7 African Millionaires That Started Their Businesses With $250 Or Less
While just a few individuals are born wealthy, many others have to work hard to earn it. The exciting effect of success stories is the spirit they ignite in people who have lost hope or some sense of purpose in their entrepreneurial journey.
Sometimes all you need to start a business, is $250 (50,000 Naira). While this sum may sound ridiculously low and seem to be of no use to any aspiring or budding entrepreneur, many have created fortunes and built empires from it. These African millionaires that made the impossible seem attainable, have been applauded countless times for their outstanding efforts in wealth creation. They have not just shown that tenacity of purpose is supreme, but that any smart and highly disciplined individual can achieve anything with the right amount of smart effort applied.
Here Are 7 African Millionaires That Started Their Businesses With $250 Or Less:
1). Cosmas Maduka:
Cosmas Maduka is a business magnate from Nnewi, in Anambra, Nigeria. He’s the founder and chief executive officer of Coscharis motors limited.
The multi-millionaire with a net worth sitting at over $500 million dollars started his business career by leaving his mum to serve his uncle as an apprentice at the age of 7. By the age of 9, he had started helping his uncle to purchase and transport spare parts from Nnewi to Lagos.
After a falling out with his uncle, he was left all alone with 200 Naira ($1). Although this sum had a higher value in the 1970’s, he set out with his brother to start a spare part business. Due to different ideologies on how the business should be run, he set out alone to start a new business called Coscharis with his wife. The name for the company came from a combination of his name, Cosmas, and his wife’s, Charity.
In the year 1982, he was among the lucky 10 individuals that got a license from the Nigerian government to import automobiles into the country.
The rest today, is history. Cosmas is not just the CEO of the Cocharis group, but is also one of the largest shareholders in Access Bank Nigeria, and is estimated by Forbes Africa to have a net worth sitting above $500 million dollars.
Comas Maduka’s resilience has placed him not just as a hard man for misfortune to beat, but as also one of the richest Nigerians alive today.
2). Abasiama Idaresit:
Abasiama Idaresit’s success story is one that didn’t just make his talents something for African entrepreneurs to learn from, but also created an event that even Google couldn’t ignore, and had to create a marketing case study from.
After attaining his masters degree from the Manchester Business School, Abasiama returned to Nigeria to start a digital agency. For over 7 months, he couldn’t get a single client, then he came across Baby M, a store located in Ikoyi, Nigeria.
He offered to help them promote their brand online for a little fee, and the only way he got their approval was by offering a full refund if the campaign fails. The Baby M’s founder considered his offer, and paid him $250 for the campaign.
As soon as the campaign started, it went viral. Baby M prior to his campaign was earning an average monthly revenue of $1,000 dollars, but by the third month, he had turned a $250 dollar campaign into a $100,000 dollar a month revenue business.
Today, his company Wild Fusion, is located in at least three African countries, has Visa, Samsung, Pepsi, Unilever, Interswitch, Ecobank, and a host of other multi-million dollar and billion dollar conglomerates as clients, and is worth at least $6 million dollars.
3). Axel Fourie:
Axel Fourie could almost be termed an accidental entrepreneur, but is entirely not. At the age of 27, the young South African had a problem with his Ipod, then went on youtube to find a solution to it. After he successfully fixed it, he realised he could turn this opportunity into a revenue stream.
Solving his own problem triggered an impulse to place an advert in a local newspaper offering to fix Ipads and Ipods. The responses he got were exceedingly overwhelming. After a long streak of unsuccessful businesses, Axel Fourie finally found something that could work.
Soon after, Axel started a company called iFix, and operated it from his dorm room in the university. The success of the store didn’t just out-grow itself, but currently has at least 8 locations, and employs over 85 people.
iFix today doesn’t just repair ipads and ipods, but also manufactures mobile phone accessories, which he exports to many countries across Africa.
