• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Chuks Ekwueme: A serial entrepreneur promoting STEM initiative

Chuks Ekwueme: A serial entrepreneur promoting STEM initiative

Chuks Ekwueme is a specialist in tech and a pioneer cum entrepreneur with interdisciplinary experience and a passion for arousing and promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiative.

Chuks, who possesses an entrepreneurial spirit runs five businesses that are in tech, software development, e-commerce, agriculture, and consultancy. He is the founder and chief executive of the UNICON Group of companies.

He belongs to a class of entrepreneurs on a mission to do big and innovative things.

He was inspired to establish his businesses during the early stage of the Covid-19 outbreak when he identified opportunities in the tech and e-commerce space.

To leverage these opportunities, he established UNICON Group in 2020. “The inspiration to start UNICON Group of Companies was birthed in 2020 during the early days of COVID. While researching trends in the marketplace, I discovered that tech and e-commerce spaces are the future of business,” he says.

“I’m happy to see that what once started as a dream is rapidly gaining ground as one of Nigeria’s most innovative tech start-ups,” he notes.

Chuks, who started investing in stocks while still an undergraduate, raised his initial start-up capital from some of his investment in stock and was able to get additional fund from his mum

Since starting, his business has grown steadily. “We have recorded outstanding growth and still growing, considering our facilities and numerous innovative range of products, and our growing clientele from government/private organisations and individuals across Nigeria and Africa,” he explains.

He says the business plans to expand its operations across Africa and possess a stronghold in its tech landscape in the long run.

Read also:Expert urges youths to get entrepreneurial skill against future challenges

To do this, he says the UNICON Group of companies is actively working in launching new services and products that will help bridge the tech gaps in Africa.

“With this goal in mind, we are actively working on launching services and products that will help bridge the technology gaps in Africa,” he says.

“The goal is to create awareness about our tech products and deploy trending technology developed from our research lab, as all our offerings are tailored to meet the needs of Africans,” he adds.

The business currently has 53 full-time employees and several indirect and freelance employees.

Responding to questions on challenges that confronted his business, the young entrepreneur says grooming, blending, and up-scaling the skill of his employees was the major challenge.

Also, he says setting up a multi-section STEM laboratory was another major challenge and sourcing the right equipment.

On how the business was able to address the challenges, he says, “we assembled the best talent, up-scaled their skills, and inspired the team to believe in the vision. We toured the world to see what is in existence, and we pushed ourselves to consistently meet, or surpass those standards.”

“And with lots of research, we were able to locate a source for all the equipment needed. We didn’t just move into the market from the onset. It took us two years to conceptualise, test, and implement across all our areas of interests before going into the market. Also, we continued to research relevant technology and then deployed them into use.”

In evaluating the Nigerian tech ecosystem, he notes that the landscape is still underexplored and underfunded while calling for the full implementation of the local content bill on technology.

Chuks notes that tech is the way to go for every economy, urging youths to take up practical courses in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to develop solutions across sectors.

He explains that coding is not the most important thing in getting a career in tech, saying coding is simply a programming pattern used in communicating with computers.

On his advice to other entrepreneurs, he says “clearly identify the niche you want to specialize in before rolling out products and services.”

“Also, be consistent with the vision. You will surely break even, as the market is very broad. Always seek collaborations and knowledge support, as it’s difficult to be self-sufficient in tech.”