Entrepreneur – Businessday NG https://businessday.ng Sat, 28 Nov 2020 12:44:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 185697343 We have empowered Nigerian women to express their unique sense of style – Recare GMD https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/we-have-empowered-nigerian-women-to-express-their-unique-sense-of-style-recare-gmd/ https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/we-have-empowered-nigerian-women-to-express-their-unique-sense-of-style-recare-gmd/#respond Fri, 27 Nov 2020 10:16:46 +0000 https://businessday.ng/?p=501242 We have empowered Nigerian women to express their unique sense of style – Recare GMDChika Ikenga is the group managing director of Recare, manufacturers of Natures Gentle Touch, a leading personal style brand in Nigeria, and Hairsavvy, competing successfully in South Africa’s natural hair care market. By infusing plant-based chemistry with natural elements from the organically rich African environment, a unique set of solutions for African women’s hair, skin, […]]]> We have empowered Nigerian women to express their unique sense of style – Recare GMD

Chika Ikenga is the group managing director of Recare, manufacturers of Natures Gentle Touch, a leading personal style brand in Nigeria, and Hairsavvy, competing successfully in South Africa’s natural hair care market. By infusing plant-based chemistry with natural elements from the organically rich African environment, a unique set of solutions for African women’s hair, skin, cosmetics and personal care was created. Ikenga reflects on how the business began in 1997, the focus of the firm and what it is doing to enable African women to wear their natural hair with pride.

What inspired you to become involved with women’s personal beauty and style?

It began at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where I studied industrial chemistry and developed an interest in the chemistry of natural products. My fascination with the subject was influenced by my earlier discovery that chemistry is life. In 1997, I noticed that Nigerian women were plagued by hair challenges, ranging from hair breakage, dryness, slow-growth and scalp-itch. I knew instinctively that chemistry, using natural ingredients, could provide the solution.

Further research confirmed that our women’s hair was directly affected by climate and diet. I observed that the unique texture of African hair made it drier, requiring a constant balance of moisturising and conditioning. This realisation inspired the creation of Natures Gentle Touch.

How did you compete against the imported brands?

We provided Nigerian women with a new set of values – different to what the imported brands were proposing. We used our brand as a social vehicle, empowering women to express themselves and their individuality.

First, we realised that Nigerian women required superior hair care solutions that the imported brands were unable to deliver. Second, Nigerian women’s hair care went beyond functionality and western aspirations, so we focused on higher order benefits, offering a way to self-discovery.

We did not compete. While they expected our women to be like their home consumers, we empowered Nigerian women to express their sense of personal style. We also took ownership of being proud to be Nigerian and created a new generation of consumers, who used their hair to project who they were and to express their unique sense of style and origin. We had created a new space that we owned.

To the Nigerian woman, Natures Gentle Touch became a statement of individuality, youth, and personal style. With forty-five products in our portfolio, we have solved the broad spectrum of problems that Nigerian women face, with additional innovations on the way.

So, Natures Gentle Touch effectively repositioned the market dynamic?

Yes. We questioned the way the market was structured, and what constituted the Nigerian beauty narrative. Stylists and product companies were not asking the consumer what she wanted. We acted on this and created the trend of Nigerian women understanding and embracing their unique sense of style. From the beginning, our most valuable asset was the knowledge we gained by listening to the consumer.

What was the thinking behind The Natures Gentle Touch Hair Institute and Hair Clinic?

The quality of hair care services then was poor, and we wanted to change the perception of hair styling in Nigeria. We set out to create a new generation of professionally trained and certified stylists. Also, to provide a high level of technical skills to young people, enabling them to find employment in the beauty, fashion and entertainment industry – and, to set up their own businesses.

Where do you source the ingredients for Natures Gentle Touch?

We buy local. Nigeria has a bountiful supply of natural ingredients including shea butter, ginger, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, moringa and many others.

What is your assessment of the Nigerian beauty industry?

We have noticed that more people are getting involved. Consumers are more aware. There are more choices. Technology and the modern trade are providing increased access to products and beauty solutions. Consumers are demanding more information in order to make better informed decisions. The growing middle class is expanding the market. More women are opting to wear their natural hair and the demand for natural hair solutions is real.

