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Meet Physics graduate who dazzled investors, secured N6m investment

Muhammad Bala Hassan recently gained popularity on the social media following his exploits on Ultima Lions’ Den, a reality television show that offers budding entrepreneurs…

Muhammad Bala Hassan recently gained popularity on the social media following his exploits on Ultima Lions’ Den, a reality television show that offers budding entrepreneurs investment opportunities through successful presentations. In this encounter with Daily Trust Saturday, Hassan shared how he came up with the business idea that took him from Kabo town in Kano State to Lagos, where he dazzled investors.

 

Aminu Naganye, Zaharaddeen Yakubu Shuaibu & Sadiq Adamu (Kano)

 

Sharing his experience with Daily Trust Saturday, Hassan said, “I observed that there was no sachet water production factory in the whole of Kabo town. You can even wake up without getting a single sachet of water in this town. 

“We used to get sachet water from Kano city or Getso town, which are 40km or 30km away. So I decided that it was a good idea to start the business. But the money I had would not be sufficient to start the business.” 

It was this idea that took the 30-year-old graduate of Physics to Lagos to meet with a team of investors on the TV business reality show.

He further explained that his passion to create value and solve societal problems led him to turn community challenges into opportunities.

Hassan’s 8 minutes, 57 seconds of video presentation on the show had gone viral on the social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. The presentation dazzled the investors on the show and viewers as he smiled home with a N6 million investment fund.

Hassan, who was born and raised in Kabo town in Kano State, said meeting the investors and getting fund for his business was a dream come true, revealing that he reached out to them after watching their reality show in Kenya.

“I was really happy. I was very sure within me, even before meeting them, that I would get them to buy into my idea,” he said, smiling.

On how he made his choice from offers he received after his presentation, he said “The first one said I could start the business anyhow as I needed more than N6million. But I said I just needed the N6m for now as I have my own contribution. I told them that I believed there should be something for me to contribute as my own risk as this would make me to be very conscious and careful about the business.”

He also said the process was demanding, and it required commitment, dedication and perseverance.

He further said that despite the difficult process, he started in 2021 and his effort was worth it.

“After scaling through many online interviews, they said I should make a video of my idea for just five minutes and send to them. They checked and reverted to me, saying it passed the test. These processes were between the EcoBank and the Ultima Studio, not the investors. I hadn’t met the investors at that time. I was even getting tired of the whole thing because there were a lot of calculations and other things.

“It was a long journey. The studio and all of them are after your success because your success is their success. They will give you all the necessary training, but before giving you that training they would make sure you are competent and they have confidence in you,” he explained.

The alumnus of MasterCard Foundation Transforming Nigerian Youths also said there would be a lot of challenges and rejection here and there, but sticking to one’s idea was the key. He added, “Even from your own family you will be seeking support but they keep rejecting you. There is no need to start big. Start with the little you have and let it grow. It is a matter of time and you will create and make it.”

He said the investors could be a source of help for people, provided their ideas are viable. “They are after a business they are pretty sure would scale through, not that one that could later fail,” he said.

The young entrepreneur said he had already started production and making profits in his sachet water business, adding that he has engaged 10 young men to work for him. He also said his investors advised him to continue to improve before repaying the N6m investment capital.

 “I have been asking them when to start repaying, but they said I should be stable so as to be ready for it. They said I should explore all the possible challenges and cope with them first before I would start making the payment. They said I should not be in a hurry.”

He further said that many challenges that bedeviled his community forced him to start thinking of solutions “Right from when I was in secondary school, I found a lot of issues in this town. The first one was the absence of an internet café. If you wanted to do online registration for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exams, for example, there was no means, so I seized the opportunity and started an internet café business here in Kabo. I started with one computer, but currently, I have more than 10. And I employed more than 20 youths; among them, 10 are permanent staff while 10 work on a part time basis,” he said.

Today, he has employed over 30 people in both his internet café and sachet water businesses.

He also said, “For now, in my other businesses, there are more than 20 workers. In the water factory, there are up to 13 now, including the driver, operators, loaders and marketers; and we are hoping to employ more.”

Hassan, who is pursuing a master’s degree at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), said creating employment through individual efforts would help reduce crime in the society, adding, “It really pains me to see my fellow youths sitting down under trees gossiping and not doing anything. As a saying goes, ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

He urged his fellow youths to come together to create something of value that would help them and the economy.

“When you create employment, the crime rate in the society will go down,” he said.

The young entrepreneur, who sees Aliko Dangote as a role model and motivator, said his dream was to create a great venture that would contribute immensely to the growth of Nigeria’s economy.

He said, “In the future, my companies will be working 24 hours throughout the week to be able to contribute to the growth of the country’s economy.” 

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