CrispNG Youth of the Month: Chibueze, the resilient entrepreneur creating a business empire from nothing

 CrispNG Youth of the Month: Chibueze, the resilient entrepreneur creating a business empire from nothing

Okeke Chibueze wasn’t a child born with a silver spoon. He fed somehow, perhaps with a plastic one, but he knew inside of him to change the narrative, and he was ever ready to reach his rose despite the thorns.

The young and energetic CEO embraced entrepreneurship as the weapon to reach the golden fleece (wealth) right from his first year in school. He admits his failures and relishes his successes.

All the same, the years he spent in his vineyard nurturing a myriad of plants are yielding fruit, and the once needy boy is now giving back to students at his alma mater, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

In this interview with CrispNG, Okeke Chibueze shares his entrepreneurial journey and his philanthropy towards students.

CrispNG: Tell us about yourself.

Okeke: I am Okeke Chibueze Obumneme, the CEO of Gold Leaf ICT centre and a graduate of the Department of Archaeology and Tourism, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

CrispNG: What is your business all about?

Okeke: GoldLeaf ICT Center is an arm of GoldLeaf 780. We are into a number of businesses, but our focus is more on the ICT center for now. We offer a variety of services online, offline, and everything around what you call a business center – like printing, photocopying, and online services such as payment of fees, course registration, and more.

CrispNG: How long have you been running GoldLeaf ICT Center?

Okeke: We started this part of the company in July 2023, while the GoldLeaf company itself started in September 2017.

CrispNG: You talk about GoldLeaf ICT center being a subsection of GoldLeaf 780. Can you shed more light on what GoldLeaf 780 is all about?

Okeke: Okay, GoldLeaf 780 is a brand name in which we plan to establish numerous opportunities for people, particularly in the realm of entrepreneurship.

We aim to grow various businesses under it, creating job opportunities for young individuals. Through this platform, our goal is to provide training for people to acquire entrepreneurship skills. However, for now, I am focused on GoldLeaf ICT Center because it is the main focus currently.

Other sections of GoldLeaf are thriving, while some have faced challenges. But the ICT center is more like the baby of the company, and we are doing everything we can to ensure its progress.

CrispNG: What inspired you to set up this business?

Okeke: I can’t talk about this business without mentioning my pastor, Pastor Nnamdi Ozioko, a lecturer in the English department at UNN.

You know, it’s one thing to have business ideas, but it’s another thing to have someone to guide you. One thing he does best is guide me on the path to take.

One day he called me and asked me to start looking for something that can generate daily income and, in turn, benefit the people around me.


We started thinking and praying about it, and the idea of doing a business came up. Though that was not the first time I nursed the idea of establishing GoldLeaf, but that was the first time it started making sense to me, maybe because it came from someone that I respected so much.

So I started making plans and got funds from some sources. In July 2023, I bought a printer and a laptop, and by December 2023, I already had three printers and three laptops, so the growth was massive.

CrispNG: Considering your course of study, one would expect you to go into the profession of excavating remains and tourism. Why did you choose to do business?

Okeke: First of all, I am not an archaeologist, though I graduated from the department. There are necessary certifications or qualifications that will make you an archaeologist. For instance, graduating from the School of Nursing or the Department of Nursing does not make you a nurse until you have certain qualifications.

I have always wanted to be a businessman. So I never planned to work with my certificate. The reason is that I come from a background where there are a lot of needs to be met, a lot of problems to be solved. So I have always seen myself as somebody who will grow up to come back and solve them.

I grew up understanding that going to school, graduating, and working with my certificate will not fetch me money easily. Even when I was an undergraduate, I engaged in many businesses.

CrispNG: Others are printing a page at 30 naira and above, but you are printing below, considering the dollar rating. How are you managing to make it?

Okeke: Of course, business is all about making profits, so I always thought of reducing the profit to be able to help one or two persons. For me, it’s a sacrifice.

I have always thought that if everyone is raising their bars because of the cost of things, I don’t do that even if it means minimizing my profit. As long as I am relieving the burden off students, I’m satisfied.

My major target initially was the final year students who are doing projects because I know how much it costs to print a project. But since then, students from various levels have started coming, and we have no choice but to accommodate them as well. The reason being that we are in an academic environment.

We are finding a way to make life easy for them the best we can. We print at 20 naira per copy, and we are growing with it. The only thing is that we have been getting a number of suggestions to make a change in the price. But I have been considering that it is not my plan to charge high prices; however, the cost of materials in the future may force me to adjust the price. For now, we stick with a normal price charge.

CrispNG: Is there any intention for expansion, judging by the numbers of customers you are getting a day or maybe someday, you will dash the students’ hope?

Okeke: Yes, we are already working on expansion. We have started looking for a new place, and we are planning on how to involve more hands in it.

CrispNG: Are there any challenges you are facing managing your business?

Okeke: Yes, one of the major challenges we experience is light issues. Electricity is not as constant as we want it. So, the high cost of fuel and equipment maintenance are some of the critical challenges.

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CrispNG: As a graduate, you are managing your own business and doing well. What advice do you have for the unemployed graduate or those who are nursing the fear of how to survive after school?

Okeke: My advice for them as a student is, from the first year, learn a skill. Yes, I mean, when I’m in school from my first year, some of my classmates started learning skills like graphic design, acting, and other things like doing businesses.

Don’t just depend on going to classes and coming back. Get yourself involved in something else; it may not be skills, something like volunteer services. There are lots of opportunities out there; don’t limit yourself.

By Kelechi Ogbu.

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