Not many young Nigerians dare to enter into the murky waters of entrepreneurship.
Almost every Nigerian drinks Zobo but not many have thought about proper packaging and producing it in an industrial scale.
Kizito Umeatuenyi from Enugu state is young Nigerian who saw opportunity where no one did.
He launched a zobo drink that is gradually gaining prominence Nigeria. The drink ‘Ziki Zobo’ will give Coke a run for their money just like 50 Cent’s Formula 50.
Here is a story of Kizito Umeatuenyi as told by Chidinma Akaniro
I met him in my street hustle days. I was on my way to Aba to source fabrics for clients. I boarded a Peace mass transit bus from old park Enugu.
I was sitted on the second row, centre seat and he occupied the seat by my left.
Before we left the park, he bought two packets of gala and two bottles of Fanta and offered me one of each. I politely declined but he insisted, saying I couldn’t be seating next to him and watching him eat alone. I laughed heartily and accepted the drink. He introduced himself as Kizito and struck up a conversation. He said he was into beverage production but specialised in zobo production. I was surprised because I hadn’t seen or heard of someone packaging zobo drink. He showed me a few pictures and promised to bring me some free samples when we got back to Enugu.
We discussed life, business, Enugu, academics, ambition etc. The trip lasted four hours and when we got to the park, I was certain I wanted to have this person as a friend. It’s very rare to see a mix of intelligent, purpose driven and odds defying hustling spirit in our young guys of today. Everybody is a boss. Lol.
When we got to the Aba, I told him I intended to shop and head back to Enugu same day as I didn’t know anywhere in Aba. He told me he came to visit his girlfriend and I should call him if I got stranded. We said our goodbyes and parted ways. I was at Aba market till 6pm. Got to peace park around 6.15 PM and boarded their last bus to Enugu. I got the last ticket.
Our bus took off by 6.35pm. Kizito called me and I told him I had just managed to get the last ticket and was on my way. He wish me a safe trip and asked me to call him when I got to Enugu. Our bus spoilt when we got to Umuahia. A lot of scary things happened on the road that night but I sha managed to get to Enugu by 11pm.
Two days later, he called to let me know he was back to Enugu and would like to bring me some samples of his products. He showed up with one carton and asked me for feedback when I was done with it. He packed his zobo in 33cl pet bottles, properly sealed. One carton consist of 12 bottles. The zobo could last for 6 months if sealed. I took the carton home and tried it out with my mum and siblings. Everyone totally loved it. “Ziki zobo”, that was the brand name.
I called him the next day and placed an order for 10 cartons. I asked him to bring his fliers too so I could help him market it a bit. Ziki zobo became the official drink at NizzaVogue office. We offered every client a free bottle of Ziki zobo. If you came to NizzaVogue office late 2014 – early 2015, then you probably know the drink.
My clients soon started to inquire about the zobo. Most of them wanted to get it for their Kids. Some wanted it for functions. A client of mine ordered 40 cartons to be used at her wedding. Things were good for a while. Then like every business the challenges came.
His machines were all electrically powered and the epileptic power supply was affecting him. He spent so much on fuel and diesel daily.
His manufacturing office was at transekulu. His major raw material was water and he relied fully on buying water from tankers because the pipe borne water supply in transekulu was practically non existent.
So many challenges came up. He would always come to my office and we would discuss and strategize on the way forward.
He tried severally to access different loans but somehow this didn’t work out.
The demand for his product was great but his overhead cost was killing and he wasn’t meeting up.
I faced my own demons some time in 2015 and I completely cut everyone off. During this period, I lost touch with him too.
He just showed up in my office today and we had an amazing time. So much had happened for him and his business.
He finally got international investors and he relocated his business to Lagos. He is completely re branding and repackaging his product and his new partners have acquired large scale production machinery for the business. I was so excited for him. Some young guys seeing him now doing well will feel it’s always been this good. They won’t know of the times when he would run around to borrow from anyone just to be able to produce enough to meet up with demand, working at a loss for such a long period.
I took him to a very local place behind my office and we had the most amazing beans with roasted plantain, fish, ugba and onions fried in palm oil.
Meanwhile he now pushes a very sharp Rav4 but just last year, he was jumping bus and keke.
Dear young people, light your hustle game on fire. It’s definitely gonna get better soon. No matter how many doors slam in your face do not be discouraged. If he could make it, you will too.
Kizito Peace Park… that’s what I saved his name with. LMAO.