Everyone operating a business successfully in Nigeria today deserves a medal for bravery.
It’s takes guts, resilience and lots of redundancy to survive, talk less of capture what truly is an opportunity for outsized value.
I have plenty examples of the bravery of the Nigerian or even “Expat in Nigeria” entrepreneur but the one I just witnessed takes the cake.
I took kids out for lunch at an American styled fast food joint. Shortly after we arrived and placed our orders, we noticed that the smoke from the open kitchen is filling the dinning area. As we complained, we noticed a power outage.
Outages are perfectly normal here so unflinching we continue to wait for our meal, while the waiter explained that the equipment to replace the broken expeller is awaiting clearance at the ports.
Shortly after manager shows up to apologize and moved us upstairs away from the smoke filled lower floor. We obliged. There is still no power. It appears their two backup generators have developed faults.
In the darkness our food arrives and we proceed to wash our hands at the bathrooms. Sadly there is no running water; because there is no power to pump the water from the borehole or something.
At this point I shook my head in disbelief for the hoops we must jump through to build businesses here and at the resilience of the Nigerian entrepreneur!
This is why I would support any efforts at reform no matter how meager the entrepreneurship space receives from any government in Nigeria. We need all the help we can get with power, taxes, imports, suites, you name it.
And for the life of me, I cannot understand people who’s only response to reform the consider insufficient cynicism. We will take what we can get, while we push for more.
If you don’t come from wealth or privilege, chances are that, you’re in the most difficult generation ever, for young people to become wealthy. Here are my thoughts on how to beat the trap.
I don’t need to tell you that globally, it’s harder than ever to get a great job. Even more difficult to get a well-paying job. Chances are that most people barely have a savings at the end of the month, after meeting their daily needs. Then jobs that existed before are quickly being taken over by machines, or even more skilled workers who are ready to work for less. So the competition is steep. But when life hands you lemons…
Now let me first debunk the belief that entrepreneurship is the only way to accumulate wealth. Fact: when Microsoft went public in 1986, about 12,000 of its employees became millionaires (in dollars). So ease up on the employee-bashing.
However, your personal wealth journey starts with one fact: no one owes you anything. Not even your parents. Also, wealth is a function of personal habit and choices, so it’s really not about who owes you anything, but the choices you make.
The two most powerful forms of capital on earth – “ideas” and “relationships”. I repeat: Ideas that can generate wealth or leverage resources and Relationships that can be leveraged to create opportunities for you.
Several business people didn’t also have the capital to start their business, or scale it up. Most either had an idea they could trade up or relationships they could leverage on to access opportunities (or even capital). So build a track record. That track record may include a time used to build a skillset, years of work, experience in a particular field, being part of a team that did something. But, young people build a track record.
Every serious person who wants to deal with you will ask the question: “what is he/she doing?” Or “what has she/he done?” Your track record is your real identity in the wealth market. Also it makes it easy for those that have a relationship with you to vouch for you. Oh! Also in this generation of records, ensure you keep a good record of your track. What you did? When?
Now, relationships are everything. Bill Gates’ mum was key in him meeting those in IBM who gave Microsoft its first big break. It’s the person inside who opens the door for the person outside to come inside. Get a mentor. Get a sponsor. Get into relationships with those in your industry and those outside it. Easiest way to build strong relationships with anyone is to offer to be of help to them. Everyone like a valuable person.
You may not have a fraction of their wealth or influence, but you can give your time. So rather than say, please can you help me, how about you say “you’re working on this, can I offer to help with this portion for free” Get into their value chain, and offer them serious value. You will quickly become valuable, and they will let you into deeper value process, and that’s how you can to build yourself. Trust me, there are many influential people who need valuable assistance that isn’t money. What’s more you keep your dignity in the process.
Learn how to leverage. Leverage means using the tools you have your maximum advantage. Once you get into the value chain, don’t get comfortable doing things how it’s always being done. Find ways to multiply the usefulness of your portion, and trade up its value. Also, it’s more important to be passionate about whatever you find to do, than even following your passion. Too many people pass up on great opportunities that can start them on the way, because they are idle waiting for what they are passionate about. Start somewhere.
