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Every booming and elegant venture once had a bitter story and started from somewhere; it takes pain and a lot of perseverance to keep ones eye on the ball. The adroitness of a man coupled with great mind of commitment with dedication always result in a laudable success story and experience. This is just how Dangote started and today, Dangote groups is the largest conglomerate in Africa.

Aliko Dangote was born on 10th of April 1957 to a very buoyant family in Kano; his family was well known for entrepreneurial activities mainly sales of agricultural commodities like oat, wheat. This business had brought his family’s name to limelight. At times, one’s family background is a major factor to one’s success. However, it is not a guarantee but an advantage over others of lower class. Success is not inherited; it is a function of one’s determination and intellectual prowess.

In 1965, Dangote lost his father. After this incidence, his grandfather, Sanusi Dantata took care of him. His grandfather was a renowned cereal merchant; he used to sell oats and wheat in humongous capacity. Little Dangote was exposed to the nitty gritty of business activities, being his grandfather major means of living. He took part in various trading activities and he was able to garner and develop entrepreneurial skills. He once recounted in an interview, he said;

“I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business even at that time”.

It is the spirit and not his family background; he knew what he wanted and he started going for it at a very tender age. On this mindset, he built his career.

He studied business studies at Al-Azhar University in Egypt; he graduated at the age of 21. After the culmination of his study, he delved into the business world with the support of his grandfather. During an interview with Forbes, he said; “when you are raised by an entrepreneurial parents or grandparent, you pick that aspiration. It makes you to be more aggressive to think anything is possible”.

When he graduated from the university, he creatively convinced his grandfather to lend him $3,000 to start up a business. His grandfather gleefully did and Dangote started the importation of agricultural commodities; his main imports were rice from Thailand and sugar from Brazil. He sold these goods in small quantities in his neighborhood; his profit from this trade grew tremendously that he was able to refund his load in just 3 months.

In 1997, he took a dicey decision which significantly changed his life for good. He realized that being a middle man is limiting his potential. He decided to explore the world of manufacturing; he started manufacturing all the goods he imports. His company started with the production of pasta, sugar, salt and flour. Fortunately for him, that same period, he was awarded a state owned cement company. At this period, he had more opportunities to explore, which he did diligently.

By 2005, Dangote tremendously expanded the company to a multimillion dollar cement manufacturing plant. Another astute decision Dangote made was to separate all his manufacturing companies into different publicly traded companies. These companies are: National Salt Company of Nigeria, Dangote flour mills pls, Dangote cement plc and others; all under the management of Dangote Groups, the largest conglomerate in Africa.

The business model of Dangote is mainly reinvestment. He invests so much rather than keeping profit. He disclosed this in an interview; he said; “we (Dangote group) are not doing like other Africans who keep most of their money in the bank. We fully invest whatever we have and we keep on investing”. This is a clever decision and has been keeping the brand ahead of its pack overtime.

Dangote success story is an encouragement to all success-hunting youth; it greatly teaches that anything can be achieved if the idea is backed with action. Though, he was fortunate to be supported by his grandfather, which is almost impossible now. Nevertheless, his interest and zeal paved ways for him and has made him the richest man in Africa.

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