5 skills you should learn during this lock down

By Akujor Clinton 

Since the lock down was declared, everything in the country seems to be on standstill. Prior to the lock down everyone was busy; we now you have plenty of free time. What are you doing with it.

You have the choice to waste it or invest in learning valuable new skills. Thanks to the internet, now you can learn almost anything online.

Most jobs would become outdated by the time the lock down is over. Hence the more reason you need to acquire new valuable skills that will help you remain relevant in the business and work place. Even top company executives recommend that workers take on a new hobby or learn new skills.


How should you go about learning a skill that would have an immediate impact after the lock down?

 First, the new skill should be practical. It should not take years to learn. Study at your own pace in the comfort of your home.

If your skill involves outdoor exercise, I advise you not to use it right now. Nonetheless, if you only want to discover a new talent that you can practice during the lock down, here are a few skills that you can learn online.


It does not extend to all IT workers, but you will undoubtedly use this enhancement in your current skills. People with coding skills will always be in demand. Think about companies and businesses that will begin to automate some of their operations and services.

Creation of content and copywriter

Businesses will always need copywriters. Content design is one of the most critical aspects of marketing, especially online. Because they use contents: images, videos, and written words to provide customers information on social media and e-mails.

Most businesses will need individuals who can create the right type of content to turn their audience to customers.

Digital Marketing

I want to encourage you to develop if you see your position as one based on achieving social goals. Facebook is situated at the crossroads of commercialization, customer experience and sales and is the source of useful business intelligence. More companies are focusing on digital marketing, selling things online.

Your ability to align your social strategy with more exceptional marketing and business goals can lead to the next stage of your career.

It is essential to understand other conventional and digital marketing approaches e-mail, conferences, lead generation, PR, and more. Such awareness will allow you to put your business socially in the broader sense of how your brand interacts with its users.

Sales Closing Skills

Regardless of the abilities and strategies of a sales person, closing a deal is and will always be a vital skill.

When the prospects are not turned to buyers, having a pipeline full of prospects would do little. The ability to close the deal would highly be needed in the job market.

Weekend briefing

Success! You’re on the list.

The closing of a transaction can be a daunting case. Not only does a sales specialist understand the expectations, preferences and concerns of the customer thoroughly, but also knows how their product or service meets those expectations.

In conclusion, these time can be tough, but use it to your advantage. Concentrate all your attention on success, and you will be shocked to see how easily the time passes.

There is an extensive range of free videos, applications and tools for learning any skill online. Start your search from Google and Youtube.

#TheCamp20: West Africa’s premier entrepreneurship conference to hold March 7th

Every March of each year, hundreds of young start-ups, youths and entrepreneurs gather in Lagos gather to be trained  and be inspired by 18+ world class thoughts leaders, innovators, business practitioners, successful entrepreneurs, content creators digital media experts in the annual entrepreneurship conference – #TheCamp. This year’s event runs from the 7th to 8th of March. As long as technology continues to be the paradigm of the future, this event will continue to expand in scope and capacity.

The Camp West is West Africa’s premier conference and entrepreneurship programme for start-ups and young entrepreneurs. The mission is to discover and bring together start-ups and young entrepreneurs in West Africa to share ideas, learn and network while helping them understand the market trends, insights, meet key industry players and connect them to resources they need to build their brands.

The event which started in 2015 has seen in attendance over 200 young entrepreneurs and start-ups from across Nigeria, as well as 5 West African countries including Ghana, Liberia, Benin Republic and Cameroon. We bring over 13 speakers, hosts and panellists with different ideas and experiences. 

Themed “DISRUPT”, we are going to be shifting our focus to the businesses that are driving the West, the ideas that have worked, the challenges being faced by young entrepreneurs and how to overcome them, how technology is aiding growth and the tools that is needed to disrupt the market or be the ideas disrupting the current trends while building and uniting our communities. 

The Camp 2-day programming focuses on ideas, trends, insights, business practices and policy that leverage technology to build and manage businesses, transform industries and communities across West Africa.

The last edition of the event – #TheCamp19 with the theme ‘TIME’ was made possible by the contribution and support from over 20 brands across the sub-region  



The Camp is committed to ensuring women are an integral part of conference programming and ongoing initiatives. Hence, women are represented in all panels, sessions and the general programming throughout the conference.


