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Must entrepreneurs be in their twenties in order to succeed?

Nowadays, it seems like the sermon everyone is preaching is “entrepreneurs shall inherit the earth’’.



Nine Nigerian youths on the 2018 Forbes' 30 under 30 Africans

Nowadays, it seems like the sermon everyone is preaching is “entrepreneurs shall inherit the earth’’. Indeed, there is a lot of emphasis on entrepreneurship, and it is easy to understand why. For one, it offers a lot of benefits- both to the entrepreneurs themselves and the society at large. Moreover, capitalism drives the world. And there is no better expression of capitalism than entrepreneurship.

In the last few years, an immeasurable amount of energy has been dedicated to encouraging entrepreneurship, supporting entrepreneurship, and carrying out the art of entrepreneurship. Today, there are well over 30 million Small & Medium Scale Enterprises in Nigeria, a testament to the thriving entrepreneurial culture now pervading the country.

The emphasis on starting young

However, amidst all the dialogue regarding the necessity and benefits of entrepreneurship, there seems to be an undertone of “starting young”. Young Nigerians are enticed with the stories of famous global business leaders such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Aliko Dangote, etc. All these men are are famous, not only for their successful businesses, but also for having started their businesses while young (mostly in their twenties).

To some people, therefore, the image that comes to mind whenever the word “startup” is uttered, is the picture of some young person in their twenties, who started with only a big dream, a laptop, and the ceremonial T-shirt with branded company logo. The young entrepreneur is supposed to work relentlessly hard, literally “coding” their dreams into reality.

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Nowadays, it is not uncommon to hear phrases like “school na scam’’ or “a 9-5 job won’t make you rich”, and more of such chants that echo the energetic resolve/convictions of millennial who are seeking to succeed as an entrepreneurs.

Must one be young to succeed as an entrepreneur?

So does this imply that one must be young in order to successfully establish business? Does one’s entrepreneurial capabilities decline as they age? Well, of course not. There are scores of successful business leaders (both within and outside Nigeria) who didn’t venture into entrepreneurship until their thirties or forties. Let’s call them the thirties and forties starters.

Also worthy of mention is the fact that there are many successful entrepreneurs today who, even though they started out early, did not make significant headway until their thirties or even late. Again, let’s call these ones the late winners.

Some others  even stumbled from one failed business to the other until eventually breaking through in their later years. What shall we call these ones; the “comeback kids”?. Perfect!

Basically, this article seeks to provide context by beaming the spotlight on some of these ‘late starters’, ‘late winners’ and ‘comeback kids’. Let’s focus on some successful individuals who founded successful businesses in their thirties or even forties. This should inspire you, just in case you are feeling too old to start.

