Mr. Haggai Gutap, a Nigerian business expert listed for international honors at the London Graduate School and Common Wealth University both in United Kingdom, next month, may have had it rough at the start of his career.
Gutap is the founder and Chief Executive Officer, Fingertips Enterprise Development Partners International Limited (FEDPIL), a global business training and consulting firm. He was hired in 2016 by Plateau State Government to manage its microfinance development agency, churning out thousands of globally reputed small and medium scale enterprises eversince.
A major setback at the tender stage of his business career nearly ripped him of his self-esteem, focus and will to survive, but he pressed on, becoming one of Nigeria’s major business exports.
In his words, “I had difficulties balancing my vision with the vision of the organizations I worked for. I had plans to be a successful entrepreneur but the environment was not conducive to practice my crazy thoughts and vision.
“Along the line I had to take though decisions to start my business. At that time, I started from zero. The week I resigned my appointment, I was robbed and I lost virtually everything, including my car but I went ahead and today the firm I started is in over six states of Nigeria and our vision is to raise a crop of workforce that is globally competitive.”
Gutap has since childhood been result driven. He hates self-pity and laziness. He hails from a poor farming village in Plateau State’s Mangu Local Government Area, and anything that seeks to keep him where he was the previous day is enemy.
“I always cherish efficiency in anything I am doing. I love impacting on people’s lives and continuous self-development. At work, I always want to ensure that honesty, transparency, adherence to time and commitment are highly observed. Anyone whose superiors or subordinates cannot trust will soon close shop,” he said.
His greatest inspiration has always been the quest to solve human problems and improve life in communities through creative thinking. This is a result of past experiences and constant association with “people of substance – something I can always learn from”, he says.
His nomination for the London honors is a great challenge as according to him, “it shows for every step I take, the society watches and evaluates my impact,” but at again, it is a call to more innovation, dedication to duty and focus on results, he said.
When he assumed work as Director General, Plateau State Microfinance Development Agency, he keyed into the vision of the rescue mission administration of Governor, Dr. Simon Bako Lalong.
Here, Gutap designed and executed programs for skills acquisition in various trades, Entrepreneurship and financial literacy, coaching and Mentoring services for MSMEs, as well as special support to outstanding MSMES in the state through grants.
He equally helped in the domestication of the presidential initiative of ease of doing business, making the State first to set up a One-Stop-Shop for the registration of all kinds of businesses.
Through this, the State has produced outstanding MSMEs that are now employers of Labour. This perhaps explains why he was on Thursday given a Presidential National Productivity Order of Merit award, in addition to next months international honors.
Despite that, Gutap tells us, “Continuous self-development, commitment to higher responsibilities and openness to new ideas and innovations are a must for me.” He advised fellow youths to be consistent in their pursuits, working for “results not money”, and always seeking personal growth.