…Tells the tale of Chocolate Town
By way of Charles Kumolu, Deputy Editor
Chairman Government Officer of CCX Living room and Chocolate Town Crew, one in all Nigeria’s glamorous and a hit leisure firms, Paul Okeugo, on this interview, narrates how his love for poetry and track were given him interested in his pals, whom they proportion the similar hobby and so they in the end based the company.
Okeugo additionally paints an intimate portrait of his existence as a businessman and doting father of a kid with autism. Abilities, hobby, intelligence, and center of attention to find complete expression in his tale.
How was once your upbringing?
I used to be raised in Jos and it gave us a excellent mixture of Christian type of upbringing. Jos was once one of the crucial very best puts to develop up again then. It additionally gave us the liberty to precise and discover arts, take part in wearing actions and be extra ingenious in the way in which that we concept. I feel Jos was once a great spot to develop up. In Jos, we had get admission to to university programmes that had been extra of track and sports-oriented. It wasn’t truly a study room type of formal schooling. We realized so much throughout a big gamut of influences and pursuits. And it formed my outlook on existence mainly.
What courses did you draw from rising up in such an atmosphere?
There have been such a lot of exceptional occasions and it’s onerous to select up one as essentially the most memorable. I’d say that simply having the ability to experience poetry, studying, and writing influenced me. I began studying at an excessively younger age. As I mentioned, it was once no longer only one occasion. There have been different influences as neatly. Some had been unfavorable and others had been sure. I don’t suppose I will be able to truly speak about they all.
How did you get deeply fascinated by track on the time leisure wasn’t financially rewarding in Nigeria?
I wouldn’t say I used to be simply fascinated by track by myself. I’d say that I were given concerned within the arts early. We began one thing known as the Developers Artists and Poets which was once extra about poetry and the artwork of writing and creativity. Track was once a part of that. I feel the whole lot got here in combination when Ahmed Audu, my spouse and I, believed it was once profitable. We had been in a position to inspire every different and started to peer that it’s going to be fairly satisfying to do one thing that we like. It wasn’t truly about being profitable or being commercially a hit on the time. It was once almost about having the ability to experience one thing that we truly concept was once how one can method issues. It was once tough in Nigeria on the time. However the problem didn’t topic to us. We simply sought after to make excellent track and make an have an effect on on lives. Having the ability to make it commercially is an advantage.
Used to be it your profession selection on the time otherwise you had been influenced?
For sure, it was once my profession selection on the time. I learn Political Science and was once satisfied I used to be going to be a student. That was once my plan within the early years on the Struggle Faculty and the regulation company. There was once a large exchange transferring into gross sales. I met any individual who impressed me to take a look at out gross sales as a result of he felt I’m a excellent talker. I felt possibly I may simply do it. I’d say that some influences made me embody gross sales. Advertising and marketing continues to be associated with creativity.
Chocolate Town is among the manufacturers within the leisure business that has been round for fairly some time. How did you construct the logo?
I consider years in the past, we had been in Kenya, and we had an appointment with the founding father of Virgin Atlantic, Richard Branson at a convention. It was once a pace relationship kind convention the place we heard tales about how he made Virgin and different document braking companies a hit. It was once transparent that if you construct a emblem, you start to connect issues to that emblem. The Chocolate Town emblem is an identical tale. It comes to being in line with what the logo manner, settling on that emblem sparsely to advertise our Africanness. The most important exporter of tradition is track. Having the ability to have revel in from the company international the place one was once in a position to be told very best practices and having the ability to practice that to our personal trade are issues that I feel numerous Small and Medium Scale Enterprises , SME’s, don’t have get admission to to. A large number of other people get started companies with no need any formal revel in however operating with multi-nationals helped us. We carried out the experience we realized to our trade and become extra strong. Even if there have been united states of americaand downs, we had been in a position to stay constant on the subject of the imaginative and prescient of the logo.
There is not any doubt that Chocolate Town is a business luck. How did you’re making it occur?
