-Spids Logistics boss, AYO AKINRINSOLA recounts grass to grace story
The grass to grace story of Spids Logistics Limited boss, Ayo Akinrinsola is not only inspiring, it is also a must read for those who want to build their business from the scratch. Having graduated from The Obafemi Awolowo University, his search for a job without success led him to start a logistics firm on a small scale and today the business has grown beyond his expectation. He also stated why he will be contesting for Ondo state governorship in the next election in this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly…
What inspired you to set up a business after your university education rather than search for a job?
The expectation of every graduate is to get out of school and get a job to earn a living. When I graduated, the expectation was the same, but I realised it was not easy as I thought. I kept on looking for job but it’s not coming, after my NYSC, I came to Lagos and did some job tests but at the end I was not shortlisted. Then one day something occurred to me that if I can’t find a job why can’t I create one? Fortunately for me, I have a friend who was into logistics, I joined his team on a voluntary basis instead of staying at home. With that I learnt the rudiments of the business, I also did teaching job because I don’t like to stay idle. At that time I got a scholarship for a post graduate course in Netherlands, after the course, I came back to Nigeria and I decided to leverage on my experience on the business to start immediately, I reached out to my contacts and that’s it. Fortunately for me, I got a contract from a telecommunication company, they needed a warehouse which I got for them, that was my first job and from there we were expanding gradually. A friend later introduced me to Guinness and I also got a contract from them, that was how we started getting other jobs.
What would you say has sustained this business this far?
With God all things are possible. The grace of God has kept us going. I must give all glory to God. Apart from that you must be a very good resource manager for you to succeed on this job, accountability also matters, transparency and discipline. Another thing that has sustained us is the good name. I have a name to protect. You can give me your job and go to sleep. We have referrals from big organisations, multinationals, it is because we have integrity. I don’t also joke with staff welfare, their salary is very important because they too have to make a living.
What exactly do you do at Spids Logistics?
We are into warehousing management or inventory management, supply chain management. We do warehouse sourcing and management, we do customized warehousing, distribution of goods and services. We source warehouses for multinationals and big organisations, we help them keep their goods and also help distribute to the end users.
Does one need a lot of money to set up a business like this?
I started by understudying somebody who was also into the business, in the process I met so many people who took interest in me. The most important thing is if you meet people who believe in what you can do, you don’t need huge capital to start the business, the business is all about trust and integrity
How much would you say your educational experience helped you in this business?
I studied Accounting at Obafemi Awolowo University, I did Financial Management in Netherlands. I did another course that is related to management. Yes, my educational experience has helped and is still helping me in the business especially in the area of cost management. On the other hand it is not always what you studied in school that comes to play outside there, it is all about what you can do, the people you relate with and your perception. Because of competition I sleepless, I am always looking for new ideas that can give us the edge over others.
How would you describe life as the CEO, Spids Logistics Limited?
It is quite challenging, when you have a lot to think about, the business, staff welfare, family, the growth of the business matters to you more. It is not all work and no play. I play golf for relaxation. Nobody is perfect but I try as much as possible to strike a balance between my work and family.
How would you describe your lifestyle?
I maintain a simple lifestyle, I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke and I don’t womanize. During my leisure I like to dance, I play indoor games like basketball, scrabble and chess. I love gadgets, cars but I only buy them when I think they are necessary.
Give us a brief about your immediate family?
I got married in 2005, to the glory of God we are blessed with three children.
You are doing well in business, why did you suddenly develop interest in politics?
My joining politics is not sudden, I have been following politics since the days of SDP and NRC in the early 90s. I remember when I clocked 18, I was excited that I would be able to vote. I am from Ile Oluji in Ondo state, I was born with a silver spoon but I wasn’t trained with a silverspoon. I am from a polygamous family. I joined politics because I want to impact the lives of my people especially in Ondo state, that state is blessed with natural resources that if well managed will create job opportunities for the youths in that state. People will not run to Lagos to seek jobs again, this is the time to make impact. I admire people like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, he is the architect of a new Lagos that is why people like me can succeed in this environment. I am a supporter of well organised political party, APC as a party that understands the plight of the common man.
So, why do you want to contest for the governorship?
This is the time that I still have the energy. I want to manage the endowment and resources of the state. I want to bring my experience as a resource manager to bear in the governance of Ondo state. In Ondo state we have oil, bitumen and others, we need accountability in governance of the state. Who says we can’t have a sea port in Ondo state? I have thought about it very well and I am convinced it is possible.
How would you describe the current political situation in Nigeria. For the first time in 16 years power changed hands from PDP to APC through the ballot?
If you see the manifestoes of the two major political parties in Nigeria the All Progressives Congress (APC) is the only party that has the interest of the people in their plan. APC is a party of high intellectuals who know how to meet the needs of the common man, they know what it entails to make the common man relevant, they know the pain that the common man is going through. You can see leadership by example since APC took over. President Buhari and his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo led by example by cutting their salaries by half, the wind of change is blowing and I am ready to channel that wind into my state, Ondo so that people will also enjoy the new things. There is no better time than now.
Was it because you want to contest for an election that you set up an empowerment scheme for the youths?
Before the end of the year, we are going to launch the scheme fully and it is called, Ayo Akinrinsola Youth Empowerment Foundation. I am concentrating on the artisans, market women, petty traders, farmers, commercial drivers, unemployed youths, civil servants, pensioners, widows. This is what I have been doing before now, it has been part of my lifestyle to help people, it is not because I want to run for an election. I just want to extend it to the state and allow more people to benefit.