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How a Ghanaian food franchise was birthed after owner used his hostel fees

Christian Nana Boakye is the founder of Chickenman and Pizzaman

For an extremely bright student who lost focus in his final year at the university just because he developed a new interest in entrepreneurship but still came up with a First Class, he says he would not advise the same for everyone.

Christian Nana Boakye, Founder and CEO of CEQA Foods and Beverages Ghana Limited – the mother company of Chickenman & Pizzaman, said this is the case because out of ten, perhaps only one person could get so lucky in such a venture.

Sharing his story with TV3’s Berla Bundi on The Day Show, the young Chief Executive Officer explained that it was not enough to be an academically bright student.

He added that he was also challenged to dare himself to do more anytime he saw successful people, and that was how the idea to start a pizza business came to him.

“That was December 27, 2017. We went to a party, and I realized the cars there were big cars, and I felt odd. We went with a car, but I mean, there is a car, and there is a car. So, that evening, I had to think it through, like how did these people make it. The party was around East Legon.

“Mostly, when I come across successful people, that night, I don’t sleep… it’s not pressure, no! That was when I actually got the Pizzaman thing. So, for those in KNUST about five years ago, I used to be the actuarial science president, and before I got in, one of the motivating factors for students attending programs was Item 13.

“My administration changed the face of Item 13. There was a point I could organize a program as a department, and I could fill the auditorium, and the main college will do a program, and the place will not be filled… I felt if I could use food to lure them to come and listen to something sensible, then it’s fine,” he said.

Christian Nana Boakye further explained in the TV3 interview that with time, his interests in academics started realigning towards doing something for himself.

“I remember my final project; I was in a group with three guys: two of them are in the States doing their PhD now, and then one lady and myself. I was the talkative among them, so they did the work, and on the final day, I had to just read through. I was academically good as well, but then in my final year, I wasn’t so much into my academics. So, they do the work, and I do the presentation,” he said.

But like most businesses, the 25-year-old entrepreneur said the business did not all start easy for him.

He explained that he had to be forced to use monies meant for his hostel fees to pre-finance the business, so much so that his friends began to get worried about him.

“Raising capital was one, and then getting the right people to work with. Sometimes, things don’t go as planned, and you feel like quitting; you get tired of combining the work with academics. I was still in school, in my final year, when I started.

“… not just hostel fees; any other money available that I could chance on. I risked it… I wouldn’t advise it because it wasn’t pleasant… in January 2018, when I started, I had some money on me because I had gone to school fresh. It got to a point things got locked up, so during National Service time, I had to take money for the hostel and use that money to secure a place around campus and then some small small pocket monies I had on me, including my roommate, Ebenezer, we just combined whatever we had and then got some oven. I mean, it was so rough,

“I feel whatever it is you want to do, if you want to do it, you won’t find excuses. Just manage your time well. There were times that I had to skip class and cook and my mates – my classmates, bought into the idea. They were like, Chris, you are too good academically. Why don’t you just do your masters and then probably get a job outside, like how our seniors have been doing? Why are you risking so much?” he added.

The Pizzaman CEO also recalled how the situation was so glaring that one of his lecturers decided to pray for him under the pretext that he must have been under some form of demonic attack.

“At a point, one of my lecturers had to pray for me. He was our patron when I was a department president. He knew how academically good I was, and he was quite surprised. I remember there was one mid-semester exam; third year semester, I didn’t write mid sem, so all my papers were marked over 70, but I still had First Class anyway.

“He was like, what is wrong with Chris? Is it a spiritual attack? He was wondering because I’m the front seater in class, but then after class, I’m done – that’s it… to him, he felt I was under attack or I was losing focus. Well, yeah, I was losing focus in my academics, but I was making money, and it’s addictive,” he said.

But Chris says he has always persisted because “I just want to make sure I have enough to help others.”

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Chickenman and Pizzaman is a fully-owned Ghanaian company that has a total of 10 branches in less than 2 years of its existence.

 

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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