The founder and Executive Vice Chairman of CWG Plc, Austin Okere received the prestigious Special Leadership Award at the 2022 Nigerian Fintech Awards event last weekend.
Mr Okere was among 10 notable individuals in the Nigerian tech ecosystem singled out for special recognition in celebration of their contributions to the growth and development of the Nigerian Fintech industry.
The Nigerian Fintech Awards was founded in 2012 and is dedicated to honouring excellence in financial technologies and services companies and products. A statement by the organisers of the award said some of the awardees were “founders of fintech companies that had been existing for over three decades, while others are a few new unicorns, startups valued at $1bn and above”.
Director Sola Fanawopo pointed out that this year’s event featured the celebration of a cross-generation of dreamers, doers, and drivers of the Fintech industry in Nigeria.
The other recipients include Abubakar Suleiman, Managing Director, Sterling Bank Plc; Dr Yele Okeremi, Co-founder, Precise Financial Systems; Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, founder, Future Africa; John Obaro, founder and CEO, SystemSpecs.
Others include Mrs Kofo Akinkungbe, the founder and CEO of SecureID; Mitchell Elegbe, founder and Group CEO of Interswitch; Musa Jimoh, Director of Payments System Policy and Oversight at the Central Bank of Nigeria; Olugbenga Agboola, Co-founder and CEO, Flutterwave and Sir Ademola Aladekomo, the founder of Chams Plc.
The organisers also honoured 4 institutions for their contribution to the ecosystem. These include the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc, Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities, Ecobank Plc and Digital Encode, a cyber security firm.
In response to the recognition, Mr Okere told Technext that he is excited about the recognition, especially because it will serve as a beacon of encouragement for the coming generation. “I must congratulate the Nigerian Fintech team for an awesome evening of celebrating Fintech. Thank you for the honour. It is very much appreciated”, he adds.
Austin Okere’s tech journey with CWG
Austin Okere is an entrepreneurship enthusiast. He is focused on mentoring and inspiring young people around the globe to achieve their full potential.
Mr Okere founded Computer Warehouse Group in September 1992. It has grown from a computer hardware supply company to a Pan-African Multinational Systems Integration Corporation with direct operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon, serving customers in 17 other African countries.
From an initial annual turnover of under a million dollars, CWG had a turnover of about US$130 million and a staff strength of about 650 professionals as of 2014.
The journey to these achievements has been documented in a Case Study by the Columbia Business School (CBS) and used in various Entrepreneurship Development Centres and Business Schools in the United States, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Kenya.
His ardent interest in inspiring young entrepreneurs has been globally recognized through his invitations by the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurial Center to guest lecture at the Columbia Business School over the past five years and MIT’s Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship in Boston.
He is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Columbia Business School (CBS), New York and a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Agenda Council on Innovation and Intrapreneurship.
Austin Okere also serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Business School Network (GBSN), a body dedicated to advancing the cause of knowledge sharing to inspire and transform business education across the globe.
CWG: An enduring legacy of 30 years
When Austin Okere founded Computer Warehouse 30 years ago, it wasn’t the popular thing to do. But, he wanted to leave his footprints in the sands of time and felt there were so many ideas his then place of employment was not tapping into.
My parents did not understand why I wanted to leave that job (that paid well) to go start up as an entrepreneur…– Austin Okere, Founder, CWG
Recently, the company held a series of events to celebrate 30 years of delivering information technology services in Nigeria and across the continent. As part of the anniversary event, the company unveiled Fifthlab, a subsidiary that will provide cutting-edge IT and financial services in its next phase of operations.
The new subsidiary is part of CWG’s future ambition to broaden its solutions to cater for everyday problems.
Fifthlab is a sandbox team designed to conceptualise and churn out innovative technology solutions that make it easier for organisations and individuals to live, do, and run businesses. It would operate under a different corporate culture, innovative flow and, most likely, different leadership.
The following week, the company emerged as the top gainer in the Nigerian Stock Exchange Market (NGX) trading session. The company gained (+9.6%) in its volume traded for the day.
This represents significant growth for the company, which is currently the 105th most valuable stock on the NGX with a market capitalization of NGN 2.02 billion and makes up about 0.0084% of the Nigerian Stock Exchange equity market.
CEO Adewale Adeyipo has said that the company is opening an office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates as part of its expansion strategy.
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