When celebrating game changers in the business world in Nigeria, we often praise entrepreneurs doing so from the Nigeria physical sphere. However, there are other Nigerian entrepreneurs who have taken the game further and are breaking barriers in various countries outside Nigeria irrespective of various challenges.
In this article, we discuss seven entrepreneurs in diaspora who are shaking the entrepreneurial industry and making a great name for themselves and Nigeria at large. Though their names do not ring a bell like Aliko Dangote, Otedola and Mike Adenuga, these men are equally wealthy in their own rights.
Mr. Festus Uzoma Mbisiogu is chief executive officer, Blue Diamond Logistics Group, a logistics firm that handles group-page or personal containers from any city in China. His Blue Diamond Logistics began operations in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Part of the company’s business is bridging the gap between manufacturers in China and buyers in Nigeria.
Mr Festus made humble beginnings in the city of Guangzhou as a trade agent, driven by a keen interest to excel in the business world. 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.
Born and raised in Nigeria, Festus had his first degree in Business Administration in 2007 from the University of Lagos. After this, he obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guangzhou, China.
Festus Uzoma is the chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) in Guangzhou province of China in recognition of his contributions towards the enhancement of Nigeria-Chinese investments which attracted over $20 billion at the time.
Echendu Ndubuisi Anthony is the founder and majority shareholder of Echendu Group of Companies, a multi million-dollar conglomerate that plays big in the Construction, Oil and Gas, and Real Estate Industries in the UK, and have executed businesses across the UK, US, Ghana and Nigeria.
A native of Rivers State, Nigeria, Echendu had his basic education in Nigeria, before proceeding to the UK where he obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University College London. He also bagged a professional certificate degree in Engineering from Kingdom Entrepreneur Institute UK. He has gone ahead to bag several professional business and leadership certifications from renowned institutions such as the Harvard Business School, Metropolitan Business School London, and the International Business Management Institute, Cambridge, etc.
Lord Echendu also founded the Echendu Unify Foundation for the sole purpose of giving hope and empowering lives through food and cash donations to less-privileged individuals and families across West African countries, scholarships for university students, the elderly and the youth. In April 2020, Lord Echendu Ndubuisi was knighted into the Catholic order of St. Anthony for his “services to the growth of entrepreneurship”.
Last year, Lord Echendu Ndubuisi was appointed into Global Chambers of Business Leaders, in recognition of his outstanding business success and meritorious contribution to the growth of entrepreneurship across the globe.
The world of travel apps globally can’t be complete without one of it’s founding fathers , Chinedu Echeruo. The Nigerian who emigrated to the United States, took the world by storm in 2005, when he created Hopstop, a navigating platform which provides door-to-door public transport, taxi, walking, bike, and hourly car rental directions in major metropolitan markets across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia. Apple Inc acquired the App in 2013 for $1 Billion and much of its features was subsequently inculcated in Apple Maps.
Later, he co-founded Tripology.com, a platform that connects consumers with specialist travel professionals. The company was later acquired by Rand McNally, an American travel and navigation company. Echeruo also founded Gigameet in 2009, a “cause-driven” social media network now known as Mindmeet. The platform was a recipient of the 2019 “World’s Most Innovative Company” award.
Chinedu now runs his Love & Magic Company, a start-up studio that works with innovative groups to co-create businesses.
Chinedu has been featured in media including Bloomberg, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC and more. Forbes has named Chinedu one of the “10 Most Powerful People in Africa.” He was also named Black Enterprise Magazine’s Small Business Innovator of the Year and listed in the magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40.”
Chinedu holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and B.S. in Finance and Accounting (Honors) from Syracuse University.
Dr. Kase Lawal is a Nigerian-born America-based oil tycoon causing a massive disruption in the business space. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of CAMAC International Corporation, an energy company which engages in the exploration, development, and operation of oil properties in Africa and South America. His Houston-based company, is one of the largest black-owned businesses in the U.S., generating over $2 billion dollars a year. CAMAC has many subsidiaries such as Camac International Corporation, Camac Energy Inc and Allied Energy Corporation, a thriving energy firm in the United States.
He is also the chairman and chief executive officer of Erin Energy Corporation, and chairman of Allied Energy Corporation in Houston, Texas, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, CAMAC HOLDINGS; vice chairman, Port of Houston Authority Commission. He is the Vice Chairman of the Unity National Bank, the only licensed and federally insured African-American owned bank in Texas.
Mr. Alexander Amosu is known as a Nigerian serial luxury product maker. He is a Guinness Book of Records breaker in luxury designs, who designed the world’s most expensive suit, sold to an anonymous buyer at a private party in London at a whopping price of £70,000. Amosu was born in the UK by Nigerian immigrant parents and grew up in London.
The 47 years old entrepreneur has created exclusive luxury phone designs for Motorola, Apple and Samsung. He is the designer of 100 limited edition diamond key necklaces in collaboration with Russell Simmons Jewellery in the United States, which was sold to A-list celebrities, including Alicia Keys, 50 Cent, Lewis Hamilton and Chris Brown
Amosu’s current businesses include the Alexander Amosu brand, Mind of an Entrepreneur, a property portfolio worth over £12 million, Lux Afrique – the first pan African lifestyle and concierge service company that offers a variety of services to high-net-worth personalities in Africa, Ok! Magazine – the world’s biggest celebrity magazine. He also launched a cigar business in 2018, placing his name on the first African owned cigar company.
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 specialises 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. As soon as Calendly launched, the market responded with 20-30 million subscribers worldwide and more than $60m annual revenue in seven years. That lifted the Lagos-born tech expert to one of America’s richest immigrants.
Born and raised in Nigeria, Tope 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 a salesman, including IBM and Dell EMC.
According to Forbes valuation in 2023, his Net worth is 1.4 billion USD.
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. He is the son of Theophilus O. Ogunlesi, the first Nigerian professor of medicine at University of Ibadan. This successful business magnate is so respected that International musician Burna Boy in the song Wonderful ( in the album “Twice as Nice”), paid tribute to Adebayo citing his hard work.
His company GIP, 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 in 2018 when it bought Nuovo Transporto Viaggiatori – an Italian high-speed train operating company.
After finishing his secondary school education in Lagos, he received a B.A. with first class honours in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University in England. In 1979, Ogunlesi received a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, which he pursued at the same time.
As part of his additional work, Adebayo lectured 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 Directors at Goldman Sachs, and two years later, the lead director. There is no confirmed source of his net worth, but Wallmine estimates that Ogunlesi is worth at least $22.5 million dollars and owns at least 66,677 units of Goldman Sachs stock as of 7 May 2020.
Gregory Ozegbe – Chairman/CEO, Africa Alliance Group
Yemi Edun – CEO of Daniel Ford & Co Ltd
Daniel Moses – Founder, Property Wealth Corporation
Abbey Wemimo – Co-founder, Esusu Financial Inc
These personalities are really making Nigeria proud in diaspora. Is there any name we have omitted, kindly write in the comment section.