Have you achieved your aim of starting the business?

Yes. Nigerians are using products made for them locally and helping them to express who they are. It is our unique understanding of the spirit of Nigeria that puts us at the forefront of our industry.

We have been able to reveal the sophistication of Nigerian elegance to the world. We inspired the Nigerian natural hair care movement and we have been able to make Nigerian women believe that ‘taking care of yourself and projecting your desired image in your own way is what makes you truly unique’. By sharing our knowledge and expertise in hair care, we have enabled Nigerian consumers to make their own choices intelligently.

In the next 10 years, where will the company be?

We want to have empowered every woman in Africa through knowledge. Also, to reveal the beauty within, by embracing their unique sense of style.

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Leveraging, improving eCommerce experience can unlock increased sales for small businesses – Visa report https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/leveraging-improving-ecommerce-experience-can-unlock-increased-sales-for-small-businesses-visa-report/ https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/leveraging-improving-ecommerce-experience-can-unlock-increased-sales-for-small-businesses-visa-report/#respond Thu, 26 Nov 2020 18:31:01 +0000 https://businessday.ng/?p=500375 Small businesses can improve their prospects in the marketplace if they are able to provide easy access to information, frictionless payments, a simple returns policy, and personalized shopping options. This is part of submissions in a Visa Consulting & Analytics (VCA) report titled ‘Accelerating the shift to eCommerce’, where it was reported 81 percent of […]]]>

Small businesses can improve their prospects in the marketplace if they are able to provide easy access to information, frictionless payments, a simple returns policy, and personalized shopping options. This is part of submissions in a Visa Consulting & Analytics (VCA) report titled ‘Accelerating the shift to eCommerce’, where it was reported 81 percent of customers indicated they are willing to pay more for a good customer experience.

According to Kemi Okusanya, vice president, Visa West Africa, small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) that leverage ecommerce solutions, which provide excellent online shopping experience for consumers have the opportunity to benefit from high spend periods like Black Friday and the coming festive season compared to businesses who have not mastered the importance of holistic back-end design of the customer journey.

The move to increased online shopping comes on the back of most retailers driving their customers online due to different lockdown restrictions that affected in store foot traffic. Visa’s COVID-19 Impact Tracker, released earlier this year showed that up to 68 percent of consumers were going to grocery stores less often. As the retail sector looks to driving recovery, the approach to periods like Black Friday has also evolved and further necessitated safer, better online payment experiences.

“The impact of a bad payment experience can be devastating,” said Okusanya. “When a shopper abandons an online shopping cart due to checkout friction, the data shows that 67 percent end up leaving for a competitor or never complete the purchase anywhere, and 59 percent say they are less likely to shop with that same retailer again.”

It is, however, encouraging that most small businesses (60 percent), according to the VCA report, have taken bold steps to prepare for the seasonal sales activity that kicks-off with Black Friday. The preparation includes changing their infrastructure and digitizing their business.

“The VCA report highlights how the payment experience is a critical touchpoint – a part of the customer journey, which requires special attention,” Okusanya further explains. “Each time a potential customer reaches the checkout page, they have a moment to reflect on whether the effort needed to make the payment is equal to the value they get from their purchase. To win prospective and repeat customers, SMBs need to have a digital presence during the discovery and evaluation stages of the customer shopping journey.”

Digital payments provide a convenient and secure way to pay for customers. For businesses, they reduce the friction arising from handling money, limit customer queuing, grow their customer base as a result of enhanced experience and eventually improve sales and profitability. As online shopping becomes the norm for consumers and businesses continue on the road to economic recovery, digital payment and in particular frictionless e-commerce experiences, will become a competitive advantage for small businesses.

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Event experts highlight ways to innovate, pivot at BusyBee Summit https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/event-experts-highlight-ways-to-innovate-pivot-at-busybee-summit/ https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/event-experts-highlight-ways-to-innovate-pivot-at-busybee-summit/#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2020 01:41:25 +0000 https://businessday.ng/?p=496449 Top event professionals, rising from the just concluded BusyBee Events Group’s International Virtual Summit 4.0, have said that the only way practitioners can remain in business without losing relevance is to innovate, re-invent and pivot. The one day-event, which held recently virtually, had top resource persons from Nigeria, USA, Australia and Ghana. In her opening […]]]>

Top event professionals, rising from the just concluded BusyBee Events Group’s International Virtual Summit 4.0, have said that the only way practitioners can remain in business without losing relevance is to innovate, re-invent and pivot.

