An Office Administrator Turned Biblical Billionaire
She is one child amongst 52 children and 8 wives of her parents. If she can become a billionaire, you can become a billionaire, partner with God.
Mrs. Folorunso Alakija is a businesswoman who has forayed into uncharted territories. She is a philanthropist with a sincere desire to help the needy, a fashion icon with an infallible sense of style, a loving wife, a caring mother and doting grandmother, a friend in deed. Educated in Europe, she first embarked on a career in office administration, then she went into banking where she remained, until she took a leap of faith and followed her heart and creative calling to establish her own business in the Nigerian fashion industry. Her fashion house “Supreme Stitches” rose to prominence and fame within a few years, and later, as “Rose of Sharon House of Fashion”, became a household name.
Life In The Corporate World
I started my corporate career as a Secretary with Sijuade Enterprises at the prestigious Western House, Broad Street, Lagos shortly after completing a Secretarial Course at Pitman’s Central College London.
I later joined The First National Bank Of Chicago (today known as Finbank PLC) as the Executive Secretary to the Managing Director.
With diligence and hard work, I became the new Head of the Corporate Affairs Department of the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria (Formerly First National Bank of Chicago) and subsequently, rose to the position of an Office Assistant to the Treasury Department. I had a wonderful career spanning 12 years in the banking world.
Success In The Fashion World
Shortly after my career in the corporate world, I took up a new challenge driven by my passion for Fashion to study fashion design at The American College in London and the Central School of Fashion.
My return to Nigeria saw the birth of my first fashion label, Supreme Stitches which was later renamed The Rose Of Sharon House of Fashion in 1996. In 2001, We started mass-producing tee-shirts and thus changed its name to The Rose of Sharon Prints and Promotions.
As an indigenous company, Famfa Oil made its first application for an oil exploration and production licence in 1991. In collaboration with Texaco Nigeria Ltd (later taken over by Chevron Nigeria Ltd), it commenced full operations in 1996. A true family business with Mr Modupe Alakija (my husband) as its Chairman, I, the Executive Chairman and my four sons the Executive Directors.
The God that made all this possible, who gives without adding sorrow, also used Famfa and its Agbami partners to give scholarships to almost 9,000 medical and engineering students nationwide. We have also donated 21 chest clinics for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) in 21 different states in Nigeria and 21 science laboratories in 21 different states (including 9 in the Niger Delta region and Lagos State). In addition to these, we have donated 4 E-libraries and 2 school libraries in different states of Nigeria.
As National President and lifelong Trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), she left an indelible mark, promoting Nigerian culture through fashion and style. Ever an entrepreneur, Mrs. Alakija has set up related businesses: The Rose of Sharon Prints & Promotions which specializes in monogramming, heat/picture transfer and screen printing for promotional and gift items, and Digital Reality Print Ltd which specializes in highly technical digital large format printing. In addition to these, Folorunso is the Executive Vice Chairman of Dayspring Property Development Company Limited, a real estate company with investments in different parts of the world.
When reflecting on her achievements, Folorunso’s foremost reaction is always to give glory to God and to share the secrets of her success. A born again Christian since 1991, she draws her strength from her unfaltering belief in the power and glory of God. With a sincere desire to give to those in need in the name of the Lord, her philanthropic endeavours, such as the Rose of Sharon Foundation, continue to influence her native land positively by empowering widows and their families, as well as orphans, to be successful through educational programmes and scholarships. In obedience to the word of God and working according to His will and purpose, Folorunso and her husband founded a house fellowship which has grown to become a full-fledged Christian Ministry known as the Rose of Sharon Glorious Ministry International. She has authored several books including, “University of Marriage”, “Alone with God”, (a free Christian Devotional) her autobiography, “Growing with the Hand that Gives the Rose”, and “The Cry of Widows and Orphans”.
So, who is Mrs Folorunso Alakija? Who do people say I am?
I have heard things like:
“Richest Black Woman in Nigeria, Africa and in the world”.
I have been referred to as:
“One of Forbes’ 100 Most Influential Women in the World”.
But, who do I say I am and who does God say I am?
Regarding wealth only God knows that because He is the only one who knows by how much He blesses each of His creations.
He decides, He uplifts or lowers for reasons best known to Him and in His time. So, who am I to determine my position?
I have left all that to Him. It is not about what I have achieved, it’s about what He has done, is doing and what He’s yet to do in my life. To Him be all the glory and honour.
So the Folorunso that I, my family and my brothers and sisters in Christ know is:
- An extrovert
- A Perfectionist
- Bold and adventurous
- Fashion is my passion
- Married to a dashing gentleman – over 40 years now
- Mother of 4 sons and grandmother
- Minister of God – The Rose of Sharon Glorious Ministry International
- Philanthropist – The Rose of Sharon Foundation
- Delights being in His secret place
- I wear many hats – run several businesses
- A passion for life
- Highly Favoured
She follows her evangelical calling with unbridled devotion, hoping to inspire the public, most especially the youth and women from all walks of life by sharing her values and her motto: “whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well” through motivational talks and speeches. In her speeches, as an encouragement to others, she reveals and introduces her covenant keeping God.
She accepts many invitations to speak and is acclaimed, nationally and internationally, in recognition of all her philanthropic work and endeavours.
She lives in Lagos, Nigeria with Modupe Alakija her beloved husband of over four decades, their four sons and grandchildren.
Photo: from her official Facebook page.
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