This is a session to breakout and eat a quickly made West African food commonly considered as stressful meals to make.

One thing we have come to understand from our deeply rich culture in the West is that the best conversations happen with a meal at hand, and that the best moments are between the times we savour a new delicacy with a new friend, so, why not use this opportunity to meet and converse richly with that new friend?


The best time to get challenged is in between sessions that just brought you new ideas, but the best time to get inspired is in a session that helps you understand you can begin your personal branding by yourself. How about learning news ways to brand yourself while you wait for the flow of income to higher another?


This session will bring the light on what the future will look like when the African youths are digitally powered and the lots we hope to achieve with it.


This session will broaden our minds on the power we posses with our stories and the distance they can go to shape the society positively.

#TheCamp20 will be held at Sunfit International, by Apple Junction, Festac Town, Lagos.

 To learn more about #TheCamp20, visit: http://bit.lytchome/.  For the latest news and updates, follow The Camp West on Twitter via @TheCampWest or on Facebook via facebook.com/TheCampWest

#TheCamp20 Partners include: The Guardian, Google, Mediafits, Miaz Designs, Edubridge, Meccil Concepts, Sun Newspapers, etc.

5 ways to know if you really need a mentor

Young entrepreneurs often deal with depression when they are unable to meet their goals and expectations.

Farida Yahya
Farida Yahya

By Farida Yahya

A mentor who has experienced the highs and lows of running a business will tell you positive and soothing words of advice when things don’t go as expected.

As a budding entrepreneur, you can easily have access to a steady flow of information regarding business news, industry developments, and opportunities. All thanks to search engines such as Google, online coaches and experts, family and friends, publications, whitepapers or even casual acquaintances.

There are also industry analysts, consultants, employees, and good networking contacts that share their expert knowledge with you regarding particular situations and needs you may encounter. However, I believe that only a business mentor can provide you with information and nuggets of wisdom you need, and the deliberate emotional and physical investment of time, energy and resources to propel your growth.


While the information a publication, report, industry expert or causal acquaintance will give you can be generic or open to the general public, a good business mentor starts from where they stop. A business mentor is someone who has “walked the talk” – someone who serves as a trusted confidant and has more entrepreneurial business experience than you.

How do you know if you need a mentor?

Let me ask you this:

Who do you turn to for advice after launching your business? Unlike when you are an employee, launching your business means that you don’t have a boss or colleague to turn to for directions when you have a problem. Even if you don’t have employees (yet) to ask questions, nothing stops you from asking for help. We all need a good and reliable board, fresh pair of eyes (and brains), second opinions, or sometimes, emotional support when the going gets tough (and, trust me, it will).

So, why should you get a mentor?

Here are my top five reasons:

You don’t want to make mistakes/you want to shorten your learning curve


If you don’t want to make the same mistakes you see many business owners make, especially in their first four years of establishment, then you need a business mentor. Your mentor does not need to have experience in your particular industry. But if they do, you will be able to maximise your opportunities to leverage key relationships. They don’t have to be up on the latest trends or technology – you’ve got other sources for that. Your mentor’s role is to share with you lessons from their experience in the hopes that you can learn them quickly and easily.

You want to develop stronger EQ

Emotional intelligence is one of the biggest players that determine a business’ success. When a young entrepreneur has a mature and successful mentor, they will learn how to gain mastery over their emotions.

You need a “shoulder to lean on”

Being an entrepreneur means that you will fail (countless times, maybe). However, how you stand up instead of whining or getting depressed and how you learn from your failures plays a big role in your business’ success. Enduring the consequences of failure on your own can set you back and impact your productivity. During tough times, having a mentor will help you keep your head high. Young entrepreneurs often deal with depression when they are unable to meet their goals and expectations. A mentor who has experienced the highs and lows of running a business will tell you positive and soothing words of advice when things don’t go as expected. Additionally, not only do they cheer you up with positive words of encouragement, but they also share ideas that would help navigate your business to achieve success.