Now, ideas have exponential results. When coupled with relationships, it’s even more explosive. Take out time every day to think. Oh and keep a journal while doing it. Ask 3 questions:
1. What problem can I solve?
2. What process can I improve?
3. How can I make wealth of 1 and 2
Don’t do everything. Focus on just one that of those ideas that you have the most chance of being successful with. Then pour yourself into developing it. When it’s developed, identify who can help you make it happen, and use your track record to sell it to them. This also works if you’re an employee. Your employer will find you more valuable if you’re bringing new ways to improve the business or grow it. Who do you think will be up for promotion or new roles in the company, the normal staff or the thinking staff?
Don’t be scared to fail when you launch out. Any venture capitalist or business person will tell you they take a person who has tried severally and failed more seriously compared to a person who didn’t try at all. Oh! And you lose 100% of the chances you don’t take.
I won’t focus on growing your wealth. Why? Too many people aren’t even making enough to even be able to grow anything. A person can’t earn, and you’re telling him/her to invest. Won’t work. This thread is to get you into making income and value first. Growing it is next stage. So develop ideas and explore the relationship you’ve cultivated to implement them. And even raise capital for your ideas. When doing this, your track record will show people you’re credible. And credibility is high currency in the wealth market.
So get into the wealth value chain. -Start something today. No matter how small. It’s track record. – Think of ideas on how to create value or improve the value of the place you work. – If lacking any capacity(capital or skills) to Implement the ideas, use your relationships. Look forward to seeing you creating value and wealth. It’s about time for young people (regardless of their background, privilege or skillset) to get in on the action.
CREDITS: Tola Onayemi is an international lawyer and investor. He is passionate about Africa, Economic policies, Trade and Tech
“I, too, used to run a business. I ran it for 18 months until I ran out of funds, after exhausting all my life’s savings. Great business idea, the market was huge and overwhelming. I started, I pushed it as much as I could. I served a market that consistently needed my service. To grow, I needed to inject money into the blood vessels of the business. But, I couldn’t. The resource was not available, and there was no one to help except the banks with their suicidal interest rates. Next to having a great business idea is access to funds to start and drive the business to growth”
What kind of business are you hoping to start? What kind of solution will your business provide? Is there a market for your business? How do you intend to run the venture? What’s your strategy for generating revenue and eventually, profit? How much time do you need to scale the business? How much resources would you require to flight the business? How are you sourcing for funds? Personal savings? Friends and family? Government loans? Bank loans? These are important considerations for any anyone who is considering entrepreneurship. Although, micro, small and medium sized businesses (MSMEs) are confronted with myriads of challenges today, some of which are tied to the general characteristics of the business environment in Nigeria: multiple taxation systems, unstable government policies, management problems, high cost of doing business, difficulties in accessing credit, and so on. Access to credit facility still remains the biggest challenge. And the reason is simple: while banks recognize the potential of most MSMEs as a source of revenue through credit facility, they are, most times, reluctant because of the difficulty attached to managing and assessing such risks. To curb these risks, many banks have resorted to implementing stringent screening measures and requirements when considering credit facility for MSMEs. These stringent measures however only ensure that only a few businesses are granted credit.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in conjunction with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) recently published an article titled, ‘The Credit Crunch’, which alleged that 87 percent of MSME respondents had successful loan applications in the past, while 69 percent of MSMEs who wanted loans but did not apply felt that they will be rejected because of the collateral requirements and other associated conditions attached to the loan approval process. Moreover, there is also a perceived ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach by financial institutions towards loan applications by MSMEs and their employees. It thus appears that many MSMEs and their employees find the process of obtaining loans – whether real or perceived – to be discouraging.