  • Reid Hoffman: He was born in 1967 and most popular for having co-founded LinkedIn, the social network platform for business-people and professionals. He worked at Ignlenook, and then at Apple Inc before starting his own business — at age 30. So, he was a “late starter”. He later founded LinkedIn in 2002. He is a member of the “PayPal Mafia”.
  • Peter Thiel: Born in 1967 and regarded as the leader of the “PayPal Mafia”, Peter Thiel is a highly popular face in the world of entrepreneurship and venture capitalism. And this is due mainly to his involvements in PayPal, Facebook, Planatir, Founders Fund, and more recently with Y-Combinator. He co-founded PayPal at the age of 31.
  • Amancio Ortega: Born in 1936, he is most popular for establishing the globally popular fashion brand- Zara. Although he had been involved in entrepreneurship prior to founding Zara, he did not open his first Zara shop until he was 39 years old. So he sort of qualifies as a “late winner” within the context of this article.
  • Cher Wang: She was born in 1958. She co-founded HTC Corporation, the manufacturing company responsible for HTC smartphones and other consumer electronics. She thus qualifies as a “late winner” for the sake of this article. However, it is worth noting that she had co-founded VIA Technologies (the Taiwanese manufacturer of essential computer hardware, such as circuits, motherboard chipsets, etc) in her late twenties.
  • Liu Chuanzhi: He is the second Chinese national featuring on our run down of entrepreneurs who didn’t start their businesses in their twenties. He was born in 1944, and in 1984 he founded the company that is today known as Lenovo– a leading technology manufacturing company highly reputed for its laptops and tablets. Worthy of mention is that Liu Chanzhui reportedly was motivated to venture into entrepreneurship by lack of fulfilment at his prior job and the need to better his lot financially.
  • Jack Ma: This man needs no elaborate introduction. He is the founder and chairman of the Alibaba Group, and is currently ranked as China’s richest man. Born in 1964, Jack Ma went on to found the Alibaba Group in 1999 (at age 35). The Alibaba Group has interests across e-commerce, online money transfers, etc.
  • The GTBank Mafia: Many years ago, a group of individuals envisioned the establishment of an innovative and revolutionary Nigerian bank that will transform the Nigerian banking system. Today, that bank is known as Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. The members of the GTBank mafia were all reported to be in their thirties at the time of their convocation, with the exception of one member who was reportedly forty years of age. The most prominent members of the group are Fola Adeola and Tayo Aderinokun, who took the reins of the company upon its establishment, and served as successive Managing Directors of the Bank.
  • The Access Bank Duo: As a quick follow up to the GTB mafia mentioned above, another team of individuals who took the Nigerian financial services space by storm while in their thirties is the Access Bank dynamic duo of Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and Herbert Wigwe. They were both born in 1966 and embarked on the Access Bank journey the year they turned 36 years.
  • Jason Njoku: Born in 1980. Jason is most famous for founding iROKOtv– an online streaming service dedicated to providing on-demand access to African movies. It is reputed for being the largest digital distributor of African movies. Jason Njoku does well to embody the “comeback kid” description, as iROKOtv is reportedly Njoku’s eleventh attempt at founding a successful business. Njoku founded iROKOtv in 2011 (the year he turned 31). It is worthy of note, however, that in 2010 he founded NollywoodLove, a channel on YouTube that turned profitable in its first year, and made room for the eventual establishment of iROKOtv.
  • Femi Otedola: Born in 1962. Femi Otedola is a highly successful and highly influential name in the Nigerian context. He has been a major player in the Nigerian downstream oil sector, through his ownership and participation in Forte Oil- a leading Nigerian downstream oil & gas entity. Otedola began his venture into the oil & gas sector through his establishment of Zenon Petroleum & Gas in 2003- at the age of 41 years. He later went on to acquire African Petoleum, and merged it with Zenon. It is worth noting that Otedola founded an investments and trading firm in 1994 (at age 32) – Centreforfce Ltd.
  • Mike Adenuga: Adenuga is another businessman who requires little introduction, as he is reputed for being  the second richest Nigerian. He is famous for his various business entities- Globacom and Conoil Plc. He was born in 1953. He ventured into the oil & gas sector in 1990 (at 37 years of age), when he received a drilling license for the exploration of oil. He later ventured into the telecommunications sector in 1999 when he was issued a conditional GSM license.

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1 Comment

  1. Godfrey Khumalo

    April 11, 2019 at 10:02 am


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Merger, Tax incentive boosts BUA Cement FY 2019 result

BUA Cement Plc recently released financials reveal a 47.5% increase in revenues of N175.52 billion up from N119 billion in 2018.



BUA Cement gives succour to host communities in Edo

One of the industries set to experience the downsides of the Covid-19 pandemic is the construction industry. Given the slowdown in construction activities as a result of the lockdowns and constrained economic activities, the reasons are not farfetched.

Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, Globe Newswire had predicted an accelerated growth pace of the global construction industry from 2.6% in 2019 to 3.1% in 2020. This growth has now been revised to 0.5%. What is even more daunting is that the revised growth rate is based on the assumption that the outbreak will be contained across all major markets by the end of the second quarter of 2020.

It is only after that (including freedom of movement in H2 2020) that events could facilitate reverting to the normal course of activities to foster businesses in the industry like BUA Cement or those that depend on it to restart activities.

Nigeria’s third-largest cement company, BUA Cement Plc, however, still has its 2019 victories in order. Involved in the manufacturing and sales of cement, BUA Cement has 3 major subsidiaries and plants in Northern and Southern Nigeria.

(READ MORE:Update: BUA Cement Plc lists N1.18 trillion shares on NSE)

With a market capitalisation of N1.18 trillion ($3.3 billion), BUA is the third most capitalised company on the NSE. Its recently released financials reveal a 47.5% increase in revenues of N175.52 billion up from N119 billion in 2018.

Kalambaina Cement Line 2, BUA Group, Kalambaina Cement, CCNN, Merger, Tax Incentive Boost BUA Cement FY 2019 Results

The company’s profits also increased by 69.1% from N39.17 billion in 2018 to N66.24 billion in 2019. Core operating performance was strong, and this was supported by strong cement sales in the domestic market, impairment writes back, and other income.

Deal book 300 x 250

The main reason for the company’s increased earnings is from the cost synergy and increased revenue as a result of the merger that took place between CCNN Plc and Obu Cement Company Limited.

There was also a striking jump in its income statement on its tax for the year. For FY 2019, it incurred a tax expense of N5.6 billion, in comparison to the N24.9 billion tax credit it received in FY 2018.


