‘How we built our multi-million naira businesses without formal education’ | Dailytrust

‘How we built our multi-million naira businesses without formal education’

How we built our multi-million naira businesses without formal education
How we built our multi-million naira businesses without formal education

Education simply means the act or process of acquiring particular knowledge or skills for a profession through instruction, training or study in order to develop the powers of reasoning and judgment and to prepare oneself or others intellectually. The process could either be formal or informal.


Usman Bello Balarabe (Kano), Abbas Dalibi (Lagos) & Umar Muhammed (Lafia)


Formal education is a systematic process in which someone designs the educating experiences through a school system, while informal education is a non-school system that creates or deepen situations where people can learn, explore and enlarge experiences, either intentionally or spontaneously.

Although both processes offer chances for a good living, the formal education is mainly geared towards becoming professionals or getting good career jobs, after acquiring certificates from school.

Majority of people who succeeded in their various walks of life are professionals or career workers who had a formal education and are certificated. But a lot more who did not have any formal education have also succeeded in their own ways through one business or the other.

Daily Trust Saturday had a chat with some of them who are not only raking in millions of money through genuine businesses but are also millionaires in their own class.

I started by looking for change for my dad while selling kitchen utensils – Kano soft drink dealer

Alhaji Kabiru Haruna, 33, deals in soft drinks in Kano State as a wholesaler.

He became a successful business man by due diligence under his father’s tutelage.

“It all started when I used to follow my dad to the market where he was selling silver bowls, plates and other kitchen utensils. Whenever a customer bought some food stuff and needed to collect change, my own duty was to go round and look for  the change. That was how I started. In the process, I was learning the business. Years after, I opened a small shop which kept metamorphosing until it became a very big cafeteria where I now have many people working under me and earning a living,” he said.

“When I started business, I believed  that there would be a day that I would have my own establishment with so many others earning a living and making fortunes under me,” he added.

“You cannot be successful just overnight. It takes a gradual process,  hard work, dedication, patience and prayers. It is not all about the number of certificates you have.”

How we built our multi-million naira businesses without formal education


I became a successful business man after working in mum’s shop like accountant – Electrical, electronics importer

Alhaji Mahdi Bashir is a Kano-based businessman. He sells electrical and electronic appliances on wholesale basis. He is now an importer of the products.

“I started business at the age of 10. I learnt it from my mother who is a home-based trader. She sells goods as a wholesaler. I was her chief accountant. I was the one handling profit and loss for her. This helped me to understand the nature of the business,” he said.

“As I grew older, I began to learn other businesses like repairing and selling electrical appliances. I was an apprentice for years until I became an expert in the business.  I was saddled with the responsibility of going to market to purchase  electrical appliances that we sold in our shop. It took me years to attain the level I am in business today.

“I have my own establishment where I engage in importation and selling of electrical and electronics home appliances. I also have many other people that succeeded in the same business under me.

I succeeded through currency exchange business – Bureau de change operator

Alhaji Abubakar Muhammed Jabbo is a Lagos-based successful entrepreneur.

He started out through currency exchange but now a bureau de-change outfit owner.

He told Daily Trust Saturday that his parents took him to a primary school for enrolment, but the headmaster rejected him maybe because he was too young and then lost the opportunity to have a formal education.

“I was born in Matsaro Town in Hadeja, Jigawa State. In those days, it was king’s guards (known as dogarai in Hausa) and security personnel (known as ‘yan doka) that used to go to houses in search of children to be enrolled into primary schools. They took six of us (all boys) to Matsaro Primary school but I and three other boys were rejected by the school headmaster and were asked to go back home,” he recalled.

His father then took him and the other boys to his father in-law known as Malam Muhammadu Dankandi who was an Islamic scholar, so that they could learn the Qur’an.

“The Malam then took us to Yakasai at Kabarin Wali Area in Kano City where we studied Qur’an and Arabic as almajirai for over four years. We were also taken to Maiduguri in Borno State where we spent about eight years learning Qur’an.  When I returned home, I started a menial job as a truck motor boy. We conveyed sand in trucks to different locations in Hadeja Town, from there I joined another truck as driver assistant. We used to load food items from different parts of the North to the South. We conveyed beans from Yobe to Lagos and livestock from Guru in Yobe State to Lagos. That was around 1984. That was when I got my driving licence and became a professional driver. I didn’t have  my own truck as a driver. I was only assisting my friend who was also a driver,” he said.

Later, Abubakar found himself in Lagos when his elder brother got dealers. We would help them to load scraps on trucks which  conveyed metals to factories. We used to work from 8pm till dawn and were paid N7.00 only per night each,” he said.

Soja said that in order to augment his pay, he would move from street to street in Lagos in search of scraps to buy. He also engaged in manual labour by helping scrap dealers who used to buy scrap cars and cut them  into pieces.   He saved some money and bought a motorcycle which he used for commercial purposes.

“Today I have a company with more than 70 workers. I also have some property.

“My advice to the youth is to be focused and avoid extravagant living if they want to succeed in life.

I was a kola nut trader, but now run a unisex boutique – Alhaji Nasiru Ibrahim Gulma

Alhaji Nasiru Ibrahim Gulma started out as a trader in his town.  He used to deal in  kola nuts, selling to other traders on wholesale basis. Later, he veered into sales of farm tools and equipment, plastic flasks, coolers and other household items until his brother, Alhaji Muhammad Maigwanjo. took him to Lagos to assist him at his Bureau de change company.

When his brother was assassinated and he started having some challenges in handling the business, he opened a unisex boutique at Oniwaya Junction.

“I employed some workers to operate the boutique, while I continued with the currency exchange business. But I later realised that there were a lot of issues ranging from fraud and other criminal acts in the business. So, I decided to quit and concentrate fully on the boutique business,” he said.

“Now, it has stabilized. I order my goods from Dubai, Pakistan and India. I sell different kinds of clothes for both male and female as well as children. I have also  gone on several business trips to different countries. I have up to 10 staff and more than 40 traders who buy goods from me for sale and return the money after making their own gain,” he said.

“I can say that I am a successful business man without much formal education.  Three of my nine children are graduates.

“Success in life does not depend on formal education alone, but diligence, patience, honesty and hard work,” he said.

I became rich through building materials business – Chukwunonso Uwaezuoke

Chukwunonso Uwaezuoke, 45, deals in building materials in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.

He wanted to go to secondary school after his primary  education, but could not because he is from a poor family and didn’t have anybody to sponsor him.

Uwaezuoke, who hails from Ukwulu in Dundukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State, decided to go in to business to help himself and the family. After a long stay in the village, he moved to Lafia and started what he described as a ‘boy boy’ job which means serving a master for years before becoming a master.

Determined to become a business man, he signed an agreement with a business man whom he and his elder brother’s friend served for seven years.

“I spent seven years serving my master before he settled me with a little amount of money which I used to start up my own business. To the glory of God, I am a successful business man today. I thank God Almighty for His faithfulness,” he said.

“Since I started the business about 11 years ago, I have never  had any regret. On daily basis, I make profits running into millions of naira.  I have two shops running now.

“My advice to the youth is that, they should not lose hope  even if they find it difficult to go to school or can’t get a job after education. Seventy-five per cent of successful people are those who don’t have a formal education but succeeded through business. Becoming rich does not depend on education alone.”

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