Be that as it may, the federal government of Nigeria, in an effort to provide the needed capital support for entrepreneurs, has launched several credit facility initiatives through its various agencies saddled with the responsibility of growing small and medium scale businesses. While the efforts of the government might be said to be yielding substantial growth, truth is, not every entrepreneur will qualify or get a chance to merit such credit facilities. Moreover, the government cannot on its own cater to virtually all business proposals with viable potential. The present administration created a MarketMoni scheme through the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) as a Special Intervention Programme by providing loans between N10,000 and N100,000 to micro enterprises, the segments of the society with the greatest difficulty accessing credit. The scheme, which is executed by the Bank of Industry (BOI), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, directly impacts traders, market women, artisans, and farmers nationwide. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, of the 37 million small businesses in Nigeria, 36.9 million are micro enterprises, and these are responsible for almost 50 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and 80 percent of the workforce. Therefore, it might be impossible for only the government to provide credit facility for all of those micro enterprises.
Already, some private organisations, although relatively young, have been supporting and growing MSMEs for years. While their efforts might not have been noticed by the media, their impact on these micro, small and medium sized businesses have been enormous. For instance, did you know that some of the merchants/vendors selling on Jumia enjoy a low interest credit facility given to them by the eCommerce giant? The Jumia Lending Program is an initiative that gives sellers on the platform opportunity to grow and expand their businesses by granting them access to fast and easy short-term working capitals. Lots of entrepreneurs have been produced through this initiative. Some of the pecks of the lending initiative include: quick registration process; flexible repayment plan within 1 – 6 months; no collateral; low interest rate; no hidden or extra charges; and free training and support services to help merchants selling on the platform make best use of the loan and expand their businesses. Just like the MarketMoni scheme by the federal government, Jumia vendors also have between N10,000 – N100,000 credit facility available to them. Sellers who have benefitted immensely from Jumia’s low interest credit facility today remain among the top sellers on the platform, cutting across a wide spectrum of category such as, home appliances, beauty and perfumes, phone and tablets, cameras and electronics, computing, TV, audio & video, and so on.
As a nation, it will be almost impossible for us to reap the dividends of the digital economy if businesses powering the sector are not adequately funded, or at least provided with low interest credit facility which can help to grow, nurture and sustain the businesses. There have been many discourses on how Nigeria can take advantage of eCommerce to improve the lot of the very promising Nigeria economy. Although, much has not been seen of the government investing in this sector, it has nonetheless created an enabling environment for the existing players to operate. In turn, the players, of which Jumia remains the leader is empowering entrepreneurs on its platform to flourish through constant free business training and advice, provision of credit facility, and so on.
With over 50,000 active merchants/sellers on the platform, Jumia continues to connect consumers and businesses across Africa. Through its various online platforms, consumers can access a wide range of products and services, from basic consumer goods to online travel. The company helps consumers “save time and money”. Businesses use Jumia in order to distribute their products and services in a more efficient and scalable way.
Ikenna Anene is a creative writer and serial entrepreneur, responsible for the brands Donell Media(Multimedia establishment engaged in event coverage & General Printing), Ike’s Urban Wears (A customised clothing brand ), Spirit of Fashion Runway Exhibition and more recently, Startup Lounge. He is also a speaker and development advocate.
ABOUT STARTUP LOUNGE
Startup Lounge is simply the platform, where startups entrepreneurs who intend to expand their circles and grow their business meet, connect, interact and learn from mentors, coaches and senior entrepreneurs.
I have always wanted to create an informal network or community of smart young people, so I set out first with what I called The Youth Mentors Forum, then I felt it was too serious, we switched to something funky: The Hookups 360 was created. Few months down the line, it was turning a dating platform, so I shut it down.
I continued to query the idea, as I wanted something that can be very focused and far reaching in terms results. So, the need to create a network of SMEs, that will enable them engage in peer review, build partnerships, acquire knowledge and have access to services and credit for the growth of their businesses.
HOW I STARTED
Although I started writing and publishing a campus newspaper (Goggles News) and an inter campus magazine (Campus Thriller) in 2008 at Abia State University, Where I studied Environmental Resource Management, I registered the company – Donell Media in 2012 and commenced business in publishing. I published an entertainment and fashion focused magazine called Thriller magazine.
Then in 2015, I ventured into producing my first fashion event (Spirit of Fashion Runway Show) and in 2016, after the publishing business had suffered a huge blow, I decided to relocate the business to Lagos; restrategised and restructured into a multimedia service company. I can tell you that it was a great move and I do not regret it one bit.
