Nigeria at 50

Nigeria Fast Growth 50 Break Entrepreneurial Records

Entrepreneurial companies growing at over 100 percent a year and represent 15 industries. Nigeria50 is a window into the country’s potential for economic diversification and economic democracy.

On the 21 March 2013, AllWorld Network in partnership with The Tony Elumelu Foundation announced the winners of the Nigeria Fast Growth 50 (Nigeria50), a ranking of 50 of the fastest growing private (non-listed) companies in Nigeria.

The Nigeria50 broke AllWorld records, with each company growing at an average 100% a year on revenues of $9 million USD, and as a group they have created 6,600 jobs, and if they continue growing, will create thousands more in the next few years. The Nigeria50 offer a glimpse into the country’s vast potential for entrepreneurs, and the impact entrepreneurs are having in addressing the country’s problems from malnutrition to job creation and employee training.

nigeria at 50 award

Congrats to my friend and mentor Uzo Nduka (shown above), CEO of Domino Information Company Limited for being awarded the 12th Fastest growing company in Nigeria with a 3 year growth rate of over 400%.

Companies were invited to compete for a spot on the Nigeria50, and those with the fastest revenue growth between 2009 and 2011 made the inaugural ranking. Thousands of emails were sent to companies around the country inviting them to apply. Each company had to provide audited statements to confirm their revenues and each applicant’s business practices and ethics were strenuously vetted by AllWorld. The fastest growing and most transparent became the Nigeria50.

The inaugural winners were announced worldwide at the Nigeria50 Awards & Summit in Lagos in front of an audience of 350 entrepreneurs and business and government leaders including The Honourable Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga; Tony O. Elumelu C.O.N., Chairman of Heirs Holdings and Michael Porter the world-renowned Harvard Business School Professor and Chairman of AllWorld Network.

The Nigeria50 broke many AllWorld records in relation to 15 other country rankings throughout the Middle East, Turkey and South Asia in terms of growth rates, the size of companies and diversity of industries. Many of the companies have been founded in the last ten years, and have already grown to be leaders in their industry. An average of only 46 years old, most Nigeria50 entrepreneurs plan to establish another company in the next two years.

Despite the political instability and the lack of the right infrastructure in some parts of Nigeria, the Nigeria50 confidently stated that the opportunity of growth for them is within their own country. While some are looking to expand further into West Africa, the entrepreneurs see that Nigeria, with its population of 162 million, is the place to expand.

The Nigeria50 realize that the strength of their businesses stems from the strength of the local Nigerian talent. Hence, they actively invest in training their employees, and they have encouraged more than 100 employees to spin off as entrepreneurs. Says Tunde Okayo of Lange and Grant Commodities Ltd, #45 winner “we attract great employees by the kind of projects we embark on. Our type of products fascinates young and talented individuals and our work life balance is one of the most attractive and retaining strategies.”

Nigeria also had the most number of women entrepreneurs of any AllWorld list at 16 percent, and 11th ranked U-Connect Telecom Services Ltd topped the list of the fastest growing women entrepreneurs and well as taking the prize as the largest employer of the Nigeria50, with growth of 549 percent and 1,352 employees.

Michael Porter, who was described by the Times of London as the world’s “most influential management guru”, and is widely regarded as the foremost authority on company and country competitiveness, emphasized that; “It is entrepreneurs who are going to change the developing world, not governments. The Nigeria50 companies represent the leading edge of a new approach to the region’s competitiveness.”

The Nigeria50 was an unprecedented partnership between AllWorld Network, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and nominating partners UBA, Jobberman, Fate Foundation, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Pan-African University (EDC and LBS), Nextzon Seven, LEAP Africa, Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria and SMEDAN. . The fastest growing of these became the inaugural Nigeria50. The partners are also launching the first continental Africa500, to bring to global attention a new breed of entrepreneurs who can transform Africa’s future.

The top 3 companies on the Nigeria50 all have very close growth rates exceeding 2,000 percent for the period 2009-2011 representing beverage production, healthcare, and oil & gas. The #1 Nigeria50 entrepreneur, Arjan Mirchandani, has no less than three companies on the ranking – #1 Euro Global Foods and Distilleries Limited, #9 Food Agro & Allied Limited, and #39 Shongai Packaging Industry Limited. Euro Global Foods & Distilleries Ltd located in Ogun grew 2,781 percent between 2009 and 2011 and has 389 employees.

Launched in 2004, the company has risen to be one of the most successful local beverage companies with inputs sourced from local farmers, and in the process helping to advance farming communities. Taking the second spot Swiss Biostadt Limited from Lagos with a 3-year growth rate of 2,544 percent, and employing 89 people.

Witnessing the fight against hunger, malnutrition, and diseases in Africa, and Nigeria in particular, Emmanuel Ajayi founded Swiss Biostadt Limited in 1964. Priding themselves as a social enterprise, Biostadt today is focused on ‘Agrocare’, ‘Medicare’ and ‘Pharmacare’ and Biostadt Academy has trained 50,000 farmers over the past five years.

The number 3 company, Global Oceon Engineers Limited, was founded in 2007 by Seun Faluyi as a result of the Nigerian Government’s call to develop in-country engineering capabilities in the Oil & Gas industry. Oceon as a three-year growth rate of 2,304 percent and employs 72 people.

Commenting on the success of Nigeria50 at the Awards Ceremony, AllWorld co-founders Deirdre Coyle and Anne Habiby urged country leaders to champion the Nigeria50. “With the right support, the Nigeria50 will send a signal far and wide that the country is open for business and will energize thousands, if not millions, to work for or become entrepreneurs. The Nigeria50 can become the country’s new force for competitiveness, economic innovation and employment.”

The Nigeria winners are in Lagos for the two-day Nigeria50 Awards & Summit from March 21-22. The Summit will be an action packed two days featuring the Nigeria50 along with prominent speakers, panel discussions, networking sessions, and Nigeria50 Awards Event. Over 150 representatives from the winning companies will be in attendance and close to 800 VIPs and influencers. Contact below if you will like to participate in the summit.

Deirdre M. Coyle, Jr
Nigeria #: +234 (0)8 106 838485
USA #: +617 504 4547

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