7 March 2024

“I earned my first million at 24” – Dr Cosmas Maduka in Freemen

Renowned businessman, founder and president of Coscharis Group, Dr Cosmas, has recounted his remarkable rise from adversity to financial success, offering a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs that shaped his path. In episode 2 of the Showmax Original documentary Freemen, he revealed how he made his first million dollars by the age of 24 and by 25, he had already made 2 million dollars.

From grass to grace 

Dr Cosmas Maduka’s dedication and diligence, after years of going through the Igbo Apprenticeship System, led him to take on the management of automobile branches in Jos, Sokoto, Nnewi, and Lagos. However, it was in Lagos, particularly in Ikeja at Oregun, where he experienced a pivotal breakthrough in his career.

Reflecting on his journey, he recalled how he identified a niche market opportunity within Boulous Enterprises. He seized the chance to sell motorcycle crash bars, a product in scarce supply, at a substantial markup. This strategic move not only propelled his success but also enabled him to amass his first million dollars by the age of 24. By 25, his wealth had doubled to more than 2 million dollars.

The humble beginning

According to the entrepreneur, his early years were not without their struggles. Following the death of his father when he was just four years old and growing up amidst the challenges of the Nigerian civil war, he and his family resorted to hawking to make ends meet. By the age of seven, his mother could no longer support him and his brother, leading him to embark on an apprenticeship journey.

Under the guidance of his uncle, who was a motorcycle spare parts trader, he began his apprenticeship. However, they lived in humble conditions: “My uncle himself had just started a business and lived in his own uncle’s house in a one-bedroom with his wife. In that bedroom, they used curtains to divide the sitting room from the bedroom. A man that is sleeping in a passage went to get an apprentice so you can know where my bedroom would be,” he said.

Apprenticeship paid off

Despite his humble beginnings, he seized every opportunity to learn and grow. Immersing in the world of business, he absorbed knowledge on supply management, inventory control, accountancy, and administration. Specifically, he learned about the “internal combustion engine” from his uncle who had a catalogue for motorcycles, which led him to discover not just the contents but all the working parts of motorcycles and automobiles. 

According to him, in apprenticeship, you are taught everything you are required to succeed in business – from supply management, inventory management, and accountancy to administration. For example, “there is a purchase book where you input everything that has gone out; a book that helps you with checks and balances. This is also applicable in more formal settings”, he revealed.

Freemen is a captivating exploration of the Igbo Apprenticeship System, known locally as “Igba Boi”. The seven-part documentary is currently streaming on Showmax, with new episodes dropping every Wednesday on www.showmax.com.

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