Registering my company 6 years ago and staying through; overcoming the numerous challenges and hurdles is really a source of inspiration for me.
I have mastered the art of starting, transforming ideas into businesses. I’m currently on the other level of sustaining businesses. Because a lot of people startup and after some time, fizzle out. A lot of people who started their companies at about the same time, even in the same sector are nowhere around.
Funding. We don’t have access to the kind of funds required to scale up the business; it’s a challenge but not an insurmountable one.
Having to deal with people low in empathy as customers and unsupportive people around (both family and friends). Many growing businesses suffer this.
Then, the government must create an enabling environment for small businesses to thrive and blossom.
HOW I USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO BOOST MY BUSINESS
Social media has helped my career a great deal. I have met more customers, clients and done more businesses, from interacting on social media. As a writer and development advocate, I’m able to reach out to more people on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
ADVICE FOR STARTUPS
There’s something I always say to people and that it, “for a population of about 200 million in Nigeria, interacting with another 7 billion people around the world, no sector is getting over saturated anytime soon. So if you’ve got that idea, bring it on”
I am an advocate of starting small and I always advice people to start small. Because a lot times, the situation is that people who may have access to finance, may not have capacity and those with capacity may not have finance. So, when you start small, chances are that mistakes and losses would be minimal.
YOU CAN CONTAT IKENNA ANENE ON: http://www.ikennaanene.wordpress.com,
Facebook: Ikenna Elijah Anene
Instagram: @oloyeikenna @startuploungeng
Igbo people as an ethnic group has “Igwebuike, k’anyi Dozie Obodo Anyi” philosophy.
It is a model that translates to “Together we can achieve more, so let’s rebuild our land”. Kenyans have Ubuntu way of life and it simply translates “I am because we are.The Ubuntu Philosophy explores Africans’ interconnectivity, Kindred and oneness. These existing systems are the exact thing the sustainable development goal is about. How we can live together in harmony with ourselves and our environment. There are Pan-African passion and spirit which resonates within the Kilimanjaro declaration that among other things Africa is a rich continent whose wealth belongs to all the People and not to the narrowed political and economic elites therefore there’s need to fight for economic development that embraces social inclusion and environmental care. Now, imagine what will be the results if young people from the nooks and crannies of Africa and the world who have been living this ideology subconsciously is presented with a beautifully crafted event that will not only open up their startups and help them network but present them with a chance to pitch their very own business projects at a global event, with the winner receiving Youth Time’s Idea Grant to realize their idea!
The event that is partially funded will take place in Paris, France from December 2nd -6th and will gather together more than 100 participants, experts and trainers from all over the world with the aim of discussing ideas and solutions to some of the most prevalent youth issues. The topic of the annual event is Worldwide Impact Investment: the Role of Entrepreneurs.
We need to realize that with the world facing a plethora of social and environmental challenges; the practice of impact investing has become something of a trend in the past decade. In fact, such investments are now beginning to question the archaic notion that global issues can be tackled only through philanthropic contributions, with market investments focusing exclusively on monetary gain. This new emerging form of investment comes with a promise to bring out the best of the nonprofit and for-profit systems, combining them to yield positive social and environmental impact in addition to tidy financial returns. It appears to be a win-win formula and as the call for addressing global problems and reaching sustainable development goals amplifies, so do the opportunities for both investors and innovators.
This consciousness will be repositioning the people to unite and organize to gain support from investors and access funds, then lobby for change in policy making process and still be co-owners of their contents. This event will help Entrepreneurs work out sustainable basic needs and how the services can be delivered. Set in the cosmopolitan city of Paris, France, the Youth Global Forum is composed not only to equip young business people with the necessary tools to thrive in the realms of impact investment, but also to foster leadership, human values and a strong sense of social responsibility. Through a harmonious combination of educational programs and cultural exchange activities, participants will leave the event feeling empowered and inspired to generate positive change within their communities. A series of informative keynotes, masterclasses, case studies and highly-interactive workshops conducted by esteemed experts will help attendees to gain insight into the complex world of impact investing and learn about the opportunities which could allow them to realize their maximum potential.
