Turning WASTE to WEALTH
For young entrepreneur from Bauchi State, Muhammad Abdullahi Salisu and his friends, there is a thin line between waste and wealth, as the former can be used to get the latter. And all you need to achieve this is to be able to identify what you want and work towards getting it. Twenty two year old Salisu, who is also based in Bauchi, emerged as one of the top 10 leading entrepreneurs out of the 50 shortlisted Small and Medium Enterprises s Owners in the 2014 edition of the Etisalat Easybusiness ness Millionaires Hunt.
The Bio-Chemistry try graduate from Ahmadu Bello University versity (ABU) Zaria said qualification cation and passion for providing g solution to waste management gement problem triggered his interest in recycling cling business. He says ays Nigerian youth, h, especially students, s, can start doing g something while e in the tertiary y institution.
“I studied Bio- Chemistry at Ahmadu du Bello University ty (ABU), Zaria and I graduated this year (2014). Since we were in the university, we had interest in the chemistry mistry of waste materials that is the main recycling process.
He said the three of his friends whom he started the business ness together with are Sufian Habeeb from B Bauchi, hiIdiM Idris Mansha h and dAh Ahmad d Abdulkadir Koroso from Kano State.
“So when we graduated, having known the rate of unemployed graduates in the country, I and my friends decided to source for funds and start this recycling business. This is because there are a lot of opportunities in the market, especially the waste business. In Kano State, for instance, about 9000 metric tons of waste are produced and that is why we are recycling it,” Salisu said.
According to him, the business is maturing as it is now 20 months old. The group plans to expand the venture to industrial scale conversion of plastic waste, to agricultural materials like corrosion plastic basket for farmers, before going to the medical field to produce clinical materials.
“We want to establish other recycling centres in Azare in Bauchi State and another in Zaria, Kaduna state. We hope that in the next 10 year years, we would go into management of waste was and become one of the best waste wast management companies in the world,” Salisu said. He add added that: “The recyclin recycling business is v very lucrative beca because the return on investments is ab about 65 percent, so we were able to generate N N2.5million in th the first year w we started the b business.”
The group sa said they would tur turn down the offer offe for a white collar job because they aspire a to be employers employer of labour rather than employees. Salisu said: “Even if am offered a job that tha can get me N500,000 a month, I won’t take it b because I Il already dh have a stable bl business. I am already in business. This is my own business which I started and will not quit it for any paid job.”
Salisu, who represented the group at the Etisalat training, stated that he had gained a lot of things as this is the first business session he had ever attended.
He noted that the convergence had helped him to meet with other people who are in the same kind of business both in Lagos and other states. “I have also gotten to know other tools peculiar to the business which I didn’t know before,” he added.
Although the young CEOs are making headway in the business, Salisu said funding remains a challenge to expanding the waste-recycling business.
But he quickly noted that the Etisalat N2million which they have gotten through the Eazybusiness Millionaires Hunt project would help them to acquire recycling machines and to develop their land which they had acquired earlier.
“We are going to use the money to buy machinery and the machinery we would buy can be used continuously for two to three years. We are going to source for raw materials locally within the communities around us,” he added.
Salisu restated his earlier advice to Nigerian youths. “We were in the university when we started, and students shouldn’t wait until they graduate before they start doing something. They could finish the degree and use the knowledge to expand the idea.
“There are lots of opportunities in the country and they should look into it and find where their ideas fit in to employ themselves rather than looking for a job that is not available and may never be,” he said.