You want to expand your social network

Your mentor, being an experienced business owner, is likely to have an extensive network of people and can offer you access to far more senior decision-makers and business opportunities than you currently have. They will also be far more willing to open that network up to you than some casual acquaintance or someone who you don’t know from a networking event.


You want a trusted, long-term relationship

You want to be able to have a business relationship (which could transcend to a personal one) without having to worry about the person’s ulterior motives. Since most mentors offer free advice, they have no ulterior motives — no service or product to sell you. Thanks to their experience and other qualities they have, the relationship established with them also builds a good foundation for trust. As the relationship progresses over time, that trust can grow even stronger. Your time with them becomes more efficient as they become invested in you and your business’ growth.

You can see how beneficial having a mentor can be for your business’ success. Since the risk is non-existent, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by finding a good mentor. Every entrepreneur should have one. You should have one.

Found any of these reasons useful? Do you have a mentor? Share your experience with me.

FGN special intervention fund for MSMEs

In my previous posts we covered information about the AGSMEIS and MSMEDF loan scheme, the Eligibility, Procedure and Requirements. If after going through and you feel that your business does not qualify for the loan scheme, then you should try the Federal Government Special Intervention Fund for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (FGN).

By Ujunwa Onuegbu

This is my favorite loan scheme because it is specific and covers a lot of businesses. Irrespective of the type of business, there is something for you. And if your business is not listed, you can provide information about your product to be reviewed by the Bank of Industry.

FGN special intervention fund for MSMEs also known as National Enterprise Development Program was initiated to provide subsidized loans to micro, small, medium enterprises at a single digit (9% per annum) interest rate. The fund is also to cater for applications received from SMEDAN under the National Enterprise Development Program (NEDEP) scheme.

The fund is aimed at stimulating economic activities for SMEs engaged in manufacturing and Agro-processing businesses. The fund can be accessed by duly registered limited liability companies, enterprises and cooperatives in Nigeria.

Applications are received and processed by the Bank of Industry (BOI) including disbursement and repayment.


Adire (Tie& Dye) / Aso okeDigital Printing/ Multimedia publishingGreenhousesPlastics
Animal FeedsDoors & Window FramesLaundry & DrycleaningQuick Service Restaurants
AquacultureE-commerce/ information communications Technology ICTLeather & Foot wearQuarries
BakeryFashion/ GarmentingMeat ProcessingRecycling
Blocks & interlocking StonesFish Smoking/ DryingMechatronicsRoofing Sheets
Bottled waterFood Processing (including Agricultural produce)Health care (Medical Diagnostics)Soap/Detergents
Ceramics & TilesFoundries/ Metal Fabrication/ 3-D printingLaboratory / Orthodontist /Ophthalmology / PhysiotherapySolar (off grid)
Chemicals and paintsFruit JuiceMovie ProductionTechnical /Vocational Schools (Offering City &Guild Certificate)
Cosmetics/ Hair ProductsFurniture & Wood ProcessingLight ManufacturingTheme Parks
DairyGemstonesWater TransportationGrocery Packaging


Micro Credit

  1. Formal letter of application
  2. Photocopy of Certificate of registration
  3. Business plan
  4. Four passport photographs of the business owner
  5. Any form of ID; National Identity Card, international passport or Driver’s License
  6. Bank statement of the Business for a period of one year (for existing business)
  7. Sales Record for six months and operating expenses
  8. Evidence of availability of collateral Security (e.g. landed property, individual Guarantor

Note that the Federal Special Intervention Fund requires that you pledge an asset to secure your loan.  However, the bank also accepts other forms of security. Types of security the Bank accepts include:

  • Legal mortgage on a landed property (duly registered with Certificate of Occupancy)
  • Debenture on assets of the company
  • Bank guarantee
  • External Guarantors with Notarized statement of Net worth for loans below 10 million


Create an account on the website, login and click on register. Ensure you have all the necessary documents ready before you apply.

Once you’ve successfully applied, you’ll be given an Application tracking ID to help you track the progress of your application.

Read more on this series

How to access the micro, small and medium enterprises development fund

By Ujunwa Onuegbu

The MSME Development Fund was launched by the CBN on August 15, 2013 with a share capital of N220 billion. The Fund was established in recognition of the significant contributions of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sub-sector to the economy and the existing huge financing gap.

