How This Former Nigerian Accountant Built A Multi-Million Dollar Company
Versatility in business is a must-have. While some choose to become experts in a specific field, there are others whose exploits are not restricted to a field, and as a result, are highly relevant in multiple industries.
This is the success story of Bola Akindele, The Founder and Group Managing Director of Courteville Business Solutions, an entrepreneur par excellence who has passed through various industries including auditing, banking, business development, and information technology.
He has over thirty years of experience in these fields and successfully applied his wealth of experience to build the first business process outsourcing and e-business solutions development company to be registered on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Here is how he did it.
Early Life And Education
Adebola Akindele was born on November 25, 1964, in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. He grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and attended Ansar-ud-deen College, Isolo, Lagos from 1974 to 1979, and is married to Mrs. Olabisi Akindele.
He is an alumnus of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture (Animal Science).
He holds a master’s degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Lagos and also a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) from the International School of Management, Paris.
He is also an alumnus of the London Business School and the Lagos Business School.
His Early Career
Bola Akindele started his entrepreneurial voyage after he completed his NYSC but was unable to secure suitable employment. He started by working in his family-owned business which his father allowed him to run partially.
“The company was called Bala Usman Attahiru. He left a bit of it for me to handle as soon as I finished my National Youth Service Corps programme and I wasn’t working. So, while he was still with the Central Bank of Nigeria, I was the one taking care of the business. That was just for about two years, after which I trained with KPMG,” Akindele said in an interview with Punch Newspapers.
From there, he commenced his professional career as an audit intern at KPMG in 1987. In 1989, he joined the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) where he rose to become Treasurer/Financial Controller of the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS).
While at the CBN, he also served as a Bank Examiner on various occasions.
After he obtained his Master’s Degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Lagos in 1993, he ventured into the private sector with Oceanic Bank.
At the bank, he held various senior management positions including Head of Operations, Chief Inspector, Head of Credit Administration and Loan Recovery, and Head of the bank’s Commercial Banking Division.
Bola Akindele left Oceanic bank in 2000 and joined another private finance firm, Fountain Trust Bank Plc as the Group Head of Lagos Island Business Group. He was later promoted to become the Group Head of Commercial Banking, and later, Divisional Head of Markets.
Journey Into Entrepreneurship
After four years of commitment to the bank, Bola Akindele set out to start up his own company.
Before setting out, he had the vision to make a mark through his company for innovation, service and high esteem for its franchise. This was the vision that birthed Courteville Investment Limited.
The aim of the company was to offer corporate finance services and business process reengineering consulting to organisations.
The company underwent a name change to Courteville Business Solutions Plc in 2011 after it became listed on the Nigerian Stock exchange as a public company.
Adebola Akindele’s vision, leadership, and hard work took the company to great heights, with Courteville Business Solutions Plc becoming a forerunner in providing data capturing service in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It was also the first in its sector to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) with shareholders’ funds in excess of USD 20 million.
In 2016, Courteville was voted the second-best place to work in Nigeria by the Great Place to Work Institute at its 4th Annual Best Companies to Work for Award Ceremony, coming second only to American-owned multinational corporation, EMC and ahead of Sanofi.
The company was pitted against heavyweights such as EMC Corporation, iSON, Microsoft Nigeria, Guinness Nigeria, Poise Nigeria, Sanofi, Konga, SC Johnson and CAP Plc.
Awards And Achievements Of Bola Akindele
- He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN)
- Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CITN).
- He is an active member of the World Business Forum, Africa CEO Forum and the Commonwealth Business Forum.
- He is professionally affiliated with the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) and the Institute of Directors (IOD).
- He holds the distinction of being the only African on the Advisory Board of the Enterprise and Parliamentary Dialogue International (EPDI), a UK-registered independent, not-for-profit body set up to establish a bridge of understanding between parliamentarians and enterprises.
- In 2015, he was honoured with the Titans Of Tech Merit Award for his input in the technological development in Nigeria
- Technology Personality of the Year at the Nigeria Technology Awards 2015
- He also sits on the Board of Advisors of the East Africa Business Network (EABN) – the first time a non-East African would occupy that position.
- He was conferred with the award of Lagos State Man of the Year 2017 by the Centre for Policy Development and Political Studies (CEPODEPS).
- He has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Ravensbourne College, UK for his outstanding impact on the educational system in Africa.
- He is also the Chairman, Fosters Estate Limited; Chairman, Bolbis Ventures; Chairman, Courteville Investments Limited (Sierra Leone); and Director, Synergy Capital and Advisory Limited.
A relentless philanthropist, Akindele is an Associate Member of the Nigerian Red Cross in its Platinum Category, for his contribution in aid to medically vulnerable individuals, especially women and children.
To Sum It Up
In the words of Akindele himself, “Success is a journey, just like failure is. Everybody in life will have most of this in succession, though not necessarily in a rapid manner.”
The journey to entrepreneurship is filled with highs and lows which everyone has to pass through to end up successful.
While your goals may seem to take longer to achieve, it’s important that you keep trusting the process and will eventually come out on top