The one day-event, which held recently virtually, had top resource persons from Nigeria, USA, Australia and Ghana.

In her opening remarks, Bisi Sotunde, convener of the summit and CEO of the BusyBee Events Group, said the idea of a virtual summit was no doubt a good development as the world battled the novel Covid-19 pandemic.

Sotunde said the summit gave over 200 Nigerian event stakeholders and participants the opportunity to connect and learn from the experiences of the international speakers.

Taking the first shot as speaker at the summit, Australia-based Anniemarie Cross, stressed the need for participants to live on current glory because of the changing trajectory of the event market. She told them to leverage their uniqueness, work on their personal brand, deliver quality content and be ‘uncopyable’ at all times.

During her session, one of Nigeria’s top marketing coach, Tricia Ikponwonba, said the novel Covid-19 really was a blessing in disguise, stressing the need to change strategy and increase online brand visibility.

She listed ways to be visible to include; owning a business website, brand profiling in the press, appearing as guest columnist in the media either virtually or offline, among others.

Ghana-based CEO of Think Mahogany Events, Debra-Jane Nelson, in her presentation, urged participants to innovate or go extinct.

Nelson reiterated that the new normal had become an eye-opener, stressing that it would make business sense for everyone to inject individual uniqueness into their business, rather than do what others were doing. She admonished the event practitioners not to give up but remain consistent.

Brand and story-telling expert, Aleya Harris, in her presentation, emphasised the need to tell well-crafted brand stories as a means to connect, teach, influence , inspire and attract clients. She urged participants to create an ideal customer avatar and also have a marketing funnel so as to keep track of prospects.

Taking his turn at the summit, a USA- based lifestyle and design expert, Eddie Zaratsian, told participants that it was important to pay attention to details in handling clients’ jobs. He said they should step up on their creativity without worrying about whether people copied their jobs or not.

“What’s important is for you to create your own unique path which cannot be taken. Learn to use colours rightly. Don’t limit where you draw inspiration from. Inspiration could be from people, places, fashion shows and colleagues not necessarily from magazines.”

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Meet Kayode Afolabi, entrepreneur giving glamour to agribusiness https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/meet-kayode-afolabi-entrepreneur-giving-glamour-to-agribusiness/ https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/meet-kayode-afolabi-entrepreneur-giving-glamour-to-agribusiness/#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2020 00:41:43 +0000 https://businessday.ng/?p=496450 Many young Nigerians do not find agriculture attractive owing to the drudgery involved in farming activities. The situation is making them abandon rural communities – where farming is one of the few sources of jobs. But Kayode Afolabi is among the few young successful farmers changing the narrative. He is the co-founder of Wheck Farms, […]]]>

Many young Nigerians do not find agriculture attractive owing to the drudgery involved in farming activities.

The situation is making them abandon rural communities – where farming is one of the few sources of jobs.

But Kayode Afolabi is among the few young successful farmers changing the narrative. He is the co-founder of Wheck Farms, an agri-tech startup that is based in Niger State. He and his friends are redefining the agribusiness space.

Kayode and his co-founders were inspired to go into agriculture owing to their desire to reduce Nigeria’s food import bill.

According to him, it is ridiculous that the country still spends billions of naira yearly on the importation of food crops despite having large expanse of arable land for cultivation.

The engineer-turned-entrepreneur says his initial start-up capital was $2,000, an amount he and his co-founders jointly put together.

He says the money came from their savings and that the business model enabled them to raise additional funds to kick-start.

Since starting, Wheck Farms

has grown steadily despite the fundamental challenges limiting crop productivity in the country.

The business currently has four full-time and 120 temporary employees.

Kayode says that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected his business as it disrupted operations.

“Our business model is designed to provide an opportunity for interested investors to finance the farming of the crops we farm for a percentage return on the investment,” he says.

“However, due to the general economic situation, which was quite negative as a result of the pandemic, there was investor apathy which affected cash inflow,” he explains.

