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So news got to us that ace Nollywood actor Jim Iyke has disclosed his intentions to unveil his own ride-sharing services this October. Along this line, he expressed his willingness and zest to go into a headlock with Uber and Taxify – tow dominant taxicabs companies in Nigeria. As Mr. Taxi is set to begin operation in the Southeastern geopolitical zone in Nigeria, including Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Abia, and Ebonyi States, there are many reservations as to whether Mr. Handsome will live up to his own expectations. Now, it may seem that the CEO suddenly woke up one morning to publicize his intentions, but if we follow up his line of entrepreneurship since when he stopped starring in movies, perhaps we may be able to answer the apparently quizzical question painted on this article’s headline.
In July this year, Jim ventured into a new project in which he launched an app called OGAWORK – a platform for virtual job solutions for all and sundry, where one can gain access to artisans and render any kind of services. The mobile application was specially designed for artisans with passion for their crafts – the ones who lack space and need to bring their services to the tables of end users.
According to the young CEO, OGAWORK was developed to solve the issues of unemployment in Nigeria and represent both the service providers and users, helping them push businesses to the frontline. The app also created a platform for artisans to advertise their businesses at the forefront and get the highest amount of patronage as possible. To make the platform as secure as can be, Jim partnered with the Commissioner of Police to vet all the service providers to ensure that whatever comes through to the space is legit. The entire idea of the OGA WORK app was the brainchild of Jim’s collaboration with Mr. Obie Okoye, and the app has been of immense advantage to Nigerian artisans since then.
Jim Iyke, with the intent to become the leading network provider in the service sector, established this startup company with an app that is reported to provide handymen from the plumber to the nurse, all for end users. He explained that the startup, which pools a cluster of highly skilled experts readily available to deliver their trained services on demand. At the point, he wasn’t willing to disclose his net worth but reckoned that the new business would contribute positively to the increase of his coffers.
Jim became an entrepreneur because he has business around him. Being a man from the eastern part of Nigeria, growing up amongst merchants and having an entrepreneur as a mother, he was introduced early to the fold of making money. Jim’s father used to channel his monthly income to his wife (Jim’s mother) – a series of action that made Jim grow up with the investment mindset. Growing up with an expensive taste, he always found a way to make money, including selling t-shirts in school. With time, Jim always went to his bed with the philosophy that one cannot put one’s eggs all in one basket. Perhaps that is the mindset that has prompted him to diversity business-wise. Jim doesn’t appear in many Nigerian movies anymore because no one can afford to pay him – that’s what he said. “I don’t just act; I talk about the salary, and the script has to be right. I make sure every stint of mine makes me rise from riches to wealth”. Apparently, Jim knows his worth, and cannot let any producer make him consider an exception.
In mid-2015, the then reality show star went public with his intentions to launch his bottled water business called Burgeon Water. Along with a business partner, Henry, he set up the production factory made a foray down that sector. As at then, when he was the Managing Director of Burgeon Global, he expressed his commitment to adhere to the strictest code of conduct to bring to consumers the highest quality of goods and services truly deserved. The table water is deemed to have met international standards and reported to be one of the best in Nigeria. After delving into the manufacturing business called Burgeon Global, he began plotting into real estate. Needful to say is that the actor revealed some time ago that he is a junior partner in an airline business.
So, the big question – how well equipped is Iyke for this big stint against Uber and Taxify? Well, with his net worth still under lock and key, no one can really give the big answer. With his many forays down diversifications of business, he sure has the experience. As a networking service provider, a junior associate in an airline business, a co-owner of a leading table water company in Nigeria and foot in the door of real estate, Jim Iyke is a multi-faceted entrepreneur looking to more cause ripples in different sectors. With his accomplishment so far, even in the music industry, it is safe to say he has a fighting chance. And sometimes, a fighting chance is enough to make the difference.
Mr. Taxi’s on-demand chauffeur service is the entrepreneur’s most challenging adventure in business yet. The startup which is starting with 17 brand new cars and 54 registered vehicles by other drivers on the service, will debut this October in Southeast Nigeria with a mobile application. With Uber and Taxify already dominating the Nigerian on-demand car service regional market, Mr. Taxi nevertheless has eyes on the nascent markets with intents to expand further into the South-South region shortly after launching. Because Uber and Taxify have cemented names in Abuja and Lagos only, Mr. Taxi will be kept away from direct competition – the more robust the fighting chance.
James Ikechukwu Esomugha was born in Libreville, Gabon, but is a native of Enugu State, Nigeria, as the only son out of eight children. He completed his elementary school in Abuja and studied at the University of Jos, Plateau State, from where he obtained a diploma in Banking and Finance and a BSc in Philosophy, and began acting in 2001. He founded the Jim Iyke Foundation for children with special disabilities. He visited Kenya in December 2012 to support the Make a Change Campaign – a charity project founded by Christopher Grey and Jamaican dancehall artist Cecile.
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