By Prince Osuagwu
Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh has charged budding entrepreneurs and business owners to be highly patriotic and retain a level of belief in Nigeria, if they want to scale their businesses.
Ekeh said growing a business in Nigeria’s peculiar business environment requires faith and belief in the country.
He spoke at an International Marketplace and Leadership Conference tagged: ‘The Kingdom Summit 2019,’ organized by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, weekend. The event, with the theme – ‘From Business Person to Nation Changer’ – was held at the RCCG, King’s Court parish in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Addressing the start-up who are also mainly members of the church, Ekeh said: “You must not be discouraged by the challenges you face in business today. You must not also allow people discourage you with their negative projections. You must have faith in Nigeria in order to grow your businesses 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. We also pioneered E-Commerce in Africa, amongst others. 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.
“Today, you have the advantage of age on your side, quality education, and common sense; you have more exposure unlike our time, when only few were educated. So, there is nothing stopping you,” he counseled.
However, he warned them of compromising their integrity for business gain, saying the implication may wreak not only their businesses but their entire wellbeing.
“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,” he warned.