The most successful Entrepreneurs in Nigeria (2024)

Becoming successful and rich is the dream of many people. While some are dreaming and hoping to become successful and influential, there are others who are living that dream. Most of them through hard work, determination, commitment and persistence they have been able to find success. That is why we have decided to share a list of the most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Hoping that it will inspire everyone who is dreaming.

Most of the successful entrepreneurs listed here did not always find it easy. They went through a tough time. They kept going and succeeded. While everyone might not have the same luck and fortune, we can all find inspiration in others. The inspiration that can help us become the best we can.

Who is a successful entrepreneur?

It is important to note that this list is not looking at the richest entrepreneurs in Nigeria. That is just one factor. We also consider entrepreneurs who have dominated their field. Those who have made big impacts and progress.  Steve Jobs was never the richest entrepreneur in the world but in terms of success, he is up there in the top two of his generation. He made big impacts.

So, a successful entrepreneur is an entrepreneur who has made a big impact in a chosen line, made money while building a lucrative business. If you admire the people on this list, you too can learn how become an entrepreneur in Nigeria.

The most successful Entrepreneurs in Nigeria

Here are the most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria:

1. Aliko Dangote

I am sure so many people expected this. Aliko Dangote is not just the most successful entrepreneur in Nigeria, he is the most successful in Africa. He has constantly dominated the business world in Nigeria and in Africa.

Aliko Dangote started from selling sweets in primary school to building the biggest conglomerate in Africa. He took a N500, 000 loan from his uncle to startup, now look how far that beginning has taken him to.

“I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets (candies) and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time.” He famously said

As at March 2020, he is the richest person in Nigeria and Africa with a net worth of $10.1 billion according to Forbes. He has been the richest man in Africa for so long.

Some facts about Aliko Dangote

Birth place: Kano

Place of residence: Lagos

Date of birth: 10th of April 1957

Business interest: Cement, sugar, flour and more.

Marital status: Divorced

Known friends: Femi Otedola

Education: Bachelor of Arts/Science, Al-Azhar University

Number of Children: 3

Read more on Dangote: How Aliko Dangote made his money

2. Mike Adenuga

Mike Adenuga whose full name is Chief Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga Jr, GCON is one of the most successful Nigerian entrepreneurs ever. For almost 2 decades, the battle for the richest person in Nigeria has been a reserved contest between him and Aliko Dangote.

While he is widely known as the owner of Glo, Conoil and many other ventures, Mike Adenuga started in the business world selling Soft drinks. That is how he made his first millions.

As of  March 2020, he is ranked as the second richest person in Nigeria and the third richest person in Africa by Forbes with a net worth of $7.7 billion.

Mike Adenuga

Some facts about Mike Adenuga

Birth place: Ibadan, Oyo state

Place of residence: Lagos

Date of birth: 29 April 1953

Business interest: Telecom, oil, banking and more

Marital status: Married

Known friends: Dele Momodu

Education: Master of Business Administration, Pace University

Number of Children: 7

Read more about Mike Adenuga: How Mike Adenuga made his money

3. Abdulsamad Rabiu

Abdulsamad Rabiu may not be as famous as the two people on this list before him but he has managed to make a big success in the cement and sugar industry dominated by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.

Not everyone get to compete with Aliko Dangote and find massive success doing that. He is the owner of one of the biggest conglomerate in Nigeria, BUA Group. His late father, Khalifah Isyaku Rabiu was a very successful business man and he inherited land from his father.

As of March 2020 he is the third richest person in Nigeria and the eight richest in Africa with a net worth of $3.1 according to Forbes.

Abdulsamad Rabiu

Some facts about Abdulsamad Rabiu

Birth place: Kano

Place of residence: Lagos

Date of birth: 4th August 1960

Business interest: Cement, sugar, real estate and more

Marital status: Married

4. Folorunsho Alakija

Folorunsho Alakija is the richest female entrepreneur in Nigeria. She has been previously ranked by Forbes as the richest woman in Africa. For many years she has been ranked as the richest woman in Nigeria. Folorunsho Alakija is a testimony that no matter your gender, you can be successful. She has shown amazing qualities, leadership and commitment all through her journey as an entrepreneur.

What is more? In 2014, she temporarily unseated Oprah Winfrey as the richest black woman in the world! Her journey to the top from all indication was not easy. She had to work her way to the top with dedication and a never give up spirit.

At the age of 7, she had left Nigeria to study in London. She returned to Nigeria years later to attend Muslim High School Sagamu. Growing up she had interest in fashion.

As of March 2020, she is ranked the richest woman in Nigeria, third richest person in Nigeria, second richest woman in Africa and 20th richest person in Africa with a net worth of $1 billion by Forbes.

How Folorunsho Alakija made her money

Some facts about Folorunsho Alakija

Birth place: Lagos

Place of residence: Lagos

Date of birth: 15th day of July 1951

Business interest: Oil, transportation and more

Marital status: Married

Known friends: Modupe Alakija (husband)

Number of Children: 4

Read more about Folorunsho Alakija: How Folorunsho Alakija made her money

5. Femi Otedola

Femi Otedola is a well known entrepreneur in Nigeria. His father, Sir Michael Otedola was a former governor of Lagos state and a key player in the oil industry working for Mobil. But that was never enough reason for Femi to relax. As early as six, he already started a business.

