Meet Stella Okoli, A pharmacist, philanthropist and CEO Of Emzor pharmaceuticals

Stella Okoli is an entrepreneur, a pharmacist and a philanthropist. She is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited; a leading indigenous pharmaceutical company.

When you look at Dr. Stella Okoli, what you see is sheer determination and a strong will that can accomplish whatever it sets her mind to accomplish. Where people see challenges, she sees opportunities.

She successfully turned her small pharmacy retail shop in Somolu, Lagos into a multibillion naira pharmaceutical company. Stella Okoli is a strong believer that entrepreneurship and vocational training of youths is the key to curbing youth crime in Nigeria.

Stella Okoli was born on the 17th of July 1944 in Kano State to the family of Felix Ebelechukwu and Margaret Modebelu. She is a native of Nnewi in Anambra State, Nigeria. Stella attended All Saints Primary School, Onitsha (1954-1959), Ogidi Girls Secondary School, Ogidi from 1959-1964 and Federal Science School, Lagos from 1964 to 1966.

Afterwards, Stella moved to United Kingdom for her tertiary education. She graduated from the University of Bradford as a Pharmacists. Dr. Stella Okoli also has a Master’s degree in Biopharmaceutical from the University of London, Chelsea College.

She is an alumnus of Lagos Business School, Harvard Business School, Boston and I.E.S.E Business School in Barcelona, Spain.

Stella Okoli started out as a Ward/Clinical Pharmacist at Middlesex Hospital in London and later worked briefly as a Pharmacist at Boots Uk formerly known as Boots the Chemist Ltd. She returned to Nigeria and worked for a while at Massey Children Hospital, Lagos before joining a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, Park Davies Nigeria Limited (now Pharma-Deko Plc). At Pharma-Deko Plc, she worked as a Medical Representative and later as a Sales Manager.

In 1977, Stella caught the entrepreneurship bug which flows in the blood of the indigenes of Nnewi by starting a small pharmacy retail shop, Emzor Chemist Ltd in Shomolu, Lagos. She named it, Emzor Chemists Limited which later metamorphosed to Emzor Pharmaceuticals in 1984. Emzor Pharmaceutical is a leading indigenous pharmaceutical company with well over 50 products to its name.

While running Emzor Chemist Ltd in 1981, Stella was into importation and wholesales of pharmaceutical products to make available drugs which meets the need of the health challenges of Nigerians. The drugs she imported were Ethical and Over The Counter (OTC) drugs.

The idea to manufacture drugs locally came as a result of her passion to make healthcare affordable in Nigeria. Like we mentioned, where others see challenges, she sees opportunities and look for ways to harness the opportunities for the public good.

Emzor Pharmaceuticals is a wholly owned indigenous company incorporated in 1984. The company was established for the purpose of manufacturing high-quality pharmaceutical products and medical consumables.

The company commenced pilot production in 1985 with the introduction of its flagship brand, Emzor Paracetamol. Since then, Emzor has continuously expanded its product range and produces over 50 time-tested products. Its product range include vitamins, anti-malaria, antibiotics, antacid, analgesics, anti-histamine and many more.

Remember that this all started from a small chemist shop in Shomolu. The small shop has grown to one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria with subsidiaries. Emzor has offices in Mali, India, Liberia, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

Emzor is today a household name and a leader in pharmaceutical market in Nigeria.