How They Started – Innovative Nigerian Brands (Excerpts)

How They Started – Innovative Nigerian Brands (Excerpts)

Onyekach Ogbon 20160425_022317

Remember Mr Kachi Ogbonna that recently did a post here on excellerblog titled Awaken The Genius In You! ? His book, How They Started: INNOVATIVE NIGERIAN BRANDS has finally been unleashed! Below are excerpts from the book which he has compiled as an appreciation to the general public of which you and I are a privileged part. *insert_toothy_grin* So, beloved reader, do enjoy and be inspired. Don’t forget to share…

For all the support I received from the general public while writing the book HOW THEY STARTED:INNOVATIVE NIGERIAN BRANDS I consider it necessary to give out part of the crucial lessons free of charge as a “thank you” to all. Read and share with others, you never can tell who it will inspire to greater height.

Not until I sat down with the founders of these Innovative brands in those exclusive and extensive interview sessions I never knew that:

1. Though Aliko Dangote is today the richest black man on planet earth, that it took him 30 years of hard work and consistent effort to make the first billion.

LESSON: Success doesn’t come over night, you must work hard and be patient for the result to manifest.
DO YOU KNOW? that you will learn a lesson from what I call “the discipline of a billionaire” when you find out why Dangote doesn’t always fly his private jet to China for all his business trips despite being the richest man in Africa. On so many occasions he will just go to the airport and join Emirates.

2. Innocent Ifediaso couldn’t pass his entrance examination to join his mates to the University. He then resorted to trading. Today he owns the Innoson Group of Companies which includes IVM – the innovation behind the Made-in-Nigeria cars we have today.

LESSON: There is a genius in every one of us but it doesn’t necessarily have to be  in the same field. That you ‘failed’ in one field doesn’t mean that you are not good enough. In fact I have come to understand that failing an exam is not the same thing as being a failure. Don’t give in to that temptation of believing that you are a “good for nothing fellow”.
DO YOU KNOW? that today Innoson employs over 7,200 Nigerians in his company? If Innoson can do this, who said you can’t?

3. Nnamdi Ezeigbo graduated with “a comfortable” 2.1 as an engineer, but for 2 years he searched and roamed the cities in search of job without success. Nnamdi told us that he never ever dreamt of being an entrepreneur. But it happened that his certificate had “failed” him and he needed to approach life differently. He stopped looking for job and started looking for how to render services (he didn’t even have any money to start with). From being a jobless man who was just rendering services to people, Nnamdi is the founder/CEO of SLOT Systems which now employs nearly 600 staff in over 50 different outlets across the country.

LESSON: Don’t be deceived by your university certificate, your destiny is not tied to it. As good as it may be, no body said you will amount to nothing without it. Instead commit to lifelong learning process and be eager to serve whenever the opportunity present itself.
DO YOU KNOW? that Nnamdi didn’t start with sales of mobile phones, but today SLOT is known as the number one phone shop in Nigeria.

4. Cosmas Maduka told us of how his father died while he was just 4 years old, he ended his school at Primary 3, his boss whom he served for 7 years sacked him with only 200 Naira at age 14, today he has turned 200 naira to over 500 million dollars, as he runs the
Coscharis Group.

LESSON: None of us had a chance of choosing what family we were born into (rich or poor), but every one of us can choose what we want to become in life. Will you stop blaming your background and your bad luck and determine to take charge of your future today? No matter how bad you think your background maybe, there is something God has put in your hand, if only you can decide to use it today.
DO YOU KNOW? that Cosmas Maduka is today among the top 7 richest men in Nigeria? The fact that you finished secondary school means you already have a better start than him, so what is your excuse?

5. Do you know there (probably) could have been nothing like Tantalizers today if Unilevers had not sacked Bose Ayeni after 11 years in their service? She reflected on the experience during the interview session and told me, “Kachi, honestly I was disappointed because I was neither expecting it nor did I consider it fair, but I was not going to cry over spilt milk, I needed to move ahead and find a way to survive”. Find out what she did to build the Tantalizers that today employs over 1250 staff across the country.

