Let’s meet Cosmas Maduka, the CEO of Coscharis Group of Companies and sole distributor for BMW in Nigeria. The entrepreneur shares the high and low points of his journey. You do not come across people who turn N200 into a multi-billion dollar empire everyday. Here is Coscharis boss who did not quit on the “little” he had.
Cosmas Maduka was born poor in Nnewi in Anambra State, Eastern region of Nigeria. He lost his father at the age of 4 and later resorted to hawking bean cakes in the streets. At age 7, little Cosmas dropped out of school to become an automobile apprentice for his maternal uncle in Lagos. To complicate the whole picture, his uncle who owned a store was squatting with a friend. Thus, Cosmas had to sleep over at the store at night.
His young age constantly sparked off comical reactions because he was rather too young to be an apprentice. Surprisingly Cosmas’ proficiency in the business had begun to show at age 9. On his own he could travel to the east and get supplies.
At the age of 14, in 1975, Cosmas rediscovered his path back to the Christian faith. On one occasion, he went for a church function without due permission from his uncle. As a form of punishment, his uncle dismissed him with N200. In his usual optimistic spirit he assured his uncle he would be successful in few years to come.
The next line of action was to team up with his brother who was ready to set up a company. Together they ran a spare parts business. In what was considered “ideological differences”, they split leaving him with a capital of N300. With that he started his own motorcycle spare parts enterprise. After a week’s transaction he had made N3000. However the business had its ups and downs. There were rough times when he was stuck, broke and in debts.
At 19, Cosmas Maduka was already married. As a man who always looked for a way out, he started another petty business with the scale he had received as a wedding gift. At the rate of 10 kobo, people checked their weights. Subsequently, Cosmas teamed up with a friend David. Together they started CosDave enterprise but for a second time the partnership did not work. Keeping the faith, he worked hard and finally set up Coscharis Motors. “Coscharis” was derived from his name and his wife’s, charity, who had to get a job to support the family income.
Coscharis Motors came to limelight in 1982 when the Nigerian government granted import licenses to 10 Nigerian companies. Today it has grown into a conglomerate with subsidiaries in technology/manufacturing, automobile, food, finance, pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors.
The entrepreneur who believes in the dignity of labor, God-dependence, education, humility and street smartness, believes that
“life is not so much about what happens to you, but about the opportunities and obstacles God puts in your way to get the best out of you”.
In 2015, he made it to the cover of Forbes November issue. His business empire is estimated to a worth of $500 million.