‘make it’ announces Tony Elumelu winner of 1st Badge of Honour for outstanding Nigerian entrepreneurs

Top Quote The event is an inspirational initiative of make it, the first Nigerian online newspaper/TV for entrepreneurs, to exalt outstanding Nigerian entrepreneurs. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) July 08, 2018 - Nigeria’s first online newspaper/TV for entrepreneurs, make it, on Thursday announced Chief Tony Elumelu as the winner of its maiden Entrepreneur of the month award.
    Chief Elumelu is the Chairman of United Bank for Africa, Heirs Holdings, Transcorp and numerous other companies.

    The recognition comes with the Badge of Honour for outstanding entrepreneurs.
    The organisation said members of its Editorial Board unanimously chose Chief Elumelu for his dogged commitment to promoting entrepreneurship not only in Nigeria but across Africa.

    make it specifically mentioned the astounding contributions Chief Elumelu is making to develop entrepreneurship in Africa by setting aside $100 million to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs in 10 years. The project is expected to add $10 billion in revenue to Africa’s economy within a decade.

    make it said as part of its corporate goals, it aims to inspire more Nigerians to embrace entrepreneurship as the surest path to a brighter future, by regularly celebrating in a spectacular way entrepreneurs who have broken great barriers to excel.

    “We are convinced that honouring distinguished and successful entrepreneurs will motivate millions of younger Nigerian entrepreneurs who have almost given up hope,” the newspaper said.

    Every month, make it will choose a notable entrepreneur who has for many years built successful businesses and mentored others, for the honour.
    Below is the profile of the winner.

    Entrepreneurship is the cornerstone to African development and the key to local value creation in Africa. I am determined to ensure that Africa’s next generation of entrepreneurs has the platform they need to turn their entrepreneurial aspirations into sustainable business that will drive economic growth – Tony Elumelu

    Dubbed the Africapitalist and arguably, Nigeria’s Warren Buffet, Tony Elumelu is one of Nigeria’s largest entrepreneurs of all time.
    From the struggles of a humble beginning to the meteoric rise as a prominent Nigerian banker and now, one of Africa’s champions, spearheading the cause of continental development through his long term investments, entrepreneurship initiatives and advocacy, Plateau born Tony Elumelu has become a leader of leaders.

    Unrelenting, he continues to support, energise and motivate enterprising Africans seeking opportunities for success.

    Humble beginning to global fame
    Elumelu was brought up by struggling, middle-class parents in Plateau State, Nigeria though they hailed from Onicha-Ukwu in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria. He studied Economics at the defunct Bendel State University (now known as the Ambrose Ali University) and later went for his Master’s degree at the University of Lagos. He also went to Harvard Business School for the Advanced Management Programme.

    Though Elumelu’s impact in the Nigerian banking sector cannot be over-emphasised, it will be amazing to know that his decision to go into banking was by chance. The fortuitous journey started at All States Trust Bank where he worked as a regional manager.

    Elumelu started his walk to fame and wealth when, with a small group of investors he took over a seemingly insignificant, struggling commercial bank in Lagos, Nigeria. Crystal Bank of Africa was then in distress and was later renamed Standard Trust Bank (STB). Elumelu went on to revive and make the bank profitable.

    He led STB to merge with the United Bank for Africa in 2005. The banking group grew immensely and currently has branches in no fewer than 20 African countries, the US and UK , with a staggering customer base of more than seven million customers in Africa alone.

    After he retired from his position as the Managing Director of UBA, he went on to found Heirs Holdings; an African proprietary investment company, with investments in financial services, energy, real estate, hospitality, agribusiness and health care sectors.
    In 2015, he established the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

    Tony Elumelu Foundation
    The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is regarded as the largest African philanthropic initiative focused on entrepreneurship. It represents a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify and empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs, create a million jobs, and add $10 billion in revenues to Africa’s economy.

    Having been an entrepreneur with an understanding of the rigours of daily life, Elumelu set up the platform to help enterprising young minds achieve their dreams and contribute to the transformation of Africa.

    Today, via the TEF, Elumelu has become a much-admired voice for entrepreneurship in Africa and beyond.

    Secrets of stardom
    As a completely home-grown entrepreneur, here are some of the secrets of Elumelu’s great accomplishments.

    1. Voracious reading
    Elumelu is an avid reader. He is particularly known to be a reader of autobiographies of successful business leaders and how they help transform corporate America into the preeminent global business environment. This has exposed him to the understanding of how gigantic multinational organisations are built. The understanding he gained from reading has helped him in his businesses.

    2. Challenge of status quo and creation of value
    In his words: “When we have the opportunity to turn-around, we do it well and create value for shareholders and other stakeholders.” Being impassioned with the desire to challenge the status quo has always helped him to achieve results using unconventional methods.

    3. Hard work
    Elumelu describes hard work as an extremely important factor for achieving success. According to a close acquaintance of his, “He was often the last to leave the office in the evening and first to resume in the morning. During his business abroad, you would think he will be on holiday but not Elumelu.”

    4. Saving culture
    He is renowned for his popular line: “If he didn’t save from earning one dollar, he would not save even if he earned $1bn.” Disciplining himself not to consume all he has significantly affected his life and helped him to grow to become a shrewd spender and respected investment mogul.

    Other success traits of the Africapitalist include:
    • focus and doggedness in achieving his dreams
    • willingness to mentor entrepreneurs.
    One person the economist cum philanthropist openly admits as a strong influence on his career success was his mentor, Chief Ebitimi Banigo. “Chief Banigo helped me to develop my strategic thinking and insight and to channel my ideas into concrete action so that when the opportune moment arrived at the age of 34, I had the set belief to gather a small group together to take over and revive a failing bank through innovations in our services,” he once said.

    A deluge of accolades
    In 2003, Elumelu was conferred with the Nigerian national honour of Member of the order of the Federal Republic (MFR).

    He was voted African Business Leader of the Year by African Investor magazine in 2006 and was also recognised as the African Banker of the Year in 2008 by the same magazine.

    In 2012, he was decorated with the highly coveted Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) for his service in promoting private enterprise.

    In the same year, New African magazine featured him in their list of the “100 Most Influential Africans in Business”. He was also recognized as one of Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People by Forbes magazine.

    In 2013, he was honoured with the Leadership Award in Business and Philanthropy from the Africa-America Institute (AAI) Awards. Also in 2013 he was named African Business Icon at the 2013 African Business Awards.

    In April 2016 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 5th edition of the annual Economic Forum of the Ivorian National Council of Employers, CGECI Academy, (CGECI).
    In 2017, Elumelu received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Entrepreneurship Award by the business Council for International understanding.

    Beyond all the awards, what continues to distinguish this seasoned business magnate is his unwavering passion for the African youths. Through his Foundation, TEF, he has produced and continues to produce great professionals and future global leaders.
    Elumelu’s personality has made people regard him as a champion who embodies true greatness as he carries the fight, refuses to settle for a comfortable existence, thinks about the plight of others, inspires hope and makes the aspirations of others his own personal concern.

    Without any iota of doubt, Tony Elumelu has already written his name in gold in entrepreneurship in Africa. He is destined to leave bigger indelible footprints on the sand of time.

    It is for all these compelling reasons that the Editorial Board of make it chose Chief Tony Elumelu is eminently worthy of being named the winner of our maiden “Entrepreneur of the Month” award.

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