LESSON: Seek to keep your job as much as possible, but if the unexpected (and the inevitable)happens (and you lose your job) it is never a time to commit suicide, it is not the end of the world for you, it could just be a time to discover your real self.

I think more than any other time in the history of Nigeria, we just need this book. The fall in the price of oil has made thousands of people to lose their jobs when they least expected it. Millions of graduates simply can’t get a job that will pay them as much as 40,000 Naira (and you only need to reflect on how much was borrowed to pay the now exorbitant fees while in school) 3 years after graduation. I know of students that are now in their 400 levels in writing JAMB, they are still optimistic they will get admission some day (sincerely I admire their courage, unrelenting spirit, and unwillingness to give up their pursuit of university education).

I don’t know exactly what you are passing through right now, I don’t know if you are about to give up, maybe you believe your parents, your uncles, your church, Nigerian government have not done enough to help you(maybe you are right). But friends can I tell you that nobody owes you anything. You are not permitted to leave your life to chance, it is not too late to start today. You can still become anything you want to become in life.
Time will fail me to talk about Speedmeals, Jobberman, Jumia, Omatek, Zinox, iRokotv, HealthPlus etc. But you certainly will get all the details in the book.

Let the stories of these 25 exemplary Nigerians encourage and inspire you today.
HOW THEY STARTED: INNOVATIVE NIGERIAN BRANDS is for you, ask for your copy today. You can also empower as many young people as possible with copies.

And as a young person, should you need a mentor, a coach or to network with other budding and established entrepreneurs who can show you how to start, guide you through each stage and lift you when you are falling feel free to reach out to us today.

If you share this post among your network, chances are high it will inspire a youth out there who is about giving up to build the next GLOBAL BRANDS.

Kachi Ogbonna is an Entrepreneurship/Youth Consultant. He is a value-driven young man very passionate about Nigerian youths becoming all that God has destined them to be. He helps to grow so many start-ups. You can reach him by clicking on the link



Take a break. Unwind. Pause.

Life is dynamic and every day is full of activities. The truth is, whether you wake up before 4 am to plan your itinerary or you get rolled out of bed at 8 am, chances are that you will stay busy from that time till dusk. Never mind that what you were busy about could range from worthwhile, prior to just time-wasting. My mother used to tease her toddlers about being ‘busy doing nothing.’

To address fellow #excellers who like me are about a job, a study or an apprenticeship; life gets very busy. The items on your well-planned to-do list will hardly ever get exhausted each day. Your work table will often have a higher pile by the left. You will be constantly pressured to beat deadlines. Your daily schedules will be a mess to the extent that sometimes, you will dream of employing a personal assistant. Finding time to read an educating blog as this will simply be because you prioritize it.

You Need A Break

Now, your busy schedule may not likely be caused by laziness on your part. In reality, the mere fact that you are so engaged with activities is an indication that you are versatile and progressive. So, oftentimes we find a legal practitioner who also blogs, belongs to a service unit in his youth fellowship and plays basket-ball. Or a school teacher who offers catering services and sings in a choir. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it should be. You remember what God charged the first man with at the Garden of Eden? He said to Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, dominate (subdue) it. So, there is no excuse for idleness. Waiting for a job? Learn a skill. Write a new book/poem. Master a trade. But that is probably a topic of discussion for another day.

Why The Break?

The message of this article is that it is important to take a break from your hellish, crazy schedule. There are many reasons for this but we will list three (3):

  1. It is important for your health:

Only a living & healthy person can afford to be busy. Stress is detrimental to your physical, mental and emotional well

  1. It is important for your speed:

Oh, the wonders of bouncing back after a good rest. You will be energized, excited and refreshed for more speed.

  1. It is important for your enjoyment:

Of what satisfaction is a venture which one cannot enjoy? An activity is worth your while if you can have a break from it and later get back.

