5 Christian Business Mentors you Should Learn from today

Sometimes, it is difficult to find ways to marry your faith with your business. In a predominately secular business world, being open about your faith can sometimes feel like a liability. But there are numerous examples of successful business people all around us that show how powerfully faith can lift up a business.

When starting out a business

1. Pastor Mrs. Ibukun Awosika

5 Christian Business Mentors you Should Learn from today

 

Born into a muslim family with the name Bikisu, Mrs Ibukun Awosika revealed that her great grandfather was the first Alhaji in the city of Ibadan. Ibukun Awosika rose through entrepreneurship to become the first female Chairperson, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and most valuable banking brand. She is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Chair Centre Group. The companies within the group include The Chair Centre Limited, Sokoa Chair Centre Limited, Furniture Manufacturers Mart, TCC Security Systems and Cubes and Boxes Limited. These companies are involved in manufacturing, retail and bank-way security systems services.



Mrs Awosika chairs a number of corporate and not-for-profit boards amongst which are: House of Tara International and Afterschool Graduate Development Centre (AGDC), a facility which she promoted to help address youth employability and enterprise issues in Nigeria. She sits on the boards of Digital Jewel Limited, Cadbury Nigeria Plc., Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority. She was Chairman, FBN Life Assurance Limited, FBN Capital Limited and Kakawa Discount House Limited.

Born in Ibadan on the 24th of December, 1962, Mrs. Awosika’s primary education started in Ibadan but completed at St. Pauls African Church Primary School in Lagos. She also attended Methodist Girls High School, Yaba for secondary school education. Mrs Ibukun Awosika is a graduate of Chemistry from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria; an alumna of the Chief Executive Programme of Lagos Business School; the Global Executive MBA of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain; and Global CEO Programme of Wharton, IESE and China European International Business School (CEIBS).

With high interest in social issues, including women, she is a co-founder and past chairperson of Women in Business, Management and Public Service (WIMBIZ). An ordained Pastor and founder of the Christian Missionary Fund, Ibukun, through this faith-based organization, works with hundreds of missionaries spread across Nigeria to change lives with the provision of medical, educational, and other supplies.

As a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative, Aspen Global Leadership Network, Institute of Directors and Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria, Ibukun, through her projects aspires to use her opportunities in life to further the greatness of her dear country by raising entrepreneurs to create jobs for the large unemployed youthful population. She is a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), served on National Job Creation Committee (NJCC), and sits on the International Advisory Board of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain.

Ibukun is a multiple award-winning entrepreneurs and the first Nigerian recipient of the prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Award as a nominee of the US Department of State in 2008. She loves to watch investigative and legal series in her leisure time. She is happily married to Abiodun Awosika and they are blessed with three wonderful sons. 

2. Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa- 10 Christian Business Mentors you Should Learn from today

From Zimbabwe, Telecom billionaire, Strive Masiyiwa, started his first business with $75 and a belief that hard work, and a desire to do right by his fellow man was enough to build something valuable. From the onset, he took a Biblical approach to operating his business, and by the years, he came to a personal relationship with Christ.

Masiyiwa was educated and began his construction business in the UK, then moved his product offering to telecom when he realized the revolutionary potential of mobile technology for Africa. Masiyiwa faced hardships along the way when  he requested a license to cellular frequencies from the Robert Mugabe government. Mugabe refused to grant a license, claiming he had potential for becoming a monopoly. Masiyiwa sued the government. Almost immediately, Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court ruled against him, leaving seemingly no chance for appeal. It appeared his dreams of a pan-African mobile network were doomed. 

It was then that his wife convinced him to go to church with her. Masiyiwa recalls, ‘It seemed as though everyone in the room except me was so happy! The young American pastor was preaching about Jesus Christ, whom I thought I had known all my life. Now I realized that I did not know Him; I only knew of Him.” That moment changed everything for him. He borrowed a second-hand Bible, and read the entire thing in two weeks, committing his life (and business) fully to Christ. According to him, During the 5yr legal battle that established Econet, my wife and I set up a prayer routine that included an "ALL NIGHT PRAYER VIGIL" in our home EVERY single Friday

. We would start at 9pm, and finish at 6am. Anyone could walk in into our house, and join the meeting.


With renewed determination, he dove back into the fight against the Mugabe government. Five years, and thousands of prayers later, he was granted the license and the means to grow a mobile technology company.

