The venture may not seem that big, but the journeys they have gone through to achieve their small goals make them an inspiration for other students and parents.
In Nigeria, when we talk about establishing a company, we are talking of rich and affluent people doing that.
However, in Noble Heights College, Karu, Abuja, the students are breaking the barriers by setting the pace in treading the path of business which otherwise would be a big and rich people’s domain, not students’, through Flourishers Company.
Olumide Adeleke, who is the president of the company, aspires to be a medical engineer. Then Mukhtar Sadiya, who is the Vice President (Finance), aspires to be a medical doctor. Then Yaduma Devine Susuti, who is the Vice President (Production), wants to study international relations, and Etokudo Events Blessing who aspires to study computer science, are the four pupils that are set to fly to represent the country in the continental Company of the Year competition in South Africa.
Mr. Lucky Daniel Idehen, who is a teacher in Noble Heights College, is the brain behind the Flourishers Company. He said they wanted to train students with good entrepreneurship skills and that the students were learning quickly and that, “with the knowledge they have, anywhere they go, they will be able to use it.”
The Flourishers Company is a company that centres on agricultural products, specifically food processing. They have so far been able to process bean flour, sweet potato flour, unripe plantain flour, breakfast granola, among others.
There are 11 executives in the company, 30 shareholders, and of course the management of Noble Heights College, especially the Coordinator, Mr. Lucky Daniel Idehen.
On why their products are unique, they said, “We process them in a hygienic manner. The breakfast granola for example is a solution that all you need to do is to add milk or yoghurt and it is ready for consumption. You could also eat it as it is. The packaging of our products is resalable.
“Therefore, our products can be used over a long period and it will still remain as fresh as when you bought it. And most importantly, they are tasty and nutritious.”
On the issue of capital when starting the company, they said, “Our capital base was N98, 500 which we got through fund raisers such as preparing and selling ice cream and hot dogs. We also sold shares to parents and teachers.
“After the first trial, we made a profit of N673, 400, our net expense was N242, 200 as cost of production. Our net profit was N332, 700, out of which we used 20 per cent for our corporate social responsibility, 30 per cent to organise Junior Achievers’ Day and payment of executives’ salaries.
“We also left five per cent to our juniors, and most importantly, 45 per cent was shared as dividends among shareholders.”
The company, as expected, faced some hurdles, especially in raising capital.
“The Junior Achievers have been going on for a while; we often sell shares to raise funds, but the shares in previous years had not been returning appreciable dividends, so there was lack of confidence in the company,” said Olumide.
As result of the lack of confidence on the side of potential shareholders, the company had to struggle to keep the company afloat, “Convincing potential shareholders was indeed challenging. We had to struggle to explain to them that this time around it was not going to be business as usual. We told them that we would pay them back their dividends, which we actually did. But at first, it was a major challenge to get people to trust us because of the outcome of the previous sets,” said Mr. Lucky.
The Flourishers Company was able to touch lives through its corporate social responsibility programme tagged ‘Saving Lives’. “We visited FRCN and donated reflective jackets to their officials, and we pleaded with them to intensify efforts in our area to reduce accident rate.
“We also visited the less privileged around Karu and Nyanya bridges, we gave them food items, clothes and toiletries.
“We trained some youths on how to make our products, so that they can sustain themselves and subsequently reduce unemployment rate in the society.
“We also got two children from the Karu/Nyanya axis, and with the support of the school, we got them full scholarship in our primary school, bought them books, uniforms, and everything needed.”
The Flourishers Company is set to be a world brand in the nearest future, as they are set to represent Nigeria at the continental competition coming up in South Africa after successfully emerging victorious in Nigeria.
“We competed at the FCT level where we emerged winners. We went further to the Northern Region, and we won again. Then we went to Lagos for the National Company of the Year Competition, where nine schools competed, one from each geopolitical zone, and three from Lagos, and we won.
“We are now going to represent Nigeria in the continental competition this December, 2017. Where 11 countries are expected to compete with us.
“We are ready to put in our best, and we are positive we can win that competition too.”