‘Start-ups Owners Must Believe in Nigeria to Scale’

Leo-Stan Ekeh

The Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, has said budding entrepreneurs and business owners must retain a level of belief in Nigeria in order to scale their business. Ekeh affirmed that growing a business in Nigeria’s peculiar business environment requires the essential ingredient of a firm faith in the country.

He made this disclosure at The Kingdom Summit 2019, an International Marketplace and Leadership Conference organised by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Lagos. The event, with the theme – ‘From Business Person to Nation Changer’, addressed key issues surrounding the growth Start-ups in Nigeria.

According to Ekeh, “You must not be discouraged by the challenges you face in business today. Also, you must not allow people discourage you with their negative projections.

“You must have faith in Nigeria in order to grow your business and scale. As a matter of fact, before I started out in business during undergraduate days in India and after my post-graduate in Cork City, I was clear that I was going to return to Nigeria.

“Sometimes, I laugh when people say things were better in the past than they are today. When I returned to Nigeria to start up my first company, Task Systems Ltd., the society was completely analogue. The print and publishing industry, which I transitioned to digital publishing, was still relying on the old system of casting metal type at the time. This was why I was determined to create an IT identity for Nigeria. We eventually achieved this through Zinox.

“It is on record that the Zinox Group pioneered electronic petrol dispensing pumps, Desktop Publishing and Computer Graphics, INEC Data Capture System, firstinternationally certified Computer brand – Zinox, pioneered E-Commerce in Africa, amongst other firsts. If we do not have faith, you will not have the mental capacity to research, incubate and achieve products that may add greater impetus to the economy.”

However, Ekeh, a serial digital entrepreneur, cautioned his audience on the need to incubate and go through structured process, incubate and build a culture of sustenance. More to the point, Ekeh frowned upon the falsification of data in order to hood-wink potential investors.

“I see a lot of start-ups brandishing false figures and falsifying data in order to deceive investors to part with their money. There are a few high-profile instances of such here in Nigeria.

“Such a practice is highly dangerous and if you indulge in it, you will surely pay for it. A lot of business owners see it as a smart way of raising funds but your integrity is at stake.

“If you lose your integrity, you have not just lost all, but you have also destroyed others in same economy and you will pay dearly for it. In 21st century, there is a strong connection between wealth and spirituality. The way you made your money comes with eternal pain or pleasure.

“I see a lot of rich people that excites young people are in Hell on earth but you may not know. Wealth is now a right for both the children of the poor and the rich, but more kids from poor homes have better intelligence, energy and spirituality to challenge the status quo.

“Some of you just start out in business and decide to buy flashy cars or fly First Class as a status symbol. What you fail to remember is that the difference between an Economy Class ticket and a First Class ticket, your business may not be able to achieve it as profit in one year,” Ekeh said.

Continuing, Ekeh affirmed that the current generation of entrepreneurs have all it takes to achieve within five years what the older generation strived to build in 30 years.