Interview

A VISIONARY IN FINANCE: DR. ISRAEL OVIRIH’S EXEMPLARY COMMITMENT TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

 

 

BY

CHINEDU NSOFOR

 

In the fast-paced world of finance, where numbers often overshadow human impact, stands an exemplar of ethical leadership and social responsibility—Dr. Israel Ovirih. As a distinguished Investment Banker and serial entrepreneur, Dr. Israel Ovirih has not only steered financial success but has also dedicated himself to creating a positive impact on society, setting an unparalleled benchmark in the realm of corporate social responsibility and entrepreneurship.

 

With a career spanning three decades, Dr. Israel Ovirih”s journey began with a fervent desire to integrate financial prosperity with societal welfare. He rose through the ranks, not just by balancing sheets, but by nurturing a profound belief that both corporate and personal successes should echo the betterment of the community it serves.

 

His unrepentant creativity and innovative approach transformed the conventional understanding of a regular Investment banker. Rather than viewing financial and investment management in isolation, Dr. Israel Ovirih espoused a holistic vision that encompassed sustainability, ethical investments, and community development. His initiatives for corporate social responsibility set the stage for a paradigm shift within his business – Banklink Africa Private Equities Limited and beyond.

 

Dr. Israel Ovirih’s involvement in various management development and entrepreneurship training programs in leading institutions like the Lagos Business School, Swiss Finance Institute and the prestigious MIT Sloan School of Management, Boston, USA, has made him to promote and encourage ethical investment strategies. He is an advocate for responsible investments that not only yielded financial returns but also supported environmentally conscious and socially beneficial ventures. His initiatives over time have garnered accolades for his positive impact in the society.

 

Beyond financial strategies, Dr. Israel Ovirih fostered a culture of social responsibility within his team. He initiated volunteer programs, encouraging employees to actively engage in community outreach efforts. His unwavering commitment inspired a ripple effect, with numerous employees in his investee companies contributing their time, skills and competencies to support local charities, educational initiatives, and social welfare programs.

 

 

 

 

 

One of Dr. Israel Ovirih’s notable achievements was the setting up of SMEXCHANGE.COM, a profit sharing experience platform in 2015/16 at its Opebi-Ikeja TechHub, Lagos where investors are made to invest in profitable local and international Purchase Order (LPOs and IPOs) and share profits with the SMEs and entrepreneurs rather than earn regular interest payments. This as an extremely innovative ideas similar to Islamic banking when it was launched. Fortunately or unfortunately, Smexchange.com, which was a percussor to both Nigerian-born-flutterwave and paystack suffered the same fate of most ideas, that were launched much earlier before their time in Nigeria.

 

Dr Israel was also a leading evangelist for the institutionalization of a more robust prize regime in his alma mater – Ekiti State University, leading to his endowment in 2019/2020 of the Dr. Israel Ovirih N1.0 million cash prize for the Best Overall Graduating Student in the University, that is the student with the highest GCPA and who has contributed most to the University Community life. This is aside other numerous donations to other philanthropic causes in health, education, academics and community development.

 

This piece will not be complete without reference to one of his notable achievement, which is leading the charge and helping Sub-Saharan Africa and indeed Nigerian companies access global capital by positioning them for listing on International Stock Exchanges including NASDAQ, NYSE and Euronext. This innovation is not only to empower individuals and companies, but as a testament to his dedication to global capital access within the Nigerian financial sector.

 

His leadership transcended the corporate boundaries, as he actively participated in industry forums and discussions as thought leader advocating for gown to town initiatives, entrepreneurship, industrialization of the global south as well as creative financing possibilities for African companies and corporations. Through his speeches and writings, Dr. Israel Ovirih became a beacon for responsible finance, influencing policies and inspiring other financial leaders to follow suit.

 

Dr. Israel Ovirih’s. contributions extended far beyond the confines of his office, earning him recognition not just as a financial engineer but as a social visionary. He received numerous accolades and awards, not just for financial acumen, but for his unwavering dedication to fostering a more equitable and sustainable society.

 

In a world where profit often overshadows purpose, Dr. Israel Ovirih stands tall as a paragon of how financial success and social responsibility can harmoniously coexist. His legacy continues to inspire generations of finance professionals, reminding them that true success lies not just in financial gains but in the positive impact made on the world.

 

As Dr. Israel Ovirih continues to trailblaze, his story serves as a testament to the transformative power of ethical leadership, leaving an indelible mark on the intersection of finance, entrepreneurship and social responsibility for years to come.

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