How This Nigerian Fashion Entrepreneur Built A Multi-Million Dollar Conglomerate

Biography & Success Story Of Bola Shagaya
Biography & Success Story Of Bola Shagaya

In the world of entrepreneurship, barriers do not exist. Only challenges do. The minds of great entrepreneurs have no space for limitations and this is seen in the journey of this successful serial entrepreneur.

This is the success story of Bola Shagaya, a woman with interests in photography, real estate, oil and gas, and the banking industry, making her arguably one of the richest women in Africa.

Rising from a humble background, Bola Shagaya has risen to become a business tycoon to reckon with on the African continent.

See Also: How A Former Nigerian Chemist Built A Multi-Million Dollar International Trading Firm

Here’s how she did it.


Early Life And Education Of Bola Shagaya

Hajia Bola Shagaya (MON) was born on the 10th of October, 1959 and hails from Ilorin, Kwara state. Her mother was Adut Makur, a Sudanese seamstress, while her father, Emenike Mobo, was a Nigerian public servant.

She is married to Alhaji Shagaya, a Kwara state-based transport mogul, and they have six children: Sherif, Hakeem, Deeja Shagaya, Naieema, Amaya Roberts and Adeena Roberts.

Bola Shagaya had her tertiary education at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where she studied Economics. Her second degree was from Armstrong College in California where she studied Accountancy. However, her primary and secondary education were in Ilorin where she hails from.


Journey To Entrepreneurship

Bola Shagaya started her career as a banker, working in the audit department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, before her foray into entrepreneurship in 1983. 

She is the founder and CEO of Bolmus Group International, a Nigerian conglomerate which has its fingers in many industries ranging from Oil & gas, real estate, banking, and communications.

See Also: How This Former Nigerian Accountant Built A Multi-Million Dollar Company



Bola Shagaya’s entrepreneurial experience commenced with the importation and distribution of photographic materials when she first introduced the Konica brand of photographic materials into the Nigerian market and West Africa.

Her foresight into the booming photography market inspired her to expand her business from a strict import and distribution company to include photo laboratory services. 

In the manner of an astute entrepreneur, she saw opportunities in the populous image-conscious Nigerian market, prompting this expansion. This led to the birth of another of her companies, Fotofair (Nigeria) Limited.

Today, Fotofair is a leading photo laboratory company in Nigeria, with over thirty laboratories spread across the nation.

See Also: How This Former Nigerian Civil Servant Built A Multi-Million Dollar Oil Company Worth Over $200 Million Dollars


Oil And Gas

Bola Shagaya is known to have delved into the oil and gas industry as her photography business grew. 

She is also the managing director of Practoil Limited. It is one of the largest importers and distributors of base oil in Nigeria, serving local lubricant blending plants. The company has structured its lubricating plant in Kirikiri, Lagos and is involved in the production of multi-grade oils and lubricants.

She is also the founder of Voyage Oil and Gas Limited which she founded in 2011. Voyage started operations officially in 2012 as a Crude Oil trading and export company. The company has been on the NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) Crude Oil Term contract since inception till date, with an average allocation of 30,000 barrels per day.  


Real Estate

Her other ventures also include huge investments in real estate, spanning across major cities in the country with over three hundred employees.

She owns various luxurious residential properties cutting across major cities in Nigeria.

See Also: How This Former Agege Boy Built A Multi-Million Dollar Real Estate Business In His Early 30s



Bola Shagaya was on the board of Unity Bank Plc, formerly known as Intercity Bank, for over eight years. While on the board, she served in different capacities on various boards and committees, including serving as the chairman of the Bank’s Establishment Committee, Chairman of the Audit Committee and was a member of Unity Bank’s Audit and Credit Committee.

She was also the Chairman, Committee on Economy, Trade and Investment at the 2014 National Conference.

She is a member of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Business Group, Nigeria. The business group provides a platform for economic growth through private and public collaboration and communication. NEPAD Business Group also shares information on trade and investment opportunities in Nigeria and Africa.


Fashion And Design

Hajia Bola Shagaya is a patron of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), and a fashion and art enthusiast who supports and encourages the fashion and art industry. 

See Also: How This Former Nigerian Student Built A Million Dollar Mobile Gaming Business



Bola Shagaya is a sports lover, especially for polo. Over the years, she has consistently supported polo tournaments in Nigeria. Recently, she supported the Access Bank’s UNICEF Charity Shield Polo Tournament. The event was hosted to raise funds for the renovation of deteriorated classrooms as well as provide a conducive learning environment for displaced and underprivileged children in Kaduna over the next five years.


Bola Shagaya’s Commitment To Growth And Personal Development

Bola Shagaya is a woman committed to growth. She has participated in numerous seminars, workshops and symposiums including some organised by Harvard Business School in the United States, Euro money, and KPMG.


Recognition And Awards

On the 22nd of July, 2010, she was awarded the title of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR).

She has also been recognised for the following

  • Forbes’ Ten Millionaires to Watch in Africa – 2012
  • National Productivity Order of Merit Award – 2012
  • Award for Excellent by ThisDay Annual Awards – 2012

See Also: How The Son Of A Nigerian Nurse Built A Multi-Million Dollar Technology Company


In Conclusion

Life always presents us with opportunities and it’s our responsibility is to take advantage of as many as we possibly can. Bola Shagaya rose to the limelight by making good use of her opportunities, and in the process, has built a multi-million dollar conglomerate.


What are your thoughts on this success story of Bola Shagaya? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Stan Edom
Stan Edom
I'm an entrepreneur with expertise in supply chain management, international trade, small business development, e-commerce, internet startups, renewable energy, and agriculture. I'm also a network engineer, I.T security expert, and computer programmer. In my spare time when I'm not working out at the gym, I try to solve problems people face in their everyday lives with whatever means necessary.

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