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Sierra Leone Business: SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES LESSONS TO LEARN FROM THE GRASS TO GRACE STORY OF NIGERIAN BILLIONAIRE SAMUAEL ADEDOYIN

Prince Samuel Adedoyin , Chairman, Doyin Group of Companies, is everything you would wish to be in life. Providence, no doubt, has literally lavished its favour on him. Even as he just gracefully turned 80, it is evident that he still has a lot contribute to humanity. But success, greatness and fame were never thrust on his laps on a platter of gold. He has had his own fair share of life’s vicissitudes. His is an intriguing story of a man who has glided from zero to hero. Indeed, if anyone had told him that he would someday become one of the gladiators in the nation’s business sector, he would have sneered at the fellow. While he was growing up, he had the picture of how rich he wanted to be in his head, but was slightly unsure of how to actualise it, particularly after he dropped out of school in standard IV.
Today I bring you this story about this Nigerian business mogul .
Samuel Adedoyin was born in Lagos on December 4, 1935. He spent his early childhood at Agbamu, a small village near Oro, in Kwara State, Nigeria, where his parents hails from. After completing Standard Four at St. James School, Ilorin, Kwara State, he left for Lagos at the age of 11. In Lagos, he joined his father, Prince Solomon Olaosebikan Adedoyin, who traded in bicycle parts, tools and some other wares.
Determined to leave the shores of Nigeria for greener pasture, the young Samuel left for Apapa port where he struck a bargain with some sailors to be stowed in a cargo compartment on a ship bound for England. His luck ran out when he was found at Takoradi port in Ghana. Still determined not to return home, he begged to serve as a houseboy to the Ghanaian Immigration officer who discovered him. His commitment and hardwork so impressed his master that when he requested for a two pound sterling assistance to start up a business, the master quickly obliged him. Thus he started hawking beef in Ghana. From beef hawking he ventured into sale of exercise books. With savings from these two businesses, he moved into newspaper distribution, becoming an agent of Asante Pioneer. He so combined distributing newspapers at dawn and hawking beef in the day that he was able to save little money with which he rented a shop where he started selling keys, hinges, padlocks and bolts.
After three years at the age of 15, he decided to visit his parents in Nigeria. His parents refused him going back to Ghana and that left him with no option but to farm, which was the main occupation in the village then.
In 1951, with a solid a track record of a returnee and well respected by the community, he was nominated as councilor. From the proceeds of his maize harvest from his farm that year, Adedoyin returned to Lagos and plunged full-time into trading. He settled for selling holiday bags and umbrellas, which he bought in large volumes from Indians, Lebanese and Europeans, using the name “Jeko Yemi Kale Oluwa” (Let me be prosperous all my days, O Lord). At 19, he had built a 25-room apartment in Mushin, Lagos State, which he rented out. He also bought a second-hand Volkswagen car. By his 21st birthday, he diversified into the sale of ball-point pens, garments, umbrellas and other popular goods. At 26 years old, he had built his sixth house in Lagos.
In 1965, when he was 30 years old, he registered Doyin Investments Nigeria Limited. Rather than continue to import bags, umbrellas and shoes, he decided to go into production. He traveled to Italy to order for five Singer sewing machines. The company became the first indigenous firm to produce handbags and umbrellas. In 1980, he diversified into electronics with the assembly of the Samsonic range, a name derived from Samuel.
By 1995, the Doyin Group made up of 16 companies had reached about N2 billion turnover. From 40 workers he employed when he started manufacturing, the group has over 5,500 workers, excluding suppliers and distributors. The Group comprises, among others, Global Soap and Detergents Industries Ltd., Consolidated Foods and Beverages Ltd., Stafford Chemicals industries Ltd., Doyin Industries Ltd., Doyin Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Doyin Investment (Nig) Ltd., Doyin Motors Ltd., Doyin Properties, amongst others.
Samuel Adedoyin’s businesses are managed by his children, whom he groomed and passed on business and management skills to them, coupled with sound education from schools at home and abroad, education he himself never had.
Samuel has had his fair share of business setbacks. One of such setbacks was the liquidation of City Express Bank during the banking sector consolidation of 2005. Another was the sale of his chemical plant in Agbara. The plant, the first of its kind constructed at a sum of N2 billion to produce alum for water treatment plants and sulphuric acid for usage by agencies like Power Holding Electric Company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the National Fertilizer Company and some private manufacturing companies, had to be disposed of for a meager N100 million due to low patronage.
He has given scholarships, tarred roads in both Kwara and Lagos States and has provided water and electricity supply, post office and hospitals for many communities. His contribution has attracted recognition locally and award globally. From associations, professional bodies, and government agencies, he has received such awards like Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR), National Productivity Merit Award, Freedom of the City of London, ECOWAS Gold Award, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah International Award for Excellence in Enterprise amongst others.
At every opportunity, he gives thanks to God that the planned UK trip was aborted, given subsequent developments in his life.
John F Fowler is a business consultant, entrepreneur and youth entrepreneurship development trainer. He has produced books on various SME business start-ups. For business advice contact him on info@startabusiness.com.ng , www.startabusiness.com.ng, whatsapp +234 802 325 4577
Monday August 07, 2017.

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