Lehigh Soccer’s Michael Tahiru ’22 launches club to discuss Africa business
“Business is a language that everyone understands, regardless of your background, race or ethnicity,” says Tahiru.
Now with over 50 members, and events open to everyone, the club meets once a month in a hybrid format. They host a series of conferences and host fireside chats with business leaders where they discuss everything from technology to supply chain.
“We onboard people and companies that can offer internships to students,” says Tahiru. “We also bring leaders who talk about politics all over the world. So all these leaders from Africa, America and Europe can engage with each other, compare their ideas, connect with each other others and create networking opportunities. Students can also use this platform to gain ideas, ask questions and build their networks.”
Tahiru hopes their main event, the annual Lehigh Africa Business Club conference, will become one of the first conferences people think of in America and world-renowned. This year’s conference, the club’s second annual, will be held April 23 at the Zoellner Arts Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is also a virtual option for those wishing to attend via Zoom. The conference will welcome business leaders and professionals from around the world, who will discuss “Africa Forward: Building Global Alliances for a Sustainable Future”. It will also offer panels on the economy, innovation and health.
In partnership with the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation and companies around the world, the club is also launching a venture capital competition, which Tahiru says attracts many institutional and individual investors.
“This new competition will give entrepreneurs and companies from the African continent (from start-ups to medium-sized enterprises) the opportunity to present their ideas through a year-round process.”
The club has essentially turned into a full-time job as Tahiru says he has traveled to Africa and worked with business leaders and governments across the continent. Furthermore, he has set up a business, a venture capital firm that operates across the African continent, in his home country, Ghana.
Tahiru’s work ethic and success come as no surprise to Lehigh men’s soccer coach Dean Koski. With the way Tahiru spoke and behaved during a recruiting visit to Lehigh, Koski thought the finance major would also have an impact on the campus community.
“I didn’t know how or when,” Koski says. “I just knew he had special qualities that would surpass what he was capable of accomplishing on the football pitch.”
One of the most memorable moments for Koski was when Tahiru introduced him to the Rear Admiral of the Ghana Navy. Koski was impressed, to say the least.
“Of course, Michael just smiled humbly,” Koski says. “In a nutshell, that’s who Michael is: a humble leader, an entrepreneur, a teammate and someone with the ability to change his community and his nation. … I continue to be amazed, impressed and impressed by his ability to connect with so many different business leaders in the United States and Africa.”
However, Tahiru doesn’t focus on himself. He says it’s about helping others.
“I grew up knowing that success in life is not just about myself, but also about giving back to others. In this case, creating a platform where people can learn about Africa, get internships [and more]Tahiru says. “Impacting the lives of others has been a really, really transcendent experience.
Story by Justin Lafleur
The Lehigh Africa Business Club Annual Conference
Saturday April 23, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Zoellner/Zoom Arts Center
There is no cost to attend the conference, but pre-registration is required. Places in person are limited. Live streaming will be available. Register on go.lehigh.edu/labc2022. For those wishing to attend virtually, a Zoom link will be provided upon registration.
The conference program includes panels on economics and private equity, innovation and health. Speakers include:
● Dr. Alfred Braimah, Auditor General of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
● Dr. Blessing Mudavanhu, CEO of CBZ Holdings Group
● Dr. Dennis Ouma, COO of Cello Capital Management
● Thomas Bonos, chief revenue officer and chief operating officer of Applause
● Dr. Joe Atta-Mensah, Senior Policy Advisor, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
● Bryon Rubin, CFO and COO of CBS Entertainment Group
● Ms. Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, Founder of LEAP Africa, co-founder of ACCE FOODS, and director of the capital of the Sahel
● Michael Miller, Co-Founder, USA – Africa Opportunity Network
● Carlo Kobe, co-founder and CEO of Fizz
● Randall Tinfow, Managing Director of REACHUM & CLICKCHAINZ
● Dr. Michael Obeng, President of Global Health Solutions, Director of MIKO Plastic Surgery & MIKO Surgery Center
● Dr Christine Martey-Ocholla, co-founder of the Sub-Saharan African Chamber of Commerce
● Leon D. Caldwell, Senior Director of Health Equity Strategy and Innovations at American Health Association
● Dan Donovan, Founder and CEO, rareLife Solutions