Today in the maiden edition of our Interview series, we feature A young “smart kid” who is not just a student par excellence, but also an entrepreneur who has made a name for himself on campus. Hendrix is a student of Banking and Finance in the Delta State University Asaba Campus and runs a number of business while alongside his studies, and not just that, he is doing well academically. Here is an interview with him. To inspire our young individuals to start something profitable for themselves and reduce the complaints of unemployment and crime.
Inspired Fully: Lets meet you
Hendrix: My name is Aghanti Emeke Hendrix, 300level Banking and Finance student of Delta State University (Delsu) Asaba campus. A young entrepreneur and business owner both in and outside the school.
Inspired Fully: so what do you do?
Hendrix: Basically talking about what I do as a business man, am into importation, micro saving scheme for students, into registration of recruitment exercises ,Post UTME, Jamb, Waec; by recruitment exercise, I mean the army, Police force and any other thing you think of, and recently I just open a business of producing POP corn in the school and we have plans of expanding.
Inspired Fully: Alright, so how does you micro saving scheme work? What are basics of it and how can one get into your scheme.
Hendrix: Talking about my micro saving scheme, I call it USMS meaning Unique Student Mobile Saving, Now what is this all about? I was able to identify a problem within the student environment, often time when students resume at the beginning of a semester, they tend to have lots of money, but before the semester runs to a quarter, you discover most student complain of being broke, because they thought the money they have irrespective of how they spend it they feel they’ll have something to fall back to only to discover they no longer have anything again; so I was able to identify this (that was last year 2015)October to be precise, and I was able to come up with this saving scheme ,in our local dialect (or a layman’s term)we call it Osusu, so I organized and named it Unique Student Mobile Savings. Students who are interested come to us and we give them the form, they complete it and they’ll have what we call the passbook which is like a card. The USMS has a register that enables customer to sign whenever they save with us, we also sign on their passbook to help with account reconciliation at a date when they want to collect their money. So that is how it works, and basically, we have made it in a way that students can save in the sense that they are able to collect their money at the end of the semester, meaning that students who want to collect their money before the end of the semester will receive professional advice from us, we’ll want to know why he/she is collecting the money, to ascertain if the reason for the withdrawal is really worth it, because we don’t want a situation where one would not be able to account for what he or she used their savings to do.
Inspired Fully: Do you charge any fee?
Hendrix: Yes, Now, take for instance the USMS, we have three saving plans, the first is the BOW plan, where customers save five hundred naira weekly, there are sixteen weeks in a semester including the exam week, in the sixteen weeks, the student who pays five hundred naira weekly will have eight thousand and we charge less than ten percent of that sum, which is five hundred naira. But of course this eight thousand is only withdrawn by those who where faithful to their savings, if you defaulted once or twice or more, you would definitely not get that much.
We also have a NOW plan, which at one thousand naira, savers would have sixteen thousand naira at the end of the semester, and we charge only ten percent for the whole four month month which is better than what is done at home where savers are charged weekly or monthly and we’ve done it this way because we want to make it very conducive and encouraging for students to save.
And lastly, we have the SOW Plan. This plan makes it possible to save two thousand naira weekly and at the end of the semester, you have thirty two thousand naira, we charge only two thousand for the entire semester, so you go home with thirty thousand naira. And also we have devised a means to help students comply with the savings habit, for instance we place calls across to students or customers and we also send SMS reminding them of the weeks’ saving, which the banks and others do not do. All they are after is the money you pay and their commission.
Inspired Fully: How do or how did you raise funds for your other ventures? , (for instance you just started a pop corn business, ) and also before you started this mobile saving scheme, we all know funding is a factor that discourages young people from starting up ventures
Hendrix: Alright, talking about funds, before I got the admission into this school, I’ve had admission twice, that was in 2011 and 2012, but I could not proceed because of finance. So I saw this challenge as an opportunity and the only way to crawl out of being financially handicapped, So I figured out a way, first off, I went ahead to learn hair dressing. This actually helped me for the mean time, and I also started with a small laptop, I was into the course registration and was generating school fee pin in my 100level, funny enough, I never knew how to do this (i.e registering courses and school fee pin generation), I just went to the café to see how this was done and I came back to practice and started it. I announced in class who ever wanted to do theirs, that I was available to do it and quite a number of people came and that was how I was able to raise some funds for myself, I was borrowing a printer to print. I used other peoples’ printer and would pay about thirty naira for every work I do to be printed.
