Rita Okoye, Lagos
At a time when Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) are distressed due to the economic impact of COVID-19, Joseph James Nantomah, a Nigerian-born US-based serial investor and philanthropist, has expressed his desire to support Africans.
Through his Prosperity for Africa foundation, the Rivers State indigene revealed that 25,000 persons were fed, while grants were handed out to struggling MSMEs in three different African countries; Nigeria, Ghana Uganda.
‘My goal is to support as many business people to find their dreams and aspirations,’ he said, to underscore his plans, adding: ‘I became a Project Management Professional (PMP) before 2008 and trained over 5,000 professionals and bankers before moving to the United States.’
Better known as “The Black Mentor”, Nantomah, who is currently enrolled to study Alternative Investments in Harvard Business School School, raised the Nigerian flag high on American soil when he was honoured by US President Donald Trump on September 9 on the President’s Honours Roll. His contributions did not go unnoticed as he made the “Who is Who: Professionals” and “Who is Who in America” roll calls, respectively.
All these were in recognition of his entrepreneurship and business acumen, from running up to 13 businesses, which makes him an employer of labour and contributor to the American economy.
According to him, ‘as a life coach and mentor, I believe business is a universal language. Most people don’t succeed in business because they don’t have a mentor to learn from. To succeed, you have to make up your mind, take corresponding actions, get a mentor to guide you and take massive risks and take actions.’
To underscore his philanthropy, The Black Mentor recalls: ‘In 2018 when I met the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, he sold me the American Dream. He said to me, “the American Dream is for people to come here, work hard and always give back”. This made me set up Prosperity of Africa, a non-profit, in 2019 and during the pandemic we fed 25,000 Africans.’
Speaking about his motivations in his early days on US soil, The Black Mentor revealed: ‘I had one thing working for me, which was my mindset. I had to work on my mind always and that made all the difference for me. I had issues of peer pressure, people wanting me to be normal and do things the way they all did it. I had never been a 9 – 5 person but, as a businessman my whole life, a lot of people did not understand my reason for looking at setting up a business instead of doing a 9-5. I hope people can learn from my experience.’