Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, first African-owned, US-based newspaper published on the Internet.
31-year-old Nigerian Iyin Aboyeji on billionaires’ lane with Elon Musk, others. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica
One of the better business news items and empowerment reports that happened a few hours ago as we are moving into 2023 is the listing/naming of a corporate savvy and technologically adroit 31-year-old Nigerian, Iyin Aboyeji, among 62 business founders in the world that have established two unicorns. A unicorn in techno-language means a privately held startup company with a value of over US$1 billion.
Those achievements have earned him global recognition, for the right reasons. Aboyeji is driving on billionaires’ lane with Elon Musk, and a few others.
Aboyeji’s story is trully inspirational and worthy of recognition. He has a good sense of the local Nigerian environments as well as an effective method to engage the captains of technology in today’s world. Especially the Silicon Valley and that zone!
I have been consistent in spotlighting the rising profile of Nigerian and African immigrants in the U.S for 30 years through USAfrica, I will underscore the fact that Aboyeji’s rise is unique and very remarkable.
He was recognized in the latest report on outstanding entrepreneurs by the Venture Capital Initiative of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
For context, let me note that the Founder and Director of the Initiative, Ilya Strebulaev, stated that while there are 3,025 business founders/execs in the unicorn category in the world, Richard Klausner is the only person who has founded 4 unicorns! At the next level, only 3 persons have founded 3 unicorns, 62 persons have founded 2 unicorns each.
It is equally interesting and revealing to read Aboyeji vision of the elements of his successful drive. In a world where millions of people do not believe in the instrumentality of divine grace and intervention, the young co-founder of Flutterwave, significantly stated in his reaction to the announcementt: “At 31 years old, by the grace of God, I am one of 62 people in the whole world and very likely the only African to have co-founded two unicorns – Andela and Flutterwave. I am grateful to my country, Nigeria. I have repeatedly said that in no other country on earth would my story have been possible. I am not a caucasian male. I’m just barely 30 years old. I wasn’t born into old money. My parents are humble clergy – the son of a butcher and the daughter of clergy who worked their way up. It is only through prayers, hard work and the favour of God we have come this far. Can anything good come out of Nigeria? Well yes – this is our testimony. We produce unicorns.”
He has a sense of collaboration to achieve successful entrepreneurship. He appreciates team-work and sacrifice for the success. “They believed when no sane person would. They worked and sacrificed everything to build the future on the continent and I’m so happy for how God has blessed the work of their hands in return.”
At another level and arena, I have reported and analyzed the, equally, the gradual but successful movement of Nigerians and African immigrants towards the mainstream of American politics. The diasporan communities here in the United States, particularly the younger generation, Nigerian Americans and recent immigrant Africans understand what I refer to as the possibilities dynamic zone since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. You will recall victories of 8 Nigerian-Americans in the November 8, 2022 mid-term elections in the United States.
Permit me to reiterate that point that for me and for millions of other recent immigrants, we awaken daily with a choice of realistic, productive and equitable, even if imperfect engagement with a society, a country which offers people more opportunities to all without regard to race, religion and pre-existing conditions. In fact, one of the greatest Presidents of these United States, Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), underscored it with these timeless words: “Americanism is a question of principle, of purpose, of idealism, of character. It is not a matter of birthplace or creed or line of descent.” I believe Iyin Aboyeji! reflects the opportunities empowerment America offers as well as the genius of Nigerians, Africans and other immigrants. Our best is yet to come; and will come! •Dr. Chido Nwangwu, author of the forthcoming 2023 book, MLK, Mandela & Achebe: Power, Leadership and Identity., is Founder of the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper on the internet, USAfricaonline.com, and established USAfrica in 1992 in Houston. He has appeared as an analyst on CNN, ALJazeera, SKYnews, and served as an adviser on Africa business to Houston’s former Mayor Lee Brown. Follow him on Twitter @Chido247