News Start-up Owners Must Believe in Nigeria to Scale-Zinox Boss

Start-up Owners Must Believe in Nigeria to Scale-Zinox Boss

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Chairman,
Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh has said that budding entrepreneurs and business
owners must retain a level of belief in Nigeria in order to scale their
business. Ekeh affirmed that growing a business in Nigeria’s peculiar business
environment requires the essential ingredient of a firm faith in the country.

He
spoke at The Kingdom Summit 2019, an International Marketplace and Leadership
Conference organized by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) on Saturday
October 26, 2019. The event, with the theme – From Business Person to Nation
Changer – was held at the premises of the RCCG The King’s Court in Victoria
Island, Lagos.

“You must not be discouraged by the challenges you face in business today. Also, you must not allow people to discourage you with their negative projections. You must have faith in Nigeria in order to grow your business and scale. As a matter of fact, before I started out in business during undergraduate days in India and after my post-graduate in Cork City, I was clear that I was going to return to Nigeria.

“Sometimes,
I laugh when people say things were better in the past than they are today.
When I returned to Nigeria to start up my first company, Task Systems Ltd., the
society was completely analogue. The print and publishing industry, which I
transitioned to digital publishing, was still relying on the old system of
casting metal type at the time. This was why I was determined to create an IT
identity for Nigeria. We eventually achieved this through Zinox.

“It
is on record that the Zinox Group pioneered electronic petrol dispensing pumps,
Desktop Publishing and Computer Graphics, INEC Data Capture System, first
internationally certified Computer brand – Zinox, pioneered E-Commerce in
Africa, amongst other firsts. If we do not have faith, you will not have the
mental capacity to research, incubate and achieve products that may add greater
impetus to the economy.

“Today, you have the advantage of age on your side, quality education, common sense, more exposure unlike during our time, where common sense was supreme and few were educated. So, there is nothing stopping you,” he counseled.

However, Ekeh, a serial digital entrepreneur who has built several successful companies over a professional career spanning over three decades, cautioned participants on the need to incubate and go through a structured process, incubate and build a culture of sustenance. More to the point, Ekeh frowned at the falsification of data in order to hood-wink potential investors.

“I
see a lot of start-ups brandishing false figures and falsifying data in order
to deceive investors to part with their money. There are a few high-profile
instances of such here in Nigeria. Such a practice is highly dangerous and if
you indulge in it, you will surely pay for it. A lot of business owners see it
as a smart way of raising funds but your integrity is at stake.

“If
you lose your integrity, you have not just lost all, but you have also
destroyed others in same economy and you will pay dearly for it. In 21st
century, there is a strong connection between wealth and spirituality. The way
you made your money comes with eternal pain or pleasure.

“I see a lot of rich people that excites young people are in Hell on earth but you may not know. Wealth is now a right for both the children of the poor and the rich, but more kids from poor homes have better intelligence, energy, and spirituality to challenge the status quo.

“Some
of you just start out in business and decide to buy flashy cars or fly First
Class as a status symbol. What you fail to remember is that the difference
between an Economy Class ticket and a First Class ticket, your business may not
be able to achieve it as profit in one year,” Ekeh declared.

“You must incubate and go through the process before you scale. When I started out, I used to sleep in my office. Before my staff resumed, I was already up so they did not know I used to sleep there. I also ate once a day at the Sheraton hotel, normally the afternoon buffet. This is part of the price I paid to succeed.”

Continuing,
Ekeh affirmed that the current generation of entrepreneurs have all it takes to
achieve within five years what the older generation strived to build in 30
years.

“What
we spent over 30 years struggling to achieve, your generation will outstrip
within five years. Konga is a very good example of this. My son, who runs the
business, and his colleagues are currently burning money. However, once the
business turns profitable, in two years they will recoup all they have invested
into it. E-commerce is the riskiest business globally in the first quarter of
this century.  

“Konga
has undergone massive turnaround since we acquired the business, with massive
technology and other infrastructural deployment nationwide in partnership with
Microsoft and other major stakeholders. It is another Nigerian corporate
miracle waiting to happen. Without faith in Nigeria, this may be impossible to
achieve.”

He concluded by asking everyone in the full-packed hall to do a self-assessment and be determined to alter their destinies. Ekeh noted that this essential exercise will create a positive multiplier effect in Nigeria.

The
Kingdom Summit 2019, which attracted dignitaries from the public and private
sector, had in attendance the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo who was represented
by the former Minister of Trade and Investment, Okey Enelamah. Also in
attendance were a host of speakers including Brett Johnson, Founder, The
Institute for Innovation, Integration & Impact Inc.; Alero Ayida-Otobo,
CEO, Incubators Africa Ltd; Alex Densmore, CEO, Battco Energy Storage Systems;
Brian Mukudzahvu, Founder, Axis Solutions Africa; Pamela Ajayi, Founder,
Synlab; Otto Orrondam, Founder, Slum2School Africa; Kayode Pitan, MD, Bank of
Industry; Prof. Chris Bode, Medical Director, LUTH and many others.

Host
was Ben Akabueze, Provincial Pastor, RCCG The King’s Court who doubles as the
Director General, Budget Office of the Federation.

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