How They Started is a 252 page entrepreneurship masterclass, a unique book and the first of its kind in Nigeria to profile the journey of the big and innovative brands in Nigeria directly from the founders themselves.

Have you ever paused to observe that some of the products and services we enjoy have become so much part of us that we have to be reminded that there was a time those products was not in existence. God didn’t create a mobile phone, God didn’t create an ATM card neither did God create Globacom. Until you consciously remember this you may never sit back to query how these things came about.

This book is a result of 14 months extensive research by Kachi Ogbonna and his team with direct supervision of Prof. Pat Utomi to find out how the brands you know in Nigeria today started.

We sought directly from the founders of these companies to know how they started, how they got the initial ideas, how they were able to raise funding for their ideas, the challenges they met and how they handled it, how they handled the peculiar issues common with doing business in Nigeria, the key lessons they have learnt, their major success secrets and their advice for upcoming entrepreneurs, and I tell you the truth that they were honest enough and most generous that they barely held back anything.

The revelations from these founders are what every aspiring entrepreneur in Nigeria must take time to read and apply. Of all the things I learnt from this book some of the ones that stood out are the facts that age, extensive experience, privileged family background, education, startup capital are not necessarily prerequisite for starting and succeeding in business. For instance SLOT started with no capital, Cosmas Maduka dropped out of school at primary three, slept in the shop and started at the age 14, Omatek was founded by a female corps member, Mitchell Elegbe of InterSwitch never knew his father, the Igwe Twins were office cleaners and slept in a generator house for 10 months.  So whatever your current financial status, age, education qualification or family background you can still build the next global brand if you are determined to see your idea work.

The book has 25 chapters with each chapter covering one brand selected from 8 different industries including technology, health, transport and the rest.

This book will inspire you to know that you have more than enough to build the next business that can change the world.

Don’t attempt to start a business if you have not read this book.


Kachi Ogbonna and his research team provide a huge scope of documentation on the startups that are emerging brands in Nigeria and the individuals behind them. It is a book that does for brand building in Nigeria what Tom Forrest book: The Advance of African Capital does for the first push of entrepreneurship in colonial and immediate post-colonial era in Nigeria. It is a book by a ‘start up’, on startups with admirable results, and I feel quite pleased at the privilege of contributing to the encouragement of the effort.

  • Pat Utomi (Author, Why Nations are Poor)


Entrepreneurship is often a tough and long journey for many people. Kachi takes an everyday subject and turns it into a compelling read that sizzles with brave energy. If you’ve always wondered how the lack of strategic pathways hinders enterprise in Africa, this book is the key to unlock the mysteries. The structure, combined with the use of case studies, makes the entrepreneurial journey transparent and accessible to those inspired and encouraged by success stories. A brilliant piece of work!

  • Fred Olayele (President/Chief Executive, Global Economic Institute for Africa, Canada)


Kachi Ogbonna has made entrepreneur’s job much easier with this terrific, well researched book. How They Started is a must read for igniting passion, learning innovative ideas, and understanding how successful people think. Apply the principles given in this book to create prosperous future.

  • Rajiv Sharma (International Speaker, NLP Trainer and Coach)


Entrepreneurship appears to be a major buzz word in Nigeria today, and this is not without a cause, for most people would readily agree that youth unemployment in the country is like a time bomb ticking silently, waiting to go off. This book by Kachi on entrepreneurship could not have come at a better time, for it squarely addresses the issue of starting and running a business in this part of the world. I therefore recommend the book not only for use in all higher institutions of learning, but also to all, both old and young whose dream is to start and successfully run a business in Nigeria.

  • Professor K. Mosto Onuoha, FAS, FNMGS, fnape (President-Elect, Nigeria Academy of Science & PTDF Professor of Petroleum Geology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka)


This is not only a solution to the unemployment challenge, but also an opportunity for wealth creation for those who would embrace it.

  • Uche Ogbonna (Principal Manager, Central Bank of Nigeria)


A motivational book that seeks to lay a foundation from the tested bricks of successful entrepreneurs. Let the courageous, the passionate, the faithful and the disciplined latch on to the latent force of possibilities released by the fire ignited by Kachi’s book of excellence and become business empire builders.

  • Oluwatoyin Lawal (National Vice Chairman, Scripture Union, Nigeria)


While this is a very ambitious project, Kachi’s efforts are quite commendable as he provides some glimpses into the Nigerian business environment and the prospects for those who dare to dream.

  • Olusegun Adeniyi ( Chairman, Editorial Board, This Day Newspaper)

This book contains everything you may need to know about starting a business in Nigeria. It is brimming with straightforward strategies anyone can use to overcome the key fears associated with starting a business in this part of the world.

  • Most Rev. Prof. E.M.Uka (Prelate/Moderator of General Assembly, The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria)

No country in the world has more opportunities for business than Nigeria and this book is a clear testimony to that fact

  • Apeh A. Omede (University, of New England, Australia)

This is the last needed spark to overcome those fears you have about entrepreneurship in Nigeria. After reading this book, you will start smartly and succeed in a manner that will amaze you.

  • Sam Ukpa (Managing Director, Skytrain Electronics Limited)



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