My Humble Beginning
My name is Andrew Paul from Benue state, Nigeria. My mother was a hairstylist and an entrepreneur, she traded in foodstuff. My father was first a soldier who became a farmer after retirement. I grew up in a family with 7 siblings.
For the first few years of my life, I worked part-time on my father’s farm while getting my education. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was 15years old, so I had to get a job to support my family. I started working on a building construction site to make ends meet. That marked my introduction to construction and property development.
As a young person, I got involved in a lot of activities that helped me develop myself as a well-rounded individual. My passion for my faith led me to join the Fellowship of Christian Students, I also like working with people so I joined several social clubs in school and later on an NGO named Reproductive Health Initiative and Support Association (RHISA) where we sensitise people about HIV. Working with RHISA exposed me to training from Action Aid International and Society for Family Health. Taking learning from these experiences, my friends and I formed a (CBO) community base organization named (STAHAA) Save Tudun – Wada Against HIV/AIDS Association, I became the first chairperson of STAHAA and served in that capacity for three years.
My Driving Force
When I look back from where I am coming from, the son of a village farmer and a foodstuff seller, the burning issue for me was “How can smallholder farmers in rural areas thrive beyond their immediate communities?
The Agricultural value chain need services to be complete. Beyond production, there is a need for processing and distribution. Which then feeds back into increased production. While I still don’t play in the processing bit, I provide the distribution framework through the infusion of ICT that allows smallholder farmers from their local village market can participate in a modern and competitive marketplace.
My TEF Encounter
I came in contact with Tony Elumelu Foundation while searching for funding to kick off my business. A simple google search led me to TEF. It sounded too good to be true but I took the chance.
The role and benefits of the foundation to my entrepreneurship journey have been immense, I can only summarise it like this; wealth and knowledge are like flowing streams. Before I became a TEF Alumni, I used to go to the stream with a little rusty container. When I encountered TEF, I was given a pipe. I no longer had to go to the stream, the stream flows to me through the system that TEF has helped me to set up.
I Founded, A.P.T Abah International Limited a building construction company and Agroangeal Limited an online farmers market that serves as the bridge for smallholder farmers to connect to the wider market. This was made possible with the help of the Tony Elumelu foundation in 2018.
I am also a publisher. I have 3 books under my belt: Passion for Vision, The Battles of Life, When God’s Help Comes.
My TEF Entrepreneurship Forum Experience
I attended the 2018 forum in Lagos and the 2019 forum in Abuja and my experience on both occasions was overwhelming. Meeting different people from across the African continent, the friendships and the connections formed were truly great. The high point for me is the expression of love from the face of the founder when he began to speak and electrifying responses from the audience.
I have encountered several roadblocks in business. These challenges keep me on my toes, as I am constantly trying to earn our stakeholders’ trust through excellent service delivery. Some of these challenges include:
- I experience resistance from middlemen in the local markets who feel that I am taking them out of business.
- We also have local farmers being hesitant about accepting our online systems.
- As with most new businesses, our customers still don’t trust our value proposition, so they prefer to pay on delivery instead of online.
The Lives We Touch
- Happy Customers: Recently, a customer called me to appreciate me for helping her save the time she would typically spend in a physical marketplace as she now makes purchases on our e-commerce store. We offer convenience!
- Our Workforce: Our business is more technology-based than most businesses, so we currently seven people and as we expand, I look forward to increasing that number.
- Our Suppliers: The farmers in our community are smiling to the bank because of an increase in sales.
The Next Phase for Agroangeal
- We will start our B2B section, bringing in agro-processing industry and farmers and bulk buyers on the platform.
- We aim to get a minimum of 1,000 farmers registered on the platform in the next 6 months.
Staying with one’s dreams is so important because there will be roadblocks and distractions. Like our Founder always says “Resilience and Hard work are key requirements for a successful entrepreneur.
Contact details for interested customers.
Phone no: +2347031183543, +2348174898403
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org