By Adanna Nnamani and Uju James
There are a lot of honest, profitable ways to make money in Nigeria, but still a lot of people find it hard to run a business with a low startup capital. Men who hail from Northern Nigeria are best known for a particular trade called ‘Mayshayi’.
The main factors that make up the typical Abuja metropolis are the popular Mayshayi spots. These local fast food joints are run by Hausa in kiosks at strategic areas around Abuja. Their menu ranges from tea and bread, noodles, fried eggs and most times soda. They can be found in almost every part of the nation’s capital, but the satellite towns host majority of them.
The long queues seen every day at these joints at early hours till late evenings give one reason to wonder why the huge patronage and how much these people make from their sales. One can conclude that one of the reasons for the huge patronage is due to the consistency that comes from the supply of these rapidly prepared meals.
Ibrahim, a resident of Channel 8 Kubwa from Yobe State, is married with two kids. He started the Mayshayi business in 2001 with N15,000 he received from his elder brother. The first thing he did after he received the token was to secure a favorable place for the business around by Bazin Street in Channel 8 Kubwa, which cost him about N9,000.
He did not furnish the place because he had just N5,000 from the initial money. He managed to get few crates of eggs, cartons of Indomie, Lipton packets, two tins of beverages and a stove.
“When I started my business, I did not have many customers and my profit was not much. That was the major challenge I had at that period in time. I was new to the area where my shop was, unlike my previous place.
“As time went on, my customers increased and I started seeing profit from my cooking. I have three kids I am currently sponsoring in primary school. For now, I don’t have any other investment for my family. I just use the little money I make to sort out my bills.
“Most times, I experience huge sales during Ramadan when my Muslim and Hausa brothers break their fast.
“There were times when customers started requesting for soft drinks but due to the fact that the number of individuals who made requests where low I didn’t consider it important. Gradually, the demand increased and I had to get some soft drinks.
“I have someone who assists me daily, he is based in Kubwa but he comes every day to assist me in the business and hopefully I will settle him with some amount of money when he will be duly set to leave.
“Currently, I do not have any challenges. Paying my tax and rent has not been difficult either, because tax is payed collectively among shop owners in this street, with each shop paying about N2,000.”
Usman said he started begging for arms from the age of five after he lost his parents and was abandoned by family members.
According to him, he was the first person that started Maishayi business in his area, but the number has increased considerably.
Aminu from Kano State has his shop at Kokwaba in Kubwa. He said he started the business three years ago after he left his brick making business few years ago.
“I did not just start this business in one day, I struggled so hard even though I had little pay I even had to do two jobs which were carpentry and brick making in other to survive.
“I endured the hardship even though I never had time for myself. After some time I realized I had saved just N10,000 from the menial jobs I decide to start up a business that will be beneficial and profitable. As at then only idea I had was to sell electronics but the money I had at hand was to small for a start up, especially with the increase in price of commodities.
“After considering so many business opportunities I decided to pick fast food selling (Maishayi). Lands are so expensive in Abuja and I couldn’t afford any, still I had no choice but to search for a place. I finally met a good Samaritan Alhaji Yusuf who willingly gave me the space in front of his house along the road after I narrated my story and how eager I was to work.
“I do come out as early as 7:00am and stay up till 11:00pm. Daily sales is not encouraging but I just have to keep up with the business. The only challenge I am facing now is taking care of my 5 siblings. The money I realise from my business is so small and I don’t have anybody to assist me.
“I intend on buying provisions to sell and support the Maishayi business but all efforts have been abortive because of insufficient sale. I do sell on credit in order to win more customers to patronize me and because they pay on time, except for the ones am not acquainted with,” he added.
Eighteen year old Isah who stays at Airport road said he started the Maishayi business not up to a year when he realized his parents could no longer afford three square meals for himself and and five of his siblings.
“The money I used to start up this business was what I saved from my scavenging business also known as ‘Baban bola’ in most northern states. I had to switch over to Maishayi because it pays better, it easier and safer compared to scavenging business that is risky to one’s health.
“I make up to N8,000 daily from the business. The major challenge is electricity, the supply is low and I need consistant power supply for my business,” he said.
Okechukwu said he patronises Mashayi joints because of the kind of job he does which hardly gives him time to cook.
“I hardly have time for myself so whenever I return from work or before I go to work, I eat Maishayi except in the afternoon when I buy lunch from the canteen opposite my office. I am now used to buying from the guy and so whenever he doesn’t come out in the morning I call him and he then takes time to prepare a special one for me,” said Okechukwu, a secretary.
Fred said he never fancied Maishayi initially until he was introduced to it by his friend. “The first time I tasted it was not bad at all, from then I continued to patronize him until I became a regular customer. Another thing that caught my appetite is the way they garnish the noodle making it look mouth watering. My work is not really a time taking one but I lack the patience and time to prepare it myself,” he noted.
Ali said he patronised Mayshayi because it is faster and more affordable than what you would get in any of the eateries around.