7. Samuel Tafesse
Sunshine Construction Group
Samuel Tafesse was born to a low income family and was forced to work as a youth of only 14 years old to support his family.
Being the eldest sibling, Samuel took a job as a parking attendant at the Addis Ababa Stadium, where he would use the opportunity to sell soft drinks, chewing gum, and cigarettes.
The enterprising Samuel would land a job as a construction worker upon completing high school and go on to study engineering at Addis Ababa University.
Unfortunately, his family’s finances would force him to drop out after three years of higher learning, just short of receiving his degree.
Having been enthralled with the little he had seen in the construction business, Samuel would borrow 10,000 ETB or 370 UDS to get a construction license in 1986.
The company he registered, Sunshine Construction Limited, would one day grow to become the behemoth of construction it is today in Ethiopia.
Beginning with small contracts, such as roof maintenance for Wabe Shebelle Hotel and slowly expanding, Samuel’s hard work and integrity would cause his little company to blow up into the giant it is now: Sunshine Construction Group.
Samuel Tafesse’s company now engages in large-scale road and bridge projects, large scale real estate developments, the building of residential properties, hotel and commercial building construction.
Throughout the years, the company has delivered over 2,800 housing units with more on the way.
By 2015, Samuel would expand to become the only one in Africa to open a Mariott Executive Apartment, and the only one in Sub-Saharan Africa to have a Marriott branded hotel.
Always one looking for more, Samuel would go on to sign agreements with Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide to develop 3 hotel brands in Ethiopia under his company.
Furthermore, a deal with Globelq to create a solar park with 100MW is being negotiated.
Samuel Tafesse embodies the rags to riches story, as he has grown his company to be one of the largest construction companies in Ethiopia.
Not only one of Ethiopia’s richest and a billionaire, but Samuel is also a role model representing what hard work and honesty can bring into one’s life.