“I had my first business at the age of six. It was called FEMCO. I would offer to groom my parents’ guests’ nails. Then, write a receipt and charge them for my service. They paid me too. I always had an interest in business.” He said

Well, while Femi Otedola is a super rich entrepreneur today, things could have taken a different turn. His dream as a child was to become a Reverend father!

His story is one that can inspire many in the face of adversity. Through his hard work, he became the second richest person in Nigeria but not long after that, something went wrong and he lost almost everything. Thoughts of suicide came to him. But with hope, determination and persistence he got up and made it back up.

Some facts about Femi Otdola

Birth place: Ibadan, Oyo state.

Place of residence: Lagos

Date of birth: 4th November 1962

Business interest: Oil, haulage, utilities and more

Marital status: Married

Known friends: Aliko Dangote

Education: Obafemi Awolowo University

Number of Children: 4

Read more about Femi Otedola: How Femi Otedola made his money

6. Tony Elumelu

Tony Elumelu owns a controlling interest in Transcorp and is the most powerful person at United Bank for Africa. He became known when he led a small group of investors to take over a small commercial bank in Lagos. The Bank was  Standard Trust Bank (STB). in 2005, the bank merged with United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Tony Elumelu was the MD/CEO.

He has a stake in telecommunication company, MTN. Elumelu with his success has chosen a path to empower the next generation of African Entrepreneurs through his Tony Elumelu Foundation which holds several programs and offers grant to young African entrepreneurs.

For the success and impact, Tony Elumelu deservedly takes his place among the most successful Entrepreneurs in Nigeria

In 2015, he was ranked by Forbes as the 31st richest person in Africa with a Net worth of $700M

Tony Elumelu

Some facts about Tony Elumelu

Birth place: Jos, Plateau state

Place of residence: Lagos

Date of birth: 22 March 1963

Business interest: Investments, Banking, hospitality, agriculture, oil production and more

Marital status: Married

Education: Master of science degree from the University of Lagos

Number of Children: 5

7. Jim Ovia

Jim Ovia is the brain behind one of Africa’s biggest bank, Zenith Bank. In 1980, he started the bank.  He has been involved with the bank since infancy. Jim served as the MD/CEO and later as Chairman of the bank.

He also founded a major telecommunication company, Visafone which was later acquired by MTN.

Jim Ovia is a philanthropist. In 2015, his net worth was estimated to be $550 million by Forbes.

Jim Ovia

Some Facts about Jim Ovia

Birth place: Agbor, Delta State

Place of residence: Lagos

Date of birth: 4th November 1951

Business interest: Banking, telecommunication, Property and more

Marital status: Married

Known friends: Kay Ovia (wife)

Education: University of Louisiana Monroe

8. Theophilus Danjuma

While Theophilus Danjuma is known as a former military general and politician, he is also a very successful entrepreneur. As a matter of fact, he is one of the richest entrepreneurs in Nigeria

He is the owner of South Atlantic Petroleum, a oil exploration company with assets in Nigeria, Republic of Benin, the Central African Republic and Madagascar.

Danjuma is also the owner of NALComet, one of Nigeria largest shipping companies. He is also the owner of Notore Chemical Industries which specialize in manufacturing fertilizer.

Theophilus Danjuma

Some facts about Theophilus Danjuma

Birth place: Takum, Taraba state

Place of residence: Abuja

Date of birth: 9th December 1938

Business interest: Oil, manufacturing, shipping and more

Marital status: Married

Known friends: Daisy Danjuma (Wife)

9. Mitchell Elegbe

Mitchell Elegbe is one of the most successful tech entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This list will be incomplete without the presence of any tech entrepreneur and who else than Mitchell Elegbe, the founder of one of the biggest tech companies in Nigeria and Africa, Interswitch.

Before venturing into tech, Mitchell Elegbe worked with Schlumberger and Telnet, an ICT engineering and consulting company. In 2002, he founded interswitch.

Today, many tech companies, especially fintech companies have emerged in Nigeria and thriving, Mitchell started the journey way back in 2002 with Interswitch.

Interswitch group is also the owner of Quickteller, another major tech brand. Verve, one of Nigeria’s most used debit card is also owned by Interswitch group.

His net worth is not public but we can put it close to $100 million after Visa invested $200 million in the company for 20% stake.

Mitchell Elegbe

Some facts about Mitchell Elegbe

Place of residence: Lagos

Business interest: Tech, finance

Marital status: Married

Known friends: Akeem Lawal

Education: University of Benin

10. Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma

Innocent Chukwuma is the founder of Nigeria’s first indigenous automobile manufacturing company, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing popularly known as just Innoson. He definitely deserves his spot among the most successful Entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

He is a big example of what hard work, dedication and commitment can do. Innocent Chukwuma did not attend University but today he is the owner of a car manufacturing company.

He started his business by selling spare parts in south eastern Nigeria. From there he started Innoson. The company manufactures 70% of the parts locally and sort for the rest from Japan, China, and Germany.

Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma

Some facts about Innocent Chukwuma

Birth place: Nnewi, Anambra State

Place of residence: Nnewi, Anambra State

Date of birth: October 1, 1961

Business interest: Automobile

Marital status: Married

Known friends: Ebele Chukwuma (Wife)

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Mfon Abel Ekene

Mfon Abel Ekene

Internet scientist and blog expert. Loves writing, researching and helping people reach their dreams. Speaker and authour.
Follow me on Twitter @mfonabel

Articles: 29


  1. You have got a nice blog post, can you mentor me too? Would be so glad. More so, how can I reach you directly sir for intimate rapol? Thanks in anticipation

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