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BN Making It!: Serial Entrepreneur Freddie Achom Talks About Dropping Medicine for Life as a Business Investor

BellaNaija.com

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Hello BellaNaijarians, let us take a few minutes of your day to tell you about this multilingual business man who is set to take smaller businesses to greater heights. Igbo, French, Italian & Japanese? Whoa!

Meet Freddie Achom; a man who describes himself as a ‘traditional’ businessman, and is behind the investment outfit called Rosemont Group Capital Partners. Rosemont invests in early stage tech start up companies that have potential for growth. The Freddie Achom-led Rosemont, recently invested in London’s leading parking App called ‘Appy Parking‘,  as well as a new cloud voice platform for customer services called Vivid Technology based in Pakistan.

Freddie, who started his entrepreneurial journey when he almost 20 years ago, told BellaNaija that when he started running his business, he drew his inspiration from Virgin CEO, Richard Branson, as well as Muhammed Ali. He is of the belief “that success is not based solely on what you attain, but how you attain it and how you impact others with it. A true leader creates other leaders.” For people looking for winning business ideas Freddie says, “Disruption, disruption is the key.”

Read the interview to find out how this man got off the wagon towards a career in medicine and has become a business mogul. We are truly inspired by Freddie’s story and we hope you are too.

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Please tell us about your background
I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria to an insurance broker father and my mother was a housewife. I lived with my siblings in Nigeria until the age of 8 and then we moved to the UK to enroll in private school.

After my secondary school education, I went to university to further my education. I studied medicine which was the chosen path chosen by my father but after a year and a half I dropped out of university and embarked on a life in business.

What would you say was your most memorable part of your growing up years?
My most memorable part of growing up was being very close to my cousins at the time; because once you move abroad, you lose that connection. Our cousins were in Africa and we were in London, so the sort of connection broke down. Having that closeness of direct family members was really something that we cherished growing up in London and we missed our cousins, and our aunties and uncles.

But actual events going forward, around 1981 my father took us on like a whirlwind sort of a two-month holiday starting in Paris. We went to America for like a month and then we were in Europe for a month. That was in 1981, because that’s when he first got the idea that maybe he should have us grow up in London. Then in 1982 we then went back to London and started school. I think that was on of the best trips I’ve ever been on with my brothers and sisters.

Walk us through your work life trajectory
I was headhunted by a business development agency, which sold chartered surveyor services. After which I set up my own agency with a few partners called City Business Partners offering a more tailored service.

Knowing the typical Nigerian/African family and their love for professions like medicine and law, how did your family react when you told your parents you were dumping medicine.
They weren’t that pleased. Let’s just say that.FA2

When did you discover your passion for business?
I always knew I wanted to be in the financial sort of sector from an early age – from about the age of 15; but discovering my distinct passion for business came later on in life from the age of around 22-23.

What area did your company focus on when it was first founded?
We focused on small to medium sized businesses that were trying grow their client base, more scalable businesses, businesses with more potential for scalability. That’s what we focused on, trying to pull their increase of clients. Sometimes, we’ll help them broaden their vision and the services they can offer to their clients, as well as the ability to bring their clients into meeting with them

How did you transition into life as a hydra-head business mogul?
It wasn’t something I planned. I guess I evolved into this position as a serial entrepreneur through my experiences in starting businesses from scratch to networking and gaining access to capital.

Can you share some instances where you may have failed before and how you were able to pick yourself up?

Can I just say I have many failures!?! Failure, to me, is the pathway that leads to success; so temporary failure is a great thing. In the foundation I run (Rosemont Group Foundation), I always encourage the students to embrace failure, once you embrace your insecurities you then become more productive and wiser than the competition.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Stephen McCranie who said, “The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.”

I recently watched a PBS documentary on Barack Obama, and it described how he lost to Bobby Rush in the year 2000 to become elected into the U.S House of Representatives. Rush also went on to verbally insult him by calling him an educated fool. Imagine if he won, he most probably wouldn’t run or become the President of United States. Young people need to read this.

Freddie with Dumi Oburota (L) at Naomi Campbell’s birthday party at the Billionaire Club Sunset Lounge in Monaco

What prompted you to diversify?
I’m a firm believer in that adage that you should “never put all your eggs in one basket.” I’ve seen many entrepreneurs spiral downwards financially due to pigeonholing themselves in one sector, which I don’t subscribe to at all. I read an interview in the Wall Street Journal where I believe it was Warren Buffett who gave the advice that you should “never depend on one income.” I think you can’t go wrong with that type of internal guidance in the world of business.

How were you able to take a leap of faith and delve into diverse businesses?
I’ve never been confined to an industry or market sector. I am a very analytical and data driven type of individual, which is crucial in becoming an investor. Of course you need to be passionate about the business you set up. You must look at the size of the market; scalability of your business proposition; value proposition itself, and have a clear road map most of all on how to execute.

