— hopes to become President of Guyana one day
IT was not until 2018 that Nicolas Ariston Chesney stumbled upon the most profitable small business of selling chips, which was a vital source of income while furthering his studies at the University of Guyana.
“I sold plantain chips, chicken foot, cassava chips, sweet potato chips. I started by selling about 10-15 chips. I was kind of shy at first. I didn’t know who to go to and what to say, so I started with my classmates. The news quickly spread through my faculty and eventually the entire campus was buying. My new name became ‘Chip man’ and our slogan was ‘A chip a day will raise your GPA’,” recalled Chesney, who recently graduated with a Degree in Engineering from the University of Guyana.
He told this publication as the days went by sales skyrocketed to the extent that he was selling more than 500 packs of chips every week.
“Sales went up so high that I ordered 1,000 packs of chips and the supplier crumbled because they couldn’t handle the capacity,” Chesney, who described himself as a Christian, farmer, motivator, friend and mechanical engineer, related.
The young man noted that his academic journey was not an easy one as he had to spend two extra years at the Berbice High School because of poor performance.
In 2007, at the age 17, his family left New Amsterdam, Berbice and migrated to The Bahamas, where he spent another two years at R.M Bailey Senior High School before graduating with his high school diploma in 2009.
Four years after, he returned to Guyana and had initially applied to the University of Guyana, hoping to enroll in the new academic year, but was unsuccessful as he did not meet the entry requirements.
“I had to rewrite Math and English. It was too late to for me to sign up for CXC, so I decided to apply at the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) hoping to pursue a Certificate in Forestry, which is a one-year programme, instead of me wasting a year. But during the interview, I was advised by the academic board that with my qualifications it would be better to do the Diploma in Agriculture, which is a two-year programme
“During my time at GSA, I met some of the most amazing people in the world, both students and lecturers. I was fortunate to be elected as the President of the Student Society and the President of the Bible Club simultaneously. At GSA, a group of friends and I founded a non-profit organisation named R.E.A.C.H (Raising and Extending Arms to Care and Help). Also, while at GSA, I rewrote Math and English and received Grades Three and One respectively. I graduated in 2015 and enrolled at the university and got accepted that same year into the Mechanical Engineering Programme.
“UG was tough mainly because I did not have a solid Math foundation, which was necessary for my field of study. I struggled for the first two years.”
And, although his parents paid the majority of his tuition fees, at times they struggled and he needed the extra cash to print assignments, for transportation and other miscellaneous expenses.
“I believe I was born an entrepreneur, so I had to devise ways to work around my finances. It wasn’t until 2018 I stumbled upon the most profitable small business of selling chips. My course was a full-time programme, so I couldn’t make the chips, but I learnt to make the mango sour. I bought tamarind and cucumber when mangoes were out of season. I even injured a nerve on my hand from peeling close to 50 mangoes every night.
“My business affected my studies because sometimes I had to choose between studying or peeling mangoes. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to attempt it unless you’re absolutely certain you can do it because it can affect your grades,” he chuckled.
According to Chesney, people, would remember him for his unique ways of doing business because he transports his chips in a suitcase on his motorcycle.
“I remember one time the security thought I was the person who made the bomb threat and I was pulled in for questioning. When they opened the suitcase, all they saw were the bottles used for the mango sour, the security laughed and said ‘bai guh lang yuh way,’” he related.
Chesney noted that it was at this point that an inner awakening occurred which led to the desire of embarking on a journey, with the ultimate goal to become the President of Guyana.
Proud but humbled by his accomplishments, Chesney is also the owner of a registered small business named Eco-Tropical Farms and the current President of the R.E.A.C.H Foundation.
He is encouraging youths and even adults to never give up on their dreams.
“Remember this, a bumblebee is not supposed to fly according to the laws of aerodynamics but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it flies anyway. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, you have the ability to accomplish anything you put your mind to do and with God at the centre of it all you will make it,” he said. Chesney credits his success to his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, his parents, classmates, friends, sponsors, customers and all the wonderful people at his church, the Full Life New Testament Church of God.