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Inspiration 5 African tech entrepreneurs who turned out insanely wealthy without a tertiary education

These crop of individuals have shown that it takes more than the four walls of a school to turn out great in life and business.

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5 Nigerian Tech Entrepreneurs who have turned out insanely wealthy without a tertiary education.

Razaq okoya (Nigeria) - Eleganza Group

play Razaq Okoya (Ventures Africa)


The billionaire industrialist from Lagos whose formal education stopped at secondary school level has created for himself a conglomerate involving plastic manufacturing and more.

On what he had to say about education being a gateway to success, Okoya said:

"I have nothing against education. But at times, education gives people false confidence. It makes people relax, trusting in the power of their certificates rather than in working hard.”


Ashish J. Thakkar, (Uganda) - Mara Group

Ashish is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Mara Group. He started his first company at the age of 15. In 1996, Ashish borrowed $6,000 to start his first IT Company where he bought and sold computers.

play Ashish (Mara Group)


With the confidence as of a child perhaps, he chose to drop out of school and concentrate on his business which at that point, merely constituted of buying and selling computers and floppy disks; from Dubai to Uganda.

In an interview he granted Arabic Knowledge@Wharton, Ashish stated concerning those early days, “I didn’t have enough working capital to do cargoes and shipments. I would travel to Dubai every weekend. Fill my suitcase with IT stuff. Pay my taxes on Monday. Sell Tuesday through Friday. Get my cash on Friday…That was my cycle for six months. And then I was thinking, “There are so many people coming to Dubai to do exactly the same thing. Why don’t I set up a base to help them? We then set up an office in Dubai when I was 15 in 1996 to actually supply IT hardware into African countries. And the rest is history.”


Cosmos Maduka, (Nigeria) - Coscharis Group

play Cosmas Maduka (Leadership)


Founder and President CEO, Coscharis Group, Cosmos Maduka turned a one-man business into an indigenous conglomerate after serving and learning as an automobile apprentice under his uncle at a tender age . The Coscharis Group are sole distributors of BMW cars in West Africa.

Though he didn’t get to complete the 6-3-3-4 system of education, Cosmos has been honoured with a Honorary degree Doctor of Business Administration (PhD) of University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2003. He is an Alumnus of Harvard Business School (Executive Education Program).


Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma  (Nigeria) - Innoson Group

play Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma (Guardian news)

Founder of Innoson Group (manufacturers of IVM motors and Innoson Plastics), Nigeria's Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma, a reported drop-out  started first making cheaper motorcycles before growing to car and buses manufacturing business.


Justin Stanford, (South Africa) - ESET 

play Justin started dealing in anti-virus software ESET and he became the exclusive distributor for the product in South Africa. (Answers Africa)


Inspired by Bill Gates, Justin set out to launch an internet security company which didn’t succeed. This however didn’t discourage him. For years, he persevered to grow his 100 percent-Internet based company from a garage in the suburbs of Cape Town.

Justin started dealing in anti-virus software ESET and he became the exclusive distributor for the product in South Africa. Today the brand, which operates in about 20 sub-Saharan countries records over $10 million in annual turnover and controls 5 percent of the anti-virus market in Southern Africa.

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