ENTREPRENEUR: MEET THE NIGERIAN ENTREPRENEUR PAR EXCELLENCE - MRS IBIKUN AWOSIKA


Does this name ring a bell on your mind? May be your’re one of her Mentees or Fans. All the same, being a success in the Enterprise and other areas of life, we want to take a look at her attributes.

Born on December 24th, 1962 to Mr & Mrs Mr Abdulmashood Adekola  in Ibadan, Nigeria. Mrs Ibukun Awosika holds a degree in Chemistry from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; the Global MBA of IESE Business School, Barcelona- Spain, an Alumna of the Chief Executive Program of Lagos Business School, Global CEO program of Wharton, IESE & CEIBS Business Schools.

There are some attributes in her that enabled her go this far in the enterprise and they can be summarized thus:

AN ENTREPRENEUR PAR EXCELENCE: She is the founder and CEO of The Chair Centre Group, which is made up of The Chair Centre Limited, Sokoa Chair Centre Limited, Furniture Manufacturers Mart Limited, TCC Systems & Services Limited and Cubes and Boxes Limited. The group is involved in furniture manufacturing, retail and bank-way security systems services.

She worked briefly with, 3 months, with Alibert Nigeria Limited, a furniture company, as a showroom manager. Thereafter, she resigned to set up her furniture manufacturing company, Quebees Ltd in 1989, which has transformed over the years to become the The Chair Centre Group, a market leader in the office furniture and banking security systems industries, with Furniture manufacturing as its core business.

The Chair Centre Limited with its modern factory and office facility in Lekki, Lagos, also has factories outside of Lagos, Tinapa-Calaba &Ghana, which is a response to the increasing demand for its durable products.  

A DOGGED BUSINESS MAGNET:  Ban on importation of furniture by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2004 could not stop her business, rather she seized it as an opportunity to expand her business by going into joint venture with Sokoa S.A of France and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc to set up Sokoa Chair Centre Limited, and she became the MD/CEO of the joint-venture company.

A BOARD ROOM MAGNET: Mrs Ibukun Awosika serves on a number of corporate and non-profit boards & committee, either as a chairman or a member. They are as follows: she chairs the boards of First Bank Of Nigeria Plc and After School Graduate Development Centre, her initiative she runs in partnership with the Lagos State government. The program is geared towards youth employability and enterprise development in Nigeria.

She was chairman FBN Capital Limited, FBN Life Assurance Limited and Kakawa Discount House Limited.

She’s a member of the boards of Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Convention on Business Integrity (CBI), Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, IESE Business School Barcelona – Spain, Lagos University Governing Council, The Aspen Global Leadership Network, The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG),   a fellow of the third class of the Africa Leadership Initiative- West Africa, National Job Creation Committee (NCJC) and The Corporate Governance Committee for NNPC.


A MEDIA PERSONALITY: She anchors the programme – Ignite initiate. An initiative set up to tackle the unemployment challenge among youth by igniting an Enterprise culture and exceptional professionalism amongst youth in Lagos State and its environs.

She is the host of a popular television programme, transmitted on almost 10 TV stations in Nigeria and neighbouring countries. In the programme tagged, Business – His Way, she teaches ethical business values and principles from The Bible.

In 2008, Mrs  Ibukun Awosika was among 6 Nigerian entrepreneurs who presented in the first African version of the Dragon’s Den now known as Shark Tank. A platform where Entrepreneurs & Aspiring Entrepreneurs pitch to investors around the world, for funding.

A MENTOR & COACH: She spends her time and resources in mentoring and training the upcoming generation in business and career development through Business his way(a TV Program), The ignite initiative & The After School Development Centre in partnership with the Lagos State Government, Women In Business Management & Public Service, amongst others.

In March 2017, she had a Mentoring session with the Professionals of Covenant Christain centre, which was very inspiring.  

Outside these programs, she has an array of mentees of which Tara Durotoye is a part of.

