Aly Nazerali had to find his way in the world at a very early age due in part to his own early advancement and in part due to the political climate in his home country. He relied on his faith and hard work to achieve the early success that continues today.
Aly Nazerali is a modest man who is content to stay out of the limelight even though his career has shone brightly. It started by graduating at age 20 from Columbia University with a MBA and continued on where he started, built and nurtured several successful multi million dollar companies, including taking many of them public.
Risk taking was a necessity in Aly Nazerali’s early life which translated well into the world of international business. He was the third generation of his family to be born in Kenya and raised in the Congo. He grew up about the time European powers were in the process of returning many African Colonies to self rule. This proved to be a very dangerous time for non-black Africans in certain countries. For example, Idi Amin’s new government in Uganda gave citizens of Indian and Asian origin only 30 days to leave the country and they were allowed only to take a couple of hundred dollars with them. As a result, Aly Nazerali’s family became one of thousands who migrated to Canada in the early 1970s.
The Nazerali family had always placed a high value on education as an asset that could never be expropriated. Aly Nazerali was a star student at his high school in the Congo. Due to the limited higher education facilities in the region, he set his sights on Columbia University and he was accepted at age 15. There was a little hiccup when, two weeks before he was to report to college, he received a telegram from Columbia University saying they had just learned Aly Nazerali’s age and that there was a problem. At the time, New York law prohibited anyone under age 17 from living on campus and he was told that he should not come. His father wrote back taking full responsibility for his son and said that the University need not be concerned. The next thing Aly Nazerali knew he was in New York suitcase in hand, with $200 and no place to live. He did eventually find a place to live and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and a MBA by the age of 20, something almost unheard of at the time.
Coinciding with the completion of his formal studies, Aly Nazerali and his family