INTERVIEW: Leicestershire Entrepreneur & Best Selling Author, Mark Esho
Leicestershire businessman Mark Esho has overcome adversity, bullying and a life changing disability to become a successful businessman. Dluxe Leicestershire spoke to Mark as his incredible book, I Can. I Will, becomes an Amazon Number 1 Bestseller.
Mark’s been on an almost unbelievable journey to become a top businessman, and it his incredible spirit, drive and self-propelled determination which has pushed him to become the very best he can be – despite almost every obstacle being thrown in his path. In his thought provoking and moving autobiography, Mark not only explores his upbringing and hard childhood – but also asks the question that if he knew what his life had in store for him, would he have chosen to be born. And despite every abuse, beating and suffering he has endured – his surprising yet motivational answer is “Yes”.
The 56-year-old, who was born in Newbold Verdon and grew up in the county before being taken to Nigeria by his mother and father in their efforts to ‘cure’ him from polio, decided to release his life story after being persuaded by friends and family that others should
know how his life changed overnight into what anyone would perceive as a living nightmare.
“I was as a young, confident and adventurous boy who enjoyed riding my bike, living with my foster family in Leicester until one morning at the age of 5 I woke up in a cold sweat unable to walk” he’d contracted polio through no fault of his own, and for a reason which even baffled doctors.
Doctors gave him just a 10% chance of life and Mark was left paralysed from the neck down, before slowly regaining movement. To this day, he still suffers from muscle damage and is unable to walk unaided.
It was while he was at school he was mercilessly bullied, both by staff, fellow pupils and even his father, which lead him to have to work even harder to become a success.
“School was tough; very hard. I was sent from private to state schools and in between England and Nigeria, so my education was very broken up. I was either left to study on my own in classrooms as there was no provision for children with disabilities in those days, or I was forced to crawl from class to class. My father didn’t allow me to have a wheelchair as it showed a weakness, and this in turn caused further
Life was very tough for me. However, it was with self-drive and the want to be financially independent that I pushed on, and even taught myself computer skills to set up my own business, as I spotted search engine optimisation in the infancy of the internet,” he said.
Mark completed an MBA at De Montfort University in Leicester and set up three companies: Easy Internet Services, Easy Internet Solutions
and property investment company Dreme within the city. Mark is also proud to have become a Rotary member in Leicester, inspired by the organisation’s role in starting and spearheading the campaign for a polio-free world.
Mark said: “It was a hard decision to write this book and I thought long and hard about it before I made that step. But I also knew my story had to be told. Not only as an incredible affirmation on why the work to eradicate this awful disease should continue and as to why children should be immunised, but also to show people that they can survive almost everything and anything life throws at them”.
He continues; “I thought that learning to walk again after polio would be my biggest challenge, but it was just the start of the terror my life became. From an abusive father, and horrendous beatings to bullying at school – I had to fight for everything. But, I survived and thrived to what I have become today.
I hope my book will raise awareness of the impact polio has had on people’s lives – and continues to do so. I ask in my book if I would have chosen to live had I known I would have had a lifetime of pain and suffering. This is of course a very difficult question to ask, and answer. I have a wife and son, along with employees who depend on me. Life has been hard and it has thrown up a lot of problems, including bullying, racism and abuse. But I absolutely believe every fight I have had, including the polio and relearning to walk, has made me the
man I am today, and much stronger for it. And my sense of purpose couldn’t be stronger.”