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Celebrating, Promoting and Encouraging
Young Nigerian Entrepreneurs
Jason Njoku of
steps in building
15 Reasons You
Should Start A
Business Lessons from The Mafia. Tracking YouWin Winners. 7 Reasons Young Nigerians Don’t Start Their Own Businesses.
Smyls, founder of The Smile
YOUWIN SUCCESS STORY:
10 Jason Njoku of iRoko TV
BUILDING A BUSINESS
7 important steps in building a
Walking the path of greatness
7 reasons many young Nigerians
don’t start their own businesses
Emmanuel Ogar: Modern Wall
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 4
Business Lessons from The
15 reasons you should start a
business in school
TRACKING YOUWIN WINNERS
39 Oluwaseyi Akinde: Affordable starch
NIGERIAN BUSINESS ICON
45 Chief (Dr.) Innocent Ifediaso
BIG ACTION BREEDS BIG
TO DECIDE A LIFE48 HOW
FROM THE EDITOR
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 6
From the Editor
Practice what we preach, if we can’t take a dose of our
A few days ago, a friend revealed something to me. He
told me that many of the wealthy and successful people in
the world are not as smart as many of us think, or they
aren’t as smart as the people who work for them. What
these people have, my friend told me, is the ability to find
3rd of January,
an idea, just one, and run with it like crazy, forgetting
2015, Young Naija
every other thing. That one ability is what many excep-
tionally brilliant folks don’t have.
turned one. It was
a thing of great joy
So in this second year of our existence, we are deter-
to me, the founding editor, and every other member of the team, in-
mined to use more of our own medicine and to put even
cluding our numerous well wishes. Although things may look beautiful
greater commitment to this cause; paying attention to
and promising today, it had not always been so. Our first year had
this timeless quote by Vince Lombardi, “There is only one
been fraught with innumerable challenges and frustrations, that many
way to succeed at anything and that is to GIVE EVERY-
times I had been tempted to shut everything down and move on to
other ventures. For months we battled with low traffic; it was embarrassingly low, almost like we didn’t exist or that we were jinxed.
On behalf of the entire Young Naija Entrepreneurs’ team,
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has
From inception we had agreed that featuring young aspiring entrepre-
been a part of our first year; Gracias! Without you, there
neurs on our platform would always be free, but we still needed to
won’t be us.
feed and pay bills, manage and promote the site, so we had to do
some business at the side. But it wasn’t working; we were slamming
We are yet to reach our peak, but we are certainly not
into walls faster than a race car going at 100km/h. On the outside we
where we started.
were looking good; people praised what we were doing, friends envied us, thought we were raking in money and smiling to the bank,
when the truth was; we were struggling, badly.
Since we were running at a loss, why did we still stay on? You may
want to ask. That is because, every single day we preach determination, we preach diligence and doggedness, we tell the stories of young
and old people who had unbelievable challenges besiege them, but
still fought the tough fight and emerged victorious. We preach and
teach all these. What manner of people would we be if we can’t
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 8
Words by Olusegun Egbeyinka
“People love the magazine, we just were not able to figure out
how to make money from it”
fter the management decided to feature Jason
Although the magazine failed, Jason had leant a lot from the
Njoku as the International Young Nigerian Business
attempt. He understood that youthful enthusiasm wasn’t
Entrepreneur for this edition, I spent weeks trying to reach the
enough to run a successful business and he also leant lessons
internet guru. I dropped messages and waited for replies, but
about hard work and focus.
none came. I got slightly offended. I said to myself; these young
Jason will try several other businesses but would also fail,
successful Nigerians are so proud, after they make a few bucks
more or less, in every one of them.
they become too proud to reply mails. But for some reasons I
didn’t give up on the iROKOtv maverick. I visited his blog several
times and it was during one of such visits that I read a post that
changed my understanding of the young man and endeared me
to him. At present, he is one of my most respected young Nigerian entrepreneurs.
The story of iROKOtv began when he found it difficult to obtain Nollywood films online for his mother. He thought to himself; ‘since there is obviously a lack of effective distribution
network for Nigerian movies online, why don’t I step in and
solve that problem, offering movies to Nigerians, particularly
in the Diaspora’. And that was how the idea was birthed. Jason
Jason Njoku was born on 11th December, 1980. He attended the
believed that if his mother wanted to watch a movie that re-
University of Manchester where he studied Chemistry. Jason
flected her origins but couldn’t find, then there would be
stated in an interview with Africa Dream that he is the first per-
other people also in that same boat. He was very right. In few
son in his family to go to a university. After graduation in 2005,
months, (less than what most business analysts predict for
Jason decided to venture into the treacherous waters of entre-
small business profitability) iROKOtv began to turn out profit,
preneurship. His very first attempt was a student magazine by
but not without many hurdles for the young man and his long-
the name Brash. According to Jason, it ended a ‘spectacular fail-
time friend and business partner, Bastian Gotter.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 10
iROKOtv was launched on 1st December, 2011 by Njoku Jason
copy, video player, payment page, everything. The iROKO
and Bastian Gotter. Its parent company, iROKO partners, was
partners had approached the creators of the site and asked
founded about a year before then. Jason had recognized the
them to take it down before they filed a complaint against the
potentials imbedded in the Nigerian film industry but lacked
site at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
reasonable finance to do anything substantial. His friend had
The iROKO Partners’ won the case and the site has since been
been the major financier of their company. After a few months,
and things were not improving, Bastian suggested he travelled
down to Lagos. It was during this time that he got his boots on
the ground, pounding the streets of Alaba, meeting producers
and signing agreement. According to Jason, this experience
helped him a lot in the understanding of the Nigerian movie in-
iROKO Partners are currently the world’s largest online distributors of Nigerian movies and music (iROKING) with over
5,000 Nollywood movies in its library. The company has accumulated over 500 million views across its YouTube Nollywood-
Pic courtesy www.jason.com.ng
Jason purchased the online licenses of some movies directly
Love and iROKOtv site in the past three years just for Nollywood
from their producers and began streaming them on Nolly-
content, and 950 million views on YouTube for its African content.
woodLove, their YouTube channel, for free. It worked like
The top five countries where the company has the greatest audi-
magic. The channel was hugely successful in months and
ence include the US, UK, Canada, Germany and Italy.
drew attention of international press and venture capitalist.
Jason has a vision 2020, which is, 1 million subscribers by the year
The biggest investment came from a US based hedge fund
2020. “If we can reach that number then iROKO will be a billion
Tiger Global, which led a two-round investment totaling
dollar company. Simple.” Jason wrote on his blog. “That’s what I
believe Nollywood, Nigeria and West Africa deserves. A billion dol-
But Jason confessed that they made several silly mistakes in
lar media and Technology Company. We curate and export Nige-
their first year of iROKOtv; they had overspent on every-
rian culture globally. The industry now needs us as much as we
thing; from product development, to office setups, to staff
costs and movie license acquisition.
Jason Njoku has place the Nigerian flag on the internet and he is
In 2012, a site with domain name Irokotvmovies.com began
to stream movies. The site was an exact replica of the iROKOtv website; page layout, advertising video copy, video
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 12
representing us in the most glowing and enviable color, projecting
our culture for the world to see and admire. He is correcting the
belief wrongly-held by many foreigners of the African giant, and
for this we are enormously proud of him.
Picture: Final Impression Studios Make up and
Styling: Teesmiles Beauty World 08062574291
Building a business is one of the
dreams of many young Nigerians.
But, what is worth doing at all is
worth doing well. Therefore, as
young aspiring entrepreneurs, there
are certain steps we should be
knowledgeable about, the ignorance
of which could jeopardize our
chances of ever building our dream
businesses. To successfully launch a
business, there are a few steps that
should be considered.
