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Tony Elumelu Foundation partners with Stanford University to produce research on the mindset of African entrepreneurs

The research revealed that pertinent cultural factors influence women’s entrepreneurial journeys in the region.



Nigerian multimillionaire Tony Elumelu.

Africa’s leading philanthropy has released a comprehensive research study centered on African entrepreneurs in partnership with Stanford University. The research from the Tony Elumelu Foundation revealed that pertinent cultural factors influence women’s entrepreneurial journeys in the region, among other compelling conclusions.

Women in Africa are well represented in entrepreneurship. Yet, their businesses are less profitable and experience delayed growth in comparison to male-owned enterprises. 

The research found that women and men have different business motivations and aims, and there are stark differences in how they discuss their customers and products. 

For male entrepreneurs, motivations revolve around “profit,” “growth” and “capital.” In contrast, the motivation for female entrepreneurs is social impact via products, services and industries. 

Capital consideration was also a defining aspect for most African entrepreneurs. The research used data compiled from the almost 140,000 African entrepreneurs who applied to the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program between 2015 and 2017. Access to capital was identified as playing a critical role in how a business is run and initially conceptualized – from its size and scope to its design and goals. 

The researchers also noted that African entrepreneurs, aware of their limitations in raising capital, often restrict their ideas. With increased access to and greater opportunities for seed funding, African SMEs will dream bigger and launch businesses with a larger footprint. 

The research further investigated the mindset of entrepreneurs, presenting a unique understanding of the challenges facing African startups and the areas for growth across multiple sectors. It provides an opportunity to rethink how entrepreneurship is approached and supported, identifying two categories of entrepreneurs. 

The first set of entrepreneurs – described as the exchange mindset – are grounded in their purpose of providing products and services, nurturing relationships with employees and customers and providing value to others. The second set – labeled the organization mindset – is more concerned about creating, growing and expanding their company.

The exchange mindset is characterized by a micro-level, “on-the-ground” view, while the “organization mindset” entrepreneurs focused on “being an entrepreneur” and were characterized by a more macro-level view of themselves and their activities. Rather than orienting themselves around the exchange of products and services with customers, organization mindset entrepreneurs focused on their purpose behind creating and growing a company. The study found that individuals with this mindset often discussed growth and performance, managing people and assets and industry dynamics. Their attention is directed toward the characteristics of their business and its performance and expansion.

The exchange mindset entrepreneurs show the utmost concern about the quality of products and services. In close contrast, the organization mindset entrepreneurs are likely to express internal motivation such as feelings of ownership and control, leading to an individualistic focus. 

Both mindsets have varying management styles. The former view and describe their employees as equals whose opinions are valued and the latter as resources to be managed. Although differences in entrepreneurial mindsets might exist, African entrepreneurs are fundamentally characterized by their zeal to create significant impact in one way or another. 

These differences were most visible geographically in North, West, East and Central Africa. In West Africa, entrepreneurs – particularly Nigerians – had motivations embedded in profit-oriented language, while Central Africa and Eastern African entrepreneurs seemed to be more oriented toward social justice and community development. North African entrepreneurs were more disposed toward cyclical, project-based work. In Eastern and Western Africa, there was a greater emphasis on farming and agriculture. Central African entrepreneurs showed a high degree of overlap with Eastern Africans when discussing why they became entrepreneurs.

The research concluded that more African entrepreneurs need to adopt the organizational mindset, which is linked to higher business success. Most entrepreneurs with the “exchange mindset” were women, highlighting the less formal level via which women view entrepreneurial enterprises. Women entrepreneurs must be empowered to think differently. African entrepreneurs must embrace the language of creation alongside a clear vision for growth, achievable through guided and targeted mentorship. 

Indeed, true to driving impact, the Tony Elumelu Foundation recently opened its online portal to receive applications from extraordinary individuals across the continent with a minimum of five years of business or professional experience to apply for a chance to mentor young African entrepreneurs. No doubt, mentorship can be valuable across all business stages and levels of experience. These mentors will be assigned to entrepreneurs from the program to provide quality guidance that plays into their business interests. Mentors are required to participate in two-hour sessions every month over a 12-month period and are rewarded with certificates of achievements and value-add opportunities.

With a labor force of more than 400 million, which will surge by at least 70 percent before 2035, Africa is at a critical crossroads as per what to do with such viable manpower. To convert this young African workforce into creators of prosperity, the Tony Elumelu Foundation continues to advocate strongly for young men and women’s participation in entrepreneurship. Through its flagship Entrepreneurship Program launched in 2015, over 9,000 SMEs have been trained, funded and mentored, energizing the private sector in the process and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs directly and indirectly.

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Ardova dismisses winding-up order, as Femi Otedola’s Zenon serves majority shareholder petition over $6-million debt

The once promising relationship between Otedola’s Zenon and Abdulwasiu Sowami’s Prudent Energy has taken a new turn.



Femi Otedola. ©Billionaires.Africa

Arodva Plc, a Nigerian oil and gas marketing company majority owned by Nigerian businessman Abdulwasiu Sowami, has denied reports that it is facing a winding-up petition over a $6-million debt owed to Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited, an oil company founded by billionaire businessman Femi Otedola.

