Joseph Ukpong, 23 yr. oldFounder, Ceunitonc Farms, reveals how he started his thriving poultry business and his plans for the future..
What university do you attend?
I am studying Petroleum Engineering at Madonna University, Okija, Anambra State.
How did you get trained for the type of business you are involved in at the moment?
I got trained in the poultry business at a young age. While I was living with my uncle who was into poultry farming, I used to help him out with minor activities on his farm. Every day I would follow him to the farm; it was always fun time for me. I was quite observant; I used to monitor all the operations of his poultry farm. It was there I got my first-hand knowledge and experience in poultry farming.
Tell us a little about your business
The name of my business is Ceunitonc Farms. It is a poultry business which focuses on breeding chicks for egg and meat purposes.
Is poultry business profitable?
A number of factors make poultry farming business highly profitable. However, I will mention a few to ensure I don’t bore you with our lengthy and complex business operations. One of such is the fact that food is the number one basic need of man. Regardless of the economic situation, human beings must feed and since domestic birds are consumable; that makes poultry farming feasible.
With the increasing awareness on the health implications of red meat; there is an increased demand for white meat and birds are a source of white meat. In Nigeria, for instance, the population is well over 150 million and it is still growing. This therefore means that a huge population would amount to a high demand for food, most especially egg and meat.
Have you always been an entrepreneur?
From my early years, I have always seen myself proffering solutions to life threatening problems. During my secondary school days, I used to provide food for my colleagues. I used to buy large quantities of snacks to sell. I was also into the recharge card business; I used to buy recharge cards in large quantities and resell them to other sellers even outside my school environment. These are just a few of the little businesses I did as a young boy.
What exactly inspired creating your business?
God has always been the source of my inspiration in being creative and innovative, since God himself is creative in nature. Every day, He puts into us creative ideas to find solutions to our daily challenges or problems.
What were the main challenges you faced early in your business? And do you still encounter them now?
I consider failure in business as an important ladder one must climb in order to grow in knowledge and experience. Entrepreneurs see failures as part of personal and business processes. The most important thing is not to make the same mistakes over and over again.
There were times I battled with finances. I didn’t have enough money to employ people. There were other little challenges I faced, but lack of funds was one of the biggest challenges I have encountered as an entrepreneur.
How much did you use in starting the business?
I started my business with about five hundred thousand naira.
Do you offer trainings?
Yes we do, but we have only trained a few people. We are yet to entertain large numbers. We hope to improve on that with time.
Are young entrepreneurs receiving enough support from the government?
I will say no, but thanks to Africa Young Entrepreneurs. They have been of great support to young entrepreneurs. I consider it the largest non-political/non-religious independent organization where young African entrepreneurs connect to the continent and the rest of the world.
A good number of young entrepreneurs like myself are where we are today because of the platform. This organisation has given their full support to the young entrepreneurs in Nigeria from the age of 18 years to 45 years by funding innovative and creative deals, mentoring young entrepreneurs and also making sure they grow to compete with the rest of the world in general.
What I love most is their slogan which says “If you can achieve this much alone, how much more can we achieve together.’
What is your piece of advice for unemployed graduates?
My best piece of advice to unemployed graduates is they should find and do something that they are passionate about. I see this as a starting point. They should focus on becoming an expert in one thing, not trying to be a jack of many trades. Every entrepreneur should be a leader in their particular product or service. Starting a business is not a difficult task; all one needs to do is take a close look at one’s environment and have a deep urge to add value to people’s lives by being a solution to their problems.
Endeavour to explore a niche. If one does what everyone else is doing; the clients would think they are doing them a favour. So one needs to be unique and stand out. Also, unemployed graduates should remember that in actualizing their idea to do great things, they should turn deaf ears on skepticism, doubts and fear. They should work towards achieving their dreams.
If you could go back in a time machine to when you just started, what would you do differently?
I would seek for more funds and I would also use the best technology and techniques available in the world to build my poultry business. In addition, I would also advise myself to always remain focused on my business.
Do you think that entrepreneurship is something that is in one’s blood? Or is it something that one can learn?
Entrepreneurship is something one can learn and train oneself to be best at it.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to create more employment opportunities for youths by establishing more branches across the country. I hope to establish in other countries. I know quite well that it won’t be an easy task, but I’m ready to work hard. Nothing good comes easy.
How should the government handle unemployment?
The government can deal with the issue of unemployment by creating more jobs. How can this be done? During the National Youth Service Corps scheme, various state governments should send more corps members to the different sections of the nation’s agricultural sector to boost food production.
Food is not just a necessity to man, it would also improve the economy of the country to a large extent. Agriculture remains a sector that has been poorly tapped. There are so many things youths can do for a living in the agricultural sector
Culled from punchng.com