“Secondly, the extended lockdown did not enable us to initiate the farming cycle as we had scheduled and this affected our farming operations,” Kayode adds.

He says his business has mechaniSed most of its farming operations as a strategy to survive the pandemic.

“All-year food production is a strategy we are embarking on as this allows us to produce crops when they are considered out of season,” the young entrepreneur says.

“Also, we will be launching our marketplace which is a platform that supports bulk buying and selling of farm produce,” he adds.

In evaluating the country’s agricultural industry, he says the country still has one of the lowest yields per hectare on the continent despite government’s consistent support to the sector.

He notes the country can only feed itself when farmers’ yield per hectare is at par with global averages while calling on the government to increase investment in research and promote technology use in farming.

“More than just farming, we need to employ the science, that is, application of the research from the various agriculture research institutes,” he says.

“Irrigation has to be aggressively implemented; we cannot afford to still depend on rainfed agriculture,” he advises.

Speaking on challenges confronting his business, he says insecurity remains a major issue limiting productivity.

Also, he sees unavailability of relevant data for the sector and the high cost of inputs as other major challenges.

He urges the government to address issues of kidnapping and banditry to ensure safety and food security, saying the high rate of insecurity has greatly affected food production.

He also calls for the support of farmers especially in the area of mechanisation.

On his advice to other entrepreneurs, he says, “Continue to be persistent and focus on value creation, once your business is an effective and economic solution to a problem, success will follow.”

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Relief for MSMEs as LSETF rolls out N5bn prosperity fund https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/relief-for-msmes-as-lsetf-rolls-out-n5bn-prosperity-fund/ https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/relief-for-msmes-as-lsetf-rolls-out-n5bn-prosperity-fund/#respond Fri, 20 Nov 2020 15:31:21 +0000 https://businessday.ng/?p=496459 The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), in its aim to provide support for businesses in the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) space, has launched a N5 billion post-coronavirus fund under a sector-specific economic recovery support programme tagged ‘the Lagos Economic Acceleration Program (LEAP).’ At the launch, Teju Abisoye , executive sectary LSETF, said […]]]>

The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), in its aim to provide support for businesses in the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) space, has launched a N5 billion post-coronavirus fund under a sector-specific economic recovery support programme tagged ‘the Lagos Economic Acceleration Program (LEAP).’

At the launch, Teju Abisoye , executive sectary LSETF, said the LSETF-LEAP was aimed at helping MSMEs classified as the most affected by the pandemic to recover and revive their businesses. According to her, the fund was meant to save them from collapsing and create new opportunities, stressing that there was a major focus on service providers, including players in the hospitality and tourism, education, entertainment, agriculture and renewable energy sectors.

Speaking with BusinessDay, Abisoye said over N1.5 billion had been received for the programme, while the interest rate and tenors depended on the size of loan and the sector.

“The interest rate options are a maximum of 10 percent, nine percent and a minimum of five percent for all the programmes, while the tenor has a maximum of 36 months,” she said.

“We are optimistic that these recovery programs will not only produce accelerated outcomes, but will also play significant roles in creating jobs and thus actualising our government’s quest towards rebuilding Lagos,” she further said.

Abisoye noted that a post-pandemic lockdown report on the ‘Effect of the Pandemic on MSMEs’ by FATE Foundation showed that almost 95 percent of MSMEs were severely affected by the restriction of movement and about 82 percent of these businesses were most likely to lay off between one to five staff members.

Consequently, she said the intervention fund sought to help businesses transform the impact of the pandemic into prosperity with emphasis on employment protection and job creation. She added that players in the tourism and hospitality space must, however, register with the Ministry of Tourism in Lagos before accessing the loans.

Abisoye revealed that in supporting the mandate of the LSETF, the state government increased the budget of the LSETF from N3 billion to N4.8billion despite slashing budgets across other ministries and departments.

Speaking on the N5 billion LSETF-First Edu-Loan, a post-COVID-19 recovery support for the educational sector launched in September in partnership with First Bank of Nigeria Limited, she said the first batch of 100 applications were being assessed after which beneficiaries would be interviewed before disbursing the funds. She noted that 200 applications had been so far.

