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Monthly Archives: January 2012

A patriotic man, Femi Otedola believes in creating job opportunities for his countrymen in opening and growing his many businesses. He owns and directly runs Zenon, Nigeria’s biggest and most powerful oil company that supplies giant companies such as Cadbury, Coca-Cola, Nigerian Breweries, the Dangote Group, MTN, Guinness, Nestle, Unilever and many more.

Son of a former governor, Otedola is on the top of his game as he continues to operate not just a large chunk of the oil market, but also the Atlas Shipping Agency, Swift Insurance, FO Transport and Seaforce Shipping Company, Ltd. and FO Properties, Ltd. His business prowess has put him on the board of the Nigeria Investment and Promotion Council and has caught the eye of Nigeria’s President, who nominated Otedola for an investment drive to South Africa.

Otedola has shown his philanthropic side in contributing N25 million to a program aimed at rehabilitating the National Mosque in Abuja, and took part in the Obasanjo Presidential Library as a co-launcher, contributing N200 million. At the relatively young age of 40, Otedola seems determined to remain one of Nigeria’s top businessmen for a long time coming.

When she first came out as the lead in the biographical movie, “Selena” in 1997, Jennifer Lopez captivated audiences worldwide with her gorgeous Latina looks, sweet smile and acting capabilities. She then took the music industry by storm, hitting high notes with her singing prowess. When her music videos featuring her dancing skills began appearing on screens everywhere, J. Lo, as she is more commonly known, climbed to dizzying heights of fame by proving that she was one of Hollywood’s powerful triple-threats.

More than her media fame however, J. Lo has established her niche in the fashion industry, having opened her own clothing and accessory lines: J. Lo by Jennifer Lopez in 2003, Sweetface in 2005 and JustSweet in 2007. She also took part in the 2003 Louis Vuitton Winter show and has been an active participant in the celebrated New York Fashion Week events. In addition to clothing, she opened a line of perfumes, body lotions and bronzing products, and is the face of shampoo brand Lux in Japan.

That’s not all for this actress-singer-entrepreneur, who seems to be constantly broadening the scope of her business ventures. In 2002, J. Lo entered the food industry by opening a Cuban restaurant called Madre’s in Pasadena, California. She currently owns a television and production company, Nuyorican Productions, has been the executive producer of reality shows and a mini-series and sits as one of the judges of the popular show, “American Idol.”

J. Lo’s philanthropy has been focused mostly on children, she herself being a mother of 3-year old fraternal twins, Emme Maribel Muniz and Maximilian David Muniz. She is one of the biggest supporters of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, going so far as to form The Maribel Foundation in 2009 to help those in the hospital and improve health care for children everywhere. Her efforts include working hand-in-hand with Sounds of Pertussis and March of Dimes in the promotion of vaccinations for whooping cough, supporting the Make a Wish Foundation, the Children’s Health Fund, the Chicago Children’s Memorial Hospital, Youth at Risk and Macy’s Passport for AIDS Research.  Because of these, she was awarded with the Children’s Humanitarian Award by the Children’s Hospital in 2004. J. Lo even took home the Artists for Amnesty International award for her work in exposing the killing of hundreds of women in Juarez, Mexico as shown in the movie, “Bordertown,” which she starred in and produced.

At 42 years old, Jennifer Lopez has achieved iconic status and maintained her fabulous physical appearance, with numerous awards for her music and acting under her belt and her face on the 2011 People magazine’s cover as the year’s most “Beautiful Person.” She remains to be one of the “Most Influential Hispanics” of the world, as recognized by People en Espanol, a fashion symbol, a major force in the film and music industries, a successful businesswoman and an example of good motherhood.

Boxing fans know Bob Arum as well as their favorite boxers. As the founder and chief executive officer of Top Rank, Arum’s name is always on the headlines—especially when there’s a huge fight being set.  His professional boxing promotion company has been responsible for some of the biggest bouts that went down in boxing history.