You can access up to N500,000 for Micro-business and N50 million for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) at a maximum interest rate of 9% per annum.

Repayment of loan is maximum of one year for Micro-business and five years for Small & Medium Enterprises.


Are you a woman in business? This loan is for you! As part of gender inclusion, 60% of the Fund is reserved for women and 40% for others; including persons with disability (2%) & Start-up businesses (10%).

Objectives of the MSMEDF

The broad objective of the Fund is to channel low interest funds to the MSME sub-sector of the Nigerian economy through Participating Financial Institutes (PFIs) to:

  • Enhance access by MSMEs to financial services;
  • Increase productivity and output of microenterprises;
  • Increase employment and create wealth; and
  • Engender inclusive growth

Participating Financial Institutes (PFIs)

  • Microfinance Banks
  • Commercial Banks
  • Cooperatives
  • Financial Companies
  • NGO-Microfinance Institutions
  • Development Finance Institutions, i. e, Bank of Industry & Bank of Agriculture


Enterprises to be funded under the Scheme include:

a. Micro Enterprises

b. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)


  • Agricultural value chain activities
  • Cottage Industries
  • Artisans
  • Services
  • Renewable energy/energy efficient product and technologies
  • Trade and general commerce

Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

  • Manufacturing
  • Agricultural value chain activities
  • Services
  • Renewable energy, energy efficient product and
  •  Technologies

Other economic activity as may be prescribed by the CBN.

Note: Only 10% of the Commercial component of the Fund is channeled to trade and commerce.

Also, Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) Insurance is compulsory for primary agricultural production.


A viable business plan and any other document requested by the bank.

Example: First Bank’s Required Documents are:

  • Formal application for a credit Facility.
  • Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Memorandum and Article of Association (MEMART).
  • Board Resolution to Borrow.
  • Feasibility Study/Business Plan.


  • With your Business Plan go to any  PFIs of your choice
  • Request for loan
  • Your bank will discuss your request and provide you the fund

Be informed that the Central Bank of Nigeria did not authorize or appoint any agent to sell forms or collect any fee to access the Fund.  ONLY FORM AVAILABLE UNDER THE FUND IS THE FORM TO BE FILLED BY PARTICIPATING FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS (PFIs) – to enable them access the Fund and IT IS FREE.

You’re therefore advised to beware of the activities of fraudsters and report anyone that approaches them with the fake forms to the law enforcement agencies.

How to get easy government loans for your business in 2020

Did you know you can access loans for your business, without collateral? Well, you can! Not only that, you’ll also have flexible repayment plans with a single digit interest rate, irrespective of the type of business and the amount you would need to boost your business.

By Ujunwa Onuegbu

The Nigerian government in a bid to support and promote entrepreneurship, has at various times put in place loan schemes with the aim to encourage business growth, economic development and employment generation. However, due to lack of information, a lot of business entities are ignorant of these loan provisions. Some are of the opinion that it is not possible to access these loans; others say the paperwork is too cumbersome, or the requirements are a tall order.

But, in the course of researching this post, yours truly realized that applying for these loans is super easy! If you have a viable business plan, and follow due process, be assured you’ll get the loan.


Therefore, if you believe that capital is what is keeping your business from taking off, here is a list of government loan schemes available to Agric-businesses, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.

This post series will include information on Eligibility, Procedure, and Requirements.

  1. The Agric-Business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment
    Scheme (AGSMEIS)
  2. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF)
  4. Agric. Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF)
  5. Agricultural Credit Support Scheme (ACSS)
  6. Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS)

The Agric-Business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS)is a loan package initiated by the Bankers Committee to promote and support participation in the agricultural sector and other related businesses. With this loan package you can access up to N10m at nine percent interest, repayable in seven years. Note that it was initially pegged at five percent interest rate. But, with the inclusion of NISRAL, charged with the responsibility of disbursing the fund, it was increased to nine percent .