The news comes as the once promising relationship between Otedola’s Zenon and Sowami’s Prudent Energy, Ardova’s majority shareholder, takes a new turn over the debt.

The oil company stated in a press release on Tuesday that its management’s attention has been drawn to recent media claims regarding the debt, and it is critical to set the record straight that no winding-up petitions are presently facing the company in relation to the 2019 transaction.

The company went on to state that the current issues are related to claims and warranties made under a share-purchase agreement between Prudent Energy and Zenon for the purchase of shares in Forte Oil Plc in a $200-million deal in 2019.

The management went on to state that Ardova is not party to any of the proceedings, that the proceedings have no bearing on the company’s rights or operations, and that it has no claims against its assets.

Zenon, which has a guarantee for the prompt payment of the debt, served Prudent Energy with a petition earlier this week, more than a month after the deferred consideration, which was due on June 18, had yet to be paid despite demand letters sent to Sowami.

Experts believe that the dispute will reignite debate over Ardova’s share ownership structure.

The $6-million debt, which represents the remaining purchase consideration for the Forte Oil stake, adds to Prudent Energy’s pressures, as shares in Ardova, the company that it acquired nearly three years ago, have fallen significantly from an average price of N23.6 ($0.055) per share in 2019 to N13 ($0.0305) per share at the time of writing this report.

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Nigerian billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu and son receive $151.6 million in dividends from food business

Just three weeks ago, the Nigerian billionaire received a massive $208-million dividend from BUA Cement.



Abdul Samad Rabiu. ©Billionaires.Africa

Nigerian billionaire industrialist Abdul Samad Rabiu and his son received a N62.9-billion ($151.6 million) dividend from his stake in BUA Foods Plc, his newly consolidated food conglomerate that maintains active operations in the food and agro-allied industries.

This comes nearly three weeks after the billionaire received a massive N86.5-billion ($208 million) dividend from his cement company, BUA Cement Plc, as part of cash rewards paid to shareholders.

The $151.6-million dividend, which was electronically deposited into his bank account on Thurs., Aug. 4, represents the majority of the N152-billion ($63 million) final dividend distribution approved by BUA Cement shareholders at the group’s annual general meeting.

With the recent payout from his consolidated food business, Rabiu, who has a $5.8-billion net worth, has now received a total dividend of $359.6 million from his publicly traded businesses this year, which is significantly more than the $157 million that he received last year.

BUA Foods’ multimillion-dollar dividend is the company’s first dividend payment since its shares were listed earlier this year on Jan. 5. The cash reward that shareholders received can be attributed to the company’s stellar performance during its 2021 fiscal year.

According to the group’s financial statement, which represents its first annual report since its shares were listed on the Nigerian Exchange over three months ago, BUA Foods’ profit rose by 97.05 percent, from N35.41 billion ($85.2 million) in 2020 to N69.76 billion ($167.84 million) in 2021.

Despite a decrease in its fortified sugar sales, BUA Foods reported a 13.72-percent increase in profit in the first half of 2022, owing to an 11.3-percent increase in revenue from N151.73 billion ($364.4 million) to N168.85 billion ($405.5 million).

Revenue growth was driven by higher non-fortified sugar and flour sales, which offset lower fortified sugar sales during the period under review.

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Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote loses $863 million in single day

Dangote’s net worth has dropped from nearly $20 billion to just $19 billion in the past 24 hours.



Aliko Dangote, Africa's wealthiest man.

Africa’s wealthiest man Aliko Dangote saw his billion-dollar year-to-date wealth gains turn into a $66-million year-to-date loss, as his net worth dropped by $863 million at the end of business on Tuesday.

This multimillion-dollar drop in his wealth was caused by a decrease in the market value of his stake in his cement company, Dangote Cement Plc.

Dangote Cement is Africa’s largest cement manufacturer thanks to its 51.55-million-tonne cement production capacity spread across 10 African countries.

According to data obtained by Billionaires.Africa, Dangote’s net worth has dropped from nearly $20 billion to just $19 billion in the past 24 hours, placing him as the 80th richest man in the world, down from the 71st spot.

With the recent decline in his net worth, he joins a long list of African billionaires whose net worth has decreased noticeably since the beginning of the year, including Johann Rupert, Patrice Motsepe, Strive Masiyiwa, and Mohammed Al-Amoudi.

Dangote, who has a net worth of $19 billion at the time of writing this report, derives the majority of his net worth from his 86-percent stake in Dangote Cement, which is presently valued at $8.28 billion.

The drop in his net worth can be attributed to a nine-percent decrease in the share price of his cement company from N265 ($0.634) to N241 ($0.576), fueled by recent selling pressures on the Nigerian Exchange.

The drop in the company’s shares was caused by investor reactions to a double-digit decline in the group’s profit in the first half of 2022 due to higher energy costs and unrealized foreign exchange losses.

According to the group’s recently published financial results, its profit decreased by more than 10 percent in the first half of 2022, falling from N191.63 billion ($460.8 million) in the first half of 2021 to N172.1 billion ($413.8 million).

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