The purpose is that we’re nonetheless operating at the business luck. One may say that we nonetheless have an extended approach to move to develop into a world participant and that’s our dream. We are hoping that we’d be able to export one thing lasting from Africa. There’s nonetheless numerous paintings to do. This is why we might no longer relaxation on our laurels. I feel we’re simply starting to scratch the outside about what the ability in Nigeria, the abilities in Africa and our collective energies can do. There’s nonetheless so much to do in our business. I’m satisfied lately that the federal government and different pastime teams are seeing the potentials in younger other people. Other folks at the moment are announcing that our abilities may fetch us one thing larger than oil. They now consider that we will be a large beef up to our financial system. I’d no longer say we’re there but on the subject of business luck however we’re definitely on our means via attempting onerous to stick on that phase.
What are the issues that differentiate Chocolate Town from others?
There are such a lot of issues that stand us out. First, the folk at the back of this corporate are other. This is why we’re other from different manufacturers. For us, we similar to to be constant and pay attention to our errors as a result of we make many errors. We admit our errors and transfer ahead for the reason that business has an excessively prime turnover. Other folks come and move however we paintings to be constant. We sit up for see how we might develop, amplify and stay the logo going. If that differentiates us from any other corporate, I don’t know however I want to say that we’re distinctive in our means. We’re distinctive in the way in which we method partnerships and the way in which we internalise our processes.
Let us know about your venture, Six Years Lagos…
This can be a partnership between us and Ajenta Capital. They’re a super staff of people that understood and invested in our imaginative and prescient. It’s onerous to search out other people like that on this marketplace. Six Years Lagos is an try to create a bodily location for what we have now accomplished through the years. The entirety about it’s track linked and event-related. It could supply a spot for ingenious other people to converge and be ingenious. The principle center of attention is to have a spot for abilities to converge.
When your son, Ziza was once recognized with autism in 2011, how did you settle for the truth in the beginning?
Autism become an excessively particular topic for me after my son was once recognized with it. The truth that my son was once recognized with it modified me deeply as a father and as a person. The most important exchange for me is having the ability to grab and to like otherwise as a result of it’s more uncomplicated to like any individual when the individual can reply and provide the similar enter that you’re giving. However infrequently with kids with autism like my son, you’ll be able to display all of the love however they wouldn’t display the similar to you. There’s a little bit of problem in that facet however as males and Christians, we will have to display love with out anticipating it again. For me, the most important lesson is to be told a unique approach to love my son simply the way in which he’s and to have a good time him each day. I do my very best to verify he will get all he must thrive and be the most productive he desires to be. It led to an enormous exchange in our circle of relatives as a result of I spend numerous time making plans for him or even being concerned infrequently about his situation. As for my spouse and I, being open about the problem made us get extra details about autism and helped us to take excellent care of him. Our major purpose is so as to lend a hand others with autism with our revel in. Subsequent yr, we’d be able to formalise the venture and inform Ziza’s tale the way in which it will lend a hand 1000’s of other people in Nigeria.
Whilst you glance again, had been there belongings you did that you’d do otherwise if the chance gifts itself once more?
As with many lives, there are lots of issues one can have accomplished otherwise if he may return however I feel the purpose is that one can’t return. It isn’t really useful to reside a lifetime of regrets as a result of regrets pull other people again. It’s extra necessary to be told courses from studies and transfer forward and no longer repeat the similar errors. I’d say there have been issues one can have accomplished otherwise however I take a look at to verify I don’t repeat the similar errors. Some errors are repeated as a result of human nature however the necessary factor is to be told and stay going ahead.
What courses has existence taught you?
Finding out that there is not any proper and no proper however views. What is also mistaken to you might appear proper for the opposite particular person. I discovered that the extra balanced one can also be, the extra the individual would be capable to reside peacefully with the folk round him. Even within the leisure trade, I practice it. We discovered that track was once extra about social endeavor than trade and we entered into it via playing it and serving to other people. We had been in a position to get extra stability in the way in which we method other people we paintings with. In lots of puts the place other people misunderstand our intentions, we attempt to create a stability. No longer being very best is a part of human life and likewise no longer judging your self too harshly and discovering that stability is essential.
Now, what do you imagine the turning level in your small business and private existence?
There were many turning issues and there can be extra for me. The turning level for me was once assembly Audu and discovering him a like thoughts. Assembly my spouse was once additionally a turning level for me. Additionally, having my kids was once a turning level as a result of every one in all them introduced other that means and pleasure to my existence. I’m hoping to have extra glad turning issues and no more unfavorable ones.