Endurance, persistent and commitment often results to success. These are the tripod on which the Chairman of Casbel Ltd, a one-stop shop for electrical engineering, Samson Alamu, thrives on. Despite repeated setbacks on his entrepreneurial journey, which almost forced him to give up, he has today become a success story in alternative power, renewable energy, consultancy and other options outside the power sector. Ayodeji Ake writes
“We gave up a couple of time but it was apparent that whatever business I embark on, the challenges in our country are the same, so, why not just weather the storm of the trade you know and have a passion for and develop a motivation and roadmap to succeed. The major bail out and sustenance for us was our two local partners that extended generous credit facility to us.
“These helped us to stabilise and pay off some of our external debts that the banks were not willing to shoulder. We also had to restructure reducing our overhead, and as painful as it was reducing staff that we had given specialist skills and letting go completely those that offered us
support services, hence, concentrating on our core business. We also had to take control of our running cost, if it is not important, it is not done” those were the measures put in place by Chairman of Casbel Ltd, a one-stop shop for electrical engineering, Samson Alamu.
He however, didn’t start his entrepreneurship journey until after 20 years of intellectual delivery and contributions to some companies, where he also gathered experience of innovation and management skills. His education qualifications of Bachelor of Science in Elect Elect and Masters of Business Administration (MBA), in Marketing, spoke for him, combining his marketing experience and electrical studies.
“I attended Baptist High School Jos; University of Lagos, BSc Elect Elect and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Ogbomoso, MBA, marketing. I had worked at various times with Nigeria Associated Best Foods, Jos and two global companies; Cutler Hammer Nigeria Ltd and Schneider Electric Nigeria Ltd. These afforded me the opportunities of several training programmes and short courses in sales and Engineering. And also giving me broad ideas of establishing Casbel” he said.
Reminiscing on the rough journey to limelight and pin-pointing what could have been the setback he said: “I wouldn’t call us successful but glad to still having a company to run. As with most businesses in our environment, the major challenges are similar- to have the right caliber of staff especially for specialist skills; energy or power to run the business, this, has serious impact on our running cost; government unfavorable changing policies and the exchange rate.
“The values of our capital and assets have been badly affected. Today, we can hardly do one third of what we used to do several years ago with the same resources. The ups for us have been the number of people that have passed through us, that we have trained and some lofty projects we are proud to be part of in the building, industry, power, oil and gas sectors, most importantly, staying afloat.”
Speaking on various ways an entrepreneur can manoeuvre challenges, Alamu highlighted quality of staff, identifying the good ones with potentials, ready to learn, and train energy; power, identify and adopting the cheapest way to power business capital; funding, identifying and developing partnership; policies, the need for pressure groups to point government in the right direction to protect local investors like enforcing local content and also have a second look at the various taxes thrown at the investor, counterfeit and copy; and products, considering the standard organisation should be reenergised to perform above their call of duty.
Today, Casbel Ltd remains a success story as a giant in alternative power, renewable energy, consultancy and maybe other options outside the power sector. It has become a one-stop shop for Electrical engineering services covering panel manufacturing, servicing, maintenance, installation up to 33kV systems, commissioning and procurement with particular focus on Electrical distribution, Industrial controls and automation.
As a way of giving back to the society, Casbel Ltd focuses on education, empowering the youths and grooming them of being self employed, most especially the power sector, where the company specialises.
He said: “One of the major challenges facing us as a nation is education. We are very passionate about education. Hence, we are involved at various levels of participating and educating as many people as our resources can accommodate as follows: provision of facilitators targeting unemployed youths to become self employed particularly in power sector, any related power program for which we have skilled personnel and support on others outside power verifiable and having a business plan to work with.
“Provision of funding for identified few in primary and secondary schools that can’t afford the small stipend paid in these schools, sponsorship, provision of components and design tools for final year student in Electrical engineering particularly power bias projects.
“Sponsorship of post graduate student in business and theology, provide space for at least five students on Industrial training with a stipend attached. In our community of residence, we are always available to solely or co, sponsor any particular need- be it provision of equipment or components necessary for continuous power availability, etc,
“We make available Engineering books, power engineering design tools, testing equipment and our work shop for students or school interested in experiments or further practical knowledge. We are always interested in partnership for as long as it is targeted towards youth education and development.”
Appeal to Government
Urging the government to swing into swift action of intervention, Alamu said the government has a lot to offer in terms policies development and implementation to make the environment market friendly.
He said: “Yes, government intervention is urgently needed. The government is the single largest spender and the power resides with it to form, implement and control policies that affect all of us, private and government.
“You will agree that if the government drops the ball, we are all in trouble. Government should urgently wake up to its responsibilities in all sectors of the economy and infrastructural development.”
Charge to Budding Entrepreneurs
In his message to young entrepreneurs, he added that they should be passionate, develop a thick skin, lookout for a shared partnership to reduce their cost, identify and approach the right audience.