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Monday, October 10, 2016

Mofolusade Sonaike..... memoirs


A compilation of my journey from my early blogging days.

This gives a brief insight into how I got here..... It's not complete yet though. I will get back to it soon hopefully. I like to hear from you. Send me a message at mofolusadesonaike@gmail.com

Enjoy.


Mofolusade Sonaike
The Entreprenership Journey
Fresh graduate

My very first Job and resignation

First City Monument Bank experience

Banking Consolidation Season

Goodbye FCMB

Hello Lagos Business School

Shell Internship

Heart Break from Shell

Dangote Cement experience

A new department, new experience

Trezorlandia - My first business

A job, A business and family

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lagos and the woman Conference holds September 24th

Lagos and the woman
The spate of domestic violence reported (as thousands would go unreported) since the beginning of the year has been alarming. There has been a prevalence of spousal abuse and violence resulting in some women being badly maimed while others lost their lives. Everyday we wake up to terrifying headlines that leave you not only gob smacked but completely distraught and agitated.

In view of this, The +Amazon Amazing  AMAZING AMAZON INITIATIVE a support group for women from all walks of life living in different countries across the world, dedicated to their empowerment, enhancement, uplifting, personal growth and development, is putting together a conference to educate women on domestic abuse, its signs, causes and help available.

The conference is themed "LAGOS AND THE WOMAN”. In Partnership with the Lagos State Ministry Of Women Affairs, the programme will educate women on the provisions of the law in Lagos State for the victim of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

"We would also hear from women who are survivors of domestic abuse and how they rose above their situation'" said +Mercy Makinde, founder of Amazing Amazon Initiative and the convener of the conference.

"Other issues affecting women who are resident in Lagos that would make them well-rounded individuals, help them live a fulfilled life and compete favorably with their contemporaries in other parts of the world would also be discussed," Makinde added.

The Commissioner of Women Affairs Lagos State, Honorable Lola Akande will be delivering the Keynote Address. Other Speakers include Nigeria’s foremost advocate against domestic violence, Mrs. Josephine Effah of Project Alert,

Mrs +Ini Onuk, the Founder/Group CEO, Thistle Group – a leadership, change management, projects and innovations management icon, Nigeria's premier wealth coach +Omilola Oshikoya and +Otefe Edebi a Psycholigist and Behavioral Health Consultant. 

+Omotola Jalade Ekeinde one of Nigeria’s foremost Actors; exemplary wife and mother will be also be one of the speakers at the conference amongst other notable women leaders and captains of industry.

The date for the event is Saturday, September 24, 2016 and will be held at Best Western Hotel, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Lagos And The Woman Conference is proudly supported by Helping Hands International, Unity Bank, Beko Electronics and of course the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs.



Lagos and the woman


Lagos and the woman

Media Partners are Guardian Woman, Nigerian Women Diary and Iaspire Radio.





Thursday, September 15, 2016

Royal ToothPick - Amadin Ogbebor

We can either complain endlessly about how Nigeria is behind and in a recession or we can decide to tackle one problem at a time. 

I remember when I saw the list of items banned by the CBN from accessing forex for imports, toothpicks jumped at me! I was like what! How hard can making toothpicks be. Why o why must we just resort to importing everything and anything. While we were out discussing it though, some were working ... :-)

People like Amadin Ogbebor. Imagine my excitement when I saw a facebook post about someone manufacturing toothpicks. I hunted him down to hear this story (Okay, hunt is an exaggeration, lol) but hey, it makes the story sweeter... hehe.

Enjoy.

Tell us about yourself

Amadin Ogbebor
My name is Amadin Ogbebor, I studied mechanical Engineering at Ahmadu Bello University. I have always enjoyed designing and building things.

When I was in secondary school I had a fan that the plug was always getting bad so I made a new one using nails, melted nylon bags and wires. Using a match box as the mould. I never had a plug problem with that fan again.

