Michael Elias was a businessman of Syrian heritage who was a major cattle breeder and produce merchant in Lagos, Sokoto and Kano during the early twentieth century. He was born in a Lebanese district but came to Nigeria at an early age. He started business at the young age of 14, However, in his youthful years, he found success hard to reach.
In later years, he created a way to trade in Hides and Skins which were orignally discarded by breeders. It was in this line of business that he found success and wealth. He also engaged in cattle breeding and at some point controlled most of the meat distributed in Lagos. His hold in beef distribution in Lagos sometimes raised concerns about monopolistic practices.