China-Africa Small Scale Industrialists in Nigeria and has shown his undiluted interest in growing small & medium enterprise activities among African immigrants in both China and other countries. He presses towards achieving a conducive business environment and policies for all small and medium scale businesses to take roots and grow.
“With the advantages posed by China, as the world’s factory, I have always charged business minded Nigerians in the Diaspora to diversify into construction services and large-scale manufacturing of construction and building materials”, he said.
Though he midwifes importation, he sees the need to reduce its pressure on the home economy by diversifying into industrialization. Living by example, he moved the entire manufacturing base of Shanghai Engineering Construction & Industrial Works back home in Nigeria, an action that pulled a lot of Diaspora Nigerian investor interests back home as well for a remarkable contribution to the country’s economy.
He is an advocate of repatriating Diaspora Africans’ to businesses and wealth back home in order to trigger multiplier effects in domestic output, employment, poverty reduction and economic growth.
The homeward move however faces a major hurdle of poor energy supply that continues to congeal the progression of industrialization in the country. He has once faced the challenge of having to provide transformers in order to service water facilities he provided in order to enhance the quality of lives in the various communities of his local government – Ideato in Imo State.
Mbisiogu is the founder of Good Governance Initiative (GGI), a non-governmental organisation that advocates for nation building and government accountability to the public and institutional stakeholders. Today he is the Coordinator of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation in China (NIDO) inaugurated by His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osibanjo the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He has been recognised for his remarkable achievements in entrepreneurship both home and abroad, for his remarkable impact among Diaspora Africans in China .and for championing and advancing the development of his community.
Mr. Festus Uzoma Mbisiogu, is an accomplished, versatile and noble gentleman who progressed from a very humble beginning driven by the quest for greater challenges and believing in education as a potent tool for social reconstruction, financial empowerment and self-actualization. He does not fall among the clear cases of people whose lights shone from their early age to becoming a role model he is to many people around the world today.
He was born on the 15th April 1973 to the family of late Mr. Festus and Mrs. Esther Mbisiogu, peasant farmers in Umuchima, Ideato Local Government Area, Imo State. He bagged a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 2007 from the University of Lagos State and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the prestigious Guangdong University of foreign studies Guangzhou China. He attended and contributed in many topics in various local/international business/entrepreneurial summits and trainings. He is the Author of “The Blessings of Sacrificial Givin”; Above all, he is happily married to Mrs. MaryJane Mbisiogu and they are blessed with five beautiful children.
Chinedu Echeruo: co-founder, Love and Magic Company
Mr. Chinedu Echeruo, co-founder, Love and Magic Company, is a sequential business visionary, who has imagined the future of organisational setting and brought it upfront into the present. His organisation is a solution studio that helps change-makers develop enthused and powerful business solutions.
The company offers a business organism model built on three cornerstones. These include embodying service towards collective human growth, empowering decentralized, self-organizing teams and maximizing the flow and use of information.
The organization model provides a playbook on how to build purposeful, agile companies based on a circle rather than a hierarchy. It presents the future of work as an organism, having coordination from the centre but also able to absorb information from the periphery. Its most important feature is that it is alive and fluid and can grow and expand.
Echeruo created HopStop in 2005, a mobile application that helps millions of users navigate public transportation in major metropolitan areas around the world. It basically provides directions, door-to-door mass transit, taxi, walking, biking and hourly car rental directions in major metropolitan markets throughout the U.S., Canada, U.K, France, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia.
In 2011, HopStop was named one of the 100 fastest-growing companies in the US by Inc. magazine.
Transit directions were available for several major metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington, D.C.
HopStop.com provides free customized public transit directions as well as other related features and information relevant to public transit via HopStop.com and free Android, iOS, and Windows Phone apps.
In 2013, he offered his organization to Apple for $1 billion (N320 billion), more than three Nigerian states’ annual budgets combined. With the sale, Apple incorporated much of HopStop’s functionality into Apple Maps. That also placed Echeruo as chairman of the board of HopStop, which is ranked in comparison to Israel’s Waze.
Given what has been accomplished, the Nigerian-born high-tech innovator considers the way cleared to a new season of explosive growth of entrepreneurship in Africa. “There is no reason for entrepreneurs to reinvent the wheel every single time in all the countries in Africa,” he said.
“My idea is to essentially have one place where a budding entrepreneur can access a template for starting a business and then customize it to suit their own situation; essentially, a business-in-a-box,” he emphasized.
Echeruo, who hails from eastern Nigeria, holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and B.S in finance and accounting (Honors) from Syracuse University in the United States.
He worked for several years in the mergers & acquisitions and leveraged finance groups of J.P Morgan Chase where he engaged in a broad range of M&A, financing and private equity transactions.