This was as a result of a reversal of previous tax provision made on Obu Line 1; it received approvals for an extension of the company’s pioneer status on Obu line-1 and Kalambaina line-2 in February 2020, to leave effective tax rate at just over 8% in 2019. The pioneer status will help the company save funds that will otherwise have been spent on higher taxes.

(READ MORE:Dangote Cement to access more debt funding)

BUA reported an impressive FY’19 result. Its performance shows the growing strength of the company and its increasing market share. On the back of the strong performance, management declared an N1.75 dividend per share that translates to a dividend yield of 5.5% on current prices.

Cash flow position was also robust with a strong closing cash balance – from N2.8 billion in 2018 to N15.6 billion as at year ended 2019. The company’s growth, as well as the impact of its merger, present a great buy opportunity of the highly capitalized, low-cost stock. As of today when the market closed (21st May) its share price stood at N35.60 from a 52-week range of N27.6 and N41.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Best and worst case scenarios for the Nigerian economy

What we see is a great growth stock further heightened by the population expansion and increased urbanization. However, we expect the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to be felt from the Q1 results of the company.


The industry could slow down for the year as the level of commercial construction also slows down. Yet the best part of holding stocks like this is that even with stalled operations for a period, a resurgence will always emerge.

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Analysis: Airtel Nigeria is winning where it matters

Airtel has left no stones unturned in ensuring that its provisions are top-shelf – subscribers to the network, of course will have their own ideas.  



Analysis: Airtel Nigeria is winning where it matters.

Airtel might have won our hearts over with internet-war adverts starring our favourite tribal in-laws, but its fundamentals are what will make us the bucks that keep us happy. Airtel Africa Ltd is a subsidiary of Indian telecoms group, Bharti Airtel Ltd; the group has left no stones unturned in ensuring that its provision of prepaid plans, credit transfers, mobile internet services, messaging, roaming facilities and more, are top-shelf – subscribers to the network, of course, will have their own ideas.

Since last year when Airtel Nigeria became the second telecommunication company in Nigeria listed on the NSE, the company has experienced a steady level of growth. With a presence in 14 African countries, the group’s strength lies in its diversity with stronger companies mitigating the poor performances of others.

Performance Overview: Airtel Africa 

Airtel Africa’s report for the year ended March 2020, revenue jumped by 10.9% from $3.1 billion at the year ended 2019 to $3.4 billion in 2020. The consolidated profit before tax also jumped by 71.8% from $348 million in 2019 to $598 million in 2020. However, profit for the period dropped by 4.23% with earnings of $408 million in 2020 from the $426 million it had earned in 2019. A reason for this is the tax figure that moved from a credit of $78 million in 2019 to tax payments as high as $190 million in 2020. Total assets also jumped by 2.41% from 2019’s value of $9.1 billion to $9.3 billion in 2020 primarily as a result of their acquisition of more property, plant, and equipment (PPE). The total customer base grew by 9.3% to 99.7 million for the year ended.

Full Report here.

Revenue growth of 10.9% was driven by double-digit growth in Nigeria and East Africa. However, the rest of its African operations experienced a decline in revenue. Its success in Nigeria is especially commendable, considering the fact that the company lost more than 100,000 subscribers in Nigeria between December 2019 and January 2020. Raghunath Mandava, Chief Executive Officer, remarked that the results which were in line with the group’s expectations, “are clear evidence of the effectiveness of our strategy across Voice, Data and Mobile Money.”

(READ MORE: NCDC and NNPC-IPPG reinforce #TakeResponsibility theme with multi-lingual campaign)

Behind The Numbers – Nigeria

Airtel Nigeria’s performance indicates the company is making the right calls in a very competitive industry. Nigerians are fickle when it comes to data and voice but will spend if the service is right. The company grew its data revenue by a whopping 58% to $435 million a sign that its strategy to focus on data is working. Voice Revenues for the year was up 15% to $850 million. In total, Airtel Nigeria’s revenue was up 24.4% to $1.37 billion. Ebitda margin, a number closely watched by foreign investors 54.2% from 49% a year earlier. Operating profit for the year ended also jumped by 52.6% for the year from 2019 and 32.4% from Q1 2019. Total customer base in Nigeria also grew by 12.5%.

Regulation forces Airtel Africa to initiate shares listing in Malawi , Analysis: Airtel Nigeria is winning where it matters.

Deal book 300 x 250

Nigeria is surely critical to Airtel Africa’s future seeing that it contributes about one-third of its revenue. Recent results thus indicate it is winning where it matters most and it must continue to stay this way if it desires to survive a brutal post-COVID-19 2020. Telcos are expected to be among the winners as Nigerians rely more on data to work remotely but there are other players in this game. Concerning the impact of the pandemic, he explained that at the time of the approval of the Group Financial Statements, the group has not experienced any material impact arising from the impact of COVID-19 on its business.