His total startup capital was $0, and has generated over a million dollars in revenue till date. This opportunity made him one of the youngest African millionaires.
4). Michael Ade-Ojo:
Born in 1934, in Nigeria, Michael Ade-Ojo spent the early years of his life as a street vendor selling charcoal, food, and firewood to make ends meet.
After his graduation from the university which was majorly sponsored by CFAO motors (a french distribution company), Michael joined them as a junior staff. His performance at the company was outstanding, but ended in his ousting from it as a result of a superior staff taking credit for some of his achievements.
From CFAO motors, he moved on to British Petroleum (BP). Within three months of his stay there, his marketing talents got him to increase the sales of his branch by 25%. This was followed by another unfortunate issue of credit been taken for his hard work.
Pained by all the events in progression, during his annual British Petroleum (BP) holiday, he approached the RT Briscoe group (an importer of trucking and automobile equipments), and offered to sell their equipments for a commission on every sale.
In just four (4) months of marketing their products, he sold about 40 vehicles, and made more money from the sales than his entire British Petroleum year’s salary. This prompted him to resign and focus fully on this new path.
In 1971, He registered a company called Elizade Independent Agencies, and focused on the distribution of automobiles; especially japanese cars, around Nigeria.
Today, his personal net worth according to forbes sits at over $500 million dollars, and his conglomerate consists of Toyota Nigeria Limited, RT Briscoe Nigeria, Elizade Auto Land, Classic Motors Limited, Crow Motors Nigeria Limited, Elizade University, Okin Travels Limited, and a host of other investments. He’s also on the board of directors of several Nigeria banks and other companies such as Ecobank, First City Monument Bank, and SMT Nigeria Limited (the official distributors of Mack trucks, Volvo trucks, & Volvo Construction Equipments).
5). Anna Phosa:
In 2004, Anna Phosa started a pig farming business with just $100. For a start, she purchased four pigs with the sum. Four years later in 2008, she got a contract from Pick n Pay, a South African retail giant to supply them 10 pigs a week. With this first break, her fortunes began to look greener, and just when it wasn’t seeming to go beyond that, the supermarket increased the orders to 20 pigs a week.
Anna’s major breakthrough happened when in 2010, she signed an unbelievable deal to deliver 100 pigs a week to Pick n Pay for the next five (5) years. This deal was worth an amazing 25 million Rands ($2.5 million dollars).
Today, her hard work has paid-off and she runs a million dollar business that employs over 20 people.
6). Heshan de Silva:
Heshan de Silva became a college dropout in the US in 2007. This event was caused by a worsening heroine and alcohol condition which nearly took his life. Having dropped out of school, he returned to Kenya to join his parents so he could get his life back together.
Back to Kenya with nothing to do, his parents gave him 10,000 Kenyan Shillings ($116), which he used to start a small business.
With just $116 in hand and aged 18, he got into the transportation sector by selling bus tickets bundled with an insurance cover. As the media would tell it; by the end of the year, his business had generated 90m Kenyan Shillings ($1.05 million dollars) in revenue.
With his amazing success, Heshan de Silva started a venture capital firm called De Silva group, focused on investing in specific types of startups.
Irrespective of his short education and inexperience, Heshan de Silva hasn’t just turned out to be one of the youngest millionaires in Africa, but has received a global popularity through his features on CNN and Forbes.
7). Jacky Goliath and Elton Jefthas:
These two South African entrepreneurs founded De Fynne Nursery in 2001 in Jefthas’ backyard. Back in 2001, the cost of starting up a nursery in a small scale was stipulated to cost considerably little because of the cheap costs of the seedlings, and the fact that they started out from their backyard.
As their crops grew, they sold out very fast, and in short time, they had to move out of their backyard to a half hectare (0.5) of land in 2005. By 2008, they moved again to a one and a half (1.5) hectare of land and were growing crops numbering roughly around 600,000 plants.
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What are your thoughts on these successful African millionaires? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
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