So, if you are a young person age 20-35 from anywhere in the world, Master’s/PhD student who is a social entrepreneur, young professional, working at/with startup incubators and/or accelerators and Fluent in English (reading, writing, speaking).
Over the past few years, awareness of startup accelerator programs like Y-Combinator and 500 Startups among others has skyrocketed. Typically, startup accelerators periodically select a batch of companies, usually in the same early stages of their lifecycle.
In return for a small portion of equity, they offer advice, investor connections and mentorship. Programs can culminate in events much like debutante balls called a “demo day” where the startups have a chance to pitch to many investors at the same time.
Despite the trend, many early-stage entrepreneurs remained misinformed about the benefits of going through accelerators. Here’s are key insights about what can be helpful (and not so helpful) about such accelerators.
1.Not all startup accelerators are created equal
There has been a huge proliferation of accelerators across the world including Africa, over the past few years. This phenomenon brings advantages to the tech community; accelerators often inject a renewed sense of excitement into local startup scenes. However, the sad truth is that very few accelerators are actually worth participating in. Most accelerators have pretty weak relationships with investors. When the time comes for their demo day, there won’t be enough legitimate investors in attendance, and this will make it difficult for participating startups to jumpstart their fundraising process.
2. Accelerators are most helpful during fundraising season.
An accelerator’s impact on your business increases dramatically around the time when you start to think about fundraising for your startup.
Why? The simple answer is that most accelerators are structured to culminate in that massive demo day where their companies can pitch to many investors simultaneously. This represents a golden opportunity to jumpstart a seed funding round, but its benefit is lost on companies that do not care to raise funds.
3. Accelerators can have a negative impact on your company.
As with most business decisions, there’s usually an upside and a downside to evaluate. Participating in an accelerator program can potentially have its downsides, too, such as Many (not all) accelerators offer unhelpful distractions. This can include requiring participation in multiple daily social events and forcing startups to meet with dozens of tangentially relevant “mentors” and “friends of the program.” While on the surface this seems really great, there is a diminishing utility to these types of meetings and conversations. While you’re hustling to make sales, engineer your product, pitch investors and generally save your startup from extinction by the time demo day comes along, it can be a big time sink to deal with these types of mentor meetings and events.
4. Accelerators help you benchmark your company against other startups
At the pre-seed stage, building a company can be a very insular existence. It’s difficult to get a perspective on whether or not you’re growing fast enough and approaching problems in the right way.
For Kinnek, one of the most helpful aspects of participating in Angelpad was the ability to compare themselves to other startups at similar stages of evolution. They got some idea of where they needed to improve and where they outperformed relative to similar startups.
5. Accelerators can plug you into an awesome network of founders and ex-founders.
Participating in an accelerator (and the ensuing fundraising process) is an intense experience, but it helps forge strong bonds between cohort members. From hiring strategies to revamping sales processes to finding new office space; the AngelPad network is a huge source of advice and support. Friends who’ve participated in other accelerator programs have grown similar friendships and networks.
So, should you and your startup join an accelerator?
Ultimately, participating in an accelerator can be helpful to your startup. Make sure you’re extremely selective with which program you choose and try to time your participation in such a way that fundraising starts immediately after the program ends. A great accelerator can absolutely be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to kick your company into a higher gear. Don’t expect the accelerator to be a silver bullet that automatically catapults you to fame, fortune and fundraising glory though. Remember that it’s just an opportunity, not a guarantee. The onus is still on you to make it worth your while.
In line with the vision of building a community of Creative young people passionate about disrupting the global Innovation/Business ecosystem, Startup Anambra is set to launch Startup School by September 1, 2018.
WHAT IS ANAMBRA STARTUP SCHOOL?
Anambra Startup School is an initiative to support and encourage the Anambra Startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is a 6 week offline/online entrepreneurial learning programme which contains interactive learning activities that will guide an entrepreneur from the ideation phase of their business through to startup maturity.