  • Businesses eligible for the loan include:
  • Creative & Art industries
  • Fashion, Beauty
  • Apparel & Textile
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Industrial & Manufacturing
  • Agriculture & Allied Processing
  • Automobiles
  • Information & Communication Technology
  • Telecommunication
  • Media & Publishing
  • Hospitality
  • Catering & Event Management

Column 60| Read more


Before you can apply for this loan, you must be trained by a CBN-
help guide you through the loan application process and make
sure that all your documents are complete. The documents
required are:

  1. Registered business with CAC
  2. Evidence of tax payment
  3. BVN
  4. Letter of introduction
  5. Letter of Guaranty
  6. Certification by an EDI
  7. Passports
  8. Valid ID card


The loan application process is completed in six easy steps.

Step 1: Get Trained
Attend a compulsory training with a CBN certified Entrepreneurship Development Center (EDC).

Step 2: Apply For Loan
The Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) guides and assists you in getting all necessary documents required to secure the loan

Step 3: Receive Funds
Loans are paid into the account of beneficiaries. Unqualified candidates are given feedback.

Step 4: Get Business Support Services


The Entrepreneurship Development Institute assists you to implement business plan and provide business support services commercially.

Step 5: Make Sales
Sell products and services to pay back loan and make profit.

Step 6: Repay Loan
Run your business, keep proper records, monitor sales and expenses to maximize profit and pay back the loan.

The rest of the list of such available loans will be discussed in subsequent posts. Subscribe to receive notifications of new posts.

Success! You’re on the list.

Five truths every young entrepreneur should know

If you are a young entrepreneur or career professional, you would agree with me that the past months have been totally overwhelming. Trying to meet your target to earning customer’s satisfaction can be quite tough.

By Nancy Okere

This reminds me of the conversation I had with two start-up friends of mine few days ago on moving from being invisible to making profits as an entrepreneur.

These two friends of mine started their businesses in January this year but have different results now.

While one friend is having a lot of engagements and taking home referrals no matter how little, the other friend is complaining bitterly and considering taking up a white collar job.

I weighed the different reasons my friends gave me for their current position as business owners, combined with my knowledge as an entrepreneur and derived five truths you must be intentional about to be a successful entrepreneur.


It’s time to move from getting the “we will get back to you” to the ” let’s talk more about this”. A new year is close by, you have to level up!

Work on your appearance

The way you dress  going about as an entrepreneur is the very first important tip. I heard of someone who lost a mouth-watering job all because he was wearing a plastic band. This might seem strange but there is more to it. As much as you can, avoid wearing rubber bands too. Use a watch or  keep your hand empty. Wear clothes that cover your private parts properly as well as tattoos. Well-tailored suits are recommended. If you’re a lady, cut down on heavy make-ups. Smell nice and put up a smile when necessary.

Weekend briefing

Success! You’re on the list.

Stop claiming to be young

Now, that your dress sense is in check, the way you introduce yourself is next. Most entrepreneurs in their 20’s spend years hiding under the facade of being “young” professionals. In Nigeria, respect is completely associated with age. If you must gain respect for the services you offer, you must project maturity.Take away the “young” from the “professional” and claim professionalism. It’s a creative way to position yourself properly. Begin to think and act like a professional. Trust me,this will make people take you more seriously. So, the next time you have to introduce yourself, just say, you’re a professional. Period.

Column 60 | Read more

Prepare your mind to speak up

If you don’t want to give people the impression that you’re not sure of what you’re about to say or you don’t want them laughing when you present a thought especially at a meeting, then prepare your mind to speak up. Be confident, brief and certain when projecting your ideas.

Promote your opportunities with proofs

In most top oil companies, you would need to be credited by certain people or organizations before you would be chosen to write their exams. Credibility is a vital requirement for success and if you must be successful, you must do the extra. Apply for training certifications, volunteer for print,radio or television features, become a member of relevant associations amongst others. With these, you are likely to sell more than your competitors.


Successful entrepreneurs are connected

This is the final truth I will be sharing with you. See, technology is a great tool you can use in your favour, you have to be intentional about checking your mails and tweeting about your brand regularly. Learn the art of writing and replying official mails from corporates. Don’t also forget to follow-up people who indicate interest in your services. You don’t have to be all over them. A polite reminder might just be the click.
These tips suggest that age doesn’t have anything to do with the success of a business if you do the right things. If you apply them with caution, you too can be on your way to getting better results as an entrepreneur.

