All you need to know about the founder and CEO of Tecno, Infinix phone Nnamdi Ezeigbo

Nnamdi Ezeigbo is the founder and CEO of SLOT systems limited,
and also the brain behind TECNO and INFINIX, the fastest selling
phone brands in Nigeria. Many people are not even aware that
these popular phone brands are the brainchild of a fellow Nigerian.
His success story is a very remarkable one.
Nnamdi Ezeigbo studied Electrical Electronics Engineering at the
Yaba College of Technology in 1988, and got a Higher National
Diploma (HND), before serving his country, Nigeria, during his
National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) year at Guinness Nigeria
PLC, in 1996.
After completing his youth service year, Nnamdi Ezeigbo tried to
no avail to secure a job with a company in Nigeria. With no
promising signs of any potential employment, he went on to work
as an apprentice learning how to repair computers. After which he
launched out on his own to repair computers for individuals. Since
he didn’t have any cash at the time, he had to squat with a friend of
his at Ikeja, who owned a book store. His customer base grew,
largely because of his honesty and the premium he placed on
customer service.
The mutual trust and good relationship with his customers, was
what gave him his first break in business. One day, an old
customer he knew from his days as an apprentice, came to his
little shop to see him. He told him he would love him to continue
fixing his computers, but would prefer he operated from a larger
and more serene environment. To help him out, the customer
brought some printers for Nnamdi to sell, from which he used the
proceeds to setup a new shop for himself. He paid for the store at
a then price of 180,000 Naira (He later bought that same store
many years later for 100 million Naira).
From his new store, he began to sell computers. As his business
grew, a lot of customers started to both demand for slot stores in
areas close to their vicinities, and to ask if they sold mobile
phones. With a keen eye to spot opportunity when it presents
itself, Nnamdi Ezeigbo immediately expanded his business to also
cover the sale of mobile phones.
With no real knowledge on how to manage a growing business,
Nnamdi decided to enrol for an MBA program at the prestigious
Lagos Business School. He also began to attend many workshops
on entrepreneurship, and that helped to sharpen his business
acumen and develop his legendary entrepreneurial prowess.
During this process, he and his team decided to take a 5 year route
to build a strong reputation for their brand. By the time the
projection had elapsed, the Slot brand name was the most
reputable mobile phone retailer in the whole country.
The rise of telecommunication networks created many
opportunities in the Nigerian market. Their poor services caused
many Nigerians to purchase more than one mobile phone, so they
could try a different network when the other was bad. Nnamdi
realised this problem early on, and approached Nokia in a bid to
convince them to manufacture dual sim phones for Nigerians, so
they would carry only one mobile phone at a time instead of two.
They refused to listen because, seeing people carry more of their
phones meant more phone sales for them.
According to his interview, Nnamdi said;
“So I went to China and got a guy who had worked with a
company called Bird then. Bird was into phones but they got
choked and lost market share. I met with the guy and asked the
guy to let us do something. I came with that name and I registered
it here and brought the guy to Nigeria. And that was the high point
of our business. We came together and I designed the first Tecno
phone, Tecno T101. We started it but the market did not accept it
and we also had problem with the dual SIM not working together
and we had to make corrections and we came with Tecno 201 and
that was a bit accepted by the market. But we were basically
giving marketers on credit to sell the phones and then pay us later.
And I was funding it all alone.”
“Since I was funding it alone, we were finding it difficult to get the
right quantity to sell until the market started accepting us. What I
now did was to make them pay in advance, I mean the dealers. So
we started using their money to order the products. This was
around 2007. The introduction of Tecno brand was the turning
point of our business.”
“Like I said, Tecno is my baby and we kept improving. I knew a
day would come when the middle class would accept Tecno.
Initially, it was a phone for low income people but based on
improvement and upping our game, the middle class had to accept
it and when the economy went down in 2008 that helped Tecno to
move to the top. Since purchasing power had dropped, they had to
go for something that have same capabilities but cheaper. So with
N15,000, you could buy a Smartphone and thank God for 3G
network. The advent of 3G network actually helped Tecno to move
up. So students who could not afford to buy phones in the range
of N30,000 could buy one for N15,000 and enjoy features of
Smartphone like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and so on.”*
Today, Nnamdi Ezeigbo is a phenomenal success story in Nigeria
and indeed Africa. From a humble repair man, he has built a
MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR company and one of the most
recognizable brand in Nigeria.
There are many lessons in this story.
Pay attention to your business no matter how small it is today, it
can be the seed of a global company tomorrow.
Integrity in business is extremely important, it will open doors for
you, and speak for you, even when you are not present.
When you see opportunities, grab it and run with it. Nokia refused
Nnamdi’s idea, Nokia was mighty and Nnamdi was nobody, but
today because Nnamdi believed in his idea and grabbed the
opportunity, Tecno is everywhere, and Nokia is dead. How are the
mighty fallen? Run with your idea, and this too will be your story.
Keep improving your products and services every day. Nnamdi
kept improving Tecno steadily until it became an accepted brand in
Most importantly, the greatest investment you will make is an
investment in yourself. As a business man, if you can afford a
business school, enroll.
Don’t waste your time crying over the economy of the nation, there
is nothing you can do about it, but there is a lot you can do about

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