If an entrepreneur already has and runs an existing business, the programme will give the entrepreneur the tools to enhance their business and strengthen their entrepreneurial skills. Upon successful completion of the programme, entrepreneurs stand a chance to win funding and Investment towards their business(es).
Startup School offers you, the entrepreneur, the opportunity to expand on your business insight through a challenging and interactive 6 weeks learning journey. The course’s unique support structure of start-up coaching alongside comprehensive coursework means that you will develop and build on your entrepreneurial mind-set. Register and wait for the NEXT CO-HORT.
The Startup School is committed to ensuring that business mentorship is used in a positive and impactful way. Part of the Startup School programme has and relies on a strong mentorship pillar to support and grow the entrepreneurs. Using key information from both the entrepreneur and the volunteer mentor the Startup School will ensure the best possible pairing and facilitate a successful mentor and mentee relationship.
THE LEARNING JOURNEY
Startup School is an initiative that along with partners, have started to support and encourage the Anambra entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is a 6 weeks intensive Online/Offline entrepreneurial learning programme which contains interactive learning activities that will guide an entrepreneur from the ideation phase of their business through to the startup Maturity.
Our main focus is to achieve these three things:
ENCOURAGE: Encourage and inspire people to consider starting a company as a way to positively impact the world.
TEACH: Teach people about how to start a startup, and equip them with the resources and tools to help prepare them now and in the future.
BUILD: Build a community of entrepreneurs who can encourage and teach each other.
If you have an entrepreneurial mind-set or running a small to medium business you can apply to be part of the programme. Applicants are expected to complete the “boot-camp” modules to ensure that you have an appreciation of the content, commitment and level of learning to successfully complete the 6 week programme. The boot-camp is the first two weeks of the course where you are critically evaluated before you can continue with the rest of the programme modules.
As the course progresses, the modules and content is designed to challenge and equip entrepreneurs with the necessary skill set to manage their business, which encompasses a wide range of business topics. Assignments and course work will require a strong level of commitment and study to ensure successful completion of the programme.
One of the most powerful tools in today’s competitive business world is a Joint Venture which essentially is a situation where two or more business entity’s team up for the purpose of expanding business influence and creating a more powerful market presence. They are usually short term business arrangements where parties share responsibility but retain their separate legal identities.
Joint ventures (JV) remain an excellent way to boost profits with minimal up-front cost to the business owner. It normally involves a sharing of resources, which could include capital, personnel, physical equipment, facilities or intellectual property such as patents. Some famous examples include Sony- Ericsson, Exxon-Mobil, Nokia- Siemens, Cadbury-Schweppes etc.
REASONS TO CONSIDER A JOINT VENTURE
Risk Sharing – Risk sharing is a common reason to form a JV, particularly, in highly capital intensive industries.A joint venture provides a company with a way to exit from a business or to enter a new business with less of a financial commitment than if it were to do this on its own.
Market Access – Creating new distribution channels can be extremely difficult, time consuming and expensive, therefore forming a JV with the right partner who can provide instant access to established, efficient and effective distribution channels might be a wise option.
Geographical Constraints – To explore opportunities in a foreign market, partnering with a local company would be attractive to a foreign company.
Expertise – It is fairly common for different companies to submit a joint bid for the acquisition of another company or the execution of a project. Whilst one of the joint venturers may possess the necessary technical expertise, the other party might have a formidable marketing and sales infrastructure which ultimately increases the strength of the venture.
STRUCTURING A JOINT VENTURE
The structure of a joint venture can have a huge impact on its success. Typically a JV is created through the process of incorporating a new company with the joint-venturers as shareholders. The entity then conducts the business of the joint venture, concludes contracts and is liable if things go wrong. To further regulate the relationship of the parties it is also germane to have a Joint Venture Agreement and a Shareholders agreement.
From the outset, potential partners should set out the terms and conditions in these agreements as this will help prevent any misunderstanding once the joint venture is up and running.
A Joint Venture Agreement should cover:
The structure of the joint venture, e.g. whether there will be a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to warehouse the venture.
The objectives of the Joint Venture.
Financial contributions expected from each party.
