Nigeria’s entrepreneurs should be firmly encouraged to continue making sustainable investments in the local economy, as this will form a new approach toward building competitive industries in Africa.
This was the view of Tony O. Elumelu, the philanthropic entrepreneur whose self-named foundation has been promoting business excellence and leadership across the continent for the last three years.
In fulfilment of its mandate to promote entrepreneurship and competitiveness throughout Africa, The Tony Elumelu Foundation hosted its Founding Patron, the world’s foremost expert on business strategy and competitiveness, Professor Michael Porter, at a series of lectures and events intended to inspire and improve business leaders from around the country.
“We are committed to developing the future leaders of industry in Africa,” said Elumelu. “The Tony Elumelu Foundation has dedicated itself to the promotion of entrepreneurship, and the creation of an enabling environment for business leaders to reach their maximum potential and transform their communities. This is how economic prosperity for all will be achieved; this is what adds social value to the people of Africa.”
At a lecture delivered at The Tony Elumelu Foundation offices in Ikoyi, Lagos State, 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, spoke on competitive strategy, addressing entrepreneurs and business leaders on how best to sustain market advantage.
Porter also met with the members of the recently-inaugurated National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria, which is chaired by the Minister for Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, to deliver a timely lecture on how to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the Nigerian business environment, which is experiencing a lot of activity under the transformation agenda.
Improved performance in this area, he said, will help Nigeria’s private sector become more productive and competitive.
On Thursday night, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and US-based AllWorld Network, which ranks dynamic fast-growth private companies globally, hosted the inaugural Nigeria50 Awards at Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos, to honour 50 of Nigeria’s most innovative and fastest growing companies.
The winning entrepreneurs have diverse professional backgrounds and run companies in energy, IT, agriculture, management consulting, financial services, logistics, medical practice and more.
Arjan Mirchandani runs the number one company, Euro Global Foods and Distilleries Limited, which blends, bottles and distributes beverages with inputs sourced from local farmers.
Mirchandani is aiming to create a positive change in blending and bottling in Nigeria by establishing processing facilities that support local farmers and the greater agricultural sector while also creating jobs.
The runner up is Swiss Biostadt Limited, a medical services company owned by Emmanuel Ajayi.
In third place, Global Oceon Engineers, a Lekki, Lagos State-based engineering services company run by Seun Faluyi.
Porter, who is an AllWorld co-founder, emphasized: “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.
“All 50 companies demonstrate Nigeria’s capacity for dynamic growth and investment,” said Elumelu, adding: “These are African entrepreneurs investing for the long term in Africa, driving Nigeria and Africa’s economic development – a key pillar of Africapitalism. They are showing that the private sector has what it takes to turn economies around dramatically.”