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Mastercard enables SMEs to join digital economy through fintech partnerships and workshops https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/mastercard-enables-smes-to-join-digital-economy-through-fintech-partnerships-and-workshops/ https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/mastercard-enables-smes-to-join-digital-economy-through-fintech-partnerships-and-workshops/#comments Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:41:01 +0000 https://businessday.ng/?p=496448 SMEsSmall and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are a lifeline for many countries, especially in a developing continent such as Africa. According to The World Bank, it is estimated that SMEs are responsible for 77% of all jobs in Africa and as much as half of the GDP in some countries. What this tells us is […]]]> SMEs

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are a lifeline for many countries, especially in a developing continent such as Africa.

According to The World Bank, it is estimated that SMEs are responsible for 77% of all jobs in Africa and as much as half of the GDP in some countries. What this tells us is that, organizations such as Mastercard, have an opportunity to play a critical role in supporting SMEs as they deal with a myriad of challenges in the current economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an unpredictable climate that has tested SMEs’ ability to weather unforeseen circumstances and tested their operational capabilities.

Across the globe, small businesses regularly experience cash flow constraints that undermine their financial viability. The pandemic has only accentuated those pressures. For small business owners, particularly merchants that were forced to temporarily shut their stores, cash flow is likely more restricted today than ever before. When small businesses experience financial stress, it can mean they can’t pay their staff, restock inventory or keep their lights on.

For SMEs, access to the digital economy allows them to manage expenses and invoices and to automate and secure processes, freeing up valuable time and resources to focus on other aspects of running their businesses. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the power of the digital economy to sustain societies and commerce during times of great adversity. It has also shown the extreme disadvantage faced by small businesses and people who cannot participate. For individuals, gaining access to the digital economy means being able to use affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance.

As a company, Mastercard aims to bring 1 billion people, including 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. To achieve this, Mastercard has partnered and will initiate new partnerships over the next few years with leading organizations across Africa and around the world towards creating safe and accessible digitized payment solutions for small businesses and implementing digital identity projects.

In Nigeria, Mastercard has introduced a number of products and initiatives that underpin its collaboration with leading fintechs in the country and support small businesses. These include:

• ‘SME-in-a-Box’ – a new low-cost payments solution that enables small business owners to move their businesses online and accept a range of digital payments from their customers.

• Mastercard Engage connects hundreds of fintechs in Nigeria to thousands of Mastercard technology partners.

• NetPlusDotCom and Innovectives has enabled micro and small enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria with digital payment tools such as QR, USSD codes and contactless to advance their business – so far, a milestone 1 million MSMEs have been onboarded.

• Mastercard Fintech Express has been recently launched in the Middle East and Africa. This program will help facilitate the launch and expansion of emerging fintechs in Nigeria.

Mastercard also successfully hosted its first SME Masterclass webinars in Kenya and Nigeria. The webinars partnered with leading local SME thought leaders to deliver tailor-made insights that will support small businesses as they try to limit the impact of the pandemic.

Mastercard QR has been another flagship initiative, which takes advantage of the mobile shift to non-cash payments and overcomes infrastructure and barrier costs for micro-merchants.
And, just a few days ago, we launched the Mastercard Restaurant Week in partnership with Lost in Lagos to support small businesses in the dinning sector by encouraging more people to dine out.

As part of our $250M pledged to support small businesses across our markets globally, Mastercard is committed to powering small businesses and helping them to adapt to changing commercial environments through its resilient network, insights, technology, products and services and philanthropic support.

This support is particularly important in Africa, where SMEs play a critical role in eradicating poverty, contributing to economies and advancing financial inclusion. SMEs have the potential to make a positive difference in many communities, provided they are given the right tools to navigate challenging times, sustain themselves in crisis, scale and ultimately attain success.

