Jamilu Abdussalam is the Chief Executive Officer of a supply and perishable delivery business outlet called Hajaj Fresh, The 34 year-old entrepreneur who is also the founder of Northflix -a video streaming platform – is a graduate of Mass communication from Bayero University Kano. In this interview he talks about self-employment and its challenges.
What is your business about and what were the motivations behind it?
I worked in a bank for about three years before resigning to start-up my own business. All these while, my intent in life was to be self-reliant, I took the banking job to groom myself in business discipline and other necessary skills needed to start a personal venture. The first venture I started with, was a delivery company in Kano because I have observed that due to time constrains a lot of people couldn’t go to the market to pick up what they need, so we decided to use this opportunity to develop the system of just a phone call, specifications and it will be delivered to you. After some few months I got some partners in Abuja and we expanded the company’s activities to cover Abuja as well.
Funding is a challenge to most start-ups how did you manage?
Few months into the expanded venture, I participated in the Federal Government’s YouWin empowerment project and I was lucky to have won N10 million under its maiden edition; that was where the journey to my business story all started. With the proceeds I started a poultry farm and animal fattening business in Kano; we began processing chickens, eggs and beef. Along the line, we encountered some problems with our vendors and that made us come-up with an initiative of operating outlets where we deal with customers directly.
With rapid growth experienced in our business we decided to merge our various outlets to form one business entity under one venture name ‘Hajaj Fresh where we introduced new initiatives into the business by way of making sales of fresh perishables, it was like a farmhouse selling point and along the line we developed the idea of processing, packaging and distribution of our perishable nationwide.
What would you say is your greatest achievement as an entrepreneur?
First of all, white collar job has never been an option for me, that is why I kept exploring all possible business avenues and believe me it has been worth it.
I was also behind the establishment of Northflix, an internet movie streaming app and I am also the cofounder of Smart Save Integrated Technologies Ltd; owners of Saveme.ng, a partner and Director Constrix Real Estate Development Ltd among other business outlets.
How do you manage?
It is not easy, but I am not alone. I am like a general overseer on all and that has accorded me the chance to socialise and do games as well, I also do some voluntary lecturing on entrepreneurship in at a university.
What is your view on white collar job seeking?
I think it is high time to have a wake-up call on all authorities concerned, I know there are a lot of efforts being done from change of school’s curriculum to include art and craft in primary and secondary schools; entrepreneurship in tertiary institutions but still there is a need to do more. The issue goes beyond theoretical aspect as the practical aspects is needed for result.