A new year is close by, Level up, and cheers to a better entrepreneurship life!

Nancy Okere is a Library and Information Science student at Federal Polytechnic, Nekede. She is an academy writer and columnist for Bloomgist’s Column 6

The successful entrepreneurship formula working for Nigeria

By Okoro Samuel

Over the years,the amount of business visionaries in Nigeria has grown endlessly to an extremely decent number.

Truly! It will baffle and irritating once payment four – about six years inside the tertiary institution (contingent upon their determination of career),and not verify a better than average occupation.

Subsequent to moving on from the tertiary foundation, serving your father land with all enthusiasm and satisfaction, and you wrap up not getting the salaried activity you since quite a while ago wanted for.

One can consider American express that there’s a need for the adolescents and person’s to go into enterprise to make openings for work for themselves, to downsize the speed of state and furthermore sway lives totally.

Moreover, there’s furthermore need for those that don’t understand satisfaction inside the nine – five employment to wander into one thing they extravagant doing to make the more drawn out term they need at any point wished.

The thought or the psychological frame of mind behind beginning one’s business is named ENTREPRENEURSHIP. The overall population relapse from enterprise because of they either extravagant remaining in their temperature of being paid month to month, no extra cash-flow to startup a business or they’re not set up for the strain concerned.

In any case, the overall population neglect to appreciate that one doesn’t get the opportunity to have most to startup a business. A large portion of the universal firms we tend to see around began with pretty much nothing, additional time the intensity and furthermore the drive drove them more to the present tallness they’re as of now.

An entrepreneur could be one that sets up a business or organizations, going for broke inside the expectation of benefit though. Entrepreneurship is the ability and disposition to create, sort out and deal with a business adventure nearby any of its dangers in order to make a benefit.

The number of entrepreneurs in Nigeria are quite higher than entrepreneurs in other parts of Africa. Considering the economic push in Nigeria , youths are out to make a difference for themselves.  Seeing the hustle and industrious spirit in Nigerians, most willing hands has placed it upon their selves to empower this youth to bring their desired innovations to life.

Programs Empowering Youths Include:

  • The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship program
  • Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI).
  • Youth Empowerment Nigeria (YEN)  and the host of many other programs.

Challenges Entrepreneurs Face.

Most entrepreneurs face the challenge of sorting for investors and funding. This challenge has hindered most business owners thereby holding their business back. Most times, the problem of sorting investors can be related to the entrepreneur himself simply because they haven’t pitched their ideal to potential clients. They have to learn how to position themselves and business in order to draw massive investors to their business.

Entrepreneurship has benefits ranging from

  1. Opportunity To Own Your Business
  2. Deliver Your Full Potentials
  3. It Gives you Room To Pursue your Interests
  4. It gives you the opportunity to solve Problems And Make A Difference In The Process
  5. It Gives Room to Create Your Future

Examiners’ have come to understand that business visionaries are the foundation of present day economies. It is their significant commitments that assistance society develop all in all. One reason the United States is such a dynamic, creative, and prosperous country is a result of the various business people that take their plans to the following dimension paying little mind to the dangers included.

Business visionaries make occupations and enhance and develop the economy.

The imagination and effect of U.S. Business visionaries was obviously recognized in president Obama’s 2010 condition of the country address; he expressed:

“Presently, the genuine motor of employment creation in this nation will dependably be America’s organizations. Be that as it may, government can make more specialists. We should begin where most employments do. In independent companies, organizations that start when a business visionary takes a risk on a fantasy, or a specialist chooses his time, he turned into his own manager. Through sheer coarseness assurance, these organizations have endured the subsidence and they’re prepared to develop.” Obama

The a great many little and medium estimated firms begun by Entrepreneurs give the advancements and make occupations natural for monetary development and improvement.

Numerous products and ventures we underestimate were presented by business people: Telephone, the car, the plane, cooling, the PC and going with programming, were altogether designed by them.

As indicated by Schumpeter (1975) capital and yield development in an economy depends essentially on the business visionary. The nature of execution of the business visionary decides if capital develops quickly or gradually, and whether the development includes advancement where new items and creation strategies are created.