Then about the USMS, all I needed was the idea (which I got), then what I needed was how to make it work, the strategies. I had to think of how convincing I can be to students, because it won’t be easy for just anyone to give you their money without trust. Thank God I had maintained a legacy from 100 level that people can trust me with their money and take me by my word, so I had that in place, this was because I was able to work on myself right from time and made sure I was never in the company of people of bad reputation, so my integrity was never in question.
For the USMS, I started with 100 cards (which was about five thousand naira), then I got a register and made a stamp which was just one thousand five hundred naira only, and everything I spent was about seven thousand naira to start with. And during our early days the number was about 40, that was the first semester (2015/2016) academic session. And between October to June, the number had increased from that forty to about one hundred, and this is really encouraging.
Inspired Fully: So how do you combine these activities with schooling, I don’t want to think it is easy combining schooling and business.
Hendrix: Last year was a really good year, in the sense that before October, the only thing I did on campus was just course registration, Post UTME registration and school fee pin generation. I also did paper works like assignments and it was not easy combining them with studies, now imagine combining these with pop corn business and that wasn’t easy, but what really helped was that I was able to dedicate time for my studies.
I had to cut short my resting time and during my free time I took care of my Importation business, I could just go online during this period and look for a good product and purchase, then when its shipped to me, I just go to pick it up.(I sell on Konga, Jumia, Kaymu and the rest.)
Time management is a bit challenging but thank God, Last year in the middle of all this, I had the best result so far in school, the last time I saw a four point in school was in 100 level, and now am back to four point.
Inspired Fully: you organized an investment seminar, How was it(the turn out) and what can you say to the investment habits of young individuals, given the belief that the investment habits of youths is poor
Hendrix: Actually, regarding the program, the turnout was cool and impressive, that was the first time I would organize a seminar, it was not just for students any way, the publicity went to town and we also went to the open university and the federal college of education. I agree that youths have poor investment habit, no thanks to the mentality that the government or family and friends will help them after graduation. Although the number was quite much, you would have expected more considering the amount of students on this campus. I always encourage investments and I do tell my level mates (who won’t learn to invest) I said if you don’t have a 2.1, I won’t employ you.
Inspired Fully: As a young entrepreneur, what will you say to the up and coming individuals who want to be entrepreneurs and go into business like you?
Hendrix: To these people, I would say Rome was not built in a day. They should start now. Starting a business for me was a passion. I see business as something I love doing. You should go into something you love to do so that when setbacks come, you won’t miss footing. If you go into a business because someone else is doing it, you might give up when trouble comes. Watch those you share your ideas with, there are some who would steal your idea or discourage you because they perceive if you succeed in it, you’ll be bigger than them. Some will always make you see why your idea will not work, so you should be careful.
Make a decision and don’t look back, this is very important.
Inspired Fully: What are your favorite books, what changed you? I know achievers are readers.
Hendrix: I visited a site, the actually change my life; the author Ajero Tony Martins is someone that has really inspired me. I call him a mentor, though he does not know me but I follow his work a lot. Came across his website, StrategicbusinessTeamI read a lot of work there and I saw there was a lot of business opportunities, I saw guidelines and I had to follow it. And one other book that really changed my mindset that even made me go into the stock market to buy shares was What The Rich Invest In – it’s a book written by Robert Kiyosaki, and also Rich Dad Poor Dad. Then a book by Bishop David Oyedepo, “all you need to have all your needs met”, “Miraculous”, and then “born to win” that book really inspired me.
Inspired Fully: Thank you very much for your time, I appreciate you for granting us audience
Hendrix: One more thing, I would like to tell people not to look at the current economic circumstances before they go into any business, there is no guarantee it will be easy or smooth but trust me, persistence is all you need. Thank you.
Inspired Fully: Thank you very much for your time, I appreciate.
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