Words by Ime Ekpon John
Have an idea
And pessimists are the best realist out there. According
Remember, ideas are infinite, if you dare look for them you
to David Schwarz, pessimists are the best business part-
will find them. An idea does not mean an invention. The
ner, because they help you come to grasp with reality
world has been beautified and made comfortable… if you
most of the time. However, you have to be careful with
have an idea of how to deliver a service better, you can rein-
the advice you get from pessimistic partners, because
vent or revolutionize a whole industry. So look around you,
they are not the best builders and are usually gifted with
when was the last time you were unsatisfied by a company’s
pulling down momentum and more often than not take
service delivery? Rather than complain, create a business
advice from their fears, which are the wrongest place to
around that need. Chances are, you are not the only one un-
get advice from.
satisfied with that service. When was the last time you looked
Choose a company name
for a product around you and couldn’t find? You can start a
When choosing a company name you must know that
business that supplies that product. You never know, you may
despite several claims that a name affects the impact
be the next millionaire by just satisfying a single perceived
that a company will make, the truth still remains that
you can make any name a brand or a world class symbol
Find a pessimistic partner
Controversial, I guess. Entrepreneurs in general tend to be
overly optimistic and are soon taken into a world of fantasies.
This is however not so good, because even though it is good to
be highly optimistic about your chances, you should however
have a good dose of reality check most times. This will help
you come to grip with reality.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 14
by the quality of the products or services associated with
the name. Just decide on a name with your partners or
do it alone if you will. It will do you good if your name is
not too mystical or too far away from the product or service you intend to offer. For example, if you wish to sell
T-shirts, it would be better to name your company Seyiwears than to go for Avante cole. However, if you do
start with Avante cole and develop a reputation for quality and have your own uniqueness, I can guarantee you
that somehow people will find Avante cole more inter-
Register with CAC and obtain all the other
esting and easy to recall than seyiwears.
Registration of your business name and company type with
Buy your domain name
the Corporate Affairs Commission is very important and it is
After choosing a business name, it is important that you
buy your own space on the world wide web. Buy your
www.yourcompany’sname.com e.g www.seyiwears.com
and if you wish to be country specific-which is highly
advisable-buy the .ng or .com.ng extension, this will signal that your primary place of business is Nigeria. However, if you plan to become an international brand,
important to at least register the business name that you have
come up with before you register your domain name. You
don’t want to register a domain name only to find out that the
name is already taken by another business in the CAC registry. So endeavor to register the business name you have come
up with immediately before it becomes unavailable.
Start building a team with at least one staff
the .ng or.com.ng extension would serve as a limitation.
Team work they say make the dream work. So it’s important
Build your website and social media handles
you start out by enlisting support from a trusted partner or
We live in the age of the internet. Almost everything we
do in our business is online which helps us reach more
people and do business easier than ever. So after buying
your domain name go ahead and start building your
website. Incorporate all the plugins necessary for the
services you will expect to offer, like e-commerce, book-
staff. One of the things that kill momentum in the entrepreneurial journey is commitment on too many things. In business, you have to be very focused; precision is the key. This
involves you doing only those things you are certain you can
do and employing someone else or outsourcing the others you
ing system. Also, build your company’s profile across all
the social networking sites to better position you to leverage the immense power of social media.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 15
The Best Online Platform to Buy and Sell
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Connecting buyers with sellers
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 16
Raimi-Lawal Mustapha Babatunde
Pastor K.C Nwankwo
Ime Ekpon John
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 17
It is not every day that you come
across a YouWin grant winner.
Even more rare, is coming across a
man who has not only won the
highly coveted grant but has also
won the Tony Elumelu foundation
entrepreneurial prize. It seems the
young man has the mythical Midas
touch, where everything he
touches instantly becomes gold.
Dr. Saheed is regarded as one of
the biggest success stories of YouWin.
In this interview, Dr. Saeed tells us
about the motivation behind his
venture and where he sees his business in the nearest future.
Words by Olusegun Egbeyinka
he first time we contacted Dr. Saeed about wanting to
do a feature on him was about a year ago. He welcomed the idea warmly and asked us to send in our
questions for his consideration. We did. And then there
was silence. We waited and waited, but no reply came. We tried
contacting him, over and over again, but the result was the same.
What motivated you to start the business?
I was motivated to start the business as a result of the
lack of quality dental service providers in my community and the low level of dental health awareness in
Nigeria. I wanted to create a platform to give people
We concluded he was no longer interested and we moved on.
the best in private dental practice and also build dental
But just a few weeks before we were scheduled to publish this
health awareness in my community.
magazine, when we were deliberating on essential contents, Dr.
Saeed got back to us. There couldn’t have been a better time than
In this interview Saeed tells us about his motivation and where he
sees his business in the coming future.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Saeed Jumah. I am a Dentist and graduate of
Did you consider doing a residency in dentistry
before starting the clinic?
I had always known I wanted to do Private Practice.
Residency was never an option I really considered.
University of Benin. I am the founder/CEO of The Smile
Shop; a dental service provider. We provide dental clinic services and sales of dental hygiene accessories/products.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 19
Was the business in existence before you got the
What are your plans for the future?
YouWin award? If yes, what was the scope of the
I plan to expand the clinic operations to at least 5 more
business before the award and how has it im-
major cities in Nigeria within the next 10 years.
proved with the award?
Before the YouWin award, I focused the business mainly
on sales of dental accessories (tongue cleaners,
Do you think the number of beneficiaries for
toothbrushes). With the award, I was able to set up a stan-
YouWin award should increase? And why?
dard dental clinic with modern equipments and also ex-
Yes. To give more young people the opportunity to start
pand the sales of dental accessories/products.
up new businesses and multiply the impact of the program.
How many people do you employ, directly and
Beyond the YouWin awards, what else do you
think can help SME businesses to develop?
Access to funds for expansion, training and networking
How was the procedure for applying for the
award, did you have to know someone?
The procedure was transparent; I did not know someone
while applying or even before receiving the grant award.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 20
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man called David in the bible. Even when nobody believed
he could face Goliath in a battle, he believed in himself.
That was the secret of his victory over Goliath. Whenever
you believe in yourself, there is always a supernatural
help that comes to your disposal to achieve your desire.
One major factor that guarantees greatness in life is hard
work. “To win the prize, you must pay the price”. Anybody
By Pastor K.C Nwankwo
who wants to be great in life should first ask himself or
herself, what prize am I ready to pay to become great?
reatness in life is not a mystery, neither is it a product of
Hard work is the only sure way to becoming great in life.
luck. Greatness is the result of consciously and uncon-
To shy away from hard work and still claim you want to be
sciously applying some basic principles of life. Failure, on
great is to be nothing but a daydreamer.
the other hand, is as a result of consciously making the same mistake
over and over again.
3.Stay Focused in Your Pursuit:
The truth is that, greatness is a possibility to any person whose mind is
The easiest way to stop a man on a vision is to give him
made up to be great and is ready to obey the rules that makes for
another vision. To be focused is to channel your energy,
resources and time only in pursuit of one thing. It is living
I have discovered that everybody in life has this desire to become a
and dying on the one thing that you were created to do in
great person. Eight out of every ten persons you ask on earth will tell
life. I have discovered that if you knock at the door for
you that they have a dream to become one thing or the other. Many
long, it will definitely open.
of them, if not all, have dreams of greatness. The major question we
have to ask ourselves is, why is it that virtually every one of these peo-
ple, irrespective of their dreams of greatness, eventually end up small
Mentorship is following the steps of those who have gone
ahead of you. It is climbing on the shoulders of those who
In this write up, it is my pleasure to outline a few principles that guar-
are already where you wish to be in life.
antee greatness in life. And I believe that as you read and put to prac-
You must realize that there are people who are already
tice the keys outlines here, you will take your position at the top.
where you desire to be in life. Wisdom demands that you
God has deposited seeds of greatness in every individual he created
learn from their wealth of experience in order to get there
on earth. But the responsibility of actualizing this greatness lies ma-
jorly in our hands. These are the keys to greatness:
1.Believe in Yourself:
Many people who are destined for greatness have failed because they
did not believe they could make it. “He will make it, who believes he
can”. Success and greatness in life begins with first of all believing that
you have what it takes to make it.
