Zion Oshiobugie: From House Boy to Entrepreneur

Zion OshiobugieCEO, Clever Minds Integrated ServicesCredit: Nairaland Let us talk about Zion Oshiobugie, shall we? Zion is an entrepreneur, teacher, and On-Air-Personality with Crown 89.9 FM, Warri. He is the CEO of Clever Minds Integrated Services, a consultancy firm offering training and educational services to the public in the same city and its environs, aided by fifteen employees working in three learning centres. Zion was born in Kaduna State, Nigeria, to a middle class family. He is the second of five children. He lived a reasonably simple and content life until things changed. His father lost his job. When living became progressively hard, especially in light of the constant religious and political crisis that plagued Kaduna State, Zion and his family had to move to Warri. His mother became a petty trader and each of his siblings had to work. Zion carried blocks and helped his mother sell her plantains. He eventually became a houseboy for a distant relative. It was during this period that he made the resolve to be rich. He worked hard to put himself through The Petroleum Training Institute where he studied Electrical Electronics Engineering. He got his idea to start up Clever Minds Integrated Services while working for a private secondary school in Warri. He noticed the lack of quality education in the poor riverine communities in the Niger Delta and knew he had to do something about it. At that time though, he could not implement the idea because of a lack of funds. And to make matters worse, he lost his job. Zion wanted to commit suicide. He knew what poverty was, how it tasted and what it could do to one’s mind and he definitely didn’t want to go back to that place. Suicide seemed like a sensible plan but after some months of depression, he was able to snap out it. This crucial moment made him decide not to be a job seeker but a problem solver. The idea of Clever Minds flitted back to him and he decided the time was right. He started his first school in Edjeba Community in Warri and had just two people; himself and his first student. That didn’t dissuade Zion at all. He was providing quality education at a very cheap rate and he knew if he quit, the town might never get the education it needed. Guess what? He stuck to it and things began to pick up. In 2015, the glass ceiling finally broke. Zion applied for – and got into – the Tony Elemelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program. The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, with $5,000 seed capital, a 12-week training and mentorship phase as well as other resources including networking and a 3-day boot-camp attended by policymakers and investors was like the cherry to Zion’s hard work. In his words; “Formerly, I had one learning center in Kosini but after Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, I now have two more learning centers and I’m planning to open another one in Benin this year. The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme has changed my story. Personally, the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme has made me a public speaker because I gradually became a celebrity in Delta state when people discovered I was selected for the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. I have been invited to speak about this in over 20 gatherings.” Zion’s goal is to educate over 20 million children in the next 20 years and “to use education as a tool to end poverty and joblessness”. For about N3,000, he is providing education, vocational training, entrepreneurship training, and leadership training at the three centres being run by his company. So far, Zion and the Clever Minds Integrated services have trained over 500 students in various fields. From being a houseboy, flirting with suicide and now being a CEO, it is worthy of note that hard work and the right support system helps people achieve their dreams and better than that, people who achieve their dreams are better able to influence and improve society. Zion Oshiobugie is one of such people and we are proud to make him our man crush today. More photos here.

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