With Adebayo Adeoye
When Cosmas Maduka was setting up Coscharis Group of Companies, a leading Nigerian conglomerate, in 1980, he was doing so just to fight poverty and put food on his table.
But little did he know that the business would become one of the best in the country many years after, before his very eyes.
The business that he established on a shoe-string budget some 40 years ago has not only become a household name today but a world-class conglomerate.
As evidence of his success story, the Anambra State-born business magnate is set to join 60 other top entrepreneurs from 51 countries to compete for the ‘EY World Entrepreneur of the Year’ in Monaco, France.
He will also be inducted into the ‘EY World Entrepreneur of the Year’ Hall of Fame.
This year’s winner, it was gathered, will be announced virtually on June 4, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maduka, the winner of the 2020 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award (EOY) in West Africa, will be recognized alongside other 60 others for their exceptional entrepreneurial achievements.
Speaking on the award, Ashish Bakhshi, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year leader for West Africa, said: “The award is not only designed to celebrate and honour the contributions and achievements of successful entrepreneurs but also serves to inspire today’s successful entrepreneurs, so they can share their incredible entrepreneurial stories.
“On behalf of EY Body of Partners and entire staff, I want to wish Maduka very best of luck and hope he brings the coveted award to West Africa.
“We are proud of his achievements in the business world not only in Nigeria but on the African Continent.”
One of the most interesting and unique features of this year’s edition is that the entire process of the event will be conducted virtually.
The overall winner will be chosen by an independent judging panel of distinguished former EY Entrepreneur of the Year winners and other well-known entrepreneurs drawn from the business circle worldwide.
According to the organizers, the award is given on the basis of six criteria: entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, strategic direction, innovation, global impact, and personal integrity/influence), allowing all country winners an equal opportunity to compete.
James Mwangi, the CEO and Group Managing Director of Equity Bank, Kenya, is the first and only African to win the prestigious EY World Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Other past winners are Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani Inc (USA); Olivia Lum, Group CEO and President, Hyflux Limited (Singapore); Guy Laliberté, Founder and CEO, Cirque du Soleil (Canada); Narayana Murthy, founder and chairman of Infosys Technologies Limited (India), and Cho Tak Wong, chairman, Fuyao Glass Industry Group (China), among others.
EY Entrepreneur of the Year award programme started in 1986 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the US. In 1987, it was held across 11 US cities. But in 1993, it started to expand internationally.
The programme was introduced in West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana) in 2011.