By Kari Tukur, Vice President, Products, Sub Saharan Africa, Mastercard

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Nigeria’s largest lender begins loan disbursements to businesses affected by violent protests https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/nigerias-largest-lender-begins-loan-disbursements-to-businesses-affected-by-violent-protests/ https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/nigerias-largest-lender-begins-loan-disbursements-to-businesses-affected-by-violent-protests/#comments Fri, 20 Nov 2020 00:20:47 +0000 https://businessday.ng/?p=495772 Access BankAccess Bank Plc, Nigeria’s biggest bank by assets, has commenced the disbursement of N50 billion worth of interest-free loans to micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) that were destroyed or looted by hoodlums in the violent aftermath of the protest against police brutality in the country. Access Bank says it has approved about 60 applications […]]]> Access Bank

Access Bank Plc, Nigeria’s biggest bank by assets, has commenced the disbursement of N50 billion worth of interest-free loans to micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) that were destroyed or looted by hoodlums in the violent aftermath of the protest against police brutality in the country. Access Bank says it has approved about 60 applications…

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Digital launches ‘The Entrepreneur Book’ to equip businesses with future work tools https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/digital-launches-the-entrepreneur-book-to-equip-businesses-with-future-work-tools/ https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/digital-launches-the-entrepreneur-book-to-equip-businesses-with-future-work-tools/#respond Mon, 16 Nov 2020 14:53:22 +0000 https://businessday.ng/?p=494024 Samson OlatundeA new version of The Digital Entrepreneur book – a proven strategy for earning seven figures income online has been re-launched to accommodate trends that have changed the narrative in a technologically driven 21st-century world. The book is part of The Digital Entrepreneur Program (TDE) designed by the author to help individuals and businesses in […]]]> Samson Olatunde

A new version of The Digital Entrepreneur book – a proven strategy for earning seven figures income online has been re-launched to accommodate trends that have changed the narrative in a technologically driven 21st-century world.

The book is part of The Digital Entrepreneur Program (TDE) designed by the author to help individuals and businesses in Sub-Saharan African countries and beyond enhance their business performance and profitability by leveraging on the 21st century digital tools.

Samson Olatunde, the author and founder of Digital CEO Tribe, said his quest to help businesses effectively market their products made him incorporated current trends to help them leverage online tools.

He said current professionals, entrepreneurs, salespeople are enthusiastic to grasp the state-of-the-art benefits of the internet, social media, digital learning, and tools because technology has and was still helping SMEs in the country.

READ ALSO: Farmcrowdy launches 6 new business divisions as it marks 4th anniversary

“Technology innovations are unavoidable, and its integration is changing the competitive paradigm in which all businesses operate in years. Small businesses are becoming more vital as they emerge as a dominant force that is impacting the growth of national economies,” he said.

“Digital marketing guarantees you the goal of reaching potential customers at the right time across the country. The book exposes you to the benefits of e-marketing, how to create lead contents and make exemplary efforts,” he further said.

“Through technology, SMEs are offering their customers new products and services that allow more efficient and effective use as well as avoid the same low-margin trap that they now face. New products require modern manufacturing and design skills, and technology provides the knowledge to meet with the new requirements,” he added.

However, Olatunde reiterated only a few businesses are taking advantage of digital tools as many are still ignorant of the enormous opportunity at their disposal.

He revealed that the book is available in e-book and hard copy versions as more information can be gotten on the website www.olatundesamson.com/books.

The book is designed to fill the knowledge-gap and remains a must-have for all business owners, start-ups, and professionals as the author divided the book into three sections and ten chapters, with 144 pages featuring insights on proven strategies for earning income through fintech.

The book, which is the 31st book of the author, is filled with easy-to-implement suggestions from notable UK life coach professionals and entrepreneurs.

“The Digital Entrepreneur has proven strategies for earning seven figures income online, quality transfer that increases sales, and expands brand awareness. Marketing is vital to all entrepreneurs; nowadays, the traditional method of marketing is no longer conducive,” according to him.

He says digital marketing is the real deal for businesses and that it is helping them increase sales and expand their brands.

“The Digital Entrepreneur book, with its proven strategies for earning seven figures income online, will guide you to be career-resilient,” he said.

“You will learn how to sustain practice success and enter an exciting and fulfilling world of making more than seven digits legitimately online without worrying,” he stated.

