Agum Theophilus Ndome is a graduate of Economics, from University of Mkar, Mkar, Gboko, Benue State. The Chief Operating Officer of Agum Cocoa Store, a Business outfit that is into buying and selling of cash crops such as Cocoa.
Agum Theophilus is an entrepreneur who has undergone training with the University of Mkar, entrepreneurship training centre, and I have also studied entrepreneurship as General Course in the University.
Business has been my passion since I was young. I have always been a fan of somebody doing what he loves and I feel so much empowered by this. I started this cocoa business as early as 2007 immediately after my secondary school. I first learnt how to buy cocoa with the use of washing hand basin for measurement.
Before I got into the University I knew I wanted to study a course that is business oriented. Fortunate enough I was offered admission to study economics which gave me a lot of insight into doing business. Now that I am out of school I want to continue in the business and in a bigger way than before. But start-up capital is the issue.
While start-up capital is still not enough as to be compared with the kind of business opportunity available, I was just managing to do the business little by little preparing myself for opportunity to come because I know that is what I wanted to do. Because of lack of capital I was doing buying and selling with and Igbo man that was exploiting me because he has the capital for the business.
After living the man I went to meet with a finance house in Ikom Town for loan. They asked me what I have as collateral, I told them I don’t have and I was refused the loan. And the interest that was charged was too much for me as a beginner and more so the was no initial capital for the financial house to give me the loan.
– When I started this business people saw me as a small boy. I was very young. They look at me and think oh, you are too small; you cannot do this. But today those same people still call me that we should do business, mostly the big boys in the industry.
– Finance is another challenge that I am facing today. And the financial house was not willing to help me. I started this business with N80,000 (eighty thousand naira and I was making N5,000 a day which if calculated I use to have roughly N50,000 a month, which means that if I use up to N300,000 – N500,000 (three hundred to five hundred thousand naira ) I will make more profit.
– I was in school and I was still doing the business because all I wanted was experience in the business, and it was through this business that I was able to pay my school fees from 100 to 400 levels.
The business environment is challenging. Nigerians generally are hard to trust, it is always, on whom you know and sometimes when you are not in the business, you have to know somebody in the environment before you can actually do business with him.
Initially when I started I was seeing cocoa hawking as the most profitable level of business, but now I have discovered that, when you become an (L.B.A) License Buying Agent, you make more money or become an exporter. That is my prospect in this business. This is the highest level of this business; here you will be signing contracts with companies that will be coming to make business with you as an exporter. And that is what I love most.
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