[3 Minutes Read]
Often times, going through the National Youth Service in Nigeria attracts innovation which is invented from a need to survive. Most NYSC members grasp a fresh facet of themselves, a new culture, new friends and new ideas. The latter was the case for Shola Kenny, an IT whiz kid whose Place of Primary Assignment during his national service was First Skypath Limited, an IT company in Akure, Ondo state. From a regular NYSC IT staff, Shola now runs Digital Library system with over 35 million educational resources that can be accessed without the use of internet service.
Shola recalls brimming with fresh ideas during the early months of his stay in the company and how his ideas were looked down at. “I walked up to the Managing Director and suggested adding some other services to what we offer but he was not willing to do that. I took up the initiative to start delivering those services within the company with the Manager’s approval though,” he recollects. “As a Corps Member I was paid N7,000 per month, but after a few months of the service I added, I was making good money for myself and the company to a point where I practically forget my usual salary in my bag, untouched.”
Not so different from the hustle stories of other Nigerian entrepreneurs, Shola was faced with the dilemma of working for someone at a good pay and building his own business with almost nothing. However, he declined two job offers and stuck to his business plan even though he wasn’t sure of how he would achieve all of his visions.
“A month to the end of my service year, a training institute I applied to, wanted me to work with them full time, likewise the IT Company I was serving at,” he revealed. “I couldn’t accept any of their offers because they had a peculiarity of not wanting to go out of the box to satisfy their customers. I just couldn’t stand such business behaviors. I wanted to start up a business using my skills and experience to solve problems, be versatile and proffer solutions to people out there.”
His passion for innovation and quality customer service led to the birth of Shokenny Solution, an I.T company aimed at building a data center, installing network kits in schools, laboratories, auditoriums, departmental offices, and network operation centers in Ondo State and its environs.
To solidify and authenticate his business brand, Shola registered his business at CAC in 2012, applied to FIRS for a Tax identification Number, opened a corporate account with GTBank for projects and official transactions, and that led to the the birth of a certified Nigerian hustler.
To begin his new future, Shola went through the teething days of a growing business. The unavailability of capable manpower and limited resources were glaring but Shola kept pushing through. Other challenges he faced were low reception of the viability of the business because most people he shared his dreams with in his locality thought that information technology was a too sophisticated craft for him.
“Irrespective of what people said, I started off Shokenny Solution with N9,000, my HP Compaq laptop, and a 3 in 1 Deskjet printer, which I used to print proposals, letters and quotations for prospects who later became clients,” he says. “The manpower was really frustrating at first. I found it hard getting the right team of people to work with and those who understood what integrity and excellence in service delivery was all about.”
Today, Shokenny Solution has grown into a business worth millions and attributes his success to his ‘Can do’ attitude to every work opportunity. One unique offering that has put Shokenny Solution on the world digital map is the eGranary digital library which he calls the Internet in a Box, a service that provides more than 35 million of digital educational resources to people. This digital library delivers electronic educational materials instantly over new or existing local area networks where all the connected workstations can access the library materials through customized installed software or simply via any web browser.
Having gone through many of the motions and hurdles of a Nigerian hustler for over 5 years, Shola believes that making money should be the least purpose of starting a business, as passion supersedes all motivations.
In Shola’s words “You should never start a business with the idea of making money or profit as the first priority. Let your priorities be; creating solutions to issues or those in need of those prospects. You also need a good background knowledge of the business you want to start up before venturing into it. Go in with passion!”