On cash flows…

The group has also taken measures to enhance its liquidity. The CEO explained that it is moving its focus to enhance liquidity towards meeting possible contingencies.


“Having considered business performance, free cash flows, liquidity expectation for the next 12 months together with its other existing drawn and undrawn facilities, the group cancelled the remaining USD 1.2 billion New Airtel Africa Facility. As part of this evaluation, the group has further considered committed facilities of USD 814 million as of date authorisation of financial statements, which should take care of the group’s cash flow requirement under both base and reasonable worst-case scenarios.”

To this end, they have put in the required strategies to preserve its cash as its cash and cash equivalents, consequently, jumped by 19.1%.

(READ MORE: COVID-19: MTN says it has put strict measures in place to preserve resources)

Buying opportunity

Investors looking at this impressive result will be wondering if this portends a buying opportunity. Airtel Nigeria closed at N298 on Friday and has remained at this price for about a month. The stock is quite illiquid and is not readily available to buy.

It’s the price to earnings ratio of 4.56x makes it quite attractive. Further highlighting this opportunity is its price-to-book ratio which is as low as 0.5273, suggesting that the stock could be undervalued. Whether it is available to be bought, is anyone’s guess.





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Analysis: Nestlé strong but exposed.

Being a market leader is great, but in times of economic despair, it can quickly turn you into prey.



Why Nestle Nigeria’s return remains strong - EFG Hermes, Nestle Nigeria Plc appoints new Director, Nestle Plc: FY 2019 Revenue beats estimate; but profit underperforms

With about six decades of being the choice companion for families within Nigeria and the diaspora, Nestlé Nigeria Plc has positioned itself as one of the largest food and beverage companies on the continent. Owing to the expansive growth of Nigeria’s population – one projected to reach 300 million by the year 2030, as well as the growing middle class, the FMCG sector has a very positive outlook.

Consequently, Nestle’s leadership in the industry and its huge market size expectedly gives it a huge advantage. However, with the global economy barely racing against the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, even the brimming FMCG sector will experience its own level of disruption.

Nestle’s recently released Q1 2020 financials reveal a revenue decline of 0.9%, as it dropped to a marginal ₦70.33 billion from the ₦70.97 billion turnover it garnered in Q1 2019. The profit before tax also experienced an 8.7% drop while the profit after tax had a 12.84% drop, both yielding ₦17.5 billion and ₦11.2 billion respectively, for the first quarter of this year. This is predominantly owing to its increased losses from its overseas activities.

READ ALSO: Italy to invest in Nigeria’s agric sector

The company procures all of its raw materials on a commercial basis from overseas and local suppliers; consequently, the percentage of its supplies dependent on international suppliers had a negative impact on its Q1 2020 financials. Its profits were plagued by a foreign exchange loss of ₦154.7 million from ₦18.9 million, an even higher loss of 720.6%. While the company did not disclose the value of its export revenue, we believe it too might have suffered from reduced exportation in the latter part of the quarter.

The group has since been taking on expansionary projects, such as its launch of a second beverage production plant in Ogun State in February of 2018. The company, on a continuous basis, explores the use of local raw materials in its production processes, contributing its own quota to the Nigerian economy.

READ MORE: Polaris Bank’s profit rises to N26.2 billion from N2.8 billion

Just last week, Nestlé’s stocks went up 2.56% to close at ₦1000, a price it still currently holds today after markets closed. Its price to earnings ratio is 18 and its earnings per share (EPS) of 55.54, signal an investor sentiment of confidence. However, its high price to book ratio of 13.9865 reveals that the company is slightly overvalued and its price of ₦1000 makes it attractive primarily to institutional investors that can afford to purchase large volumes of the stock enough to benefit from its steady growth in value. The company had proposed a dividend payout of ₦45 per share. This also comes after paying ₦25 per share interim dividends earlier. Its dividend yield at the time of writing this is 7%, further heightening the possibilities for the income investor.

Deal book 300 x 250

While the company has strong fundamentals governed predominantly by its position as a market leader, its years of experience, and its existence in the FMCG sector, it too might not have a smooth sail in the coming quarter. Its overseas business from both the supply and the demand sides are expected to experience a further decline, ultimately resulting in an even lower relative turnover and lower earnings.

READ MORE: Cadbury Nigeria reports N638.9 million profit for Q1 2020


We also expect the decline in average disposable income of Nigerians from loss of jobs and an overall wariness of the economic impact of the pandemic, to further drive down turnover; however, sound operational efficiencies and cost control/ profit strategies by the group could ease the burden. The company fundamentals remain strong but its exposure to consumer disposable income remains a major concern. There is always a cheaper alternative and when your pocket empties your choice for cheaper substitutes swells.

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