Tag Archives: entrepreneurs

Strive Masiyiwa

“The God Factor In My Success Story”- Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman Econet Wireless.

“The God Factor In My Success Story”- Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman Econet Wireless

I was born in what was then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and I was barely 4 years old when conflict started — first over independence from Britain, and then against white-minority rule. In 1968, my family fled to Zambia, across the border. Our neighbors were Scottish and had a young son, and that’s more or less how I landed in an Edinburgh boarding school.

Sometime in the mid-1990s, I guessed that cell phones would become a major growth sector in African countries. The government of Zimbabwe certainly didn’t. I offered to develop a cell phone network in tandem with the state telecom company, but the Mugabe-controlled government rejected my offer — a refusal that must surely rank amongst the greatest follies in the world of business: They could have owned the Econet Wireless Group, but instead they declared war on me! They refused to grant us a license, claiming they had a monopoly. So, I took them to court, and it took five years…Read: Kenny Blaq’s Grace story

When we lost the Supreme Court case in June 1994, I was totally devastated. Two years of work appeared to have gone down the drain. My dream was shattered. The lawyers made it clear that there was no appeal possible, and we packed up the files…My wife had been trying to get me to church since we got married, but I refused. Church for me was a place of funerals or wedding ceremonies. One Sunday though after dropping her off, I drove around the block and returned…It was the first time, in my life, I had listened to a church service, without the compulsion of duty for an event held there. It seemed as though everyone in the room, except me was so happy! The young American pastor, was preaching about Jesus Christ, whom I thought I had known all my life. And yet now I realised that I did not know Him; I only knew of Him. Disturbed, I left hurriedly and went and sat in the car.

I went again another Sunday…and arriving home that day, I realised that the misery of my court defeat, had completely lifted. It just seemed so unimportant. Sitting down that afternoon, with a borrowed copy of the New International Version Bible, I sat down to read the bible for the very first time, in my life. I read it everyday and finished it in three weeks…what I did not tell anyone at the time, (including my wife), was that almost every night I laid my head down to sleep, I would begin to have quite extraordinary dreams…

One evening, I attended a special church event, held at a local hotel. The Pastor preaching, had never met me. As he preached, he suddenly stopped: ‘There is a man in this room, you have been having these dreams…. in these dreams, you are building towers, rather like broadcasting towers…everywhere, all over the world. God is asking me to tell you, that He is the one giving you those dreams, and He is going to make it happen. He has also given you a new heart, you are going to have such compassion. Please come forward, if you are that man.’ There could have been 500 people in that room, that Sunday evening. I got up, and made my way to the front of the room.

Some years later, I won the case. Econet now has a majority share of users in Zimbabwe and operations in more than 15 countries. It started offering mobile banking through its phones a few years ago, and within 18 months, some 20 percent of Zimbabwe’s GDP was passing through its networks.

Strive Masiyiwa is a London based entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist. He is the founder and executive chairman of international diversified telecommunications group, Econet Wireless. He sits on board several organizations such as the Rockefeller foundation, US Council on Foreign Relations International Advisory Board, and the Asia Society to mention a few.

ibukun awosika

“Success For Me Means Winning In Business And Also Winning as A Wife Too”- Ibukun Awosika

“Success For Me Means Winning In Business And As A Wife Too”- Ibukun Awosika

Seeing my drive as a young entrepreneur, my father used to say, ‘I have given birth to this one’, and if anything happened, he was always present to assist me even if it meant selling his house to pay up any debts I may have incurred along the way. He never discouraged me.

When you are pursuing your dreams and trying to leave a legacy, you will find help. As a young girl in my twenties and in business, no bank was willing to lend me money. I became frustrated, working day and night, not because I didn’t know what to do but because I couldn’t meet the needs of clients due to the fact that I did not have adequate machinery…I soon got help from people who believed in my dreams and I finally got access to all the loans I needed.

I never had an agenda to be on the board of several companies…it came as a matter of life and reward as all I was trying to do was build businesses a certain way. I derive so much pleasure walking into an office that we furnished a long time ago and seeing our furniture looking nice; I get this joy and satisfaction that money cannot buy…Read: Family and Friends Must Pay; Banke Meshida’s Business Rules

I can guarantee you that you wont last long in this business if you cut corners. When I started the furniture business, I had people who started at about the same time I did. There are people in the furniture industry I call government children; once their people go out of power, their businesses cease to exist. I am content with the little I make because I made it the right way and sometimes you need to fight for survival.

You must understand that you are not indispensable to your business because you are not God. You are not the most important person, the guys who work for you are just as important as well. You must learn to respect them and the value they bring into your business. You can’t pay them peanuts and pay yourself all the money.

Success for me means winning as a wife as well; this means that I help my husband to be the best while he supports my dreams and desires…

Ibukun Awosika is popularly known as the Chairman of the board of Directors for First Bank of Nigeria, however, she is also an author, motivational speaker and runs several successful businesses.


Adebola Williams

“Most Young People are Fixated on Looking Like They’re Winning…”Adebola Williams

Adebola Williams started working at age 15. He was born into a wealthy home but at age 9, his family lost everything

“When life throws lemons at you, you make lemonade, right? Well, I make chocolate cake and let people wonder how I did that. At [the point my family lost everything], I knew I had to survive, because at an early age, I realized that my life is my life and that if it got messed up, it was my life. So I made a conscious effort to make it better

My first ever job was stage acting. That didn’t last long, so I moved on to working with a counsellor and psychologist as his assistant without any qualification or pay. I also worked with NTA for three years. It was after a year they started paying me, but I had gained so much experience and all that experience finally paid off at the right time. I went out of my way to places that I knew would impact my life and the four years I spent working with the counsellor and NTA were my formative years that enabled me build a solid foundation of good will” – Adeola Williams

Adebola Williams, fondly called Debola Lagos is a co-founder of RED, which is the 11-year-old parent company that houses StateCraft Inc and Red Media Africa, a Public Relations company working in West Africa for Facebook, Uber, Union Bank and Heineken. He is also one of the brains behind Future Awards and the man behind the PR campaign for Nigeria’s President Buhari and Ghanaian President,Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the last presidential election Read: The Only Cardio-Nephrologist in the World is Nigerian

“An entrepreneur finds a way to get whatever he needs to start a business – money, people, or whatever else is needed…your gut is very important and you need to trust it. In a difficult situation you need to follow what God says and what your gut tells you. I don’t think there’s a specific rule of business, but there are some things you need: gut, passion, resilience, an entrepreneurial spirit and God. God always comes through

Young people need to listen to success stories. I believe that because most successful people in Nigeria do not tell their story, young people don’t know how they became successful. So they can’t pick the right lessons. If you stay in one place, work hard, be committed and consistent, you would get to the top one day and there is a future for you. Most young people are fixated on looking like they’re winning. They want to look the part without doing the work. You don’t jump from talent to achievement; you have to put in the work. You don’t earn it if you don’t learn it. Stay in your place of growth.”- Adebola Wlliams

“This is the man with the golden touch, anything he touches turns to gold.” Ghanaian President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.