From Phone Charging to Cosmetics: A Leap Promulgated By Sheer Will

It was just three years of insistence which helped Nyindeng Duop Chuol to realise that through sheer will, there is a high chance of success in life.
 Nyindeng Duop Chuol speaking to The Dawn from his shop in Bentiu. Photo by Lieth Nyak Jock.

By Lieth Nyak Jock

It was just three years of insistence which helped Nyindeng Duop Chuol to realise that through sheer will, there is a high chance of success in life.

The 30 year old South Sudanese started with a small phone charging booth in Bentiu town of Unity State in 2018 and now owns a vibrant cosmetic shop which has become a household name in and around Bentiu.

Nyindeng Entrepreneur is the name by which his business goes, and attracts hundreds of people in need of cosmetics every day.

“The reason that pushed me to do business was that as a mature person, you realize that you have a family and are responsible for extended relatives,” Chuol told The Dawn in an interview in Bentiu. 

“You wouldn’t accept to spoil your life. It is good to work for your future so that your children will survive wherever you are doing something. That is the reason I started doing business,” the 30 year old said.

Putting a modest $200 into his initial business,  Chuol grew in worth to over $1000 in a few months and has now set a target of becoming the main cosmetics distributor in Unity State over time.

“My business is growing slowly. Because any profit I get, I bring in new lotions and sell them again. I keep buying and selling them while they are growing, ” he said.

Nyindeng Duop Chuol displays his cosmetics. Photo by Lieth Nyak Jock. 

It was not coincidental that Chuol was able to start up and develope his business from 2018.

The significance of that year was that peace was signed to end conflict which began in the country in 2013.

The conflict, devastating in nature left thousands of people dead, displaced millions others and slacked South Sudan’s economic growth. 

Insecurity meant people like Chuol could not do economic activities as he wished.

“When the peace deal was signed, I realised I could use the relative peace it created to do some work for myself and decided to begin with phone charging,” he said.

“The size of the business has increased. it wasn’t like before when I was starting the business. Now I’m renting this shop for 15,000 pounds per month.”

The peace agreement established a transitional government of national unity which has quelled fighting and pacified the country leaving community members to rebuild their livelihoods.

Chuol said his family of four including a wife three children live relatively comfortably from the proceeds of the business.

“After I started this business of selling lotions, it helped me a lot to support my family,” he said.

“My plan for the future is that I want this business to continue growing. I want it to be a big shop that my family and I can survive in.”

Chuol is not a selfish man. He is a source of advice for community members who want startup businesses.  

“Many people ask me how I am succeeding and I am always open in telling my story. I am also always ready to work with them to develop, ” he said.

This is reminiscent to how a village in China blossomed through the guidance of a leader.

Published on China Daily website in December 2023 is the story of a village CEO who helped revitalize a small village.

Bai Ling, 28, assumed the role of a village CEO in August 2022, breathing new life into Yunzhong Miao village in Zhaotong city, Yunnan province.

The small Miao ethnic village had fewer than 600 residents, and struggled with a single-industry focus and weak agricultural foundations.

Upon becoming the CEO, Bai leveraged the village’s tourism resources to initiate projects such as minsu (Chinese-style bed-and-breakfast), a coffee shop and the promotion of local cuisine, fostering the development of the tourism industry.

“We need to develop a reasonable growth plan based on the financial conditions of our village, steadily moving forward,” he was quoted saying.

The village has so far established attractions such as a 100-meter barbecue corridor and a “flower sea”, and has welcomed 320,000 visitors, generating revenue of 3.2 million yuan ($450,000). In 2022, the residents’ annual per capita income increased by more than 5,000 yuan.

Hou Yufeng, a lecturer at the College of Humanities and Development Studies of China Agricultural University said that by mobilizing villagers to collectively build their community, the village has set a good example and progressively advanced shared prosperity in rural areas.

The success of Yunzhong Miao village has led to a revival, drawing young individuals back to start businesses, such as study tour agencies, minsu and handicraft shops.

Meanwhile, according to Chuol in Bentiu,  hard work is the only solution towards building a good livelihood. 

“I would like to advise people that, as a person, your life is to work. Life is not about idleness. If you work, this is where you will understand what life is all about,” Chuol said.

“You won’t have a desire for other people’s property when you are doing your own,” he said. 

“When you are doing business, it will keep you busy. It will prevent you from desperation. That is life; it is all about work.

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