WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO START YOUR BUSINESS?
My desire for financial freedom and my search for an entrepreneurial venture that would command a faster rate of return on investment and a good profit margin motivated me to start Ifymoto Foods, a food processing company. I had always maintained that I wouldn’t work in any organization for more than two years. Having worked as a school teacher for 18 months, I took up another paid employment as a Sales Representative with Drugfield Pharmaceuticals which I held for 20 months. The motivation to take charge of my financial destiny and to make a difference made me resign my well-paid job to pursue my entrepreneurial vision. Now I am a producer of packaged dry pepper for consumers and lovers of good food, thereby solving the problem of food wastage, spoilage, and food security; creating value in the process.
WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU ENCOUNTER?
My journey has not been a smooth sail. I started by going into cassava processing and Garri Production. With very little experience and exposure, I purchased the machines and equipment from local fabricators in the ecosystem, albeit with caution and slight trepidation. I witnessed first-hand, the unreliability, unprofessionalism, unpredictability and the failings of local agro-processing machine fabricators as I was highly disappointed with the installed machines, most of which didn’t work continuously for up to 5 hours upon installation without breaking down. I felt betrayed and short-changed even as my complaints were not given due attention, leaving my business to suffer. I had no other option than to improvise just to keep the business up as a going concern. Besides there was the challenge of untrustworthy workers as one of my staff absconded from duty without giving due financial account. Also, in spite of the fact that we hadn’t broken even, local tax, revenue and regulatory agencies of government we’re always fond of harassing and intimidating my business not minding whether the profit was being made or not. I also encountered the problem of sourcing funds as the business had a very high capital requirement which I never envisaged, with a slow rate of return on investment at least for the scale at which I was operating.
HOW DID YOU OVERCOME SUCH CHALLENGES?
I took a decision to change course, without losing sight of my original goal of financial freedom. I discovered after periodic appraisals that I wasn’t breaking even in the first 8-12 months of business. I decided to sell my assets and decided to go in search of a business with a fast return on investment to help me recover lost time and resources while still moving in the direction of financial freedom. I remained dogged and resolute even in the face of limitations and challenges. I was able to raise 400,000 Naira from the Shell Livewire Entrepreneurship Program. I decided to start up a Pepper Processing enterprise with a different approach and it has been a wonderful journey thus far.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR NIGERIAN YOUTHS INTENDING TO TAKE UP ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A VOCATION?
My advice to Nigerian youths seeking to embark on entrepreneurship is not to be afraid of failure as Failure is an integral part of success. Every ‘Success’ story has a past history of failure. In fact, successful people have more failures than ‘unsuccessful’ do. There is never a champion that is not challenged, it is overcoming the challenges that brings out the champion in you. Never lose sight of your goals.
Name: Ifeanyi Christopher Chukwurah
CEO, Ifymoto Foods
firstname.lastname@example.org; www.facebook.com/icchristopher; +2348065435073