As a mentor, hear what she tells her Mentees and other business people, “You must understand that you are not God. You are not the most important person in your business. The guys who work for you are just as important as you. You must learn to respect them and the value they bring into your business. You can’t pay them peanuts and pay yourself all the money.”

TEACHER/CONFERENCE SPEAKER: Her teachings can be summarized thus: Own your success Define your assets and liabilities, Be fair & kind but be firm, Maximize your strength, Value people as much as you value yourself, Have a sense of You, Don’t be lazy about investing in you, Find a mentor and The biggest part of you is inside you, never let anyone define you by what they see. She teaches business principles and values the Bible way.

A PATRIOTIC CITIZEN: She services on a number of boards listed above, initiating projects, using the opportunities at her disposal in raising Entrepreneurs to create jobs and solve the unemployment dilemma plaguing Nigeria. This she does to further the greatness of Nigeria as the giant of Africa.

Speaking to Nigerians, in a telecast, she says, “We have a responsibility to help solve the problems in our society in the end; if we don’t help build the community, we ourselves are at risk. We need collective effort of organizations and individuals to garner resources for social change.”
She is also setting up The Furniture Village Cluster, a joint venture with the Ogun State Government to provide infrastructure, skills and support to a cluster of SME firms with similar raw material requirements.
 According to theplatformnigeria.com, she is currently setting up SCC ALGON providing metal-based component for the furniture manufacturing and related industries.
A WOMAN OF INTEGRITY:  People are at peace doing business with her. Her mantra in furniture production is  durability in design, that is why Chair Center group makes  furniture that last for as long as 25 years and beyond. She strongly believes in staying true to her personal values and virtues in all her endeavours.  

WOMEN IN BUSINESS ADVOCATE: With a burning interest in women Mrs Ibukun Awosika co-founded and was the past chairlady of Women in Business, Management and Public service (WIMBIZ). 

Advocating for women she says, “If the managers of the economy ignore women, then they will use only resources generated by 53% of the economy to drive 100% of the economy.”    

AN ADVOCATE OF LEGACY: She believes so much in raising successors in business and that is what she practices in her business. Speaking to Thisday newspaper she said, “I am consumed by the fact that I want my business to survive when I am gone otherwise I would have wasted my life. I started business in my twenties, so why would I work so hard for so many years and not build a legacy?”

PHILANTHROPHIST: She consistently impact Youth, Women and men alike through various platforms such as, AGDC, WIMBIZ, Media, Conferences, Seminars and so on.  

She has also assisted a number of Entrepreneurs with Start-up capital from her personal account.

 AN AUTHOR: Mrs Awosika is an author of 2 books - Business his way and The ‘Girl’ Entrepreneurs.

MULTIPLE AWARD WINNER:  Mrs Ibikun Awosika is a multiple award-winning Entrepreneur one of which is the Prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award (IWEC), in 2008, making her the first Nigerian to receive such an award. 

The award was courtesy of Manhattan Chambers of Commerce and the United States Government.

A DEVOUT CHRISTIAN: Mrs Ibukun awosika is an ordained Pastor and founder of The Christian Missionary Fund. The organization raises missionaries and also provides support to hundreds of missionaries across Nigeria to transform lives through provision of medical, educational other areas.

A FAMILY WOMAN: She is married to Mr Abiodun Awosika , and they are blessed with 3 sons. On her view about success in life, “Success for me is also winning as a wife, which means to help my husband be the best while he supports my dreams and desires.”

LEISURE: She loves watching investigative and legal series at her leisure. 

CONCLUSION: This icon is an inspiration to me and many other young women out there including men. The truth is, she is a living proof of the say, “What a man can do, a woman can do better.”

END.

Source: ibikunawosika.org, thechaircentrenigeria.com, firstbanknigeira.com, wimbiz.org,  Wikipedia.org, theplatformnigeria.com, thisdaylive.com, punchng.com, corporate.houseoftara.com, connectnigeria.com




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