Tell us about your business 


I manufacture toothpicks from bamboo

How did you get funding for your business?

I got funding through personal savings and loan from the U.S. I am fortunate to have lived in the United States so I had access to some funds.

What opportunities have you been able to leverage on in your business so far?

I was able to network with some people that had one time done the business most of them were not helpful but I managed to get a few information here and there. But there is really no mentoring system that I could draw from and most people where looking out for themselves.

What was your inspiration for starting this business?

I had tried doing other businesses but I didn't really enjoy them, so I had to ask myself what do u really enjoy and I said making things so I decided to go into manufacturing. Initially I wanted to go into nail manufacturing then I heard the CBN Governor on radio saying we import all our toothpicks I decided it wasn't right so I researched the manufacturing process and decided to go into toothpick production instead.



What Challenges have you faced so far and how have you been able to overcome them?

My biggest problem was lack of funds, then the machines I got from China had problems which took me a few months to figure it out thanks to my mechanical engineering background. Then figuring out the process of manufacturing the toothpick. 

The first set I tried introducing into the market was rejected because of the quality so I went back to the drawing board and came out with an improved quality. Because I had mechanical problems with the machines it helped me understand the principles of the working of the machine that when I am going to expand manufacturing I intend to design and fabricate my machines here in Nigeria.

How will you summarize the journey so far?

The journey so far was mentally and physically challenging but I had a goal which I never took my eyes off no matter how much failures I encountered I kept celebrating the wins no matter how small.

Given the Chance, will you do this again?

Yes I will.

What lessons have you been able to learn from your journey so far that others should know?

Have a dream or vision but know that life will throw every obstacle your way but you should just keep going and you will be rewarded. Nothing good comes easy.

How can people connect with you?

Facebook -  Amadi Ogbebor 
Phone -   0909 863 4259

Made in Nigeria Toothpick

Toothpick


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fat2Fit_Klub - Olufunmi Adesokan #inthespiritofenterprise

According to research done by Marketsandmarket, the global weight loss and weight management market is expected to reach $206.4 billion by 2019 from $148.1 billion in 2014, growing at a CAGR of 6.9% from 2014 to 2019.

Even without the statistics, the buzz on weight management a.k.a #fitfam - ness in Nigeria these days is on another level. Before now, it was strange to see people jogging on the road, now its becoming the norm, so much so that naijasinglegirl listed Lekki link bridge as one of the hottest spots to catch a boo .... Lmao!

Now that everybody is a fitness coach/trainer, it takes some effort to separate the wheat from the shaft! But trust me, when you see Olufunmi's before and after picture, you yourself will ask her to coach you! Whaaat! She opens up on how it all began below.

Enjoy!


Tell us about yourself



My name is Olufunmi Edna Adesokan, a native of Ogun by descent and of Oyo by marriage. My academic background went on the normal climb and I graduated from the Polytechnic Ibadan as an accountant with some professional courses alongside.

Life for me has been both fortunate and 'I wish more fortunate' as I lost my dad at a young age and I always felt if I did not, probably my life would have taken a faster and bigger route. I met God at a younger age in my life and that has taken(still taking) me through the greatest route ever existed.

Tell us about your business

Fat2Fit_Klub came into actualization May 26, 2015. It began with two members and myself as the fitness coach, it's a virtual class and all instructions regarding exercises to be done, meal plans, video workouts, nutrition lectures and weekly weight loss monitoring is done there. Fat2Fit was born out of passion to help people overcome the fat the right and sure way. By eating healthy and working out!




What was your inspiration for starting this business?