Echeruo also founded Tripology.com, an interactive travel referral service that focuses on connecting travellers with travel specialists. Tripology was acquired by Rand McNally and is now owned by USA Today Travel Media Group.
He is the inventor of US Patent # 7,957,871 for Methods and Apparatuses for navigation in urban environments. He was also a core member of the investment team at AM Investment Partners – a $500 million volatility-driven convertible bond arbitrage hedge fund.
He is also co-founder MindMeet.us, the simplest route for individuals anyplace on the planet to share their insight, move others, and fund-raise for a noble cause. MindMeet was made to connect human information for good and the goal is to democratize information and to interpret the impalpable and regularly indescribable parts of individuals, thoughts and advancement into a discussion that is available to all.
He is also a co-creator of Smiles per Square Feet, which is designed to improve the lived experience of space occupants by leveraging artificial intelligence, data and analytics to transform the human experience of work.
Echeruo has emerged as a Mentor of the ‘unreasonables’ in the corporate space. He has participated in four programmes, including Unreasonable Impact Americas 2022 and has advised over 40 Unreasonable companies.
Forbes has named Echeruo one of the “10 Most Powerful Peoples in Africa.” He was named Black Enterprise Magazine’s Small Business Innovator of the Year and listed in the magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40.”
The tech entrepreneur has been featured in the international media, including Bloomberg, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC and more. He is driven by a commitment to making the world a better, more cohesive place through a free flow of information.
Abbey Wemimo: co-founder and co-CEO, Esusu Financial Inc
Mr. Abbey Wemimo, co-founder and co-CEO, Esusu Financial Inc, is a Nigerian immigrant to the United States, a fintech executive, who took Nigeria’s traditional financial infrastructure to bridge the racial wealth gap in America. The country’s otherwise super financial system yet had the deficiency of excluding over 45 million Americans from the credit markets.
The figure means that one out of 10 Adult Americans had no credit history with the existing credit reporting agencies. Without credit histories, immigrants are usually denied credit from traditional financial institutions.
Wemimo’s Esusu financial platform is his solution that broke the barrier to financial inclusion for many in the United States, creating equitable financial access for everyone.
In the US, visibility in the credit markets is the channel to the financial system and the millions of people without credit scores on account of their backgrounds, race and zip code find themselves marginalised. That disadvantage was the opportunity for the Esusu platform innovators to leverage data solutions to capture all that were excluded no matter where they come from through an alternative financial access window.
Wemimo’s Esusu Financial Inc was founded in 2018 with a mission to raise people from credit invisibility to financial identity and stability and move on toward financial wellness and wealth building. It partners and integrates with major property management platforms to capture, transform and report rental payment data to the three major credit bureaus in the United States.
The Esusu digital platform builds and boosts residents’ credit scores by sharing on-time rental payments of participants. The company has established itself as a leading financial technology platform, leveraging data to empower renters and improve property performance.
The platform provides rent reporting, rich property management analytics and rental assistance, unlocking financial access and creating stability for renters and property owners alike.
The vision of the founders is a world without delinquency, housing evictions and homelessness. Wemimo is therefore set on a mission to dismantle barriers to these goals in housing for working families.
The company’s service offerings include a Rent Relief Fund designed to provide rent relief for renters experiencing financial hardship, including COVID-19 induced difficulties. Anyone who currently rents in the United States and resides in any of the properties on the Esusu platform is eligible regardless of immigration status.
The interest free housing stability loan will be paid directly to the property managers while the resident repays in 12 monthly installments. The all-in-one rent reporting platform is also designed to appeal to property owners by inducing on-time rent payments, preventing the cost and inconvenience of evictions and bringing about low vacancy periods.
This also means increase in cash flow for landlords in view of the company’s records of 25 percent increase in on-time rent payments, increase in demand for apartments with rent reporting and increase of 51 points in average resident’s credit score in 18 months with Esusu.
Through the Esusu platform, Wemimo has brought in significant value added to the US’ housing and credit markets. In credit building, the platform has spurred human capital development, housing justice, financial inclusion and credit access. It provides vital reports on impact metrics such as credit score and credit rate increases and evictions prevented with housing stability support.
Wemimo immigrated to Minneapolis from Nigeria in 2009 at the age of 17 with his mother, having lost his father at 2-year old. He experienced firsthand the hard times that usually face immigrants in starting new lives in foreign countries without resources and without access to the traditional financial institutions for critical credit support.
The financial technology entrepreneur felt marginalized by the financial system that leaves hard choices for immigrants. “You have to go into debt to get some sort of credit history going, which makes no sense to me,” he said.