Lack of self-confidence is the reason many youths amount to nothing
in life. Even when other people do not believe in you, if you believe in
yourself, you will make it to the top. Let us take a look at the young
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 24
With these few principles outlined in this write-up, I may
not assure you that in 6 or 12 months that you will become a millionaire, but I am assuring you that eventually,
you will rise and take your place at the top.
Words by Ime Ekpon John
1. THEY ARE AFRAID OF FAILING:
3. THEY THINK THAT THEIR IDEA IS NOT PERFECT:
However everyone who becomes great in life fails first., you won't
There is no such thing as a perfect idea. Even Microsoft has
be the first or last. Let me advice you, if you want to make any
never sold a perfect product, that's why they keep bringing
sort of impact in life, fall in love with failing, because failing shows
out new versions letting us know that the previous version
that you are growing. And the faster you fail, the better.
we bought was not perfect.
Don't despise your small ideas, launch out with what you
2. THEY LISTEN TO THE OPINION OF OTHERS WHO HAVE NEVER
have and mighty forces will come to your aid.
STARTED A BUSINESS:
You can never rise above who you allow influence you and your
4. THEY ARE WAITING FOR A SAFE SECURE GOVERNMENT
decisions. Listen to your inner voice they says "You can make it"
JOB: We are all supposed to be creators of jobs and not con-
Don't allow someone who hasn't done anything tell you that you
sumers of jobs. Just imagine if Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had
can't do something, he is just not experienced enough to tell you
focused on finishing school and getting a "safe and secure
what a great idea look like. Remember, you never know what you
job" there would be no iPad or even Microsoft windows. Stop
can do until you try.
waiting and start creating. The government may not create
enough jobs, but they will not steal your creativity.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 25
5. THEY HAVE NOT TAKEN FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR LIVES:
7. THEY HATE TO WORK:
Its amusing to see that most young Nigerians between the age of
Let's face it, what would make a young and vibrant Nigerian
24-35 still live off their parents’ assistance. Micheal Dell started
decide to look for a civil servant job where he will spend
Dell Corp. when he was 19 years old. Bill Gates cofounded Micro-
most of his 35 years plus in the office reading news paper,
soft when he was 19 years old. What are you waiting for before
gossiping, and asking for a higher pay for sitting in the of-
taking full control of your life?.
The government may not create jobs but they have not sto-
6. THEY BELIEVE THE ECONOMY IS BAD:
This should have been the first, I guess, but I'm deliberately writing
it now and also will leave it short and simple "the world has its
problem, Nigeria has its problems, but it’s the only world that we
have and the only NIGERIA that we have". It is still in this bad economy that Dangote, Adenuga, Tony Elumelu are making impact,
stop complaining about the economy and you will start seeing opportunities.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 26
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March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 29
Words by Olusegun Egbeyinka
apital is one of the biggest challenges that
confront young aspiring entrepreneurs. De-
spite this albatross, some young people have set out on
their entrepreneurial journey, having very wonderful business ideas but struggling to keep their ventures afloat. Investment Tasty category features such young hardworking
individuals, who have very viable and admirable businesses
but are in dire need of capital investment.
On completion of his University education and the mandatory
National service, he saw the gloomy fate of young graduates
Can you tell us about your business? What do you do?
in Nigeria and therefore decided to apply himself to towards
I am a Wall Skill Painter doing modern wall paintings that re-
learning a skill and becoming self-reliant. He thought deeply
quire special skills. Paintings such as Liquid wallpaper painting;
about the one thing which he loves doing and researched ways
which is a painting technique which makes your wall look like real
by which he could be better in it.
wallpaper. It is washable, durable and eco-friendly. Other paint-
Emmanuel Ogar is a personification of what we stand for at
ings that I do includes, Fox painting, Airbrushing, flashing, ragging,
Young Naija Entrepreneur. We teach young people that things
stucco, diamond painting, wall art, and wood feeling. The liquid
are not so rosy out there and it is not possible for everyone to
wallpaper is more unique than the traditional paper wallpaper. It
find a white collar job. We teach young people to think deeply
requires less maintenance and can resist moist and dampness
about what they love doing and see how they can turn it into a
money-making venture, hence becoming self-reliant.
Okay. You studied Estate Management but now you
Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
work as a wall painter, what happened? How did you
My name is Emmanuel Ogar, a graduate of Estate manage-
come into this business?
ment. I hail from Ogoja, Cross River State, I am 29 years old
Before completing my NYSC here in Abuja, considering the fact
and based in Abuja.
that over 40 million youths are unemployed, I sat down to think
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 30
critically about what I am good in, how I
What were some of the
can improve by doing what others can-
challenges that you faced
not do who are in the same area of wall
painting. I started researching on mod-
when you started? And
ern wall paintings, mostly decorative
what are those that you
paintings that amazes the eye. After
are currently facing?
completing my NYSC, I won the FCT
The challenge of financing my
NYSC award, which exposed me to dif-
dream wasn’t easy. Secondly,
ferent people based on the project I
Nigerians don’t believe in Nige-
executed. I came in contact with a Chi-
rians. Most of these rich politi-
nese who helped in developing my skills.
cians like patronizing foreign-
With the mindset I have that every
ers, who would now take these
graduate cannot be employed, I devel-
jobs and outsource it to blacks,
oped wall skill painting that is quite dif-
or use blacks to execute it at
ferent from the traditional paintings.
peanuts prices. It is annoying,
very annoying. Currently, I am
And how long have you been
faced with financial constraint.
into Wall painting?
I want to buy some machines
Two years now sir, April would make it
Do you have employees?
that can increase my speed of
I can understand your
Yes sir. Three persons; two graduates,
plight. Do you think the
one is a town planner and the other an
government is doing
artist. By next year, I am looking to-
enough to support young
wards training female painters.
entrepreneurs in Nigeria?
Many people who see your work
will quickly assume it is expen-
If no, what do you suggest they do?
Government programs tailored
sive and it can only be afforded
toward assisting young entre-
by the rich; can you give us an
preneurs is poor and with lim-
idea into how much it cost to
ited success because the real
have these wall paintings?
entrepreneurs are not benefit-
The quality of the paintings is more than
it cost. Normally I have made it affordable. We charge 2,500 naira per square
meter. While for the normal paintings I
charge between 700-1000 per square
ing. A commission or a module
should be set where young
entrepreneurs can access funds
and support directly. If am supported, I can employ up to 10
youths who would be trained
to become self-reliant.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 31
companies because they can earn a massive return on their
A trade secret is a secret device, technique, formula, practice, or
investments if these companies are a success.
process used by a company in manufacturing its products which
These funds may be required to start a new business from
gives it a competitive advantage over its competitors.
scratch (seed capital), expand an existing business
e.g Coco-cola has a secret formulation which is known only to the
(expansion capital), or acquire another business with huge
company. This is their trade secret. Other beverage manufacturers
profit potential (buyout funding).
also have similar formulation secret.
In return for their investment in a business, Venture Capitalists hold a certain percentage of shares in the company.
Initial Public Offering (IPO):
An initial public offeing is the first sale of stock by a private company to the public. IPOs are often issued by smaller, younger companies seeking the capital to expand, but can also be done by large
E.g Tiger Global is a popular Venture Capital Firm that has
invested in several internet businesses in Nigeria since 2010,
companies under its funding includes Jobberman, Cheki,
Wakanow, iROKO, and PrivateProperty.
privately owned companies looking to become publicly traded.
A company that does an IPO changes from being a private company to being a public company with thousand of shareholders.
The major reason companies go public is to raise more funds.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP):
It is the total value of goods and services produced in a
country’s economy, not including income from abroad.
E.g Facebook held its initial public offering (IPO) on May 18, 2012
(It changed from being a private company to public), with a peak
It is the monetary value of all the finished goods and ser-
market capitalization of over $104 billion.
vices produced within a country's borders in a specific time
period. E. g The Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria accord-
ing to 2014 estimation is $522.64 billion.
Franchising is simply a method for expanding a business and dis-
tributing goods and services through a licensing relationship. In
franchising, the business owner, called the Franchisers, sell the
rights to their business logo, model and pattern of doing business
to third parties, called franchisees.