The distinction in monetary development rates of nations is to a great extent because of the nature of their business people. Elements of creation, land, work and capital, will lie torpid or become inactive without the business visionary who composes them for profitable endeavors. The business visionary is, along these lines, a significant specialist of development, advancement and specialized advancement.

China’s hazardous monetary development in the course of recent years is expected to a great extent to evacuating proprietorship, bureaucratic, and money related points of confinement on the pioneering drive of the Chinese individuals. At the core of other quickly developing economies, for example, India and Brazil are various Small and Medium scale fabricating, retail, IT, specialized, and monetary firms.

In the United States, the world ‘s greatest economy, 75% of the 16 million organizations are kept running as sole ownership (entrepreneur.com). The U.S. Independent company Administration perceives that ‘private company is basic to our financial recuperation and quality, to building America’s future, and to helping the US contend in the present worldwide commercial center.

In many creating nations, including Nigeria, little and medium undertakings keep running as indicated by the dreams, gifts, openings and assets of business people and are known to realize work creation, give employments to ladies and youth, spread the profits of financial improvement, help create rustic territories, assemble residential reserve funds for speculation, teach new aptitudes and inject new innovation, and add to social and political security.

As Nigeria seeks after different monetary improvement plans including the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), the thousand years Development Strategy Vision 2020, a center piece of the national technique must be to develop and fortify the dynamic components of the MSMEs, to a great extent casual, business part.

As a country Nigeria, and Africa all in all, must not bear the cost of not to put resources into MSMEs. Their financial future relies upon it. The remarks and approach duties of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda ought to be noted. He has announced “Business enterprise is the surest way” for Rwanda and Africa to create. Kagame lets us know:

In the old Rwanda, everybody searched for an occupation in government due to the advantages and the security. Be that as it may, these days they are imagining that the private division holds the guarantee of a superior life for their families and themselves.

Lion’s share of African nations need to work under befuddling guidelines and approaches that are always showing signs of change. Import guidelines specifically are incredibly exacting in numerous territories and this makes it extremely hard to take part in significant worldwide exchange and raises costs. The irregularity is likewise viewed as unsafe for merchants and makes some modest off out and out.

Aside from the information concerning Nigeria that is in this way far reaching and inconsistently negative, there is by all accounts an acknowledgment of the significant job and spot of innovation inside the improvement and progression of the state. inside the previous couple of years, there are the new businesses of net bistros, new net Service providers, PCs in certain resources, and property center points that offer access to information at high speeds. The Nigerian government has made and embraced approaches advancing the work of innovation in training. The Nigerian approach 1999-2003, could be a far reaching abridgment of President Obasanjo’s strategies and core values for the state. The strategy states: “Government can give sensible quality training for all Nigerians, the Universal Basic Education and mass Adult achievement programs will be sought after decisively” and especially, “Government can deliver motivators to extend access to information and designing which can encourage jump froging in order to hamper longer range of improvement.” The approach even prescribes associations with national and worldwide offices together with the global association Transfer of information through Expatriate Nationals program or TOKTEN in light of the fact that usually noted.

Be that as it may, a significant qualification among developed and developing countries commonly exists in the wide disparity between approach declarations and arrangement usage. Regularly, indications of this imbalance territory unit found inside the degree that approaches zone unit clear and quantifiable which application is steady. commonly developing countries embrace radiant approaches and pointers that may, if very much authorized, change the fates of their voters anyway unfortunately, they’re on a regular basis not finished. In the event that Nigeria finishes its new laws directing training and innovation with activity and usage, and furthermore the people of Nigeria accomplish their scholastic objectives and gifted potential with the devices realistic to the globe.

Entrepreneurship is the key to an innovative society. Let’s brace up and take up Entrepreneurship in order to build sustainable development in Africa and Nigeria.

Okoro Samuel is a Business Strategist, sales expert, an entrepreneur, writer, and a blogger. He coach entrepreneurs on how to grow and become outstanding competitors in business. 

Liberian entrepreneurs poised to take over Economy

A group of Liberian entrepreneurs, with a membership of about 40 persons, have vowed to take over the country’s economy and trade if the House of Representatives and the Senate approve the new “Liberianization bill.”