Duration of the Joint Venture
Whether you will transfer any assets or employees to the joint venture
Ownership of intellectual property created by the joint venture
Management and control
How liabilities, profits and losses are shared
Joint Ventures are used by small, medium and large scale businesses to increase sales, gain access to wider markets, and enhance technological capabilities. It is however essential to ensure that the framework is clearly understood and documented to avoid disputes.
CREDITS: This opinion is brought to you by the Iyiola Oyedepo & Company
Nigeria’s #1 Online Shopping Mall – Jumia Nigeria is SIX!
Jumia’s six years anniversary celebration taking place throughout the month of July, aims at celebrating major milestones achieved over the period of its operations in Nigeria. These include, for instance, the listing of over 5 million unique products on the platform, supporting the growth of MSMEs (over 10,000 merchants active on the platform), and granting local customers access to new services in Nigeria.
“Over the past six years, we have created a sustainable impact on the Nigerian economy, enabled access to new services on our platform, such as food ordering, hotel and flight booking, as well as finance solutions with Jumia Pay. We’re especially excited about these milestones; yet we’re challegened to do more and be more to our local vendors and customers,” said Juliet Anammah, Jumia Nigeria’s CEO.
Reminiscing on the history of the company, Anammah noted that since inception in 2012 in Nigeria, “the company has now become Africa’s largest e-commerce platform selling goods and services to millions of customers. We have expanded from four to 14 countries, and our vendor network – from Lagos, Nigeria to Cairo, Egypt, and other African countries – has grown to 50,000 businesses offering their goods and services online.”
“It is important that we give credit to our team of dedicated and hardworking staff. Our story today is incomplete without mentioning the real drivers of the business. So our anniversary this year is a celebration of the Jumia talents who have worked tirelessly over the years to grow the business into what it is today,” she added.
According to Boston Consulting Group research, just 0.5% of all retail on the continent takes place online compared with about 15% in China—home to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. —and 5% in India. But companies like Jumia are changing the economic landscape for many African entrepreneurs.
As part of the celebrations, Jumia has also launched an anniversary campaign titled, “Salebrate With Us”. The goal of the campaign is to appreciate Jumia customers with over 1,000,000 exclusive deals, 500,000 free shopping vouchers, daily flash sales exclusive to Jumia app and free delivery on any item above N10,000 via Jumia Express in major cities (excluding large items). In addition, customers who make payments with Jumia’s secure payment platform ‘Jumia pay’ get 5% discount off their shopping during the anniversary. The Jumia anniversary sales commences on July 16th till July 29th.
The YALI program — 6 weeks of study, service, fun and fellowship – empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and local community engagement. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has brought 3,000 young leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa to the United States to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaborations with U.S. professionals.
The 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows will be hosted at 28 institutions focused on public management, business and entrepreneurship, and civic leadership across the United States this summer. They will meet at the end of their Institutes in Washington, D.C. for the fifth annual Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, where they will take part in networking and panel discussions with each other and U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
After the Summit, 100 competitively-selected Fellows will join private, public, and nonprofit organizations across the country for a six-week Professional Development Experience, which are substantive, short-term placements that allow Fellows to contribute their skills and insights to American organizations. From 2014 to 2016, Fellows contributed nearly 80,000 work hours to 173 U.S. host organizations across the country.
Nigeria’s fellows represent the largest cohort from any one country. Nnadi Ebuka Emmanuel is one of the 60 young Nigerians to make the fellowship. He said:
“I am very excited to be one of the young Nigerian leaders to be selected for the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship, a flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in the United States of America. This is indeed, a dream come true after three consecutive attempts. Now, I look forward to the opportunities and challenges this program would present. But one thing is certain, victory is assured; because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”
Upon returning to their home countries, Fellows will continue to build the skills they have developed during their time in the United States through regional conferences, professional practicum experiences, and mentoring opportunities. Fellows may also apply for their American colleagues to travel to Africa to continue project-based collaboration through the Reciprocal Exchange.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship and the larger YALI program embody the U.S. government’s commitment to investing in the future of Africa.