[INTERVIEW] “MY WORK IS INSPIRED BY MY PASSION TO CREATE” CLINTON CHUKWUEKE, CEO, CLINTONEL
TOCHUKWU CLINTON CHUKWUEKE, is an inventor and industrialist who has always been driven by the passion to create and birth products that will make life better for humanity. Today, he sits atop a revolutionary engineering company, CLINTONEL as the Chief Executive Officer. However, his beginning has not been rosy at all. He overcame lack of fund and infrastructure and beat discouragement that cm from people hands down to develop and patents a wide range of products. On this week’s edition of Business People, he shares with BROJID WORLD Editor, JOSEPH DINWOKE, his shares his inspiring story. Relax and get inspired!
Thanks for joining me on Brojid World business people. Let’s meet you.
My name is Tochukwu Clinton Chukwueke; an inventor, industrialist, change agent, and electronic engineer from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I’m the CEO of CLINTONEL, a revolutionary engineering company in Nigeria.
Tell me a bit about CLINTONEL
CLINTONEL is an Innovation. It is the centre for designing and developing Innovations. CLINTONEL is the place where Advanced Engineering Skills (AES) merges with Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) to build amazing products. At CLINTONEL, we design and build Stylish, Innovative and Reliable products. Our Rapid Prototype Machine directly transforms computer drawings into real physical products that can be touched, tested or used. This technology enables designers and innovators to quickly build the prototype of their designs
In addition to our products, we offer the following services: Product Design & Development, Rapid Prototyping, Advanced Metal Casting, Machine fabrication, and Customised Gift Items (Souvenirs).
Tell me about customised gifts items.
At CLINTONEL, we design and build highly customised gift Items which can be used as: wedding souvenirs, birthday gifts, brand promotion items, etc. Our gift items are very unique and we embed the name or brand of the customer right into the product.
What most people do is buy generic products and fix stickers on them or print on them. These stickers or inks wears out after a while leaving the gifts bare. Whereas at CLINTONEL, we embed your name or brand directly and inseparably into the product. That is, we manufacture the product with your name on it, in such a way that your name cannot wear out.
Presently, CLINTONEL is the only company with this capability in West Africa.
What drives what you do at CLINTONEL?
My work is inspired by my passion to create, to innovate. I also have a strong passion for African Technology Innovation. I have a passion to inspire, support and promote Technology Innovation in Africa. I want to see an Africa that is Technologically Self Reliant.
How did CLINTONEL start?
CLINTONEL is an inspiration. It came to me while I was still in secondary school, about 15 years ago. However, I started work on it in the university. I invested four years into personal research and experimentation during my undergraduate studies. I designed and patented a Process for Generating Power from Water with a Water Powered Engine. CLINTONEL was registered with CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) soon after my graduation.
Did you encounter any challenge trying to start your business?
Yes, of course. The challenges have been enormous and very discouraging. At this point in Nigeria, there is insufficient support for innovation and technology. We lack supportive infrastructure, policies, systems and resources for innovation.
Out of my five years on campus, I invested four years into innovation and research. Within this period, I didn’t get any support from anywhere, except from a former classmate who was also an undergraduate. In fact, I funded my research and innovation with my pocket money. I didn’t have facilities. My lab was the front of my house in Nsukka. I literally did all my constructions and experiments in the open, in the sun.
I couldn’t get a place to prototype my designs and drawings. I went to the Centre for Energy Research and Development (CERD) in UNN. The director of the centre, with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, described my design as Ingenious. He told me they didn’t have the machines or resources to support me. I later went to CERN headquarters in Abuja and got the same response. I found it ridiculous that a centre for Energy Research and Development did not have provisions for Indigenous Energy Development.
I later went to National Metallurgical Training Institute, Onitsha for help with prototyping.
The director of the centre, after seeing my designs, was very surprised. He asked me “how can you design a thing like this in Nigeria. Don’t you know where you are, don’t you know you are in Nigeria?” I was very disappointed and discouraged.
Years later, we paid a machinist to build an injection mold for mass production of one of my innovations. I invested my one-year NYSC allowance – my last card. The machinist did not deliver, even after we contracted a lawyer to intervene. We lost our live savings.
The list can go on and on. But, we are still here, moving forward, and changing the industry.
What’s your promise to your customers and people who use CLINTONEL Products?
We deliver Stylish, Innovative and Reliable products. We are committed to Integrity, Innovation and Excellence. Our customers are guaranteed of Innovative, Reliable and Excellent products to better their lives.
Please inspire an African youth
Dream. Dream Big.
Open your heart to God for Inspiration.
Even in Nigeria, Dreams Come True.
Every day, people like you make their dreams come true.
I’m making my own dreams come true, I’m living my dream.
Here is the Secret, the Ultimate Secret: THERE IS A WAY.
Yes, no matter what your dream is, There is a Way to achieve it.There has always been a way, and there will always be a way – that’s a Universal Law. The Challenge is to find that Way.
Keep Learning, Keep Seeking, Keep Trying, Keep Growing, and Keep Pushing. It might take a year, five, ten, or even twenty. As long as you don’t Give Up, as long as you persevere, you will Surely Find The Way. There is Help on the Way, don’t give up now.
Editor’s Note: At Clintonel, you can get customized gift items for your friends and loved ones for as low as N500 when you contact Clintonel Customer Care on phone: 0806 890 2331 or by mail:firstname.lastname@example.org You can also see the latest innovation and designs from Clintonel from their website: www.clintonel.biz