Arum has lived a charmed life ever since he was a child. He went to the best schools and received high honors; clearly, he was a man with a bright future. While working as a lawyer at the Department of Justice, he had the opportunity to meet Muhammad Ali. This jump started his career as a promoter, and he has not looked back since.

With millions of boxing fans worldwide, Arum has made off quite a huge sum from these fights.  But this would not be possible had he not used his natural business instincts and ingenuity.

The world of boxing would not have been the same without Oscar De La Hoya. The Golden Boy won his first gold medal in boxing at the Barcelona Olympic Games when he was fresh out of high school. He has lived up to his moniker ever since, winning boxing titles and medals left and right. During his prime, he was known as the best pound for pound professional boxer in the whole world.

De La Hoya knew that someday, his boxing career would have to end – just like how the careers of other legends on the ring have ended. But when he announced his retirement in 1999, he did not completely say goodbye to sports. De La Hoya decided to keep an influential role in and outside the ring by establishing Golden Boy Promotions, a promotional firm for combat sports.

From being a boxer, De La Hoya was able to turn himself into a successful entrepreneur. This time, he used his brains, not brawns, to make a huge blow in the boxing arena. With Golden Boy Promotions, De La Hoya was able to help struggling, young boxers improve their ranks by giving them opportunities through exposure. Some top boxers also have him to thank for. In addition to Golden Boy Promotions, De La Hoya also has his own line of clothing.

These ventures, according to his fans, make De La Hoya the best pound for pound businessman. But business is not his only passion. He is also fighting for a win in some of L.A.’s poorest neighborhoods through Golden Boy Partners. De La Hoya is committed to provide more opportunities to poverty-stricken Mexican-Americans like him.

The former world champion has proven himself both in and outside the boxing arena. May it be in business or philanthropy, De La Hoya has shown to us that passion leads to success.

In a competitive industry such as technology, a young company has to defeat several giants before breaking into the consumer market. Apple, IBM and Dell have long reigned supreme over all tech manufacturers; no other company has come close. Likewise, only few businessmen dared to achieve the impossible. One of them is Liu Chuanzhi, Chairman of Legend Holdings and founder of Lenovo Group—which is today one of the world’s largest PC manufacturers.

As one of China’s most powerful people, Chuanzhi is the first Chinese to become a member of the Fortune Global 500. He made Lenovo as his home country’s top computer firm, but later on decided to step down to assume the role of honorary chairman. How he was able to get struggling company get back on its feet in just a few years has astounded the international market.

Chuanzi now seeks bigger goals for his enterprise. At 67, he shows no signs of slowing down soon.

You can’t talk about Microsoft without bringing Bill Gates into the picture. The current chairman of the software company has been its flag bearer since it was founded during the mid-seventies. But contrary to the belief of many, Gates did not singlehandedly build Microsoft and turn it into one of the most profitable businesses to date. Without co-founder Paul Allen, Microsoft and even Gates himself would not be the industry giants that they are today.

Born in Seattle, Washington, Allen befriended Gates while both were in high school—a friendship that was built around a common enthusiasm for the booming computer industry. Their idea of fun was honing their programming skills on time-sharing computers.  They went to different schools in college, but it didn’t take long for both friends to reunite once more. After a couple of semesters and a stroke of inspiration, Allen managed to convince Gates to drop out of Harvard to create Microsoft.

And so began their road to greatness. Allen originally coined the company’s name “Micro-Soft” and spearheaded some sales and marketing efforts, bringing the company into the limelight. Gates, on the other hand, acted as the company’s chief software architect.

Microsoft’s odd couple  seemed indestructible, but the IT industry was shocked when their partnership reached a dramatic ending in 1983. Later on, Allen revealed how Gates tried to cut him off when he got sick with cancer in his tell-all autobiography. Things may have ended in sour note, but Allen still remains as one of the company’s largest shareholders.

Allen has moved on from being a billionaire co-founder to a prolific investor; his portfolio includes real estate holdings, media and content companies, as well as other technology companies. He is also the owner of two professional sports teams and a part-owner of one.

After all the controversies and fallouts, Allen has proven that he is still Microsoft’s other giant.