By Ebele Orakpo
It is a truism that whoever watches the wind will not plant and whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. So says the Bible. In other words, if you wait until you get all you need to launch out, you may wait till eternity. Perhaps, if Mr. Victor Nwadinobi, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Green Mouse Web Academy, an information and communication technologies (ICT) outfit based in Lagos, had waited to get the N200,000 he had budgeted for his business, it would no doubt, have remained a dream till this day.
But he took the proverbial bull by the horn and launched out with the little he had. A bird in hand, they say, is worth nine in the bush. In this chat with Vanguard recently, he spoke about the ICT business and its importance in the development of any nation, saying that youths need to be well equipped with ICT skills to be able to face the future.
Mr. Victor Nwadinobi, is a graduate of Computer Science/Mathematics (combined honours) from the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO). According to him, after graduation, he had to go the extra mile to acquire hands-on experience to enable him set up his own outfit.
“I did my national youth service at the Nigerian Army Training Centre, Kontagora in Niger State. It was there that I started training people. I trained over 60 officers and soldiers. Aside training, I do web designing, programming, and so on,” he said, adding: “But my areas of specialisation are web application, internet programming, etc., anything that has to do with web application and training on all aspects.”
After the service year, the Orlu, Imo State-born entrepreneur, came back to Lagos to start Green Mouse Web Academy in 2009. He said: “I started this business in 2009. It wasn’t so difficult for me because of the skills I had acquired. At the initial stage, I had to advertise in several media, both online and regular media to create awareness. That was where I spent some money.”
The outfit which started with just two trainees, has trained over 120 people today.
“I started with two people because there was no money. Once a trainee comes and goes, he spreads the word and others would come for training also. Now, I receive a lot of students. So far, I have trained over 120 people. I also run training programmes for organisations; I train their staff. It has not been easy but God has been faithful,” he stated.
Continuing, Nwadinobi said: “Setting up a business involves getting a place which does not come cheap. I was fortunate that the owner of this property agreed to sublet the place. I told him I did not have the money to pay and that he should allow me to use the place to train people and get money from there to pay him. He agreed. My joy is that the business is progressing,” he enthused.
On the challenges he encountered, the CEO of the outfit which has three people in its employ admitted that there were many challenges especially at the initial stage. “I have faced a lot of challenges. At first, it was like ‘can this thing work or can it nogt work?’ People were asking: ‘Who are you? What are your antecedents? Oh, your office is too far’ (because I was coming from Festac Town), your office does not have air conditioners,’ and all that. Some would say ‘well, let’s see what you can do.’ The challenges were many but I tried to use what I had at the time to put up something. I didn’t even know it was going to work.
“I started the business with just N12,000. I just told myself to start something, if it worked, fine and if it didn’t, fine. I had budgeted about N200,000 to have a place of my own but I had only N12,000 and I never imagined that little amount could bring me this far. I just decided to train some people who had been on my neck. So when I started, others began to come too so I decided to make it a full blown business,” he said.
Mr. Nwadinobi noted that most of the ICT centres in Nigeria are not owned by Nigerians. “But I see myself as an owner of a very big ICT centre where not only Nigerians but people from, different parts of the world will be trained. Then I see us partnering foreign ICT centres because I am thinking of giving our people better ICT centres than we currently have in the country.”
The young entrepreneur
knows the importance of information and communication technologies to the development of a nation, so he intends to go to the grassroots to impart this knowledge to the teeming Nigerian youths. Said he: “I intend to reach out to the grassroots, interior villages and give them the skills because they are essential to youth development. Unfortunately, our youths don’t have these skills and they may not have access to a big city like Lagos so I intend to go to the grassroots and help them acquire the skills at a token.”
He said the ICT business is very lucrative as he earns as much or even more than bankers.
“Over the years, we have made a lot of progress. I earn as much or even more than bankers in a month. Some people erroneously believe that only bankers make a lot of money. That is not true,” he asserted.