Peace Transit boss shares lesson on business growth

Dr. Samuel Maduka Onyishi, the Chairman and MD/CEO of Peace Mass Transit, an indigenous transportation company, has asked Nigerians to look beyond the country’s current challenges and explore opportunities to create value and support economic growth.

Amid concerns that the new coronavirus pandemic would worsen unemployment from 23.1 per cent on record and impede economic growth, Dr. Onyishi shared an inspiring story of his business success encouraging Nigerians to look inwards and creatively support ongoing efforts to grow the economy.

“Though many challenges abound, it is easier to do business in Nigeria because the returns are more,” he told VTv, the Instagram handle of the virtual bank Vbank, on May 27 as he spoke on “Business, Finance and the Economy”.

Vbank or “V by VFD” is a product of leading financial services institution VFD Microfinance Bank, a part of the VFD Group
Dr. Onyishi said the Igbo apprenticeship system, which recently received international recognition on TED Conferences platform as the world’s largest venture capital system, should be encouraged in the country as a way to ensure entrepreneurship thrived.

He said the system allows people undergo training, learn the ropes of the business and as a result, they typically end up as successful entrepreneurs due to the capital they receive, their training, skills, patience, contacts built over the course of their apprentice program and in-depth understanding of the business.

Although the system is largely used in the informal economy, it holds lessons for Nigeria where the rate of startup failure in Nigeria is at 61.07 percent, the highest among the top three biggest tech ecosystems and investment destination in Africa, according to Weetracker in and GreenTec Capital Africa Foundation.

Dr. Onyishi told VTv that business growth is chronologically hence there is the need for entrepreneurs to start small and grow as they learn more about the business environment.

Using his successful transportation business as a reference, Dr Onyishi said one of the biggest challenges for businesses is bribery which does not incentivize hard work.

He also said funding and poor road infrastructures remain bottlenecks to businesses in the country. Issues like leadership, corruption and difficulty Nigerians face doing business internationally due to the poor perception of the country were also highlighted.

Despite the challenges, Dr Onyishi, who was once a bus conductor, said Nigeria remains a place of opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Dr. Onyishi in the interview with VTv explained that through diligence he was able to grow Peace Mass Transit from managing two buses to owning almost a thousand buses today despite being the eldest of six siblings and breadwinner of his family at a young age on account of his father’s demise.

Dr. Onyishi said people must value education whether formal or informal and know their numbers, about bookkeeping, income, profit, loss and capital. He also advised young people to “plan and invest with what they have and as the business grows the investors they want can see their footprint and start looking for them instead.”

He warned against idea theft and encouraged entrepreneurs to diversify their investments.

Operations of Peace Transit was disrupted by the outbreak of the pandemic and a ban on interstate travels, nonetheless, Dr. Onyishi said he has investments he can comfortably rely on, a lesson for budding entrepreneurs.

VBank is Nigeria’s first fully virtual bank that allows customers to allows users to transfer funds at zero cost, track expenses and income, categorize budgets, and set spending limits.

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