What keeps you going when things start looking grim?
The knowledge that I can withstand almost anything.

Describe an average day in your life?
I follow a morning ritual, which is immediately I wake up. I get my brain in gear. 4 out of 5 days a week, in the morning I will either exercise with a personal trainer, or practice a language with a private teacher. I am currently improving on my French and Italian.

My day, from then on, goes from starting in office at 10am, attending board meetings receiving updates from founders we work with, investment partners as well as my internal team, to business dinners in the evening.

How do you balance the work and home dynamics?
I simply try to balance by prioritizing but never sacrificing my family and children for work.

Freddie with Caprice Bourret at The Arts Club in London

What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs – especially those in developing countries like Nigeria where basic resources e.g. power are not easily accessible?
Countries like Nigeria are very unique in that, whilst still considering your business ideas and your road map to success, you must also factor in obstacles that you won’t ordinary factor in here (London). So as a Nigerian founder or entrepreneur you have to be very realistic and factor in obstacles like power, a lack of education in terms of technological advancement or a lack of skillset. Alongside developing your product, you must also develop a way to factor in developing your employees skillset. It’s an added challenge for any founder or entrepreneur but it something that for now. I think over the next decade, anyone coming into the tech space and independent business space must also factor in educating their staff as well as educating their users.

Let’s relax a bit. Tell us about your hair regimen?
I wake up and its done, that’s my regime.

If you had a super power, what would it be?
The ability to see into the future.

How would you describe your sense of style?
Environmentally friendly.

What’s the most exotic place you’ve ever been?
Trancoso in Northern Brazil, Lizard Island in Australia, Lakipia in Kenya.

Three things you can’t absolutely go anywhere without?
My phone because I have pictures and video of my children on my phone.
My American Express Centurion card.
A suitable attire

Thank you for speaking with us. We wish you the best in your future endeavours. Follow Freddie Here on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Freddie Achom’s PR | Getty Images

15 Comments

  1. TRUTH TELLA

    August 12, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    THIS ONE THAT’S ALWAYS GALLIVANTING ALL OVER THE WORLD WITH WHITE WOMEN! WHATS YOUR BUSINESS ON BELLANAIJA?? ABEG BABES DISAPPEAR.

  2. Nwa papa

    August 12, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Great read.. Luv the part he said he never leaves home without his phone & AMEX Centurion card aka THE AMEX BLACK CARD… 😀

    • tob

      August 12, 2015 at 11:59 pm

      He totally could have just said wallet. But no he had to humble brag. “My American Centurion Card.” The black card that requires holders to spend a minimum $10,000 on it per month to retain their membership. The ULTIMATE multimillionaire status symbol. Like sure the average Nigerian has probably never heard of me, but I’m not just rich, I’m filthy rich.

    • som

      August 13, 2015 at 11:32 am

      @ Tob -The sarcasm is so outta this world. i need a lesson on how to be this sarcastic cos some arrogant statements like the one you pointed out call for it…
      Anyways, mr freddie, quick advice. We get you are rich ok and apparently from a wealthy home. Learn to inspire people, cos most of the details from this interview was so unnecessary and had me wondering what exactly this interview was supposed to do for the people reading it.
      Eissshhhh

    • Manny

      August 13, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      I think he meant that with the black card, you don’t really need to tote anything else. It covers everything such that even if you were stranded on an island, you could call their concierge desk and they would send a helicopter or boat sha.
      I can see myself saying what he said without meaning to brag. I don’t have the black card but I’ve had an amex card for years and I love amex and I sometimes go on and on about their perks.

  3. Truth

    August 12, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Oya naija gold digging women jump on him before he gets taken..

    • Kechi

      August 12, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      I thought he could not sacrifice his family and children for work. I beg cross check very well o before you ruin another person’s marriage and the same thing comes back to you, your children or grandchildren.

  4. Alexander Mccathy

    August 12, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Very well said….

  5. mariah

    August 12, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Hmm..great.

  6. Samantha Harris

    August 13, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Excellent article, we need more stories celebrating the success stories of those within the field of business.

  7. blueberry

    August 13, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Great story. Advertise your product and not the size of your pocket. Money talks, wealth whispers. Which one exactly are you?

  8. QUIRKY

    August 13, 2015 at 11:59 am

    He sorta looks like the actor/rapper Childish Gambino

  9. Tunmi

    August 14, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Lmaoooo oh dear

    I would shag him, maybe do business with him should my field require it, definitely network with him, and end it there.

  10. Ibe Tochukwu

    June 5, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Great read, hmm… must confess really enjoyed this post.. the articles all round motivated me..
    Thanks for sharing.
    Ceo, Promarketingbrand.com

  11. 419

    February 4, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Be careful of investing or doing business with this man, he is a convicted fraudster!!

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