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Agbara: Reptiles take over Vitamalt as activities return to Maltex, P&G https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/agbara-reptiles-take-over-vitamalt-as-activities-return-to-maltex-pg/ https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/agbara-reptiles-take-over-vitamalt-as-activities-return-to-maltex-pg/#respond Mon, 16 Nov 2020 14:51:03 +0000 https://businessday.ng/?p=493950 Reptiles have taken over Vitamalt’s expansive plant at Agbara, Ogun State, as the company remains under lock and key 10 years after shutting down. Businessday was told that the once producer of malt drink is facing an intractable legal case that has lasted for far too long. The factory was under lock and key when […]]]>

Reptiles have taken over Vitamalt’s expansive plant at Agbara, Ogun State, as the company remains under lock and key 10 years after shutting down. Businessday was told that the once producer of malt drink is facing an intractable legal case that has lasted for far too long.

The factory was under lock and key when our reporter visited, with thick grass and trees common features at the comatose factory. Snakes and lizards were also common sights, with only uniformed security officials seen inside the factory.

“Any civilian inside this factory is a suspect,” said one of the security officials guarding the factory.

“We came to do our job here and nobody crosses this gate,” he said, while pointing at the gate.

A federal high court case number ‘FHC/L/CS/1041/13’ was boldly written at the entrance of the factory alongside an inscription ‘Today 27/06/18.’ It was enough warning for any intruder to flee.

“We do not even go near that place,” one villager, who gave her name as Eunice, said. She alleged mismanagement and ownership/land tussles as reasons for the shut-down.

Businessday could not confirm Eunice’s position as others approached declined to speak on the matter, saying it would amount to contempt of court.

The situation is, however, different at the former Maltex complex as activities were on as of Thursday, November 12, when Businessday called in. “This place now belongs to Nigerian Breweries, not old Maltex,” one staff member said.

In 2009, Consolidated Breweries acquired Dumex Industries/ Maltex, a then subsidiary of CFOA Nigeria plc. In 2014, Nigerian Breweries and Consolidated Breweries agreed to explore a combination of merger of the two businesses. So, it would not be wrong to say that the complex belongs to Nigerian Breweries.

Residents told Businessday that the former Maltex complex was shut down for a long time before re-opening recently.

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Furthermore, there were activities going on at Procter& Gamble (P&G)’S $300 million plant as of Wednesday, November 11, when Businessday visited. In 2017, P&G unveiled the plant which was then the United States biggest single non-oil investment in Nigeria. But the diaper factory was shut down by the company due to ‘restructuring’ reasons.

“P&G is restructuring its Nigeria manufacturing operations to deliver a more effective business operation for now and sustainably for the future,” a statement then signed by Lola Adenuga of the company’s communications unit had read.

“This will entail an exit from production in Agbara plant. We will strengthen our manufacturing operations in the Ibadan plant, scale up our contract manufacturing operations as well as continue to invest in our local talents,” the statement further said.

But those familiar with the company had told Businessday in 2018 that the company shut down its Agbara plant because it was no longer sustainable to continue production due to Customs and import challenges, including high production cost.

As of November 11, activities were going on at the factory, though people going in and out said production was no longer on.

The Issues

Nigeria needs functional manufacturing companies to build a robust economy that can support economic growth. Unemployment and poverty are rising as available firms, especially SMES, are struggling to survive with little government support.

Unemployment is 27.1 percent in Nigeria, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), while poverty rate is 45 to 48 percent, according to global estimates.

Infrastructure is lacking in Africa’s most populous nation, with manufacturers self-generating 13,000 megawatts of power, according to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).

In the second half of 2019, members of MAN spent N34.70 billion on alternative energy sources as against N32.68 billion spent in the first half.

Apapa and Tin Can ports are still critical challenges. Firms bringing in raw materials into Apapa ports and those exporting commodities abroad have seen their costs swell on rising dwell time, which results in high demurrage charges. The Customs does not have functional scanners in a 21st century Nigeria, causing needless and avoidable delays at ports.

Only 10 percent of cargoes are cleared within the set timeline of 48 hours while the majority of cargoes take between five and 14 days to clear, according to a maritime report by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). Moving a container from anywhere in Lagos to Apapa (still in Lagos) costs up to N650,000 now as against N350,000 in 2019, manufacturers and exporters say.

In an interview conducted by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 on critical challenges facing the sector, 94 percent of CEOS said that congestion at the ports had a significantly negative effect on their productivity and cost of production.

