The Founder and Group Managing Director of Interswitch, Mitchell Elegbe, has been named the 2023 West African Entrepreneur of the Year (Masters Category), by professional services firm, Ernst and Young (EY). The keenly contested award was jointly presented to him by the Regional Managing Partner, EY West Africa, Anthony Oputa and Nigeria’s Honourable Minister for Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, at a prestigious gala which took place in Lagos on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
Elegbe was awarded for his laudable contributions as an entrepreneur, to the economic development of Nigeria and the West African region, having distinguished himself in business leadership and technology development. This latest win is particularly significant as it follows his emergence as the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Emerging Entrepreneur category) 11 years ago, in 2012.
The EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards programme celebrates successful entrepreneurs who have combined ingenuity, hard work and perseverance to create and sustain successful growing businesses. The programme, a yearly global event, has enjoyed international recognition for over 30 years.
The inaugural edition in West Africa took place in 2011 and the programme has since then awarded several worthy Nigerians including Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group; Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, past Group Managing Director, Access Bank and Dr. Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis Group.
The recognition automatically qualifies Elegbe to contest in the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the year 2023 to be hosted in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Speaking concerning the award, Elegbe, who expressed gratitude to the programme organisers, said “I am indeed humbled to have been honoured with this award and I express my heartfelt gratitude to the panel of judges and to Ernst and Young West Africa for providing this platform that acknowledges and celebrates entrepreneurs in the region.”
He said: “A founder is only as effective as the team around him or her, and so this award is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the team at Interswitch who have dedicated themselves to creating solutions that enable individuals and communities prosper across Africa. This recognition will serve to further entrench our commitment to never stop pushing the boundaries of innovation in a bid to create an Africa where payments are a seamless part of everyday life.”
Elegbe is a multiple award-winning professional and a renowned business leader in the Information Technology and Financial Services industry and is recognised for driving revolutionary payment innovation in Africa. He has won several awards, some of which include Harvard Business School Association (Nigeria) Leadership Award in the General Management Category; African Banker Awards 2019 as the African Banker Icon; CNBC/Forbes All African Business Leader (AABLA) Awards for West Africa as well as Financial Technology (Fintech) Africa Awards, Payments and Transfer category in 2016, among other deserving recognitions.
Mitchell Elegbe founded Interswitch in 2002 to provide a solution to problems associated with payments in Nigeria. Since then, the company has grown to be a leading payment and digital commerce company that helps to build and manage payment infrastructure and provides robust technology-based solutions to individuals, financial institutions, and governments across Africa.