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Ben Murray-Bruce Reveals He Founded Silverbird with N20,000



ben murray bruce

Media entrepreneur and politician, Ben Murray-Bruce is in a thankful mood.

He took to Twitter to state that he founded Silverbird Group in the 1980s with just N20,000.

Reflecting on the company’s 25 years of existence, he said:

BMB1 bmb2


  1. truth

    November 9, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    kudos sir, but today at this current exchange rate 20k naira market value is nothing. But if ingenuity is what you speak of, nigeria has loads of those, and thank you for showing the government has loads of work to do to help its youth and maybe since you are in the government can propose for the government to create a grant to give qualified youths seed money to try to start their own businesses, so we can possibly have more youths grow to be like you.

    • Wale

      November 9, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      Back them 20k was no chicken change. So he shouldn’t make it sound like it was.

  2. Uju

    November 9, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    That was a huge amount of money in those days of naira and kobo

  3. funmi

    November 9, 2015 at 4:30 pm


  4. fleur

    November 9, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Well, he had a big daddy, by current and historical standards. Back then naira was N1 to $2. That means his father gave him the equivalent of $40k. Economy class ticket on Pan Am back then to NY was N400. That is not chump change. He was and is very advantaged. One thing people at the helm of affairs dont factor into discussions about productivity in Nigeria is that the average Nigerian is the victim of chronic “isms” that significantly impede access to resources to pursue economic mobility, well-being and health. It is not that peeps dont want to work. It is that they are working technically with two stumps for hands. The banks dont like them for loans because they are so poor they lack collateral and they dont have access to decision makers in banks – many wealthy Nigerians dont shore up collateral for loans in what seems like a money exchange cult. They have no personal wealth to lean on for startups or even daily existence. They have no system that is unbiased in how it doles out resources to foster economic mobility and sustenance. They have no voice except what twitter, bella naija, linda ikeji, instagram and fb has given them. Even then, their complaints are lost in a sea of shortsightedness that is characteristic of impoverishment that focuses on symptom alleviation rather than root causes. They have no relatives to lean on for access to resources. They have no name recognition. They’ve got it bad from all corners. That is why the crimes committed today reflect some vehemence. Thieves want to rob a person, they have to shoot the person forty times. They have to take turns on the women mercilessly. They have to defile everything in sight. It is almost like their way of saying, “I finally have you in the palm of my hands dammit. I own you.” So Dear Sen. Bruce – I know and love your family and I know you are one of the cleanest on that senate floor, relatively speaking, however, I want us to have a frank conversation about access to resources. Let the rich come out and own their advantage and privilege. Look yourselves in the eyes and acknowledge that you have it easy and create the space to learn from others who dont have it easy what an uphill task it is to just breathe easy in Nigeria.

    • lotusflower

      November 9, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      I don’t know what he was thinking putting that up. Clearly the value of the Naira back then is not what it is today. 20K loan was a lot of money.

    • Ovadje

      November 9, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      @fleur, the money that banks lend actually belong to other people who’ve (presumably) worked hard for it and not to the tooth fairy – that’s why security for it’s repayment (collateral) is necessary.

      Nigeria can be a difficult place to secure capital or economic empowerment (just like most developing countries), but please let’s not fall into the nonsense of somehow morally (or otherwise) justifying arrmed robbery, kidnapping, extortion and all manner of violent brigandage that has run rampant in our country (no more than we would the looting of state resources by the political class). Anyone that can buy a gun (or rent one from our corrupt policemen), a speedboat or motorboat in the creeks or rent/build a kidnap den, certainly have enough “capital” to start a trade or small business.

    • fleur

      November 9, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      @ovadje, you have to understand what differentiates us humans from animals is key. Disempowerment in a society with high expectations for males and in which sociey values your contribution as a function of your accomplishments can drive behavior that once practiced represents crossing a point of no return, what is going on in Nigeria while not a justification for criminal behavior is the right incentive for it. All the young men, and women i might add, engaged in clandestine behavior did not just go mad. They take a dare devil chance in desperation and figure out a business model from it and the rest is history. We see it every where in the world. The oil militants started it with kidnapping. That is how kidnapping came to own a chieftancy stool in the south south. When a business model with huge margins and risk equivalent to a normal day of living in the country evolved from it, it became a replicable risk worthy means to an end for the rest of the country. Nobody will pay you 5million per month when your grandpa is not abraham. Your risk of dying as an aggressor is the same as your risk of dying sitting infront of your face me I face you and hoping for change. Until that comparison yields different results, we will remain in dire straits. This is why our national dialog can’t shy away from this truth

  5. Tari

    November 9, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    No wonder Silverbird was in coma before the NTA windfall.
    The rag to riches story of most Nigerian elite is never as straight as they claim. Hardwork and God’s grace is an euphemism used to cover a multitude of things.
    Publish what??
    Besides for half of that 35 years all that Silverbird did was parade gullible half naked young girls in the name of pointless beauty pageants.

    • Ovadje

      November 9, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      @Tari, as opposed to the many free “half naked young girls” on parade at any so-called festival of arts and culure in almost anywhere in Nigeria?

      Abeg, slow the roll on the misguided intellectual (or is it cultural) snobbery. Silverbird does not claim to be, nor does it market itself, as some sort of Rocket Science institute or a religious organization. It is entirely an entermainment (no different from Bella Naija), which does not force anyone to attend, pay for or watch its “pointless” beauty pageants, cinema, music or other entertainment ventures. Nonetheless, in the process, it has created direct and indirect jobs and livelihoods for thousands (if not ten of thousands) of fellow Nigerians. Development requires all sorts, and not everyone has to build a factory or start a meglomaniac “megachurch” to contribute – and then we wonder why our people regularly topple over and die at 47, while we blame “evil doers”. Live and let live, people! If you have better to contribute to our society than “pointless” pageantry, please get off the pages of BN and actually do so!