Fat2Fit_Klub is more like my baby because I give it so much attention like I would my family. It all began in April 17, 2015. After some polite and true comments from someone who meant a lot to me, I looked myself in the mirror and I gave myself a grand lecture. I got married as a size 16 weighing between 70 and 80kg and after marriage and two kids via caesarian section, I grew to a comfortable size 20 and weighed a whooping 93kg. I had no control over what I ate because I ate it all, ranging from sharwarma to pizza to taking two carbonated drinks a day, I knew the newest restaurant in town and I sample enough dishes(most of which are fatty), once I can imagine it, or my eyes sees it, or I can perceive or perhaps I taste it, then I gobble it. And yes, I kept buying the next big size and the next and the next thinking of when I will one day wear a small sized dress(heavy joke).

But that one polite and simple but true comment changed my life. I stood before my dressing mirror and I said 'Olufunmi Edna, your life has to change, you must take your destiny in your hands and change your looks, behind all that folds of fat is a beautiful you, bring it out by all means'. So I met a candid and firm young woman who decided to work on me (she was in Canada while I was in Nigeria so we communicated mainly online). I began to eat healthy and exercise a whole lot, and gradually, the weights started coming off. In the first week, I lost a whooping 8kg and I knew there was no turning back, I shifted from wearing a size 20 to a size 18, then size 16, 14, 12, 10 and 8. It seemed like a miracle in the eyes of many especially those who knew me before, but it took me 4months of determination, discipline and focus to lose the excess 33kg I carried around town.

Everyone wanted to know my story, what I did, the drugs I used, so I decided to start a small group where I can train plus sized women as well, it was free at first cos it was born out of passion to help women who had low self esteem due to fat like I used to have. But of course we know how valueless cheap things look to people so I attached a fee when a lot where not serious about it. Finally I knew this was the direction God was pushing me towards, to reach people, to help people, to beautify people inwards and outwards, cos believe me, ur beauty is enhanced when the ugly fat is gone. I had peace from God doing this, and that was how Fat2Fit_Klub came into actualization May 26, 2015. It began with two members and myself as the fitness coach, it's a virtual class and all instructions regarding exercises to be done, meal plans, video workouts, nutrition lectures and weekly weightloss monitoring is done there. And in over a year, the Klub has trained and is training about 200 women all together some of which have graduated and doing fine in and out of the country.

How did you get funding for your business?

Being a virtual class, the business required no huge funding. The money saved up over time enabled me set up the basic things needed to ensure the class was run effectively. But plans are in place for bigger prospects.

What Challenges have you faced so far and how have you been able to overcome them?

The greatest challenge is people management. But with work experience as management staff in few companies I've worked with, it gave no much hassle.

How will you summarize the journey so far?



Fat2Fit has being and is still fulfilling for me. When I see the happy faces on my clients, their testimonies, the joy they experience when they get to wear a new and smaller dress size, I feel like, you have once again saved a life from am unhealthy path. That alone brings me fulfillment.

Given the Chance, will you do this again?

This is beyond me. People are dependent on me, peoples lives are being changed through God making our paths cross. I spend sleepless nights doing researches and studies and a whole lot more so as to bring about maximum result in my clients. I will do this over and over again given the chance!



What lessons have you been able to learn from your journey so far that others should know.

Consistency is my biggest lesson. And my definition of consistency is "doing the same thing everyday with a new vigour". I have never done a business and stay in it for more than 3months. I end up giving up. This will be my first ever that we celebrated a one year anniversary and looking forward to a December party. Wow, I've learnt to be consistent, in good times, in bad times, if you are convinced about a vision, don't give up, keep doing it, with new daily energy, and just one new day, will bring about a better phase!

To achieve anything, you first should be focused on your goal, be disciplined enough to get it, and be determined to achieve it. I call it my FDD(Biggest partners) in my 4months of weightloss. Finally, let God guide you. I have made so many mistakes not knowing what I should be doing until I allowed God to guide me. Giving yourself such great opportunity, would save you a world of stress. Thank you.

How can people connect with you


Pls visit my fanpage on Facebook and its Fat2Fit_Klub. You can watch my videos there especially the anniversary video which has being watched by over 8000 people and lots of client's testimonials plus interesting lectures are all on the page.

