How This African Apprentice Made Over $500 Million Dollars From Just $1
All over the African continent, there’re thousands of success stories already told, and untold that the world doesn’t know yet about. In the journey through these stories, many had humble beginnings, while a few others had a strong financial boost from their already wealthy families.
What success stories from Africa teaches the youths, is that there isn’t just hope for them, but that there’re countless opportunities many can take advantage of.
This is the success story of Cosmas Maduka, a Nigerian business Magnate who didn’t always have it all easy, but also had his own share of humble beginnings. His story portrays that of a man who fights his way from poverty to unprecedented success.
How Did Cosmas Maduka Start His Early Childhood Years?
Cosmas Maduka was born in 1958, in Jos, Nigeria to Mr and Mrs Peter and Rose Maduka. In 1962, at the age of just four (4), tragedy struck with the passing of his father. With the poor and pitiable status of his family’s then finances, he was faced with no other choice than to start providing the very basics of life for himself. At the age of seven (7), he withdrew from primary school at elementary 3 and started assisting his mother in hawking Akara (Bean cakes) in Plateau, Jos.
In 1970 when Cosmas was twelve (12) years old, his uncle who resided in the Ebute Metta area of Lagos, took charge of his well being by bringing him over to serve as an automobile apprentice in their auto shop located at No. 88 Griffith Street, relatively close to Oyingbo Bus Stop. Since his uncle had no place of his own to stay, he’d usually sleep at his friend’s place while Cosmas Maduka would sleep in the shop at the end of every work-day.
At the age of 9, young Cosmas, through is hardwork, dedication, and honesty had totally won his uncle’s trust. This made his uncle give him larger sensitive responsibilities he wouldn’t naturally have given anyone, like travelling alone to make purchases on his uncle’s behalf from Nnewi, and when he clocked 14, he was sent to work at one of their branches at Sokoto and eventually Nnewi.
In 1975 while still aged 14, after absenting himself from work by attending a church camp program without his uncle’s permission, his relationship with his uncle fell apart. The event caused his uncle to immediately terminate is apprenticeship, and to subsequently settle him with a pitiful sum of just 200 Naira ($1) to go and concentrate on his church programs. The little sum was given to punish him at the time.
Note: The value of 200 Naira at the time was worth a lot more than today.
With his settlement, he founded an auto spare parts business called Maduka Brothers with his brother which eventually shut down, and they parted ways due to ideological differences. This separation left him with an additional 100 Naira, and a total of 300 Naira ($1.5) as working capital.
His Successes And Failures
With just 300 Naira ($1.5) in capital to have another trial at entrepreneurship, Cosmas Maduka started a new business as the sole proprietor. He began by buying and selling motorcycle spare parts from Boulos Industries. The major product that was turning in a lot of returns for him was Boulos’s new innovation, motorcylce crash ban. He would buy several of them and remove the address of Boulos from the carton so that people wouldn’t know where he was buying from. Within a short period of one week, his capital rose from 300 Naira ($1.5) to 3,000 Naira ($15).
By the age of 19, Cosmas Maduka decided to get married to a beautiful woman called Charity. A short while after his marriage, he started importing products, but was struck with a great misfortune when he received the wrong consignment. This loss led him into several debts, and his landlord which he owed several months rent ended up locking his shop.
With nothing in hand, Cosmas had to start all over again. He picked a weight scale that he had received as a gift from his marriage, took it to the market, and started to charge 10 kobo from everyone who measured their weight. This daily routine got his wife in deep tears because of what her husband was going through, remembering their previous comfortable state.
The Rise Of Coscharis
After saving up a little capital, Cosmas Maduka teamed up with a friend of his, Dave, to start a new business called CosDave. Not long after their new business partnership, they fell apart due to disagreements on decisions made. This new breakup prompted him to start yet another business called Coscharis. The name Coscharis was formed by the combination of two different names; his name, Cosmas, and his wife’s name, Charity.
Cosmas Maduka’s big break finally came when in the same year 1982, the Nigerian government granted ten (10) motor companies import licences, and his Coscharis motors was selected. Ever since then, his company has continued to grow sporadically, with several branches around Nigeria. Today, his personal net worth according to an interview with Forbes Africa 2015, sits at over $500 million US dollars and counting.
As of 2016, Coscharis motors is not just one of the largest automobile dealers in Nigeria, but is also the exclusive distributor of BMW automobiles in Nigeria.
To Sum It Up
Cosmas Maduka’s success story is that of a man who started from the very bottom, went through several hurdles, and still turned up successful. His story is an African inspiration that every youth can take a cue from. It teaches that resilience, hard work, and taking advantage of opportunities at the right time is a key to success for any troubled entrepreneur anywhere in the world.
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What are your thoughts on Cosmas Maduka’s success story? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Note: The value of the Naira was a lot larger back in the 1960s and 1970s.
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