E.g MacDonald is a franchise. Ray Kroc (the founder of MacDonald)
A mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and
values of a company, organization, or individuals.
It is a written declaration of an organization’s core purpose
and focus that normally remains unchanged overtime.
started selling MacDonald franchise since 1955. Hundreds of fran-
The mission statement of a company is the company’s pri-
chisees rushed to buy the MacDonald franchise and set up Mac-
mary guiding principle. It gives the company a focus. Once a
Donald eatery in different parts of the world.
company is going out of line the mission statement will help
A franchiser would give the franchisees clear rules on how to run
nudge them back to their primary path. A company or busi-
the business. That is why MacDonald look similar all over the
ness, however small or large, without a mission statement is
world, and a burger sold in London taste almost the same as that
without direction and would sooner or later crash.
sold in any other part of the world.
There are over 25,000 MacDonalds in operation worldwide.
An investor who either provides capital to startup ventures or supports small companies that wish to expand but do not have access
to public funding. Venture capitalists are willing to invest in such
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 32
E.g The mission statement for Young Naija Entrepreneurs is
‘Celebrating, promoting and encouraging young Nigerian
At times we are tempted to go out of line, but once we remember this statement we make necessary adjustment.
Acquisition: when one company buys another or part of another
Consortium: a combination of several companies work-
company, or the company or part of a company that is bought.
ing together for a particular purpose, for example in or-
Advertising campaign: an organization’s programme of advertising
der to buy something or build something.
activities over a particular period with specific aims, for example an
Corruption: the crime of giving or receiving money, gifts,
increase in sales or awareness of a product.
a better job etc in exchange for doing something dishon-
Bankrupt: someone judged to be unable to pay their debts by a court
est or illegal that helps another person or company.
of law, and whose financial affairs are handled by a court official until
when someone who has power or authority uses it in a
the debts are settled.
dishonest or illegal way to get money or an advantage.
Bank statement: information sent regularly by a bank to a customer,
Cash flow: the amounts of money coming into and going
showing the money that has gone into and out of their account over
out of a company, and the timing of these.
a particular period.
profit for a particular period, defined in different ways by
Balance sheet: a document showing a company’s financial position
and wealth at a particular time. The balance sheet is often de-
Crash: a time when many investments lose their value
scribed as a ‘photograph’ of a company’s financial situation at a
very quickly, usually when investors lose confidence in
the market and sell.
Barriers to trade: something that makes trade between two coun-
Chief Executive Officer (CEO): the manager with the
tries more difficult or expensive, for example a tax on imports.
most authority in the day to day management of a com-
Benchmark: something that can be used as a comparison to judge or
pany, especially in the US. The job of CEO is sometimes
measure other things
combined with others, such as that of president.
Benefits package: the total amount of pay and all the other advantages that an employee may receive such as bonuses, health insurance, a company car etc.
Blueprint: a plan for achieving or improving something.
Crisis: a period or moment of great difficulty, danger, or
uncertainty, especially in politics or economics.
Downmarket: involving goods and services that are cheap
and perhaps not of very good quality compared to others
of the same type, or the people that buy them.
Boom a time when business activity increases rapidly, so that the
Dress code: the way that you are expected to dress in a
demand for goods increases, prices and wages go up, and unemploy-
particular situation, as an employee of a particular com-
ment falls. A time when activity on the stockmarket reaches a high
level and share prices are very high.
Dumping: the activity of selling products in an export
Board/Board of directors: the group of people who have been
market cheaper than in the home market, or
elected by shareholders to manage a company.
cheaper than they cost to make, usually in order to
Bonus: an extra amount of money added to an employee’s wages,
increase market share.
usually as a reward for doing difficult work or for doing their work
Differentiation: when a company shows how its prod-
ucts are different from each other and from competing
Commission: an amount of money paid to someone accord-
products, for example in its advertising.
ing to the value of goods, services, investments etc they
Goodwill payment: a payment made by a supplier to a
customer because of a problem the customer has had,
Competitive advantage: something that helps you to be better or
for example with quality or late delivery of goods.
more successful than others.
Gross domestic product (GDP): the total value of
Brand manager: someone in a company responsible for
goods and services produced in a country’s economy,
developing a brand.
not including income from abroad
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 33
Business Lessons from The Mafia
1. Never keep a subordinate of your own who has not learned to obey, no
matter how competent he or she is.
2. When meeting you boss, speak only when spoken to, and to the boss’
point. Don’t try to impress by talking too much, and don’t stay too quiet
like a fool.
3. Be sure you understand what your boss has ordered before you act. Ask
questions if you ain’t clear.
4. Never put anything incriminating in writing; names, address, documents,
5. To survive in an office as a newbie, be patient; watch, listen and say little. Be
a friend to everyone. Be cordial to all clique but join none.
6. Before you become involved in any office battle, ask yourself; what do I
stand to gain, personally? There are some battles you would rather avoid.
7. Do business with strangers as if there were brothers and brothers as if there
8. The most important thing is your business relationship is a reputation for
honesty. If you can’t get it genuinely, fake it.
9. Mind you business, but keep your eyes on other successful businesses. If your
neighbor wakes up early, you wake up earlier.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 34
10. Never give business advice to another that does not profit you or Be sure
you understand what your boss has ordered before you act. Ask questions if
you ain’t clear.
11. And never act on business advice given to you without second and third
opinion. Your trusted advisers may want to see you fail so be careful.
12. It may take a long time, but with patience even a really serious and persistent
problem will eventually go away by itself.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 35
Words by Ime Ekpon John
Life is not divided by semesters:
kind of business education you get, there is no way to know
This is one truth I wish I heard when I was still in school. When
about a business better than experiencing it yourself.
you know that life is not divided by semesters, you will be more
It is both a thrilling and life transforming experience. While
time conscious and focused in both your academic pursuit and
some people may feel they need to know some certain things
other interests that are very valuable to you. For those who still
about business before they can start a business or have a per-
feel that it is too early to start your own business right in school,
fect product/idea before they can successfully launch a busi-
I want you to know that school is only a part of life and not a
ness, I dare say to you “done is better than perfect”. Even Mi-
break from life. Have you not noticed that men who have im-
crosoft or Apple have never given a perfect product, yes, if they
pacted the world most are school dropouts? Example, Bill Gates
have, why do they keep revising them in the form of Microsoft
of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple etc. They simply viewed school-
office 2003, 3007, 2010, and 2013 and Apple keeps bringing
ing as a part of life and went ahead to continue life regardless of
iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 6… start up now and you will get
whether they have finished schooling or not. Another thing you
better.“The secret to getting ahead is to get started”.
must know is that education is not only for five or four years, it’s
a lifelong process. You can combine schooling and business successfully.
Your network determines your net worth:
It’s who you know multiplied by the number of people they
know, that may be the key to unlocking your success in life.
Business experience is the best business school:
When you start a business in school, people of great ability and
I read business in school, fortunately for me I also started a busi-
potential will want to flock around you because they have seen
ness in school so I have the gift of both the knowledge and the
that you had the courage to follow your dreams. From this lot
experience. But, I can authoritatively tell you that no matter the
you will have the opportunity to help others who would be
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 36
great men tomorrow also to start up like you did. When you help
business in school, you will have the rare gift of experienc-
many other people to startup in life that way, I can guarantee you
ing failure, from which you will learn lessons that will take
that many of them will be indebted to you for life and you will be
you steps ahead of your future competitors who may be
able to get help, support and partnerships later in the future.
new on the business terrain. In business, a competitive advantage may just be that experience which you have from
Everyone starts somewhere, the earlier the better:
previous failure and the competitor does not have and can-
Like I quoted earlier, the only way to get ahead in life is to get
not buy in the market.
started. And the only difference between you and Seun Osewa or
Linda Ikeji may be that you started later than them. Jesus started
Great talent to work with almost for free:
going about his business at 12, Michael Dell of Dell Computers
When you run a business in school, you will be able to tap
started his company at 19. You see time is already against you if
into an array of great raw talents on campus. Many will be
you are still out there waiting for the perfect idea or time. I want
willing to serve with you. If you can persuade them with
to say that the act of starting up a business is the toughest part of
reasons like; the experience or partnership, some may not
running a business. Once you start, fortune will give you enough
even want any payment, but want to be part of the success.
favor and boldness to pull through. So this is the perfect time. Re-
Just look out for the best hands and you will be building
member you have lost yesterday, tomorrow is still concreted, all
your empire right inside the campus. This will come at a
you have is now, use it in a way you will be proud you did.
very high cost when you are out of school. Remember all
great businesses and teams start small. Richard Branson
You will overcome the fear of starting up:
started his student magazine while on campus, most of his
So many people die with their ideas still in them, their greatest
starting partners followed him to start the record company
regret would be; if they had followed through with that idea, or
and to other businesses that made up the virgin empire.
started that business… When you start up a business in school, you
will have overcome the numbing fear that kills many dreams in the
world today, and when you have unlocked the gates to starting up
one business, you will become unafraid to start up several others
like Richard Branson, who has started over 200 businesses.