Today, Econet Wireless, operates in more than 15 countries and enjoys a majority share of Zimbabwe users. The company began offering mobile banking, and within 18 months, some 20 percent of Zimbabwe’s GDP was passing through its networks.

If his story ended here, it would be a powerful testament to the strength of Christ in the lives of businesspeople who are fully committed. But over the years Masiyiwa has grown into one of the most prolific philanthropists in Africa and around the world. As part of the The Giving Pledge, Masiyiwa spends nearly as much time and money giving back as he does growing Econet Wireless. He is the co-founder of the Capernaum Trust, a Christian charity that sponsors the education of over 28,000 Zimbabwean orphans, he founded the environmental group the Carbon War Room with Sir Richard Branson, and sits on countless boards from Grow Africa to organizations leading the charge against HIV/AIDS and Ebola.


Throughout his career and philanthropic activities, Strive Masiyiwa has demonstrated Christ’s teachings, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you,” focusing his prodigious business talents on those activities that serve to lift others and spread the goodness of God’s riches.

What lessons from Masiyiwa’s life could you apply in your own business? What are 3 ways you could help others in your community, country or around the world?

“God will do nothing except you pray; and you have to be clear what you want”- Strive Masiyiwa

This might sound like illogical business advice particularly if you’re an atheist. But according to Masiyiwa, a devout Christian, prayers are essential for success in business. Masiyiwa has stated countless times that when he was battling the Zimbabwean government in court for the right to operate a mobile Telecoms license, he prayed fervently. While the court case lingered, Masiyiwa prayed for victory. Even though it took four years, Masiyiwa’s prayers were eventually answered. Employees at Econet and people close to Masiyiwa confirm that the tycoon never takes any important business decision before first going on his knees. Judging by Econet’s raving success, Masiyiwa’s prayers actually work.

Recognised by Forbes as one of Africa's richest billionaires. His Facebook platform has the most engaged following of any business leader. The Zimbabwean never ceases to use his God given influence and platforms to constantly talk about God, inspire the youths and share priceless business secrets and godly principles. He never ceases to share his salvation story, his journey as a christian and the several things he has learnt from God in the 26 years of his Christian walk.
Mr Strive is a member of the board of trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Strive Masiyiwa overcame protracted government opposition to launch mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in his country of birth in 1998. He owns just over 50% of the publicly traded Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which is one part of his larger Econet Group.
Masiyiwa also owns just over half of private company Liquid Telecom, which provides fiber optic and satellite services to telecom firms across Africa.
His other assets include stakes in mobile phone networks in Burundi and Lesotho, and investments in fintech and power distribution firms in Africa.
He and his wife Tsitsi founded the Higherlife Foundation, which supports orphaned and poor children in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi and Lesotho.

 

3. Cosmas Maduka

Cosmas Maduka is known for his radical Christian faith. He gave his life to Jesus early in life and this had tremendous positive impact on his life, in addition to listening to inspiration talks by William Branham. He is married to Charity Maduka with four sons and daughter. lives in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2015, Cosmos Maduka appeared on Forbes Africa Cover as the man who turned $ dollar to $500million and during was featured in an exclusive interview of Forbes Africa TV Series “My Worst Day with Peace Hyde”.
 

4. Pastor Stephen Akintayo

A billionaire estate manager,


5. Pastor Kola Oyeneyin

Pastor Kola Oyeneyin is a Nigerian Entrepreneur and Activist. He is the founder and CEO of Venia Group, a venture creation and development company, recognised by the London Stock Exchange. He was a Business Analyst at Hewlett-Packard for 3 years in the United Kingdom before joining Lekki British School as the Business Manager. In January 2011, Kola founded Venia Group, a venture creation and development company, whose subsidiaries; Venia Business Hub, provides serviced offices and co-working spaces for Startups and SMEs in Nigeria, and AutoGenius, is Nigeria's first digital insurance platform.

Pastor Kola describes himself as one who has been raised to raise, supported to support, assisted to assist, motivated to motivate, inspired to inspire, blessed to bless, loved to love. This has inspired his move for change and development. In 2018, the Vice President of Nigeria appointed Pastor Kola Oyeneyin as a member of the Advisory Group on Technology and Creativity in 2018. Also, the Future Awards Africa nominated Kola Oyeneyin as Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012.

 

 

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