How This African Entrepreneur Built A Multi-Million Dollar Business With Almost No Money

Success Story Of Michael Ade-Ojo
Success Story Of Michael Ade-Ojo

It’s a great thing to dream, as long as when you’re awake, your daily activities are tied around achieving your goals. Millionaires are made everyday, but what’s more intriguing, are the few who grow a multi-million Dollar conglomerate from practically nothing.

Such is the success story of Nigerian Dollar multi-millionaire Michael Ade-Ojo, the founder and CEO of the Elizade Group of companies.

See Also: How This African Made Over A Million Dollars From Needle And Thread


So How Did Michael Ade-Ojo Start Out Anyway?

Michael was born in Nigeria on June 14, 1938 to two modest parents. At a very young age, he became a street vendor, and started selling charcoal, food, & firewood to help make ends meet.

Although born in a time when there was little to no financial aid for the less privileged, and parents believed a lot lesser in education, he still successfully made it through high school, and later got a degree in Business Administration from the university.

After his graduation, he joined the work force at CFAO motors; a French distribution company. This same company had paid the tuition for his last two years in the university.

In 1966, while still working as a salesman for CFAO motors, he successfully sold 20 trucks to the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria, but to his dismay, his manager took credit for the sale, which led to a protest by Michael, followed with him losing his job by the end of the year.

After his ousting at CFAO motors, he moved on, and got a job at British Petroleum (BP). Within three months of his employment, he increased the sales of his local division by 25%. But just as he was unfortunate with his previous employment, his new boss took credit for the outstanding growth, and this left him aggrieved and lost in thoughts.

See Also: How This African Built A Multi-Million Dollar Business From Solar Energy


Michael’s Big Break!

While in Lagos, Nigeria, during his annual British Petroleum (BP) holiday, he decided to take a daring step to approach the RT Brisco Group; an importer and distributor of trucking and automobile equipments. He made them an offer to sell their equipments for a commission on every successful sale.

After careful consideration, the RT Brisco Group decided to give him a trial. In just four months after he sealed the deal with Brisco, he sold about 40 cars. The commissions earned from the total sales, were overwhelmingly higher than his yearly salary at BP. This motivated him to quit his job, and pursue his dreams.

In 1971, he started the company, Elizade Independent Agencies (EIA), with his wife, Elizabeth Wuraola Ojo. The name Elizade, was derived from both his wife’s name, Elizabeth, and his name, Ade. His company focused on the distribution of automobiles in Nigeria, especially Japanese cars.Success Story Of Michael Ade-Ojo

He acquired the license to import Toyota Cars, with the name, Toyota Nigeria Limited, and single handedly, made the car brand, the most sought-after automobile brand in Nigeria. He later went on to acquire 100% of RT Briscoe in Nigeria, and subsequently acquired more shares, to make his total holdings in Toyota Nigeria Limited, sum up to 74%.

Today, 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).

See Also: 10 Ways To Find More Customers For Your Business Without Spending Any Cash


The story of Micheal Ade-Ojo is one of impeccable success. It shows an individual who not only mastered his craft, but also knows when and how to take advantage of opportunities before others start to notice.

He started small, but most importantly, he started right!


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What do you have to say about Michael Ade-Ojo’s Success Story? Please leave a comment below.


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Stan Edom
Stan Edom
I'm an entrepreneur with an expertise in supply chain management, small business development, e-commerce, internet startups, and agriculture. In my spare time, I'm always trying to solve problems people face in their everyday lives with tech.

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  1. How he made it through a university given his financial circumstances wasn’t told.
    I have a business dream, but I need a bsc before I proceed and I’d like to know how I can get through the university now that I have no money.

    • Hi Ben,

      While I can’t give you direct information on how to secure an education fund, I’d advice you either work while studying, or apply for a scholarship fund.

      Also ensure you keep your business dreams up and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.

      I wish you the best!

    • After his graduation, he joined the work force at CFAO motors; a French distribution company. This same company had paid the tuition for his last two years in the university.

      its up there in the article.

  2. l love the story of this great man. actually I was born in ilara-mokin. but, l lost my parents when I was 13, I have been struggling to survive. how I wish to find my way back to my town, l would be very happy!

    • There are NGO’s that can help you out.

      Try reaching out to some. If they can’t they’d refer you to one who can.

      Thank you for the comment.

    • Kindly contact me. I am Ayodele Fadola, the National President, Egbe Omo Ilara-Mokin. Check me on Facebook, we need to connect!

  3. He graduated from History of Nigeria,Nsukka.How can I get his email address for a program here in my school

    • Hi Sandra,

      We currently don’t have access to his email.

      But you can reach out to anyone working in his organisation to get it for you.

      Thank you for the comment.

  4. Infact speechless, d man has a greatvision,see sand take opportunities,very smart,and wise. Love how the name Elizade was achieved.when I saw advert of d university @his office along ikorodu road,around Antony ,I was daze infact speechless like I said early.i look forward to be great too lord help me as i too work hard.thanks God bless him and his family

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