The Nigerian Government on the Right Track!
The AWP Network sat down with YouWin! Award Winner, Abdulqadir Hussain Zaguru, Co-Founder and CEO of New Qamar Media Ltd, located in Northwest Nigeria. The Nigeria Ministry of Youth Development documents 68 million jobless youths and in response to the high unemployment rate, the government launched the YouWin! program.
For many of my readers who are not aware, the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN) program is a collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Communication Technology, and the Ministry of Youth Development. These ministries launched an annual business plan competition for young entrepreneurs to help with startup capital or expansion. The program is in line with the federal government’s drive to create jobs. Zaguru has taken a very proactive approach to his future by starting his own business – with the YouWin! grant, he plans to create 10 to 15 new jobs.
Zaguru graduated from Ahmadu Bello University with an honors degree in Geology. He will complete his Master’s degree program this year. Zaguru can be described as a jovial, passionate, knowledgeable young entrepreneur with unlimited potential and goals for his business. He describes a hectic day as we sat down for the interview – he is happy to be among the 1200 chosen YouWin! award winners. Winners will receive one to ten million naira in equity contribution.
What does your company do?
New Qamar Media Ltd. develops and packages media products, which include reality TV shows, short films, and educational programs for youths in Northwest, Nigeria.
What are your thoughts on the YouWin program?
The entire program was properly executed and I feel like even if I did not become an award winner, the training that I received was worth it. This is the first time that the federal government has come up with such an innovative idea along with a strong implementation plan. The three-day program took place at the Arewa house – a formal center based in the North. 510 other competitors were part of this training and the experience was enlightening. The instructors were well trained and knowledgeable.
The breakdown of the program went as follows:
Day 1 – Validation and registration of YouWin! participants,
Day 2 – Training on the various aspects of operating a business,
Day 3 – Instructors told us that success is attainable and that we youths, can achieve anything that we put our minds to.
Like I said before, there has been nothing like this from the federal government that has involved youths to this extent. The youths have lost so much faith in the government because for a very long time, the government has refused to cater to them but I believe that things are changing. In fact, many youths still do not believe in the sincerity of the program – they will just have to wait and see what the federal government is up to.
What is the one thing you learned at training?
I learned that change is possible when you meet with like-minds who have a common goal. In this case, the common goal is to create jobs. This program has created an avenue for entrepreneurial individuals to meet.
What role do you play at your company?
I am the writer, producer, and director.
What key things have you have learned since starting your business?
I can summarize key things in seven (7) parts:
1. Start small to get big – do the most with the little resources that you have access to.
2. Do not mix business finances with your personal finances – separate the two.
3. Conduct your business with all sincerity and integrity.
4. Do NOT assume what you do not know.
5. Give yourself room to learn from others – even though you are an entrepreneur, you do not know it all.
6. Be very patient – let that quality be part of your character.
7. My business depends on me – therefore it is important that I properly represent my brand and business to clients.
Who inspires you?
The first person that comes to mind is James Cameron. I am fascinated by his work. He is innovative and does not give up just because he has these “crazy” or different ideas, he follows through. I consider Mr. Cameron, my hero. He is an icon to be reckoned with. Another person that inspires me is my mentor: television presenter and MTN Ambassador Abbas Sadiq.
Five years from now, where do you see yourself?
I hope to expand to different states across Northern Nigeria. I plan to increase our media products and productions. I would also like to create a 15 minutes documentary that wins several international awards.
What business challenges do you face?
One of the challenges that I face is not having state of the art equipments. It is challenging because technology changes and I need to keep up to provide quality content. Another challenge is market research – taking the time to know and understand the niche and target customers. We have to know what our customers want. Following trends can be risky and expensive but it is something that we have to do to please our customers. As content providers, we have to listen to the customers needs.
What are your plans for hiring?
With the grant, I plan to hire 10 to 15 people – each person will have respective duties and responsibilities. I also plan to provide my employees with access to several leadership and personal development workshops, seminars, and customer service trainings.
How did you finance your business prior to this program?
I held various part-time consulting jobs.
How did you meet your business partner?
I met him while submitting a project proposal at a non-profit organization.
What is your competitive edge?
My ability to speak my native language Hausa – I translate our shows into Hausa and English, hence we can attract both English and Hausa speaking audiences to our work.
Could you give an example of a project that you recently worked on?
I produced and directed an European Union Inside Project on Water and Sanitation under the auspices of the Global Initiative for Women and Children-GIWAC, WRAPA . It was a TV series titled Wash Challenge for Kids – the challenge aired in 2011 on various local television and radio stations. We produced a nine episode series to include sections on songs, drama, and quizzes for children. We asked local schools to participate and asked students from selected schools to write and sing a song in their native language.
In Nigeria, it is reported that 103 million of the country’s 140 million population lack access to sanitation facilities and 69 million also lack access to adequate water, the challenge is great. Using media platforms helps to engage a wide audience in learning about public health initiatives. In addition, I developed a TV Series on Polio tagged Tun Ran Gini (Hausa) that featured prominent actors from the North. It was a UNICEF and Kaduna State Ministry of Health Project.
What parting words do you have for youths reading this interview?
1. Do not claim to know everything – leave room to listen to others.
2. Save your money towards supporting your goals. Having capital matters – everyone has ideas but without money you cannot execute the idea.
3. Find mentors – they help you move forward and serve as a guide.
4. Your personal development matters – I now realize that I have to focus on my image. I am my brand.
Contact Zaguru here:
Phone: (234) 803-658-1430
Email: zaguru80 (at) gmail.com
Wash Challenge: http://www.washchallenge.blogspot.com/
To learn more about the YouWIN! program, click here: https://www.youwin.org.ng/whatisyouwin.php