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There is an odd narrative about Nigerians in the diaspora that is out of sync with the realities back home. It is the narrative of Nigerians as beggars, swindlers, and good-for-nothings. Tope Awotona is changing this narrative, reinforcing its reverse – that Nigerians can be whatever they want to be but they will always be mighty awesome at it.

The entire world is currently celebrating and ruminating on the success of Awotona. Previously, Forbes introduced the world to his genius with his exploits at Calendly and how he founded a business valued at over $3 billion in a stranger’s land. Ever since that report, eyes have been trained on this silent genius toppling horrid projections about Nigerians in the US.

The Awotona of today is a different person than the one who moved to the US in his teens. Now a few steps into his 40s, Awotona is almost single-handedly revolutionising corporate management and processes for businesses in Atlanta and around the world. His brainchild, Calendly, continues to bear the spark for corporate team and task scheduling, and related process organisation.

Awotona is currently ranked first among Nigerians in the US in terms of wealth. Estimated to be personally valued at over $1.2 billion, Awotona’s billionaire status has been linked to a focused strategy of investing in only the most valuable business ventures. These include Givebutter and Vonza, both of which are involved in social and intensive entrepreneurship.

By now, Awotona’s Calendly is his number one business venture. Founded in 2013, the software company is considered Awotona’s most successful venture. It would have been the first out of four, including an online dating social network, a venture for garden tools, and an enterprise that sells projectors. However, the other three never picked up.

Nevertheless, Awotona’s status as a prime tech entrepreneur in the US, despite his Nigerian roots, sets him apart from his peers. For Nigerians, it is pride-inspiring. For the world at large, it is the start of something new and different.



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