Enough time to test run many business models and
There are several business models out there, and there is hardly
one size that fits for all kind of business. When you start a business
in school, you will be able to test several of the models with your
businesses and will be able to make a choice of the best which you
will use for your other business endeavors later in your career.
Also, you can switch to as many business ideas as you like in
school, if you are still searching for the right business. This may be
too expensive for you when you are out of school.
Starting and owing your own business is one of the biggest
confidence boosters, it will help you have a better image of
yourself, improve your self esteem, and make you live with
the mentality of a champion and someone who has a bright
future and already on the road there. Start now and your
life will be changed for good.
An opportunity to live life on your own terms:
When you start a business in school, your life changes.
While other students will live like dependents or salary
earners, you will have the very exclusive opportunity to live
your life in a very disciplined and focused way. This is your
first step to becoming successful and living life on your own
Opportunity to fail early and fast:
Every successful person has failed in life, and the bigger the failure,
the more successful the person has become. When you start a
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs |37
You will live free from chasing security all your life:
Business Lessons from Henry Ford
Like Robert Kiyosaki rightly pointed out, entrepreneurs seek freedom,
1.Use of Innovative Strategy:
In your business, always strive to discover innovative ways
of doing things. Think about how you can rebrand your
product that would make it look different from others in
the market. Or how you can change your production techniques that would make the process cost less while not
affecting the quality of your produce. Or how your customers can reach your products easier and faster than
what is contemporary obtainable. Just think of a way to
make you or your product positively different.
Henry Ford applied this tactics many times, but the most
remarkable was when he changed the daily wage from
the contemporary $2.34 to $5! It looked crazy, but he
knew exactly what he was doing. But offering such high
wages he was able to attract the best mechanics in the
entire city, they came with their expertise, their ideas and
their genius. Productivity increased tremendously, while
training cost fell.
while those who seek for jobs, especially government work, seek security. Those who have secure jobs no matter how high paying it may be,
pay for that security with their freedom. When you own your business,
you will be free to live life on your own terms and I can guarantee youyou will have enough people seeking security to work under you which
you will by more of their freedom in exchange for secure jobs you are
offering them and you will be free.
Low capital start up costs:
Most businesses that can be done on campus receive very minimal
capital to start. When you are very serious about starting a business on
campus, just look for the ones that will sell; you will surely find, so with
this, you can start your business career with little or no capital and
grow into an empire. Also, when you start a business on campus, you
have the opportunity of asking for support from your sponsor (parent
or guardian). Any parent or guardian would be proud and very eager to
support you if you can persuade them this business will be able to help
you make your own money and reduce your bother on them. I tell you
what, each time you fail and go broke, they would still have your back.
Opportunity to start small and grow big:
We live in a world of big and quick results. Almost every young Nigerian
wants to work in a big firm and earn huge start up pay, or wants to
start a business career very big. However, the only person who starts at
the top is the person who is falling down, everyone who is at the top
started from the ground up and every business that is big today started
small. So start your business now no matter how small. Begin with a
dream and a desire to work on that dream; you will be able to become
as big as you wish.
Break free from fear of taking risk:
Most people never accomplish anything in life, because they are afraid
of taking risk. When you start a business, you will break yourself free
from that fear and you will be free forever to take daring steps that
always comes with great rewards in wealth and riches.
Last but not the least; you will be well respected around your campus,
by both your peers and customers. This respectability will follow you
into the world outside when you will be in need of staff and other freelance technicians.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 38
2.Know When to be Hard and Rigid, and when to be Soft
Although many business publications and articles would
advise you to always trust your guts and to be determined
and dogged on what you think is the right decision, it is
equally as important to know when to be flexible and
heed advices from family, friends and business associates.
Henry was known to be a stubborn and strong willed individual. This character helped him immensely in a couple
of cases, for example, in 1902, when his investors were
impatient about putting an automobile on the road but
Ford wanted a more efficient car. Rather than bend to
their wishes he chose to leave the company. A similar
example can be found with Mary Kay Ash and the shareholders of her company.
But this same character almost ruined Ford’s company. At
first it was in the mid 1920s, when sales of the Model T
was beginning to decline due to increasing competition.
The other companies were incorporating modern mechanical features to their cars and offering customers a
credit payment plan. Edsel advised his father that they
should incorporate new features into the Model T but
Henry refused. Sales kept dropping until production of the
Model T was eventually stopped.
And then later in his life, after the sudden death of his
only son, Edsel, Henry held tight to the company despite
how sick he was. The company was declining so fast, losing over $10 million ($136,290,000 in today’s money)
every month that the government was tempted to take it
away from Ford. It took the intervention of Edsel’s widow,
who led a minor coup to remove Henry Ford and install
her son, Henry Ford II, for normalcy to return.
It is good, even necessary to be firm in business, but you
have to know when it is time to be flexible.
TRACKING YOUWIN WINNERS
opment, Brand managements. Seyi represent a new
breed of business think tank of a new generation in
In 2011 the Federal Government, seeing the rising spate of
unemployed youth in the country, launched the YouWin initiative.
YouWin, which stands for Youth Enterprise with Innovation in
Tell us a little about what you do?
Nigeria, is a program aimed at providing financial and managerial
I run a Manufacturing Company
assistance to young Nigerians who are willing to start ventures
called AFFORDABLE STARCH PRODUCTION COMPANY
which, particularly, have the potential of creating employment
as the Chief EXECUTIVE Officer ,we are into manufac-
and also increasing the nation’s gross domestic product.
turing of world class Quality FMCG Products that is
In its four years of existence, the program has featured three
proudly Nigeria our brand name is called ‘’ Affordable
different seasons (fourth season is on currently) with at least three
ROYAL ‘’ bust most called ‘’ROYAL’’
as the MD/CEO
range includes ROYAL CUSTARD POWDER Highly forti-
thousand young Nigerians being awarded millions of naira to
fied with vitamins packaged into 500kg
pursue their business career.
bucket ,ROYAL GRANULATED SUGAR 50G,500G,1KG ,
This category is therefore dedicated to tracking some of the
ROYAL MULTIPUPOSE SOAP 150G, both Foods and
winners of the much coveted grant, to inquire the challenges they
Beverages and cosmetics we intend to lunch our RO-
encountered before they won the grant and most importantly,
YASL Detergent soon we are also an ago allied produc-
how they have been able to make use of the fund.
tion company with a new different range of premium
quality products designed to meet the needs of our
Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Nigerians in generals .Affordable
Starch was registered in 2011 by CAC in Nigeria we
child of three children, I am 31 years old, am an entrepreneur and also
also investing are currently diversifying to Agriculture
My Name is Oluwaseyi Akinde I am from ogun state in Nigeria the 1
an industrialist into manufacturing of Food and beverages. Mr. Oluwa- value chine by adding value into processing of Cassava
seyi Akeeb Akinde: is an Entrepreneur and one of Nigeria’s best and
into Quality HQCF,HQCS we are currently building a 5
dynamic sales man / Marketing Guru, A brand strategist with a huge
tones output cassava processing plant at ilaro, Ogun
industry experience spanning over 9 years of real-world corporate ex- state
perience in sales and marketing ,Strategy Development, Business DevelMarch/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 39
TRACKING YOUWIN WINNERS
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 40
I also currently also works as Managing Director TSS Marketing
Jonathan (CCOFR) for giving hope to young and innovative
Company Ltd,Lagos, TSS is a world class Marketing Consulting
Young Nigerians via YOUWIN .which I encourage every young
Company that offers strategic marketing intelligence and build
Bright Nigerian youth to be part of by applying online
strategy for new and existing brands, in the area of Marketing &
Sales, Process Design, Marketing Consulting, Direct M &S ,
Brand Management Solution, Online Advertising Solution, Mobile Marketing Solution, Branding & Marketing Communica-
How much did you win?
tion, Sales promotions Solution for new and existing brands
product & services in Nigeria and beyond.
