by Hauwa Gambo
This is one of the hard lists – not least because when it comes to business, there are many across our nation working in their little corners who might not have caught our attention. Still, with months of asking questions, digging in and digging deep, we were able to find young businessmen and women who are making it happen big.
As always, it’s not just about making money or creating wealth, it’s about building what we can see as a sustainable business, grabbing the attention of those who matter, and being able to project confidence in your enterprise. These 10 below do exactly that for us!
There’s a reason she’s the SuccessDigest Entrepreneur of the Year for 2011, it’s the same reason she was invited as one of four young people to speak at the Women in Management and Business Conference last year, and the same reason she won the Thisday Awards this year. With the Rise Print Company, Rise Library, Rise Media Store and the Rise Business Academy, Akerele is one young woman who has become synonymous with the art of creating wealth.
If there are a couple of people who still believe the business of sound at events is a matter of a couple of loudspeakers and some technicians with wires, then they have not meet Karo Agono, the young visionary behind Tremor Perfect – whose clientele includes everyone from The Experience in Lagos to the Presidency in Abuja. With heavy investment in equipment that is light years ahead of his competition, Agono has always been focused on the bottom line – and he has every reason to be proud.
Many of those who know him only know his investment as partner of musician Banky W in EME Music, where he has joined forces to create a business that has become a force of nature. What they don’t know is that EME is not nearly half of this businessman’s story. As Managing Director of Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN) Ltd, operating from the EAN Hangar Jet Center at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Demuren has quickly established himself as a factor in the aviation business. And it gets better every year.
How Umokaro avoids the klieg lights surely beats us, but sometimes a person is so busy making money that fame is not really a matter for concern. However, in the advertising industry there’s no pushing his company DM2 aside – with mind-winning campaigns for everyone from Sprite to Vitafoam. Umokaro’s business has surely stood the test of time in almost a decade, expanding in the same period and shining the light for young people in what is a tough and consuming industry.
From the get-go, this lawyer made it clear he wasn’t in the music business for the show and the glamour – he had a plan. Chocolate City Group has spent the past few years making that plan clear. It has not just created superstars including MI, Jesse Jags, Ice Prince and Brymo, it has also succeeded in creating a model business that won the Africa Entrepreneurship Awards and also attracted the investment eye of its new chairman, the venerable Hakeem Belo-Osagie. Maikori means business.
When the president decided to launch the YouWiN! Business plan competition, a documentary on Rilwan’s business was chosen to play the event. This is the reason: The Focal Point Group, operating from Abuja and Kaduna, includes a printing publishing arm, a dry-cleaning arm and the awards company has come a long way, quietly but steadily expanding and growing over the past couple years. Rilwan isn’t 30 yet, but he is giving the competition a run for its money.
Yes, we know it is difficult to believe that the chief executive of House of Tara International is still this young, but she is. The winner of The Future Awards for Entrepreneur of the Year and then Young Person of the Year has spent the past decade building one of the country’s most enduring brands – with branches in at least half of the country and a range of international-standard products like the Orekelewa make-up range. The power of Tara’s vision is truly inspiring.
Bucknor revolutionized the entire events industry in Nigeria – that much should not be in doubt. Zaphaire events is also the weddings queen – with as much as three weddings on any one weekend. But it happened because she set about, long ago, setting up proper business structure, one that’s meant to last. It is certainly the reason she is one of the women making it happen with the Women in Management and Business.
Forget the hype, four stores in Lagos is no mean feat. With his flagship store in Maryland, his new corporate headquarters launched in Lekki, and the Surulere Shopping Complex store a hub of activity, Nnaji has shown plenty of young people in the business of fashion and luxury that sometimes you need to put your head down and follow the money. OUCH continues to grow, its brand name continues to shine, and Nnaji’s is working steadily towards his international retail brand dream.
Khalim Sule Halilu
It so happened that after his father started the business, they ran into financial troubles, and the young Halilu had to take over. Well, he’s certainly doing something right! The Kano-based chain of businesses including the tea brand, Beyond Comment, a very popular brand in many parts of the North, supplies Kano and four neighboring states. He has also branched into the manufacturing and distribution of water and yoghurt with a focus on Kaduna and Abuja. Who needs Lagos?
Editor’s Note: Any one associated with the core editorial team of Y! or YNaija has been removed from any of the lists.