The official line is +234 - 817 215 2290.



Monday, August 15, 2016

Surviving the Recession: Nigeria SME and Entrepreneurs Guide - By Femi Onakanren




The current challenges facing the country and businesses operating in the country are multifaceted. We are grappling with a perfect storm of challenging issues and unfavorable developments beyond our control. These have been further exposed by our longstanding failure to strategically plan for the future by developing tailored solutions, build required and sustainable structures and properly implement enabling policies. In the end, small businesses and entrepreneurs are caught in the middle; vulnerable on business and social front with little control on determining how to effectively escape the nightmare.

As stated previously, recovery from economic recession on macro and micro levels are out of the control of the SMEs, Micro Entrepreneurs and Startups. Fundamentally, the resolution of the current economic situation is at governmental levels and dependent on a well-balanced, structured strategic approach; suitable fiscal and monetary policies, grassroots integration, enabling environment for doing businesses etc. that provide for both short term and long term scenarios.

So, while we wait, pray and hope for more favorable returns (improved revenue, FDI, FPI, better policies etc.), here are some suggestions on how businesses survive (and thrive?)


Reconcile with Reality

The truth is, our current woes were not really a surprise; any following, concerned or discerning individual would have seen it a mile away. All forecasts and trending developments indicated the inevitability (which makes it more alarming that we were caught pants-at-knees). Unfortunately our dithering and befuddling fiscal and monetary policies dug us deeper. The wise business man/ woman needs to wake up and accept the current reality; it’s going to get worse before (if even) it gets better. The economic forecasts and projections that guided your quarterly or monthly assumptions need to be reviewed and adjusted. The business needs to take to mind a conservative approach by keeping at pace with projections.


Reduce Loan Exposures


In these times, reduced liability is an important approach and should be a key watchword. As much as possible, do not look for new loans and actively seek to restructure existing ones. Reduced exposure would help your business's ability to survive the challenging situation, plan for the future and position for the right adjustments without looking over your shoulders all the time; this is a race that can't be run in halves and distractions of any kind (especially capital related) have extinction level significance. Though some may reason that what you’ll be paying back at the time of repayment would be worth less, it should be noted that what you borrowed would also have depreciating power to achieve your objectives, sinking one deeper in hole.


Use Equity


To raise money for your business you'll need to give up a part of your business. Valuation will be an issue and it would be good to quickly execute a valuation report (adjusted for forecasts and trends). Now I know that establishing valuation can be tricky and seem technical but in the simplest terms, it means how much is your business (assets, liabilities, contacts, etc.). So, to survive, you may need to spread your risks to raise the funds required to do business. You may use a transaction partnership, profit sharing model or a full on equity for cash model (amongst others). Remember, 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.




Change Operating Business Model

You may need to take a second look at your operating business model. For ease of understanding, an operating business model is a plan for the successful operation of a business on how you deliver value to your customers and beneficiaries; it identifies sources of revenue, the intended customer base, products and expenditure (Capex and Opex). Leaner resources mean it can't be business as usual. You will have to critically review key areas such as suppliers, credit system etc. to manage your resources, customers, sales channels and risk exposures.


Adjust Expenses


Times are tight and tough decisions will have to be taken with all the fortitude of a beleaguered general. Luxuries and non-essentials would have to eliminated; some of these may be staff, change of office space, adjusted working hours etc. Non critical payments may have to be deferred and/ or re-negotiated. Merge operations and activities under single, simple channels and block waste. It must be noted however that only an honest, critical evaluation will aid in making the right decisions one which expenses to prune.


Adjust Expectations

Businesses are built on projections and expectations. However, what was projected from the beginning and the foundations/ assumptions have also changed significantly; your expectations should take a similar review. Further, this review would help you plan and make inform decisions on some of the other issues identified in this guide. This adjustment will also help you see how quickly you can realistically return to profit and how long you can survive. We cannot stress enough that while ambition is a requisite for any entrepreneur, this is a period for managed expectations.