You are one of the winners of the federal government’s YouWin grant, how has the grant influenced
your business? Compare your business; before the
Not everyone who got the grant turned out successful, what are the qualities or factors that has
Adhering to corporate governance and proper accounting and
records keeping helped me, we also plan and kept on planning
grant and now.
and fine turning the business plan to meet the changing reali-
Pro to 2011 when I won the YouWin 1 Grant powered by the
ties in the Nigerian market space.
FGN, World Bank, DFID I was running a marketing company
Part what helped us to be succeed was that we stayed focus
called TSS Marketing Ltd with about 4 staffs where we do most
on the goal at hand, I worked with expect in the manufactur-
of helping people develop products, and market their products
ing industry and leaned all I needed to lean I was not in a hurry
while we earn commission it wasn’t that easy different chal-
to make money but to get the foundation rite , we stick to the
lenges we had as an SME but we were so determine to success I
rules of YouWin,
had fantastic guys who worked with me, I had written a busi-
by working as if the money was a loan that needed to be paid
ness plan for diversification into Manufacturing and Agriculture
back when you keep that kind of mind set you won’t be ex-
as a result of my experience in product development and mar-
travagant or spend money on what less important, I had Men-
keting ,but when I had no fund to start or run the business I
tors I worked with them, I made sure we keep good account-
kept pounding on it every day ,After winning YOUWIN Grant it
ing records, never compromise on quality, out packaging was
gave me the startup cost I needed to start the Business I was
quality and attractive. I also believe in delayed gratification.
able to get a license, Buy Technology, Lease a facility, Buy Ma-
Finally it was the grace of God.
I kept my head up by prayer to God,
chinery , a working Capital to further the business today we have
been able to roll our three of our 6 products line ROYAL Custard
Powder packaged in 500g and 2kg, ROYAL Granulated Sugar
packaged in50G,Royal Multipurpose Tablet Soap 150g , we are
When you won the grant and the money was being
disbursed to you, what were some of the
currently in the market in Ogun and Lagos and rapidly expanding
challenges that you faced?
our market to Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Abuja, Kano, Benin and produc-
One of my major challenge then was getting NAFDAC Reg it
tion capacity today we Employ 8 fulltime Staffs and 5 contract
took up to 1 year, also the Market acceptance of New Prod-
staffs .winning the YOUWIN 1 Grant help to me to kick start my
ucts it took some times before the market accepted us .the
dreams its been a transforming life experience because it come
nature of the Nigerian FMCG Market is very dynamic market
with Training and business Support on how to succeed as an
they want to see you over time , test your quality and see if
entrepreneur in Nigeria YOUWIN is a National Transformation
you are here to stay before any one will put dawn their money
and a huge solution to Job creation and address Unemployment
to buy your new product , but thank God we had the patience
and I say a Big Thank you to President OF Nigerian Goodluck
and quality to storm the market.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 41
TRACKING YOUWIN WINNERS
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 42
Have you been able to employ other young people? If
for more training before the disbursement of funds to you
Yes, how many?
when you win.
Since I won YouWin I 2012 in Affordable Starch Production Company have employed 15 people which 70% of them are young
people and that the idea also our industry is a very viable industry
that has more capacity to create jobs in our community with more
investment we will be able to do more.
Get you Financial angle right this is one of the most important section that the Business expects looks at your figures
must be correct ,by finding out the price of everything you
will need to set up the business , location ,rent, cost of machine, training , salaries, equipment, profit potential , growth
plan and total that u need to start the business.
If you were in the position to make changes to the
You must be chose your word because you don’t have luxury
to write too much words.
entire YouWin scheme, what changes would you
Locate your business close to where your raw material is
closer to reduce cost.
One very important thing I will change about the scheme will be
Mentorship program I will mandate the 1 year mentorship pro-
Finally, what are your future plans for your
gram for all the awardee not optional because a lot of awardee did
not follow up with their mentor they did not follow the mentorship
program so they had no place to go when they had problems with
their business. Which mentors could have helped
My plans are huge moving forward one is to make our Brand
name ROYAL brand of product an house hold name in all
homes across Nigeria I also want to expand our production
capacity to produce 10 tons of ROYAL Custard on a daily
Give out more money to manufacturing business who are still in
business after 2 years because its quite though in manufacturing
you have to be strong and a continuous investment is needed to
expand the market base so more money should be given to Manufacturer
bases this mean a yearly production capacity of 3000 tones ,
where by expanding our supply chain across south west,
North ,south south, south east Nigeria by increasing out
working capital , Buy new technology ,mass marketing and
implementing Advertising /activation plan for all product
across the chain line. Retraining of our key personnel and
The program has commenced once again, what advice
adherence to SOP and global best practice .we are also com-
would you give to young people who intend to apply
mitted to constantly increase the quality of our product to
for the grant?
meet the changing need of our customers through innova-
My advice to young applying for YouWin 4 is as follows;
tion by fortification of our product with more Vitamins and
Firstly you must put things into the hand of God by praying about it
Mineral to support the body daily need
before filling the application remember you are not the only one
but Grace has a long way to go in all these.
To also start construction of our CASSAVA Processing plant
Do research before filling submitting your application ,to find out
that will produce HQCF High Quality Cassava Flour, HQCS
the real cost of setting up your kind of business at a capacity that
High Quality Cassava Starch, GARI Flour as a major raw mate-
rial for Manufactures of Toothpaste, Pharmaceutical, paper
Chose a business you have passion for something you can do with-
with a daily capacity to 30tones fresh root into output 5
out being paid and still have fun while doing the job.
tones daily output at our permanent site at ilaro, Ogun state
You must show in your write up that you have experience in the
after the federal poly road at olirulakan ,ilaro the project is
business and you understand the industry write your years of ex-
estimated to cost about 30 million naira with a high ROI.
perience in your plan and for New business you must show that
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 43
Gross domestic product per capita: the total value of goods and
Merchandise: goods that are produced in order to be sold,
services produced in a country divided by the number of people
especially goods that are sold in a store
Merger: an occasion when two or more companies, or-
Incentive: something which is used to encourage people, espe-
ganizations etc join together to form a larger company
cially to make them work harder, produce more or spend more
Patent: an legal document giving a person or company
Income statement: a financial document showing the amount
the right to make or sell a new invention, product, or
of money earned and spent in a particular period of time by a
method of doing something and stating that no other
company. This is usually called the profit and loss account in
person or company is allowed to do this.
Middleman: a person, business, organization etc that
Industrial espionage: the activity of secretly finding out a com-
buys things in order to sell them to someone else, or that
pany’s plans, details of its products etc.
helps to arrange business deals for other people
Infant industry: an industry in its early stages of development in
Mission statement: a short written statement made by an
a particular country. Some people think that infant industries
organization, intended to communicate its aims to custom-
should be helped with government money and protected from
ers, employees, shareholders etc.
international competition by import taxes etc.
Nepotism: the practice of giving jobs to members of your
letter of credit: In foreign trade, a written promise by an importer’s
family when you are in a position of power.
bank to pay the exporter’s bank on a particular date or after a par-
Niche market: a market for a product or service, per-
ticular event, for example when the goods are sent by the exporter.
haps an expensive or unusual one that does not have
Interest: an amount paid by a borrower to a lender, for example to a
many buyers but that may be profitable for companies
bank by someone borrowing money for a loan, or by a bank to a de-
who sell it.
