You know how they say mixing business with pleasure is always a bad idea? News Flash: somebody lied!
And that’s because there’s a good a number of business partners who are also married couples that have, time and again, proven the old cliche to be just a boatload of B.S.
It’s another February 14 and everyone knows what’s in the air: love! And because it’s hard to not catch the fever, we’ve decided to serve up a small list of top African entrepreneur couples who are killing it in business and also winning as spouses. Enjoy!
Jason and Mary got married 9 years ago and together they’ve built an empire, him an entrepreneur CEO and co-founder of iROKO Partners, an online distribution company that focuses on Nigeria Entertainment Industry and her an actress, producer and CEO of Rok Studios. The couple is blessed with three children; Nwakaego Annabel Njoku, Nnenna Njoku, and Jason Obinna Njoku.
Connie Ferguson and Shona Ferguson have been married for 17 years. Both hold their own acclaim in the South African entertainment industry as celebrity couples who have graced the screens of popular television series, Generations.
Beyond screen action, the couple has extended their interests into business and together, they co-own a TV production company known as Ferguson Films.
Although currently, embroiled in a nasty case of tax fraud, the Karanja couple still has impressive business credentials.
The couple started one of Kenya’s most reputable breweries, Keroche Industries, from their home in 1997.
With the locally available raw materials, the duo claimed to have started with a capital of KES 500 K (roughly USD 500.00) to venture into fortified wines, which were favourable to the low-income market due to its low cost of production.
Keroche built a small, fortified fruit wines brewery. With an initial production of 200 litres in the first month and a new brand, Viena, Keroche was too young and its production too small to get noticed in any of Kenya’s liquor books. But Viena gained immediate acceptance.
The firm brought to Kenyans products like beers (Summit Lager, Summit Malt); vodkas (Viena Ice, Viena Ice Lemon Twist); wines (Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage) and the Crescent range of spirits.
Devki Group of Companies drew a great deal of attention five years ago when it turned down an offer by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, who was plotting a strategic acquisition.
When Forbes magazine featured the Indian-born Kenyan, Narendra Raval, who built the company alongside his wife, Neeta, in January 2015, Devki Group was amassing nearly KES 65 Bn (USD 650 Mn) in today’s rates) in annual revenues.
The Raval couple started the business as a hardware shop called The Steel Centre in Gikomba in 1986.
“My wife and I did everything ourselves. One of us would make the deliveries while the other manned the shop,” Narendra Raval told Forbes Africa in May 2015.
In 1989, the Ravals procured 30 acres of land in Athi River for KES 365 K. It is from that plot that the exponential growth of Devki began. The Ravals’ desire to keep Devki a family business is probably why Dangote’s offer was turned down.
Featured Image Courtesy: ShoppeBlack
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