He is also an embodiment of character, integrity and humility. We caught up with him at his company’s Jorissen Street, Braamfontein address at Johannesburg and the below is our interesting conversation with him:
Good morning Sir! Can you introduce yourself to SANigerians.com and our global readers and tell us what you do?
I am Hon. Chima C Onyeagbau an IT consultant. I specialise in hardware technologies. My Company Fassy Supplies CC does Computer hardware designing or customised building, Computer sales and technical support.
Why did you delve into this field, is it because of your passion for technology or are u driven by the profits in the business
I would say that I am driven by my passion for technology; however, I studied related courses during my tertiary education like Information Science, Public Administration and other certificate courses. These studies did not only built my appreciation for computers and information technology, but also made me want to utilize the knowledge that I had gathered to assist in the deficient information technology sector in Africa and to build a sustainable career from this passion of mine.
You seem quite enterprising judging from the fledging business you have. When did you start this line of business and how did you start in terms of capital/funding. Did you get bank assistance or did you commence with your personal capital?
I did not start my business with any funding from the financial institutions. I must confess that I started small but the passion coupled with integrity in business is my secret for growing my business. This is because most of the orders from clients at the time I started were paid by clients in full and I was given seven days to deliver. That was actually how I started and I have been in the same line of business for 14years. This has made me build and retain a large client base throughout the said period. I will say my business growth and sustenance was a miracle but were also as a result of my resolve to be transparent, honest and contented with my profits in business.
A peek at the Reception of Hon. Onyeagbau's Fassy Supplies CC Braamfontein Johannesburg outlet.
There are wide beliefs and assumptions out there by immigrant and small business people that South African Institutions do not like supporting them in terms of providing loans for business start-offs? Yet you have grown this venture to quite a reputable stature, so you had no financial institution's assistance I ask because most immigrants find it hard to start successful businesses. Did you also find it difficult?
It is not entirely the case. Access to finance from financial institutions has never been a problem as long as requirements are met the person approaching the Financial Institutions. However, the greatest problem is the entrenched phobia and profiling of certain nationals by financial institutions and banks due to individual prejudices. It has seen qualified enterprises refused assistance and has really destroyed many businesses.
But you are contributing in building the South African economy? Don’t you think so? Do you in any way impact positively into the economic lives of South African Locals locals?
Impacting positively towards the economic well-being of my host country has always been my guiding rudder. Apart from employments I have provided throughout the 14years of my business, I established a free IT training department for Matric students though I couldn't maintain it because of the world economic downturn at the time. But I was happy and fulfilled because I really made an impact in the lives of the participant Matric Students. I am also scheming on how to further the objective of economically empowering people by trying to expand my business concern. In no distant time, we will be talking about a ‘wholly-black-owned’ IT franchise, with shops all over the Republic with little or nothing to start up with compared to what is currently obtainable whereby franchisees must have a minimum of R500.000 to buy a franchise that will last not later than six months due to lack of efficient support.
Wow. That is massive! I guess there must be a high demand for what you do? Do source your wares from here or do you import your wares from outside of South Africa?
The demand has always been there sufficiently coupled with the massive retrenchments going on in the technical sectors of the economy. Those retrenched workers are always in need of where to set up smaller business and start earning something for their sustenance thereby always patronizing us. In terms of sourcing our wares, we make use of the local suppliers because of warranty issues. However, high-end products by our clients are imported directly from overseas.
Mr. Onyeagbau, venturing into and developing small businesses is the mainstay of every economy. For a country like South Africa that is trying to encourage self-reliance and private business ventures, do you see yourself as a successful and experienced immigrant business person assisting government programs or any interested parties in helping train people in business to help stem the endemic unemployment in South Africa?
My answer is simple yes. Because like the Presidency always says "working together we can achieve more" In addition we must always be ready to inform people that the greatest economies are built by the private sector especially by emigrants ready to pour all their energy into building a new successful life. A typical example is the USA which was built by identifying the invaluable effort of hard-working immigrants and harnessing those efforts for the economic development of their country.
What is your advice to immigrants especially Nigerian immigrants who jettison hard work and honesty for 'get rich quick' activities that end up tarnishing the image of the Nigerian collective in South Africa?
My advice is always simple. Start small have a projection of where you are going and have a clear vision of what you want to do. Put much training time in building your endeavours and jettison the idea of ‘profit before hard work’. It has never worked before and it will not work with you. History will only remember the builders, not destroyers.
Apart from being a businessman, you are also a family man and a distinguished community activist/leader in the South African Nigerian community, can you tell us about your family and the community organisations that you are involved in and have been involved in?
My family has been a pillar of strength in all my work, especially in my business. I am married to a South African and we have kids. My involvement with community development has been inborn because of my belief that it is more blessed to give than to receive and that the givers hand is always on top. So I work hard to better the circumstances of all persons of within my community in any way that I can. In the South African Nigerians community, I have held several positions of trust right from my Town Union organisation as their first Treasurer to the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation in South Africa (Ohaneze Ndigbo South Africa) where I occupied the Vice-Presidency. I was also a pioneer executive member of the Nigeria union as National Organizing Secretary. Currently, I am the President General of Abia Indigenes Congress South Africa. Both in business and community support I have always contributed to the best of my ability through the grace of the Almighty God.
Thanks for your time with us. Mr. Onyeagbau and we at SANigerians.com wish you success in all your endeavours
You are welcome Mr. Sunny-Unachukwu. I am always at your service.
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