    • Tari

      November 9, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      Your misguided opinion that I need to get off Bellanaija to contribute is pitiful and uterrly daft as you have no clue what I do when II am off these pages.
      Ben Bruce as been voted to be a senator of the federal republic yet spends copious time on twitter impressing a gullible public. I hope you have also advised him to go contribute more to the development of our country besides he and his brothers pointless pageantry that serves as entertainment to you and your ilk?

    • Ovadje

      November 10, 2015 at 10:29 am

      @Tari, hopefully whatever you do involves receiving some anger management because your bitterness is just too much. Not quite sure why you are obssessed with “pointless” pageantry (as far as I am aware, it is not compulsory – like NYSC, for example – is it?), but hopefully you are aware that Silverbird does more than just pageantry and its activities creates JOBS and contributes to the public purse (not only through corporate taxes but the individual income taxes from all those jobs). Anyway, I’ll leave you and your own “ilk” to enjoy pretty much the same pageantry in your so-called festival of arts and culture, while hopefully contributing your own quota to our country’s development – in between abusing others on Bella Naija. SMDH!

  6. yellow sisi

    November 9, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    This man got talent in talking.

    • Tari

      November 9, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      He is a showman. Talking is his trade.

  7. Tosin

    November 9, 2015 at 6:01 pm


    now loading…the revolution

  8. Marshall Onoriode

    November 9, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    A lot of times people talk about success through hard work without acknowledging the underlying privileges -others do not possess- that made it possible.

  9. ?

    November 9, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    LOL! all I can think of is Donald Trump. The story is quite similar.

  10. concerned9ja

    November 9, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    Oga about time you did something in your constituency….Bayelsa requires a lot of work..where does he find the time!!

  11. Kenechukwu

    November 9, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Being a Senator is not a job that demands your 9 – 5. Many of these senators have a lot of time on their hands. That’s why they have loads of time for political scheming and doing the bang-bang with models, thots and beauty queens.

  12. Joke

    November 10, 2015 at 2:45 am

    Marshall no mind them. That’s the lopsided way privileged people see things… Even Donald Trump recently said recently he was successful off “a small one million dollar loan” his father gave him. How is one million dollars of many years ago small abeg? So, I’m not surprised by Ben. Also, Ben benefited from his Western education which his parents paid for. His son recently graduated from an American university, which I can bet was paid for by Ben. Now that one too will turn around and say he pulled himself up by his bootstraps with only God as his help…Total bull!

    • Ovadje

      November 10, 2015 at 10:40 am

      @Joke, is Donald Trump the only child of his father? What happened to the others?

      Even Dangote got a loan from his uncle Aminu Dantata, but are we going to begrudge him for what he has built upon that since? Many people get a leg-up in life and still piss it away, so anyone that actually manages to ADD VALUE should earn some acknowledgement. Furthermore, virtually EVERY successful person from whatever background has caught a break (or otherwise gets a hand up) somewhere. It’s only a matter of degree.

  13. Sadia

    November 10, 2015 at 6:06 am

    Please kindly note that people such as Ben have what is called a publicist ,they tweet for them most times.So dont think all he does is carry phone around and be playing on social media all day

  14. Abegi

    November 10, 2015 at 8:02 am

    At least he took to his twitter page to do that. What of the ones media promote like ‘sheleads people. Her father is Bello Osagie. Is she not supposed to be doing great. Abegi. If she needs anything whatsoever she can get it. And they be forming hardwork. Go to mushin market and see what hardwork is.

  15. new bride

    November 10, 2015 at 10:59 am

    I’m confused here – when privileged people don’t do anything, we complain that they’re spending ‘daddy’s’ money and when they do, we still complain that they are privileged.

    Hard work is hard work, regardless of your background. Yes it may be more difficult for a non-privileged person to make it, but doesn’t mean the privileged person also doesn’t face challenges.

    i’m probably rambling, but i’m just confused i guess.

  16. Osaretin

    November 10, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    mr ‘dumb’ murray bruce. you seem to be seeking political attention lately. with those dumb statements you make on your radio station that we all know how you financed.

    anyway, just shut up. 20k was a fortune in the early 80s that u talk about. decent salaries that took care of a family of three and paid all the bills decently was N300 monthly at the time including children’s school fees and car maintenance. a brand new peugout car was abot N 1k, so pls make we hear word and just shut up already!

  17. my take

    November 11, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Haters be hating!
    I believe very strongly that everybody at one time or the other gets a break to get to the next level but a lot fritter it away,cos it doesn’t come the way they expect it.Be it Donald trump,Dangote,Ben Bruce or the average Jumoke and Chukwu out there, opportunity for the next level has knocked on our door according to your station in life.
    Just like the parable of talents in the bible,we all aren’t given the same measure of opportunities!
    Hard work being refered to ;is focus,restraint to delay gratification for a higher goal,doggedness in pursuit of intentions,perseverance in the face of disappointments and all it takes to become what they are today.
    You said go to Oshodi for examples of Hard work,sure you are right, a lot of people work hard physically but what about mentally?nothing stops the alabaru/bus conductor from aspiring to be more but do they have the focus,self discipline to refrain from spending the days earning on women,beer,e.t.c and rather save towards a new business,getting a certification or whatever will lead him to a better economic situation.
    Let’s stop hating. A lot of people have been given loans to start a business and rather than do exactly that,they spend the money on other things. So please let him have his say!

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