How To Take A Break

Here are a few of the ways by which one can unwind:

  1. Sleep: While we sleep, every organ and system in our bodies do what you may refer to as a Reboot. This is especially important for students and those whose jobs are majorly mental.crash
  2. Rest: Lean back or lie down. Relax your nerves & muscles for a long-enough period of time. Do nothing but rest.
  3. Get entertained: This varies with what an individual may call entertaining. Go watch a game or a movie. Listen to good music. Read an interesting book. Play a fun game with friends. Only ensure that what entertains you is within the confines of the Christian faith. Your spirit must not die and God must not be displeased.
  4. Take an affordable holiday.
  5. Reduce your pace: Sometimes, you may not have the time to sleep, talk more of going on a holiday. In those times, taking a break could mean doing fewer things and taking more time at them.

Two Notes Of Caution

  1. Your break must glorify God. Note that God wants you to take_a_break. He giveth His beloved sleep, remember? BUT all you do during your rest must bring Him glory and pleasure. Bear this in mind.
  2. Only the man who has worked deserves to rest. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. But what about all play and no work? Some young people involve in activities that should not be prioritized by them. Some spend more hours at playing than at work. This should not be the pre-occupation of anyone who loves excellence at heart. Discretion or common-sense must be applied to appropriate adequate time for rest and discipline is needed to jump back to work once rest time is over.

“It is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of anxious toil – for He gives blessings to His beloved in sleep.” [Psalm 127:2 AMP]

Handling Failure On Your Way To Success 2

Handling Failure On Your Way To Success 2

This post is sequel to the earlier post,  Handling Failure On Your Way To Success 1 in which two important tips for dealing with setbacks on one’s success journey were given. You may want to open the link and read it up as well, if you missed that.

handling failure


Failing is never easy, it induces feelings that can crush the human spirit, make you forsake your dreams and vision and look at yourself as never good enough. The flipside is, with God, failure can be the catalyst for a great victory. Continuing from our previous discussion on this subject, let’s attempt to analyze what failure is.

3. Failure simply means you didn’t get it right based on the set standard of assessment.

The ability to handle failure in its various forms and degrees is a vital part of the spiritual life of a believer. The mature believer is the one who understands the importance of choosing the right standard of measurement to determine success and failure. In 2Corinthians 10:12, Paul wrote ‘ For we dare not make ourselves of the number or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise’. Please don’t fall into this kind of foolishness. Don’t beat yourself down because you failed in an area others may have been succeeding at without understanding your purpose and calling in life. We are all to do our best according to the abilities God has given each of us and we are right in using others as models of Christ-like character as seen in 1Cor 11:1. But this is not the same as when we compare ourselves with others from the perspective of their position, gifts, abilities, possessions and other such standards and then attempt to base our success or failure or that of someone else based on such comparisons.

During my secondary school and undergraduate study, I was an A student but had friends who barely made B’s and C’s in most courses irrespective of their diligence. Some of them understood their abilities and gifts in other areas and worked on them. Today, while I am proud to be a practicing engineer, some of my colleagues back then are doing very well in other areas of life like in sports, ministry and business. Don’t judge yourself a failure through another man’s lens!

4. God could have a hand in what we perceive as failure in order to bring out success in us and ultimately bring glory to His name. Our failures are often rungs on the ladder of growth – we should learn and trust God rather than grovel in the dirt. If the failure is as a result of our negligence, sin, or wrong approach to issues, we need to receive forgiveness from the Savior and believe that we are freed because nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Failure could come as a result of unforeseen circumstances beyond our control which can affect even the believer, Yes!, the believer. One scripture that has come to mean so much to me is Romans 8:28 ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose’, walking in God’s purpose for my life makes me relaxed in the face of challenges knowing that God is ultimately shaping the course of my life for His glory. Sometime last year, I applied for a role in an oil company which I had to go through a series of tests and interviews for. I was one of the last 5 candidates left for the role at the last stage of the recruitment out of thousands of applicants. After the last interview with board of directors, they were so impressed with me that I thought that the job was mine already, but a week after that, I got a regret mail from the Human Resource Manager stating reasons why I was not selected among the last three. I felt so bad because I thought I would do better and get better remuneration in that company but lo, three months after the recruitment, the company downsized due to the sharp fall in oil prices, and that affected some of the newly recruited engineers. The Holy Spirit reminded me that God is the ultimate architect of my destiny and what I may call failure may not be what it seems. I refuse to fret because God is involved!

