Tips from The 33000

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Home Grown!

Looking for PHONE NUMBERS, WEBSITES and ADDRESSES of companies in Nigeria? Text the COMPANY NAME to 33000.E.g. Text VIRGIN NIGERIA to 33000.

In 2000 I attended the Nigerian Law School with a certain Funke Buknor Obruthe. At the time there was only on law school so every one came in from their various universities and converged in one place for one year. We met early on and had a fairly fateful conversation one a fairly ordinary day. Chatting about exams, the law and the future she stated, rather shyly that she would like to design and manage events someday, preferably weddings. Many weddings later and at the end of most Saturday’s I’m often left wondering just how much money Funke has made today!

In 2003 I was introduced to a certain Abu Balewa, a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University and had just moved to Abuja. Extremely fashion conscious he bought and sold exclusive items of clothing to all of us and had a great customer base in Abuja. As these things go he mentioned to me that he would love to start a magazine someday taking his love for fashion and style to the biggest stage possible. MODE MEN Magazine was born in 2006 and seven editions later in addition to opening his own store (no more selling from the trunk of his car!), Abu is well on his way to achieving his dreams.

Suburban Telecoms. 3 friends who came together in early 2000 to deliver world class support services when mobile telephony first came to Nigeria. My personal admiration for this company cannot be overstated and the achievements and challenges overcome will always remain a shining example in my mind. When Bruce, Ahmed and Sule started their journey, not many new how far they would go. Million of dollars in revenue for a home grown company essentially following their dreams will always be applauded. While the rest of us rushed out to buy our Sim cards and make our first phone calls. They saw opportunity and for that I will always admire suburban.

In the mid Nineties a fast food company called TERRIS BURGERS started out in Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Complex. With a small stand and the tastiest burgers, Shawarmas and finger foods available; Terris burger created a niche for itself and people would come all the way from Victoria island just to get a bite of that burger!( I still remember the BIG ET burger!!) Terri’s opened another branch in 1004 and then the standards started to fall and the dream died. Fast forward to the empire that is Tastee Fried Chicken. We celebrate both dreams understanding that dreams must remain no matter how far we think we have come.

These stories celebrate the visions and dreams that are right here amongst us. While America remains the bastion of success and incredible achievement, there are those amongst us who are tomorrow’s brands. This is only a glimpse of determined business men and women that we will celebrate over the next year and they represent something inside of all of us. Success is not a destination but a journey and we all want to succeed. All of us who have chosen to walk the walk are faced with a need to follow something so intangible that we often doubt the sanity of our work.
History is not written in one day and as we write the list of the new entrepreneurs, the dreamers who dared, we must borrow one single thing from them; BELIEF.
Is this generation ready? I say yes. One by one we will pick out and celebrate those who are succeeding every single day.
Some say the real fortunes have not yet been made. I say… I agree.

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