Mr. Anum Ageebee Japheth a young entrepreneur, who has ventured into a unique business of spice production and selling said, his business idea came as a vision from God. In an interview with The Voice Business Correspondent, JOVITTA IORSHASE, the graduate of Economics from the Benue State University spoke on how he started, challenges and his prospects. Experts:
You have gone into a rare business as a young man, what really motivated you into spice making?
It may sound quite funny but the truth is that, I got this vision from God. I never knew I would go into this until that day it happened. It was on the 23rd July,2015 from 10.pm to 1.am when I felt some information revealed to me and I discovered that this is what I am born to do. And this is how and why I am producing spices like ginger, pepper, garlic, Nune, Gbaaye, Yeye, tumeric into powdered packaged form.
It is not that I imagined on my own, draft on how to go about it no, this is a gift and that is why I am committed to it.
How did it all started?
Initially, It was a tug of war when I disclosed my intention to my family because it was to demeaning to them that I was going to sell pepper. After graduating from the University my friends and family out rightly rejected my idea. They said it was too embarrassing to sit and watch me sell a common commodity like pepper.
Even as Catholic believers, they took me to several prayer houses to find out if I was sane or possessed by evil spirits. My mother was always in tears just to stop me, but the drive was too strong to be convinced otherwise.
When the situation was calmed, God directed me back to Kano state where I did my NYSC.I met old acquaintances who guided me through, from raw materials to machine acquisition.
The first capital, N5000 was independently raised from my savings. Some how God restrained people from helping and the first production was done in my room. I promised that my first three customers; two women and a man will have a share in the business directly or indirectly wherever it goes.
The containers, packaging, design were all given. So I started sales by taking the products from place to place, then I got a bicycle and now this motor cycle.
How has the market been like so far?
The market has been smooth and without rejections because it is natural, cultural and promotes the nation. The scope is also expanding, right now I am still covering Makurdi but other customers are spreading the market gradually across to other local governments and States through friends and relatives on special demands.
Also, a good friend and brother Mr Verkaa Aondona Jeremiah who believed in me when no one did is covering Gboko with the products.
Last year, the business was able to go through the NAFDAC registration process within three years of its establishment. So I give all the glory to God because He alone has made it possible because all my products were certified among other people when the process was done then.
Do you have employees, how many?
Yes, I have two staff, Mr. Kertor Kwaghtongu is the computer engineer and Mr. Jerry Zaam is the Graphics designer, but when the work is much I get more hands. This is because we do mass production, we exhaust it before another production is made. Extra production is done only on special order.
I have three basic machines for now; the sealing, grinding and other packaging machines.
What are your other challenges?
Basically, hardship because of limited finance, sacrificing time and a ‘good’ life for the business to grow. I actually applied for a loan once due to people’s counsel but it failed and I have been reluctant to try again. Every business has it peculiar set backs but the determination, vision and mind set to challenges has been helpful.
How do you envisage Garden share enterprise in the near future?
I envisage it to go far by God’s grace. God is a universal God ,so where ever He wants to take the business, I will go that’s why one must separate business from sentiments in other to witness expansion.
What is your advice to young entrepreneurs?
God is really giving out his vision for people to raise His kingdom in any skill, business or service, so I feel God asking the young generation to seek His will for them. He has given me knowledge on how to select spices that will be helpful to the body system, it different for others.
They should always ask God to reveal His will to them so that they can blossom wherever they find themselves without much struggle and they should not always put profit making as the main agenda.
Also, as an entrepreneur, start your business on your own from the scratch so that you would not be indebted to someone for the rest of your business life.
I also like to appreciate my Benue mothers who have been supporting this business through words of encouragement and buying my products.