Justice Nwade





Justice Nwade is an avid reader and teacher, cofounder and writer at He is a director at Ecophilia Energy limited, an Energy professional and currently a postgraduate student in Chemical Engineering. He’s a son of the Most High God and is passionate about seeing young people play at the highest level in life.

Awaken The Genius In You!

Awaken The Genius In You!

“Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein.


If I have to comment on the above stated quote, I will challenge the squirrel and the monkey taunting the fish for its inability to climb a tree to enter for a swimming contest. But let’s just go ahead.

Just few days ago, I was in Eko Hotels for an enterprise conference. Our new kid on the blog, Ayodele Dada, the 5.0 graduate of Psychology department, UNILAG was equally in attendance. (By the way, I comot cap for that dude; so you mean he never made a single B from first year to final year?). Of course by virtue of that feat, Ayo has received several awards and job offers from different organizations since the news broke out. But in this particular event, Akin Alabi, the founder of NairaBet (I will talk about him shortly), made a cash donation of One million naira to Ayodele and also offered him a chance to work with NairaBet in any capacity, if he so desires. Now, you are probably asking what is wrong with your own brain, why you couldn’t bring such honour to your parents and make your family proud as Ayo had done. “Is it not the same one head; is it not the same school fees we all paid?” Aren’t those the questions going on in your head right now?

But then, let us look at Akin Alabi. He is the founder of NairaBet – the biggest betting site in Nigeria and number nine in the world. I don’t need to tell you how many millions of Nigerians that bet on that platform, but I sure know it is quite huge, in fact at a point I was wondering if you are the only young person I know that does not bet in Nigeria (Of course, I am yet to start betting myself). Akin is a multi-millionaire today, or maybe a billionaire. But just before making that cash donation to Ayodele, he told us that he was unable to pass JAMB after several attempts. Yet he managed to start NairaBet.

Now, look at it this way, Akin and Ayo were both standing on the stage, one made 5.0, the other couldn’t pass JAMB. Both of them are “role models” to different sets of youths today, both of them are millionaires, both of them are impacting lives with their results and performance. I think it is safe to say that both of them are successful, yet their routes were quite different.

Tell me why you should permit someone to make you feel inferior just because you are not the best in a particular field? If he is taller than you, I am very sure that he is not shorter than you. If you can’t be a Pat Utomi, you can be a Dangote. If you can’t be a Dangote, then you can be an Oyedepo. If you can’t be an Oyedepo, then you can be an Okocha, a Genevieve, an Omotola, a Linda Ikeji, a Chike Obi, a Chinua Achebe, an Ayodele Dada or an Akin Alabi…

So the next time someone taunts you by making you feel you are wasting your time studying ‘too much’ for first class that will end up been ‘useless in a jobless society’, just tell him to wait and see. And if the first class guy wants to mock your 1.8 CGPA, tell him not to conclude so soon, because though it is true he will get a good job paying like 12 million naira per annum- if he is really that good anyway, but someone has to create the job, and that might just be you.

Friends, there is a genius in each of us.

God has been so generous to deposit enough talent and potential in everyone. That you have not done well in a particular field does not mean you are a useless nonentity. Your job is to discover that area where you can be the best, if you are yet to discover that, you can pray to God and He will be more than willing to reveal it to you. And if your problem is how to make a living using your potentials, feel free to talk to us, we are here to help you. Remember, no one should judge you by your ability to climb a tree except you are a squirrel.

As Christian youth however, we must remember that our talents’ source is God and we owe it to Him to use all our talents to his glory. So, although you can be motivated by anyone around you, including any of the above mentioned excellers, allow the Holy Spirit to fine-tune your talents to bring God all glory and give you joy, cool cash and satisfaction. Like the biblical parable of the Talents, the master will hold us accountable for how we exploited our talents. You can’t afford to fall hand. Have a great life!

Written by Kachi Ogbonna

Mr. Kachi Ogbonna is an entrepreneurship/youth consultant. You can reach him via