HOW PAT UTOMI STARTED HIS FIRST BUSINESS WITH ZERO CAPITAL

Pat Utomi is a Nigerian with a difference. He is one of the few Nigerians who have values and stick and would not let them down for selfish interests; an entrepreneur cum academic per excellence who clichéd the highest academic qualification, PhD at the age of 26 with two masters degrees.

 

On completion of his PhD he was offered jobs in public and private service, but “but I chose not to accept any position, but to start my own business straight out after my Ph.D programme.”

He has an encounter in the United States that opened his eye to a need to be met in Nigeria – “create a handbook that would enable anybody who comes to the Nigerian embassy to look up in the handbook for any information they would need about any sector of the economy they are interested in.”

Though he was clear about a need to meet and has the capacity to meet the need, he has a challenge – capital. Undeterred by the challenge, he reasoned out a way out. “I went scouting for adverts to make the package commercially viable. After I have collected a reasonable number of advert com­mitments, because many of the firms refused to pay cash up front.”

On completion of his PhD he was offered jobs in public and private service, but “but I chose not to accept any position, but to start my own business straight out after my Ph.D programme.”

Since many firms refused to pay upfront, he took to the bank to get a loan but failed. He recounts his encounter with the bank manager, “I went to take a loan at the New Arab Bank, located back then on Broad Street, Lagos. I tried to convince the manager to loan me some money. But the manager laughed at me and asked for my col­lateral.

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“ I tried to convince him about my pub­lication, as I went on to tell him a story about how I took a loan of $2000 back when I was a graduate student in the US. I needed the mon­ey for some project and I had no collateral, but the American bank loaned me money just after going through my academic record, he didn’t even ask for the guarantor letters I got from my school professors.

But the Nigerian banker laughed out even more, but he gave me an idea.”

He continues, “But the Nigerian banker laughed out even more, but he gave me an idea. He said I should write a cheque to Daily Times– who are my publishers, and during the intervals it would take for the cheque to be cleared, and the mon­ey paid, they would have finished printing my publication and I can raise money during the delay.

“I did as I was told, and came to understand the saying that ‘Luck smiles on the prepared’. When I presented the cheque to Time Express, they forgot to present it to the bank for clear­ing. I collected a few copies that they have printed, distributed it and got some money from firms that placed adverts. I was even get­ting ready to pay for the second instalment before, they now realised that they are yet to clear the cheque I since brought to them. That was how the first Nigerian Handbook and Review was published.”

From there, he started rising, failing, learning from his failures  and has become an entrepreneurship icon.

Quote Credit: Saturday Sun

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Joseph Dinwoke

Chief Content Officer at Brojid World
Joseph 'Brojid' Dinwoke, Radio producer/OAP at Radio Nigeria Voice96.7FM, and publicist, is the curator of Brojid.com.
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