Patrick Ndubuisi Uzoma is a graduate of Hotel Management from Ondo State Polytechnic, Owo, now re-named Rufus Giwa Polytechnic. Today, he sits atop chain of companies as the chief executive officer. The Imo indigene rose from a humble beginning, where he was initially part of his mother’s flourishing flour business but today, he is the Chairman, Pannek Global Investment, Hot Gossip Fashion, Lagos Textile Dealers and the Chief farmer of Coal Farmer Cooperatives. He spoke to Inspire on his journey of life.
How was growing up for you?
My growing up was very interesting. The struggle started early. Even in our youthful days, we turned fun into business. I could identify what my friends want and leverage on it.
When you were growing up, did you think you will be a businessman?
Actually, all my siblings are mostly scientists. So, growing up my parents thought I was going to be an engineer or a medical doctor like my other siblings but life made me find myself where I am and I am not regretting because am making use of the position where I am nowto make positive impact on the lives of others. As an entrepreneur, I have been able to harness privileges to give me an edge. I have been to where I never thought I would be. I have met people I never dreamt of meeting.
Did you start business in school?
To an extent, I will say yes because I was very good in socials; I was always organizing events and it developed after school. Also, my mother was a trader, who sold flour and I was left to run the business for her at a point. It was a big job for me then. But I ran it for my mother. My mother gave me the responsibilities. I learned the act of responsibility, accountability, and planning from an early age.
At what age was that?
It was in my early 20s but the age was not a problem since there was interest. I found myself digging deep into the business and subconsciously the entrepreneurial skills developed. Business became art for me.
You were doing this while your friends were busy partying?
I went for parties too. If I tell you that I didn’t party with my friends, it will be a big lie. I was not only a bookworm and businessman, I was also a party person. I am an all-round person. Most times, it is at these parties that you meet many businessmen, who will shape your life.
At what point did you have business breakthrough?
My business solidified when I entered into fashion business with my wife. I did a lot of work before I experienced breakthrough; I imported a lot of things. Some of them I lost, most of them I gained but it was my defining moment. I never gave up. I know Europe like the back of my hand. In the process of touring Europe, I met a lot of people that I still have business with. It was my passion to have fun that turned me into a business guru.
When you meet these people and share business ideas, were you not afraid they might steal your concept?
Such thing has never happened to me. Nobody has ever stolen my idea. Life generally is a risk. Who knows when he is going to die? I have never had it in my mind that I could be duped but I will say God has been on my side. I have always been doing things with my eyes open and I have never been afraid that I will be duped. On the contrary, people are always thinking otherwise. I was just doing things on my own, I wasn’t afraid of people duping me, I never had that experience. Neither have I nursed the thought of duping people.
What about the fear of failure?
No! It won’t work, because there is no way you can succeed if you have that fear of being cheated, it will limit you to what you want to do. Once you have the fear, it makes you to be extra cautious of whatever you do, but when you have a free mind and you know what you are doing, you will not fail. Like I said business is all about risk; if you go today and order goods from China, how are you sure your goods won’t sink? It’s just basically the risk but the risk must be minimal. For me, I’ve buried the thought of failure.
What is the biggest risk you have actually taken in business?
The biggest risk I ever took in business was when I ventured into diaper. It was something that I didn’t have 100 percent knowledge of, yet I blindly invested in it. I just did it because I did my arithmetic and I found out that if I imported the diaper, I could sell it and make 100 percent profit. It could go any other way, but I took that risk bearing in mind that I could sink during the deal but it worked out for me, I didn’t fail.
Do you think there is still more business to do?
There is a business cum program we are organizing. It is called sleep expo. This is the first time it’s happening in Nigeria. The business strategy is from China, we are partnering with Sunshine Expo Company of Ghauzu in China and they have made us a supporter, sending an appointment letter to us to be their partner. Nigerians don’t rest. When you hear sleep expo, you start to ask what is that but it’s something that is essential because every human being has the hour to sleep and to start the next day. But a lot don’t know these things exist.
How is government policy helping the business environment?
The focus of this current government is agriculture because it can solve the problem of Nigeria. I read newspapers and travel a lot, before a country can attain nationhood you must be able to feed yourself, Nigeria presently can’t feed itself and that’s our problem. That is the bottom line because if we are able to feed ourselves we would have enough to export but we have failed in that basic thing which is feeding ourselves, we need to import and that is wrong and we have the highest resources of being able to feed ourselves; the manpower and the resources we are blessed with in abundance.