Seek Alternatives

You may need to review all your chain of service and actively explore alternatives in every area of operation either it is your supplier chain channels or raw materials (which can be close substitutes). It is important in the spirit of full disclosure to advise your clients of the challenge and share your plan of action; their support and on-boarding is very critical. Alternatives are quite plentiful, what is needed is the desire to see them and the courage to attempt. For example, you may be struggling to meet server obligations with your longstanding preferred partner while a little work would reveal close alternatives who can give similar services without hampering your service quality.


Consolidate Existing Customers

Rather than using limited resources to obtain new customers, deploy more of your resources to keeping your existing customers happy and patronizing; this is a sure way to guarantee your continued existence as a business. You must remember that your customers are going through the same rough challenges and would be similarly looking for alternatives for any product or service. Devise non-threatening avenues to show appreciation of their committed patronage, appreciation of shared plight and incentives for continued support. A little leaven can go a long way.


Don't Spread Yourself Thin

With an acknowledgement of the current reality, the business must focus on deploying a leaner approach towards doing business as has been stressed repeatedly. There is no point stretching your resources, you just become sub-optimal on all fronts and this could prove more damaging to the state and corporate survival of your business. This strategy involves focusing on a particular product line, customer niche or suppliers. This will aid your ability to deploy your resources effectively as well as build consolidated relationship with key partners. This does not mean you leave yourself flagrantly exposed to the associated risks, it means you chose to concentrate your energies and resources at the most optimal point. The decision should be well informed and use metrics such as greatest impact on bottom-line, greatest exposure, quickest to implement etc.


Apply for Help 

There are several funding, management support and advisory opportunities and services available, don't be shy to explore all. Some are available at no cost while others may come with manageable fees. For those with fees, it is important to remember that resources are scarce; every support to manage your risks and reduce your exposure is a lifeline that should not be ignored. Further, every expense must provide measurable value; either in avoidance of sunk cost by reducing avenues for errors (proper/ professional evaluation) or by accessing support structures and assistance (capital or otherwise) when made available for free. Management is a key part of any business and asking for help should also extend to seeking mentoring or advisory team guidance. These must be carefully chosen based on professionalism, shared values, achievements and peer recognition as they may open other doors of opportunities for your business.

This is not an exhaustive list; they are just suggestions and definitely do not assume to be all knowing nor a panacea for all woes. Finally, we would like to point out that this is not a wholesale solution; the nature of business, industry/ sector and regulatory constraints would determine which of the above would be applicable to your business.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

DOWNLOAD: Appreneur unveils YCT social



YCT Social, an app for YABATECH Students Online.


Are you currently a student of Yaba College of Technology or a prospective student seeking admission? Here is an app that will keep you connected to every happening around the reputable institution, connect you with your favourite peeps in school even when you are outside the school environments.



Why You Should Download YCT App:

Create a group and get all your school friends connected 24/7.

Share photos, videos and exchange lecture notes in e-format.

Connect with students and get reliable information on admission, courses, school fees, exams, and post-UME.

You can send and receive private messages.

You can get started with your existing friends right from your address book.It’s the best way to connect with your friends after graduation.

You are always in-the-know and have an edge over others.and so much more.

Download YCT Social App Now

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Nigeria: Boys are not smiling

Hi guys. I have been scarce and the reason is captured in the title above.

I was at a seminar recently on a panel session talking about how capital is not really the main challenge in starting a business (and it is not, I still insist). Anyways, some man from the audience almost got on the stage to beat me up, I am exaggerating a bit though, but he was very angry, Lol! Of course, I am not that insensitive, we are all in this Nigeria together, so I can understand the frustration.

