Sam Debo Onigbanjo is one of the most charming, witty and down to earth men one can ever meet.
But he is also one of the sharpest and brightest Nigerian minds outside the country. He is one of the most influential Nigerians living in the UK today and it is often said if you need to make business connections, Sam is the person to kmow,
The University of Lagos graduate reurned to UK, the country of his birth in 1993.
Around 1995, he started his first business exporting mobile phones to Nigeria when the market just opened but being unable get his hands on enough phones at the right price, he soon left that business.
But Sam with hindsight, says “I wish I had a better network and a great mentor because that was a massive opportunity I left there”
In 1995, Sam went into partnership with Ferick Derrick and they opened Lefez nightclub in New Cross, South London. The club was highly successful and in 1998, was voted the most exciting night club in South London.
Sam recollects that the night club business was great business. Cash flow was instant on a Friday night with the top icing being all the fun and partying as a single young man.
However, in the early 2000s, IT as a business had started to bloom so Sam decided to leave the entertainment business and try his hand in IT.
He got a City Corporate IT sales job at Net visions Global and soon after started his own IT consulting firm Consulting4London.
Through his business, Sam won major public sector tenders and successfully delivered multiple, million pound contracts for UK establishments such as the then Department of Trade and Industry, Business Links, Lambeth Council, University of Greenwich, London development agency, Thames Gateway, LEGI and many more.
His success brought him to the attention of the Business Links University (BLU) who featured him on the cover of their magazine – the first and only black man to achieve this honour.
In 2006, he was elected and was to become one of the youngest people to become a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
During a period of self eveluation, Sam discovered to his horror that he felt a sense of disconnection from Nigeria and Nigerians, and suddenly realised no one was waiting for him as, the “Naija” game had moved on. So he decided to rebrand himself, become a, true “Niaja” man and resolved to serve and contribute his own quota in Nigerian circles both in the UK and in Nigeria.
In 2012, he, with his wife Tola, founded Women4Africa – the largest and most successful African Awards organisations in the UK which seeks to recognise and honour outstanding African women worldwide.
Today, Sam is a expert business communicator and coach. A strong public speaker and passionate advocate for Africa and African development he also strikes a cord as a conveyor and networker amongst key leaders and Influencers. He is the Founder of and head coach at the Marketing academy – GBP Business Club, a Global business club designed to connect and bring people together.
An author of many papers and self help manuals, Sams new book “37 Business thoughts” is the current buzz within the Entrepreneurial circuits.
In 2014 Sam was recognised as one of the 100 most Influential Nigerians in the UK at the Nigerian Centenary Awards UK, presided over and signed by the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Dr Dalhatu Tafida and Mark Simmonds MP, UK Minister for Africa.
In March 2015 at the African Achievers Awards. held at the at the House of Commons and hosted by Rt.Hon Sir Gerald Kaufman, MP for Manchester, Sam was also recognised as on the one hundred most Influential Africans in the UK.
Sam also holds a Post graduate diploma from the chartered Institute of Marketing and is a Student Member of the Securities and investment institute.
He is happily married to Tola whom he calls “The Chick” and they are both blessed with children.
Copyright Jummy Ariyo
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