29 Apr 2014

I Can’t Accept a N500,000 Monthly Salary – Says a 22 Year Old Entrepreneur

His name is Muhammad Abdullahi Salisu, who emerged one of the top 10 leading entrepreneurs out of the 50 shortlisted small and medium enterprises owners in the 2014 edition of the Etisalat Easybusiness Millionaires Hunt, winning a whooping sum of N2m in the process.

In this interview, Salisu explained how studying Bio-Chemistry in the university and passion for providing solutions to the problem of waste management triggered his interest in the recycling business.

What informed your venture into waste recycling?

I studied Bio-Chemistry at the Ahmadu Bello Univeristy (ABU), Zaria, Nigeria and graduated this year. While in the university, we developed interest in the chemistry of waste materials – that is, the main recycling process.

After graduation, three of my friends – Sufiana Habeeb from Bauchi State, Idris Mansha and Ahmad Abdulkadir Koroso both from Kano State and I decided to source for funds and start a recycling business. We realized there are lots of opportunities in the business and decided to venture into it. In Kano State alone, there is waste of about 9000 metric tons already in the recycling process.

How long have you been in this business?

Our business is now 20 months old. Our medium-to-long term plan is to expand the business to industrial conversion of plastic waste to agricultural materials like plastic baskets for farmers. We also want to establish other to recycling centers – one in Azari, Bauchi State and the other in Zaria, Kaduna State.
We hope within the next 10 years to become one of the best waste management companies in the world.
How lucrative would you say the recycling business is?

The recycling business is very lucrative because the return on investment (ROI) is about 65 per cent. We were able to generate N2.5 million in the first year we started the business.

Now, even if I am offered a job that can fetch me N500,000 per month, I won’t accept it because I already have a stable business. Of course, I can’t leave this business for any white collar job.

How do you think the Etisalat training would impact on your business?

I am very happy participating in the Etisalat 2014 entrepreneurial training. I have gained a lot because I didn’t have this kind of training in school. Now, I have been equipped with the knowledge that can help our business grow.

In the course of the training, I have met with people who are in the same kind of business both in Lagos and beyond and we are looking at the possibility of partnering together. I have also been made to know other tools peculiar to the business which I didn’t know prior to this time.

What have been your challenges in the business?

The main challenge has been funds. But with the N2 million Etisalat gave me, we have some capital to ginger the business. I intend buying a recycling machinery that can be used continuously for two to three years. We will source raw materials locally within communities around us.

What is your advice to Nigerian youths, especially the undergraduates, on entrepreneurship?

My advice to fellow Nigerian youths is that they should start doing something meaningful on enterprise while in the university. For example, we developed our own idea while we were in the university. Students shouldn’t wait until they graduate before they can start doing something productive.

After finishing their degree programmes, they can start expanding their business ideas. There are lots of opportunities in the country and they should look into them and find where their ideas fit in to be self-employed, rather than forever look for jobs that aren’t just available.

About the Etisalat Easy Business Millionaire Hunt

“We at Etisalat believe that by helping to empower SMEs, the generation of more job opportunities can easily be achieved. It is important to us at Etisalat that we do a good job. But more than that, we aspire to see our customers also do a good job while using our services. We aim to help these companies grow just as we have grown over the last five years,” said Mr. Matthew Willsher, the acting Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria.

In this year’s Etisalat Easy Business Millionaire Hunt, ten (10) entrepreneurs were adjudged to have exceptional business ideas with each winning N2m to help them actualise their plans as well as six months’ mentorship programme at the Enterprise Development Centre of Pan-Atlantic University to guide them.

The winners were: Abdulazeez Ibrahim, Oluwayomi Ojo, Idongesit Umoh, Muhammad Salisu Abdullahi, Nwachinemere Emeka, Eberenna Nwanjoku, Opeyemi Ajayi, Bosede Olanihun, Joseph Eze and Adesuwa Ojumola.

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