Can you briefly take us through the Ecofuture growth journey?
I started as a social enterprise with four (4) Industrial training students of Environmental Science students from National Open University Nigeria. These students worked with the company for months to kick up the pilot stage that we were able to collect recyclable waste on a daily basis with almost two tons capacity per month. But with the YBLN training and seed grant, our capacity has increased to six tons (6) per month.
What objectives push Ecofuture and what do you intend to achieve with it?
Our objective is to create a sustainable environment for our future generation through recycling in South- south region of Nigeria.
What has been your biggest triumph so far?
My biggest triumph was when I received a seed grant from YBLN which is the highest form of revenue EcoFuture has ever encountered.
Have there been challenges and how were you able to surmount them?
When I organize Edo state monthly clean-up event, the fact that I have to pay community a certain fee before they allow my team to clean up their environment and carry out recycling awareness campaign is not encouraging. But when I was able to interact with these communities and let them know that we are really carrying out community service, they joined us in our campaign and clean-up event.
What motivates you in actualising and running Ecofuture?
The desire to attract local and international investors to Edo state creates grassroots jobs, reduce illegal waste dump site and landfill.
Has there been any time you searched for jobs? How difficult was it and were you able to get a job?
After my NYSC I searched for job for months before I managed to get a job as a personnel assistant to the Special Adviser to the Minister of Sports. I helped my boss build a business from scratch before I resigned to start EcoFuture.
How have you been able to cope and handle team members and your employees?
It has not been easy because you have to understand a person first before you know how to effectively relate with the person.
What methods or strategies do you adopt in relating with employees to ensure the best performance from them?
I have been using emotional intelligence to work with my employees in other for my team to get good results.
What’s your vision fifteen years from now?
My vision is to be number one plastic pellet and biofuel manufacturer from recyclable waste in Nigeria.
What do you think are the major causes of unemployment in Nigeria?
Lack of skills, poor quality education, corruption, negligence of agriculture and other natural resources.
How was the whole BEP experience like and how has it impacted you as a person?
Business etiquette has really helped me in getting the waste management permit/licence from the Edo State Waste Management Board which I have been trying to get for months before the Budding Entrepreneur Program but after the training, it took me less than two months to get this same permit because I followed due protocol.
My customer base has increased, following the customer service relationship class; I have been able to get unresponsive customers in the past to purchase my products by giving them assurance of the quality of our products.
During the supply chain class I learnt the difference between procurement and purchase and I can confidently monitor my supply chain. Using the textit SMS base platform, I can monitor the number of recyclable waste I get on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. I also learnt how to manage resources.
What aspect would you like to change about the BEP if given the chance and which of the aspect would you encourage more?
I do not want to change anything about the budding entrepreneur program because it was beyond my expectation. I would encourage more of the field trip which is practical and also allow entrepreneurs to realize that a business can’t be built in a day but with necessary growth plan and traction.
Whom among the budding entrepreneurs of your set have you bonded with more?
Chuka Okonkwo and he really helped me in reducing cost while I was building my factory.
What do you feel about Young Business Leaders of Nigeria and its effort towards reducing unemployment?
It’s a wonderful innovation and the strategy used for training its psychological to an individual. Six (6) weeks of training worth millions of Naira was given to me for free and additional seed grant for my business growth plan with a mandate to employ at least five (5) people in one year. This strategy will definitely help in reducing unemployment in Nigeria.
What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
They should take their training and field trip serious with undivided attention because during the course of the training, there will be mind-set transformation which will enable them see the world with new perspective.