“Most worrisome are the issues of deliberate delay in cargo clearing time, raising of technical barriers, rejection of relevant documents by officers of the agency that approved import documents, multiple agencies with duplicated functions and other rentseeking activities of vested interests at the port that excessively fleece operators,” they said.

Multiple taxation is still a major issue, with touts and contract revenue collectors heaping miseries on manufacturers.

Foreign exchange access has become cumbersome as manufacturers only get two to 10 percent of their dollar needs. It is not totally the fault of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), but the country earns most of its foreign exchange from crude oil and any challenge in the global oil market, as it is now, often leads to low dollar inflows. Nigerian economy shrunk by 6 percent in the second quarter of 2020 due to coronavirus-induced slump, but the economy lacks good policies to steer local productivity.

Experts have called for the elimination of multiple FX routes and a focus on supply management, rather than just demand management which further squeezes manufacturers.

Factory shut-down is now new. Between 2000 and 2009, 820 manufacturing firms shut down, according to Bashir Borodo, the then president of MAN. Companies are still shutting down today. In 2016 and 2017, 54 manufacturers went under due to foreign exchange challenges, according to MAN.

“We must build infrastructure at industrial clusters and support manufacturers doing backward integration,” Ike Ibeabuchi, a manufacturer of chemicals, suggested.

“Re-open the Benin border for all, not just for a few. Provide tax rebates to SMES in the manufacturing sector because they create most of the jobs.”

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SMEDAN launches digital platforms to promote MSMEs https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/smedan-launches-digital-platforms-to-promote-msmes/ https://businessday.ng/enterpreneur/article/smedan-launches-digital-platforms-to-promote-msmes/#comments Mon, 16 Nov 2020 00:42:29 +0000 https://businessday.ng/?p=492409 The Small and Medium Enterprises Development of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has launched three digital platforms to promote and enhance the growth of micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the country to drive sustainable economic development. The three digital platforms – the Market Hub App developed in partnership with Concrete Communications Limited, the MSMEs Digital […]]]>

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has launched three digital platforms to promote and enhance the growth of micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the country to drive sustainable economic development.

The three digital platforms – the Market Hub App developed in partnership with Concrete Communications Limited, the MSMEs Digital Academy, and the MSMEs Equipment Exhibition Portal will help position Nigerian MSMEs on a global scale.

Dikko Umaru Radda, director-general and chief executive officer, SMEDAN during the launch of the platforms said that technology has indeed made the world a global village and has made it possible to easily connect with people, adding that with these in mind SMEDAN has partnered with indigenous and strategic organisations within the digital space to further the development of MSMEs in Nigeria.

Speaking about the market hub app, Radda said it one-stop online convergence of all small and medium businesses including service providers.

“It is positioned to be the number one business directorate app in Nigeria where you can visit and check out uploaded businesses and services, their contact details and also upload your businesses for prospective view and contact,” he said.

“Our resources persons are also online to address enquires on the ease of doing business in Nigeria and also others you might be seeking clarification on,” he further said.

“I urge all business owners in Nigeria to download this app and upload their services offering and products and take advantage of the service to promote their businesses and enhance growth,” he advised.

Speaking also during the launch, Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment said that technology is an important means to stimulate economic efficiency of MSMEs and a source to attain sustainable development.

She said the productivity of MSMEs can be further improved through technological innovation and engaging in research and development (R&D) related activities.

The minister of state said that the digital platforms launched have been carefully designed and developed to ensure that MSMEs who are desirous of improving their businesses can utilize them for improved sales and knowledge enhancement.

“I encourage all MSMEs in Nigeria and across Africa to start utilizing them for the benefit of their businesses,” Katagum said.

Explaining how the market hub app works Semoore Badejo, chief executive officer, Concrete Communications Limited – developers of the app says the app is built to capture all businesses in Nigeria irrespective of the nature of business.

“It acts as a business directory and medium to foster great intersection between business and business and business and visitors to the app,” Badejo said.

“It is convergence points for Nigerians and business owners all over the world who wish to establish links, contacts to suppliers of inputs to their businesses, make enquires on the ease of doing business in the country,” he said.

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