This was precisely the only choice left to his mother, who had to accept a loan with an outrageous 400-percent-plus interest rate in a desperate struggle to get the family settled and pay for her son’s college education.
Wemimo is a graduate in Business Management from the University of Minnesota Crookston. He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration & Non-Profit Management Policy, International Relations and Affairs, New York University. He is Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow, Public Policy and International Affairs, University of California, Berkeley.
He is also the founder of Clean Water for Everyone and Open Aid Initiative. He has held top management jobs such as deals consultant – M&A professional, PwC, operational risk management, Goldman Sachs and consultant, European Commission. Others include Program, Clinton Global Initiative and Summer Associate, Accenture.
His outstanding accomplishments have earned him a number of major international recognitions. These include Queens Young Leader, Issued by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in Jan 2016, the Abbey – Young Alumni Award by University of Minnesota in October 2015 and Dean’s Scholarship by Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service of New York University.
Others are Presidential Service Award by New York University and Young Africans Committed to Excellence Award (YACE), by Face2Face Africa.
Ken Oguzie- International Business Consultant
Ken Oguzie is a dynamic and dependable International Trade and Business Consultant with more than 10 years-experience spanning 4 different continents in the areas of facilitating and promoting International Trade between regions. Ken’s client centred approach and personalised international business /trade strategy development expertise has built him a reputation amongst his clients globally, as well as strengthened his numerous partnerships with both private and public sector stakeholders.
Throughout his career, Ken has developed a track record in the areas of trade and business facilitation as well as Investment promotion. He has successfully facilitated numerous Trade and Investment deals across various continents and constantly strives to grow the Economies of regions where he operates in and between.
With his dynamic and can-do attitude, Ken has a knack for creating new opportunities and connecting businesses from various regions to partner and collaborate in a variety of ways. Ken also specialises in “holding the hands” of businesses looking to invest or set up new businesses in a foreign country and ensuring they feel safe and comfortable in the new country.
Areas of Expertise
International Trade Facilitation- Ken facilitates international business transactions between clients across multiple countries. He has successfully closed multiple deals and works closely with private sector and Government stakeholders.
Inbound and Outbound Mission- With a focus on Africa-Canada, Ken facilitates trade missions between regions and connects businesses together. His major strength is his extensive network of Government and private sector contacts globally.
Investment promotion- Ken sources for investors and exposes them to new Markets for investments across various sectors. His services are highly personalised and built upon providing a seamless experience for clients
Market Research/ Feasibility Studies- Ken conducts extensive Market
Research/Feasibility Studies for clients looking to access foreign Markets. He also develops International Market entry strategies for clients who decide to move ahead with the transaction.
Africa Canada Trade and Investment Venture Plc (ACTIV) is an organization based in Halifax, Nova Scotia with a passion for promoting and facilitating Trade and Investment between Africa and Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada, as well as the rest of Canada. Our primary purpose is to create Trade and business opportunities for Nova Scotian businesses looking to export and/or partner with companies in Africa, as well as opportunities for Foreign Direct Investments into Nova Scotia. We also partner with designated Government agencies and stakeholders, in the capacity of consultants, to organize inbound and outbound trade missions across between Africa and Nova Scotia as well as promote Nova Scotia as a destination for studies. Our trade missions are designed to connect stakeholders seeking Trade and Investment opportunities across both regions, and create long term, sustainable relationships amongst stakeholders. ACTIV creates the platform for relationship building, trade and investment discussions and for businesses in Nova Scotia to showcase their products and services and also attract Investments to Nova Scotia necessary for job creation and Economic Development
ACTIV is well positioned to substantially increase trade between Africa and Nova Scotia by leveraging our extensive links globally and local knowledge to encourage bilateral trade. Taking advantage of the recent growth of FDI and the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection (FIPA) trade agreements between Africa and Canada as well as the newly enacted Africa Free Trade agreement (ACFCTA), we identify this an opportunity for Nova Scotia to access a 1bn people market through export, and to attract Investors to the province.
Alexander Amosu: A Nigerian luxury product maker
Mr. Alexander Amosu, a Nigerian luxury product maker, is a Guinness Book of Records breaker in luxury designs. He is the designer of the world’s most expensive suit, sold to an anonymous buyer at a private party in London at a whopping price of £70,000.
The suit, which was presented in London in 2009, was transported to the venue in an armoured Range Rover car and described as a one-off creation made from the finest fabrics in the world and took over 80 hours to complete with over 5,000 individual stitches.
The world’s most luxurious suit, dubbed Vanquish II, was made with materials that included wool from vicuña – a rare wild South American animal related to the camel, which only produces enough wool for shearing every three years.