Protectionism: the idea that a government should try to
Logo: a design or way of writing its name that a company or or-
help an industry in its country by taxing foreign goods that
ganization uses as its official sign on its products, advertising etc.
compete with it, limiting the number that can be imported
ISO: the name used internationally for the International Organiza-
etc, and the actions that it takes to do this .
tion for Standardization, whose purpose is to establish international
Public limited company (PLC): a limited company
standards for services, goods, and industrial methods.
whose shares are freely sold and traded, in Britain pub-
KISS: keep it simple, stupid; keep it short and simple. Used to say
lic limited companies have the letters PLC after their
that a method for doing something should be kept simple, in or-
der to avoid mistakes.
Quota: an official limit on the number or amount of
Labor union: an organization representing people working in a par-
something that is allowed in a particular period.
ticular industry or profession, especially in meetings with their em-
R and D: research and development; the part of a busi-
ness concerned with studying new ideas and developing
Limited company also limited liability company: a company where
individual shareholders lose only the cost of their shares if the com-
Rationalize: to make a business or organization more ef-
pany goes bankrupt, and not other property they own.
fective by getting rid of unnecessary staff, equipment etc,
Market challenger: an organization or product that may take the
or reorganizing its structure.
place of the organization or product that has the highest sales in its
market or industry.
NIGERIAN BUSINESS ICON
Chief (Dr.) Innocent Ifediaso
Words by Olusegun Egbeyinka
The world is filled with mavericks. The world is filled with
in the motorcycle spare parts trade for a few years and dur-
people who were once rejected in a particular field, because
ing this time learnt a great deal about automobiles.
they were deemed unfit, but later turned out to be the chief
In 1981, Chukwuma registered the name of his business as
corner stone of that field. Walt Disney was sacked from his
job because the editor believed he was not creative enough.
Chief (Dr.) Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma a.k.a Innoson, joins
in the rank of these extraordinary wonders. It would amaze
Innoson Nigeria Limited, and traded in motorcycle parts and
accessories. His business grew steadily with time and soon he
was one of the top motorcycle spare parts dealer in the region. During this period, most of the motorcycles that were
being brought into Nigeria were second-hand motorcycles,
many people, as it did me, that Innoson was rejected from
this was because the price of a brand new motorcycle was
studying Engineering because he couldn’t meet cut-off point.
beyond the means of most people.
Today, he is a father of engineers, being the first black man
to own an automobile company and build cars from the very
While on a trip oversees, Chukwuma discovered that there
were four major companies that were in the business of im-
porting motorcycles. Leventis was importing Honda motorcyhief (Dr.) Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma popularly
known simply as Innoson has begun a revolution in
Nigeria that has given the country amazing global repu-
tation. Innoson has proved what he set out to prove, which was
that, Nigerians can also do it.
cles, Yamaco was importing Yamaha, Bolus was importing
Suzuki and CFAO was importing Moblet. Chukwuma discovered that the reason motorcycles were expensive was because they were being imported in wholly in containers. A
40ft container contains only about 40 units of motorcycles.
This way, the bikes were always expensive. Chukwuma
Chukwuma was born in Umudium, Nnewi, Anambra state in 1961.
He is the last of six children born to Mr. and Mrs. ChukwumaMojekwu of Uru-UmudimNnewi, Anambra state.
thought about this unfortunate situation for a while and then
conceived an idea. The idea was birthed by reason of his experience in the spare parts business.
He was not born into a rich family. After his basic education in his
Chukwuma took a 40ft container and filled it with 200 units
home town his elder brother introduced him to business where he
of motorcycles. How did he do it? Simple. He simply disas-
started off being an apprentice in the patent medical trade. Next
sembled the bikes into parts thereby allowing more room in
he ventured into the motorcycle spare parts business. He tarried
the container. When the containers filled with motorcycle
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 45
NIGERIAN BUSINESS ICON
parts gets to Nigeria, Chukwuma hires a team of mechanics to
porated Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited to
reassemble them back. Therefore the price of Chukwuma’s
produce commercial vehicles, utility vehicles and passenger cars,
bikes fell as low as by 40 percent compared to the prevailing
many thought he was taking things too far. Chukwuma made the
first statement at convincing
skeptics at the 2ndNnewi Inter-
The first time Chukwuma brought
national Auto Trade Fair where
knocked down motorcycles, he
he displayed publicly some of
brought them in five containers.
his vehicles.Chukwuma is the
It took him three months to sell
first man to produce truly Nige-
all of them. He went back and
brought in ten containers, it took
him one month. Next he brought
Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing
in twenty containers and that
Company Limited received rec-
took him one week. By the time
ognition and great commenda-
he brought in fifty containers people were already paying in
tion from President Goodluck Jonathan, who mandated that
government agencies that
needed vehicles must first
Consequently, the price of mo-
check at Innoson for its avail-
torcycles fell, from about
ability before they patronized
150,000 to 60,000. People
any foreign auto maker. De-
stopped patronizing imported
spite the presidential man-
second-hand motorcycles, which
date, Chukwuma observed
sold for about 90,000 and
that some ministries still pre-
started buying the cheaper new
fer to buy vehicles from auto
makers that they were accus-
During this period, Chukwuma
tomed to, like Toyota, rather
discovered that motorcycles contained a lot of plastics. This
than giving IVM a chance. But the auto boss is optimistic that
revelation was what prompted
things would change with
him to create Innoson Technical
and Industrial Company Limited,
an outfit dedicated to plastic
Several notable companies
manufacturing. He had plans to
and government have ap-
produce some of the plastic lo-
proached Chukwuma regard-
cally. Presently, Innoson’s plastic
ing partnership, notable
company is the biggest plastic
amongst them is the govern-
company in Nigeria, with more
ment of Ghana, who have
than 60 plastic products in its
asked Chukwuma to come
ever growing list.
and set up a similar plant in
the country. Nissan, the world
The nation recognized Chukwuma
as a brilliant industrialist, but when in February 2007, he incorMarch/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 46
auto giant have written to
Chukwuma also founded General Tyres and
Tubes Limited, a company he hopes will meet the
nation’s tyres and tubes needs for both motorcycles and cars. There are four manufacturing companies under the umbrella name Innoson group;
Innoson Nigeria Limited, company dedicated to
motorcycle and tricycle manufacturing and spare
part trading; Innoson Technical and Industrial
Company, dedicated to plastic manufacturing;
Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, involved in the
manufacturing of buses and other vehicles; General Tyres and Tubes, dedicated to Tyre and
In recognition to his outstanding achievements
and effort President Goodluck Jonathan conferred on him the national honor of the Officer of
the Federal Republic (OFR) on November 2011.
He was also awarded honorary Doctorate degree
in Business Administration by the Enugu State
University of Tecnology, Enugu. Dr. Innocent
Chukwuma is married to Ebele and they are
blessed with children.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 47
BIG ACTION BREEDS BIG CONFIDENCE
urn your big thoughts into big action as fast as you
can. Do not let excuses – ‘’ I’m not smart enough,’’
or ‘’I do not have enough experience,’’ or ‘’I’m too young,’’ or
How To Decide a Lifetime Career
re you confused as to picking a lifetime career?
Then read this three simple ways to deciding a
Consider what you enjoy doing: One of the best places to start
‘’I’m too old’’ too female or too black, too fat or too thin, too
considering building your career is with those activities you
bald, too athletic, or too nerdy, hold you back. These are just
most enjoy. Be specific, it is not good enough to say you want
empty excuses, drop them.
to ''work with people'', more than 95% of all jobs will entail
doing just that. When are you happiest? Most fulfilled? Most
Excuses are a symptom of fear. Plunge in and do the thing you
excited? These are the indicators that can help identify your life
fear the most and your fear will vanish. Nobody is born confi-
work. Even if you are not the best at something you enjoy do-
dent. All confidence is acquired. Get the action habit and your
ing, you will likely improve as you spend time working at that
confidence will soar.