Over time, I have come to realize that entrepreneurship is not for everybody, to be honest. As much as we promote entrepreneurship and glamorize it, it is not a walk in the park anywhere in the world, not to talk of Nigeria… hmmm! I have recently decided; we cannot continue to have these entrepreneurship conversations, without tackling issues of the environment we operate in.



Let’s face it; the operating environment of a business affects its success either positively or negatively. You can have all the grand ideas and be resilient as ever; if the environment stifles you, you can’t sustain it. This is not to say that nobody can be successful in a hostile environment, after all some billionaires of the world today emerged during the greatest recessions and some others in the midst of war.  Besides, as I type this, someone is just dedicating a new house or cruising a brand new car from legit business, in this same Nigeria (They should come and tell me how o, lol).

I am not a politician, but I can see that things are indeed rough right now in Nigeria. What makes it worse is, we don’t even know what the plans are to alleviate the struggle, if any. Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot be pushing people to go into entrepreneurship, without at least doing something to address these issues.  Every little drop counts.

This is why I was excited to see the vision and mission of the column, an editorial aimed at drawing out solutions to our country’s challenges. As part of her launch activities, the COLUMN is calling for entries from Nigerians to identify what our greatest challenges are and proffer solutions on how to address them, one challenge at a time.

We have too many brilliant Nigerians (I know a lot), for us to be struggling for air like this! Haba!


Someone reached out to me when I posted the release yesterday and said, Sade don’t you think religion should be on this list.

What do you think?



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Nigeria: Floating Forex Model and the Way Forward

If you are Nigerian and live in Nigeria, but think that everything happening in the economy does not concern you, think again. I am not asking you to become an economist or activist overnight, but if we must progress as a nation, all hands need to be on deck. We need to discuss the issues with a view to find solutions.

I remember when the floating forex policy was announced, Femi (you'll meet him in a minute) said to me, this is not the solution. I was looking at him like a pessimist at the time, until the dollar started to become scarce again! See yawa. What are we going to do ooo... people! Lol. 



With all the brilliant people we have in this country, surely we can come up with solutions. By the time we challenge ourselves and drive discussions that help us think, I am hopeful that we will find a way out of the myriad of problems our Facebook commentators remind us of daily (as if we do not know already! shio).

Enough with the highlighting and amplifying of the issues. We need a plan and we need it fast! Femi has come on board to take us through from the root of the matter. He is not an economist neither am I, you know this already :-), but Femi is one of those efikos that like to read and follow trends in economics and politics. He's not here to force his opinion down our throats, but to start conversations that will lead somewhere.

I want to read your thoughts, whether you agree or disagree. Let's start this journey to solutions for Nigeria.

Cheers!

The Genesis......


Map of Nigeria


(This article has condensed reasoned economic structures without boring with percentages and theoretical jargons which often make the broth too thick for ease of consumption)

The CBN’s announcement of a floating foreign exchange model was wildly welcomed in many circles and heralded as the panacea to all our economic woes. The apex bank was hailed for such an obvious and ingenious approach to solving a critical problem. To be fair to the CBN in the light of the prevailing challenges, this policy stance made sense on first look.

However, a deeper look revealed that the floating exchange model was just a mild alternative for forced devaluation. Now while devaluation is not bad in and of itself, such monetary policy positions must be weighed against the realities and conditions required to benefit the economy in both the short term and the long term. 

Devaluation is an economic monetary tool used to “officially lower the value of a country’s currency within a fixed exchange rate system relative to another currency, or group of currencies”. Significantly, this tool is used as a measure of achieving a favorable balance of trade by a country as it favors increased local production capacity for exports and self-sustenance and reduce dependence on imports through an attendant increase in cost of importation.

Nigerian floating exchange policy


At the time of the announced floating exchange model, the country was experiencing very challenging circumstances ditto  

- Reduced revenue from crude earnings due to falling oil prices
- Failing and non-existent infrastructure
- Fleeing FDI and FPI  against a backlog of dollar transaction payments
- CBN’s curious monetary policies and summersaults
- Insecurities in various regions of the country
- Budget implementation merry-go-round/ stalemate
- Targeted speculative forex transactions
- Rising unemployment
- War against corruption (which was apparently fighting back) 
- and a generally deteriorating standard of living across the country.