Another wool used to make the suit was qiviuk, said to be the world’s most expensive wool gathered from the Arctic musk ox (a large heavily built goat-antelope with a thick shaggy coat and a horny protuberance on the head, native to the tundra of North America and Greenland.
The vicuña and musk ox’s wool were said to be blended with pashmina (shawl made from fine-quality goat’s wool) from the high mountain plateaus of the Himalayas. Crowning the luxury creation are the suit’s buttons, which were made of 18-carat solid gold and diamonds.
The luxury designer and entrepreneur also has to his name a £240,000 Diamond Encrusted BlackBerry Curve 8900 that is ranked the world’s most expensive BlackBerry. He is also credited with producing the world’s most expensive champagne.
He has created exclusive luxury phone designs for Motorola, Apple and Samsung. He is the designer of 100 limited edition diamond key necklaces sold to A-list celebrities, including Alicia Keys, 50 Cent, Lewis Hamilton and Chris Brown in collaboration with Russell Simmons Jewellery in the United States.
Amosu’s big idea began with a basic Nokia 3210 mobile phone of the 1990s with a limited range of ringtones. Amosu explored the option to add personal ringtones, using differing key tones and combinations.
In seeking ringtones that reflect the individual’s personality, he composed the polyphonic version of a Jay-Z song. This opened for him a door to customise handsets and other electronic products, including iPhones and iPads for people and companies.
Entrepreneurial skill and determination combined with passion for technology lifted Amosu’s company – Rnbringtones to become the UK’s No.1 provider of ringtones and graphics. He ranked number 98 in the UK’s most powerful British business people in technology & telecoms by The Telegraph. He also featured in the Sunday Times ‘top 40 under 40’ in the UK.
Taping on the momentum, Amosu expanded into the luxury portfolio with sales of fashion and technology products under his Alexander Amosu brand. Today, he is reputed for luxury products that command some of the world’s wealthiest clientele.
He grew up in London as an immigrant where he tasted life without luxuries that are available to others and struggled to break free from it. His entrepreneurial spirit began to burn quite early in life at the age of 12, finding its first expression in taking up a newspaper round in his local area, delivering newspapers for £10-a-week.
He raised the stakes and set target for income growth engaging hands to increase the newspaper round and by investing his savings in other ventures. At 16, he started a DJ group called Shadow King, charging £250 for services in homes and clubs. He desired to work on a more sustainable business that had the potential to scale and the inspiration came while yet at college from an unexpected £20 pay for a house cleaning work for his aunt – the going rate for cleaners.
He quickly wrote a business plan for a cleaning company called Home Care Cleaning Agency at the age of 19. Within a week, he had created a logo, printed business cards and delivered flyers offering cleaning services in his locality.
His experience with the first customer for the cleaning job was a disappointment, as he was turned away for his casual wears. That provided a learning curve for him on the essentials of taking due steps to make clients feel confident and develop a sense of trust. At his next assignment, he went all out to demonstrate a sense of composure and reliability that earned him the job.
Soon after, he secured an impressive 12 commercial contracts for office cleaning. The business began to generate a healthy income, turning over £1,500 per week with four employees on the job.
After researching the ringtone industry in 1999, he spotted a gap in ringtone market – which had no providers for the hip-hop genre that was increasingly gaining mainstream popularity. He launched his company, Rnbringtones, the first urban ringtones company in Europe.
In four months, the operation scaled from a council flat bedroom to an office in North London, with 21 staff selling thousands of ringtones. At the end of the first year, the company had turned over £1.6 million, scurrying up to over £6.6 million in the fourth year.
As competition grew, he planned an exit and eventually sold the company to a German telecoms company for £9 million in 2004.
Amosu’s current businesses include the Alexander Amosu brand, Mind of an Entrepreneur, a property portfolio worth over £12 million and Lux Afrique – the first pan African lifestyle and concierge service company that offers a variety of services to high-net-worth personalities in Africa. His mission with Lux Afrique is ensuring that Africa’s high net worth individuals get the level of service they deserve globally and also get the tips on finances in order to build generational wealth.
In a move to establish operations in Africa in 2012, he launched Kamson Luxury Group, acquiring luxury brands to launch in Africa. His first acquisition was Ok! Magazine – the world’s biggest celebrity magazine. He also launched a cigar business in 2018, placing his name on the first African owed cigar company.
Amosu studied Aeronautics at South Bank University, Computer Aided Engineering at the Queen Mary of Westfield University and Sound Engineering at University of North London. He holds an honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration at London Metropolitan University.
He has spoken at a number of globally events. In 2018, he shared the stage with other thought leaders at London Business School on an entrepreneurship panel.