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Somthing2know Amazon of the Week: Stella Okoli (Founder Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries) For Her Contributions To The Pharmaceutical Sector In Nigeria

“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t to live” – Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Death isn’t the greatest loss in life. “The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live”-Norman Cousins. The above two quotes best describe Dr Stella Okoli who had discovered what to die for and did not allow the spirit of owing a pharmaceutical company to die inside of her.

Dr Stella Chinyelu Okoli was an idea generator. She is a Nigerian pharmacist, entrepreneur and the founder- Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited. Emzor Pharmaceutical is a combination of the children’s names of Dr Stella Okoli. They are: Emeka, Uzoma and Edward. Stella Okoli was born in 1944 in Kano State, Nigeria to the family of Felix Ebelechukwu and Margaret Modebelu both from Nnewi, Anambra State. She started her formal education at All Saint Primary School, Onitsha and then went on to Ogidi Girls Secondary School. She went on to study pharmacy at the University of Bradford; she also obtained an M.Sc in Bio-pharmaceutical from the University of London, Chelsea College in 1971.

When she was tired of working in organizations such as Middlesex Hospital, London, Boots the Chemists Limited and Pharma-Deko; she controlled, mastered her fear, programmed herself not to give up to start up something of her own. She first started Emzor Pharmaceutical as a small pharmacy retail shop and named it “Emzor Chemists Limited” in Somulu, Lagos State In 1977. The retail shop grew and metamorphosed to not just buying and selling already produced drugs but also manufacturing its own drugs.

When she finally floated Emzor in 1977, many of her friends and colleagues had wondered if she knew what she was getting herself into. They had wondered how she could survive the turbulent world of business; particularly manufacturing. This discouragement from friends did not deter her. But 42 years down the line, Okoli through savvy leadership based on hard work, integrity, assiduity, ingenuity, creativity, innovation, professionalism, people management, solid performance and sound judgment even in the face of  odds and challenges, has not only proved the cynics wrong, but has, in fact, emerged as one of Nigeria’s women billionaires in the business world. The success of Stella Okoli is a clear case of perseverance, persistence and consistence. For showcasing a rare entrepreneurial skill to succeed in the drug manufacturing sector for 42 years against all odds and challenge, Stella Okoli is Something2know Amazon of the week. We appreciate her contributions to the development of the pharmaceutical sector in Nigeria.

As a woman, have you left your footprints in the sands of time in area of life against all odds & challenge? You could be our next Somthing2Know Amazon of the Week. Share your story of achievement with us. We’ll help tell your story to inspire fellow women for greatness.

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Nathaniel Udoh

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