It becomes clearer therefore that inflation was only going up, unemployment will increase and recession becomes prescient. Furthermore, it becomes extremely disingenuous for an import based economy to pursue the path of asura (devaluation) in such testing circumstances to provide temporary reprieve to meet short term dollar mandates, in the hope of successful appeals for FDI and favorable loans. The long term repercussions are devastating.

First off, for devaluation to work we must have an export based structure or provide such environments and incentives as to encourage local production and use of local alternatives to meet local demands for self-sufficiency. In the absence of these foundations, the spectra of recession stretches towards the gloom of depression. 

The much vaunted market forces which would determine the “real” value of the Naira are painfully skewed against any immediate or long term benefit to the people. Further, the anomaly called the BDC would only continue to strain the Naira as it is unfortunately worryingly dependent on speculative valuation. Thus, as the interbank rate seeks to find a balance (whilst dancing to the rhythm of the phantom market forces) and inches towards it, the parallel market will pull away (the clue is in the word “parallel”) further due to the vagaries of demand outstripping supply, remittance constraints and arbitrage. The utopian hope of market forces quickly turns into shades of dystopian nightmares in an import based, revenue starved and recession sunk economy. 

Given that the only way out of a recession (and depression) is massive government spending, it mocks reason to assume that a limp currency would offer any succor. Thus our current reality is reduced purchasing power of the naira, increased cost of goods and a further impoverished standard of living. While the obvious is that your naira can acquire less, the dollar cannot purchase more since the market of source is still external. Therefore, the vicious cycle of continued devaluation, depreciation and recession creates a binding economic vortex with attendant sickening existential vertigo.

However, our current plight also offers some hope if properly managed. To do this we must 

  • Abandon the fixation on floating or micromanaged forex and create policies and structures geared towards laying the foundation for self-sustenance and growth. In this belly of the beast which we find ourselves, government and regulatory authorities need to bite the bullet and address the issues head on. 
  • Empower the alternatives and grow local capacity even at a deficit budgetary structure as increased cost of importation will ultimately lead to pursuit of alternatives. 
  • Also, the mythical salvation by FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) needs to be addressed. With woeful ratings on ease of doing business, infrastructure availability and policy inconsistencies, this is not a surprise. However, these issues should be addressed immediately to create a welcoming environment and further garnished with appropriate incentives (tax breaks, access to funds etc.) to encourage investment. It should be noted that the above should apply to all businesses in the country and not the exclusive of some or patronizing FDIs. 
  • The monetary policy oversight and regulatory body(s) should deploy a low interest scheme attached directly to infrastructure development and SME growth. While the previous arguments have been about increased liquidity leading to inflation, the structure should be to attach same facilities to managed support schemes. 
  • Government stimulation, with fiscal policies, gross spending and appropriate monetary policies would ease us out of the current shadows. 
Ultimately, if this is properly pursued, our dependence on foreign imports and single source revenue will reduce and we can begin to tap into, exploit and enjoy the wealth we have been blessed with in resources, people and intelligence.

What are your thoughts on this? We would love to hear from you.

Femi Onakanren,

Femi Onakanren
Director Eigenvalue Nigeria Ltd (Business Solutions Providers & Policy Analysts)
Developers of tagChief® Mobile Application and Enterprise Solution & StartRight Entrepreneur Boot Camp

Monday, June 13, 2016

ASSETS and Bellafricana SME Export Workshop

African Sustainable SME Export Trade Solutions (ASSETS) and Bellafricana present Repositioning Nigerian SMEs As A Catalyst To Achieve Rapid, Sustainable Growth In The Non-Oil Export Sector.

Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions?

• Can SMEs become major players in the non-oil export value chain?
• Should my company get involved in export?
• How do I know if my product is export ready?
• If I don’t have a product yet what can I do?
• If I am a marketer can I get involved in export?
• Should I switch from import to export?

If you want answers to any of these questions, then you don’t want to miss a golden opportunity at the SME Export Workshop to get practical, down to earth answers to these and many other questions. You will also get the latest information about new incentives and critical issues affecting the non-oil export sector in Nigeria.


ASSETS and Bellafricana SME Export Workshop

WHERE?

At a special workshop to prepare SMEs for opportunities and challenges in the non-oil export sector at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

WHEN?

Wednesday 29th June 2016 from 9am – 5pm (Registration commences at 8.30am)

WHAT DOES IT COST?

Early bird fee: ₦12,000 (If payment is made on or before 17th of June)
Fee: ₦15,000 (After 17th of June till 27th of June, subject to availability of space)

HOW TO PAY:

Make payment to Bellafricana, Zenith Bank, Account Number 1013734944

Use your company name as reference. Once payment is made kindly scan deposit slip or proof of transfer to info@bellafricana.com, cc: smeexportsolutions@gmail.com with name and phone number.

TO REGISTER: Go to export.bellafricana.com

CONTACT NUMBER:

For sponsorship and more information, call Bukky on 08086363970

Participants will also benefit from the following:

Presentation on the NEXIM Non-oil export Stimulation Facility and other Export financing packages

Information about market access programmes including:

• ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and ECOBIZ
• USA – African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
• European Union – EU Export Helpdesk and EPA

Assessment of Samples:

(One product per participant) and contact with officials from Government and International development agencies who will highlight the special facilities assistance and training available for Nigerian export-oriented SME producers and marketers.

Presentations that will cover:

1. The importance of market entry requirements and specifications
2. Quality Assurance/Control,
3. Certification,
4. Packaging and Labelling,
5. Costing and Pricing,
6. Non-tariff Barriers,
7. Phytosanitary Issues,
8. Use of social media and ICT as platforms to promote and export products made by Nigerian SMEs.

WORKSHOP COORDINATOR: Ms Shade Bembatoum-Young, CEO African Sustainable SME Export Trade Solutions (ASSETS)


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

RECAP: Excellence in life series 2.0

In spite of the current downward trajectory of the Nigerian economy, it is believed that an individual can be economically buoyant by discovering, nurturing and maximizing new opportunities.

This was the submission of speakers at the Excellence In Life Series (EIL) Series 2.0 held on Saturday, May 21, 2016, at the Standard Alliance Events Hall, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

With the theme, Breaking New Grounds, the speakers such as, Dr Femi Paul, who is also the Convener, Excellence In Life; Bukky George – Founder & CEO, HealthPlus Pharmacy; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank offered valuable insights and ideas on how to spot, seize and maximize opportunities in the current economic downturn.

Bukky George - Founder/CEO, Health Plus
“Most people don’t listen until they are in the classroom. But the best lessons are taught along the way…in the ordinary course of daily life,” said Dr Femi Paul at the event.

He charged the audience to aspire to break new grounds. He said, “Ordinary people look and admire; winners look, observe and aspire.”

He further noted that “aspiration fuels Pertinent Enquiries and Propels People; admiration only generates simplistic applause and awe.”

Another speaker at the event, Bukky George, emphasized the need for an individual to explore his or her passion, noting that it is only when the individual did that he could get to the promised land. She also mentioned that it was important for people to seek to fill the gap that exists in their areas of specialization instead of just making up numbers.


“Your promised land is where your passion lies. It is where your heart quickens, where you feel an almost supernatural hunger to intervene and improve a situation,” said Bukky George.

“Seek out a gap in a product or service delivery that you have the qualification, skill, experience, inspiration and passion to fill. Fill the gap excellently.”