Do not spend too much time planning or trying to anticipate and
What do other people tell you you're good at: Feedback from
solve problem before they happen, that is just another excuse
your friends, family, co-workers and even your boss can be in-
for procrastination. Until you start, you won’t know where the
valuable; it can help you see yourself as others see you. Don't
problem will occur, you won’t have the experience to solve
dismiss those skills and attributes that comes easily to you,
them. Instead, get into action, and solve the problem as they
these can indicate natural gifts that you may be able to use
to your own advantage.
Stop thinking and start doing. Start with small things and take on
Focus on developing your interest and skills: Find a work envi-
progressively bigger and bigger challenges until you build confi-
ronment that supports you and what you like to do by allowing
dence. This is how Olympic athletes get to the top; they push
you to use your natural skills.
themselves to bigger and bigger goals one step at a time.
Most youth spend time and energy fighting work circumstance
It helps to get a mentor to help you jump to a higher level fester.
they hate instead of further developing their natural skills and
That is why there are master teachers and coaches in every field.
interest. If you are good at something, you have the chance to
For some reason we’re all receptive to advice we receive from
be great at it if you focus on it.
authority figures. Find an authority figure in your field and get
his or her advice and encouragement to take bigger and bolder
steps. Their confidence helps to boost your confidence.
Words by Valentine Ogbamebor
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 48
Words by Valentine Ogbamebor
HOW TO REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS
NAME ONLINE AT C.A.C
pay another #500), personal information (date of birth, address,
n this dotcom age, it is very sad to know that many things in Nigeria
NIN…), business type information etc.
must still be done in a brick and mortar facility. Until recently, business
name registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission was the
same. But thanks to some ingenious heads at that agency, business
name registration can now be done online! No need to start hunting for the
When you are done filling the form, you would have to pay #500
for name search/reservation, you can do this with your ATM card
or internet banking.
closest commission office, or dealing with inept officials, you can now register your business with more comfort right from your living room.
It should take a few days for you to know the outcome; if your
business name is available or not. If it is, you can proceed immedi-
How do you go about this?
Very simple, go to the Corporate Affairs Commission Website available at
www.corporateaffairscommission.com You would need to acquaint yourself
with some of the services that the commission offers, but most importantly,
you would need to know the price for these services as it applies to you.
For instance; Reservation of name cost #500
ately to register it (information given below), but if it isn’t, then
you would need to think up something else.
For those whose business names are available and wish to register
it, you should follow these easy steps. (These options are only
opened to people who were successful in the name search stage)
-Go to the home page of the website and click on ‘register a business name’ Enter the business code of the business you wish to
Registration of private company with share capital of 1 million or less cost
Registration of company not having a share capital cost #20,000 etc
register.-When you click on ‘proceed’ from the above stage, the
approved business name appears, you are to click ‘Action’ and the
-A form will appear which you are to fill; the form is about your
identity card type.-The next form will be for your business; fill in
The process of business name registration is pretty easy and straightforward. the necessary business information.
But before you register a name you need to search for its availability. I will
-The next form is for Proprietors or Corporation. Click on Proprietors and then fill in the information of the principal officer of the
-On the website Click on ‘Forms’, then click on ‘availability check and reser-
company. You can add more Proprietors by clicking on ‘Add’. You
vation of name’.
are free to delete any Proprietors at any time you want. When you
have added all officers, click ‘continue’
-Next is ‘Name availability search’
-You would need to fill a few more forms on the business after
which you would be given the chance to select the documents that
You would be required to open an account with the website, use a username you wish to have and the number you wish to have.
you can easily remember, and for the password, the commission will supply
you a password in your email but you will be given the option to change it to -The above stage is the last stage before payment of 10,000 for
your personal password later.
business name registration.
After opening the account you will be asked to fill a couple of forms, where
you would supply the intended business name (option 1 and 2; the reason
for supplying two names is because if the first name has been taken the
other can easily be reserved. In the situation where both names have been
taken, you would need to repeat this process again, also, you would have to
I hope I have been able to offer some help and guidance on business name reservation and registration. If you have any questions,
pls feel free to send us a mail at
We wish you the very best in your business endeavors.
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 49
Amazing Business Story
he story of Paul Smith takes the theme of school-dropout
-turn-success to a whole new level. Not only was Paul a
dropout, he had no business ambition or interest whatsoever. His entry into business has been described by many
biographers as accidental. His childhood dream was to be a professional racing cyclist, but today he has built his name into an iconic
brand in the fashion world.
Paul Smith was born in Nottingham, England on July 5, 1946. He left
school at age 15 with no qualification or career plan and began working in a local clothing warehouse as an errand boy. His love for cycling was great, so he rode his bike to and from work. Until one day,
Paul Smith label. In 1982, he opened his second store in
two years after, that he was involved in a car accident. That unfortu-
London. The third store came in 1983, while the fourth in
nate event was going to shatter his dreams and end his ambition of
1987. In 1990, Paul created his first children’s collection.
being a professional cyclist.
He introduced the women’s collection in 1993, after dis-
Paul spent six months in the hospital, during which he met and made
some new friends. After he was discharged, he arranged a meet with
covering that 15% of his clothes were bought by women.
Today, there are 13 different collections.
his friends at a local pub. Coincidentally, the pub was frequented by
Paul has received several accolades and recognition, but
students from the local art college.
the most notable was in 2000, when he was knighted by
the Queen. On the same day he wed Pauline, his partner of
Paul listened to and studied the students, and it was at this point
that he fell in love with art and fashion. He knew right then what he
wanted to do with his busted life.
In 1969, Paul met Pauline Denyer, the woman who would later be his
wife and who was highly instrumental to his success. Pauline was
then a Fashion design student as the Royal College of Art. With great
encouragement from Pauline and a small savings, Paul opened his
first shop in 1970. The shop was just 12ft square in size. Also, during
this time, Paul began to take evening classes for tailoring, where he
learnt how to cut cloth and all the basics of fashion.
Paul started by selling other brands, but soon he began to sell pieces
that he had designed himself and had made by local manufacturers.
In 1976, Paul showed his first menswear collection in Paris under the
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 50
Paul still maintains his love for sports and he gladly dresses
many sport’s men. In May 2009 Sir Paul Smith dressed the
Manchester football team ahead of their Champion’s
League Final match against Barcelona.
Despite his astounding success, Sir Paul Smith still maintains a humble demeanor, and has been described as
‘down to earth’ by many who know him. He once wrote,
‘The obsessive pursuit of status, wealth and power has
done much to drag ambition’s reputation into the mud’. He
also said, ‘My top tip is to take it *his business+ slow. Life is
a joy. You don’t have to be rich and famous straightaway.
Take it easy, grow gently and you’ll have a lovely life”.
Paul Smith’s products are wholesaled in seventy five countries. He has seventeen shops in London and over 200 in
Japan. Other countries where his shops are located include
Paris, Milan, New York, Korea, and UAE. Paul continues to
be an integral part of his establishment, acting as both designer and chairman, therefore his shops and products all
over reflects his personal touch and character.
LESSONS FROM PAUL SMITH
1. The closing of one door could mean a better
one is about to open:
Paul’s childhood ambition was to be a professional cyclist,
but then the accident came that ruined all of that. It was a
massive disappointment, one that could make some people
depressed and even suicidal. But without this accident Paul
would have never found out about his interest in arts or his
talent for fashion. When disappointment comes, we should
not be too quick to get angry and sullen. The closing of that
door could just mean that something better is about to happen.
2. Spousal influence: Without Pauline Denyer, there would
most likely not be a Paul Smith designer. There is not a place
you would read Paul Smith’s story without finding a significant mention of her name. The failure of any man can be
blamed, in most part, on his wife. Similarly, his success.
Most women have no idea how much power and influence
they wield over their men. You can make him better, you
can inspire him to greater works. It does not matter if you
know only little about the technicalities of his business or
career; your words of encouragement, unflinching support
and providing a conducive environment would go a long
March/April 2015 | Young Naija Entrepreneurs | 51