The new bill, which is the Liberian Business and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018, will expand the existing law protecting Liberian businesses and business interests from 26 to 46, and restricted only to Liberians.

Among the 46 listed businesses that the bill mentioned, included would be import, wholesale, distribution and retail of flour, sardines, can mackerel, sugar, salt, cooking cubes, cooking-oil and margarine.

Others include salted products (meat/fish), onions, eggs, tomato paste, corn beef, luncheon meat, milk, and spaghetti.

The Liberian entrepreneurs are temporarily led by Mrs. Mai Urey, Mrs. Eyvonne Bright-Harding, Mr. Vivien Jones and Mr. Alex Galley.

If approved, the law will create the Liberia Business Economic Empowerment Authority (LBEEA) to regulate it, and a Liberia Business Development and Investment Fund will be established at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) of not less than US$20m and for the purpose of guaranteeing loans or providing incentives.

The Liberian entrepreneurs formally presented the bill yesterday and indicated that they would mobilize “people” in the streets when the House of Representatives decides to discuss the bill.

Mr. Vivien Jones said the bill is not only to create a more restrictive environment and a stronger enforcement mechanism, so that Liberianization as envisaged by the government and people of Liberia becomes a fully-fledged reality but is also aimed at promoting an enabling environment for Liberians to take ownership of the economy as declared by President George M. Weah.

Mrs. Bright-Hardling said there are Liberians who have the capacity to take over the country’s economy and trade, including herself.

Mrs. Urey argued that “Liberian entrepreneurs can succeed if we work together.” During the presentation, an Economic Empowerment Policy of three countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Ghana, there were calls for advanced economic transformation – and enabling the participation of the marginalized communities in the economy was highlighted.

There was also a presentation of a data-rich/evidence-based market research, including holding economic dialogue, to inform policy decisions.

“The Business Law will create a supportive business environment that provides substantial opportunities for Liberian businesses – including financial and technical support,” one of the entrepreneurs said.

The Liberian Business and Economic Empowerment Bill of 2018 was submitted and sponsored by Grand Kru County District 2 Representative, Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, who is also chairman of the House’s Judiciary Committee.

The law, if approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate and printed into handbills, 46 businesses will be reserved for the exclusive ownership of Liberian citizens.

46 Liberian-owned businesses

Some of the 46 Liberian businesses which have been identified since the 1973 Investment Act include:

Supply of sand; block making; itinerant merchant (peddling); real estate agencies and real estate management services; travel agencies or travel agency contract for airlines; distribution and retail sale of flour, cement and rice; retail of stationery and office supplies; ice making and sale of ice; tire repair shop; independent auto repair shop; shoe repair shop; retail of timber and planks and operations of gas stations.

The others are: video clubs; operations of taxis, importation and sale of second hand or used clothing; distribution in Liberia of locally manufactured products; importation and sale of used cars (except for certified used cars imported by authorized dealership of the same make); customs brokerage services; stevedoring; ship chandler services; commercial printing services; trucking services (all forms); commercial printing services; newspaper publishing and printing and also payment processing systems and services including sales on behalf of government.

Joint Venture and Foreign Investment

If the law is also approved, foreign investors may invest or engage in certain businesses provided, however, that the investment capital of said investor is more than US$1m and at least 25% of the common stock or shares of the company is owned by natural-born Liberian persons or businesses wholly owned by natural-born Liberian persons.

The joint venture includes production and supply of stone and granite; ice cream manufacturing; advertising agencies, graphics and commercial artists; production of poultry and poultry products; production of pork and beef and pork and beef products; and entertainment centers not connected with hotel establishment.

The remaining joint venture is the sale of animal and poultry feed; bakeries; sale of pharmaceuticals; repairs and maintenance of transformers and generators (unless those under manufacturer warranty) fishing and fish processing, especially activities within the territorial waters and light manufacturing, processing or packaging services of any kind.

The law further mandates foreign companies to provide proof of funding by the display of a local bank confirmation, and foreign investors who enjoy free services or other tax incentives will require sourcing all supplies and services that are available on the local market.

It added: “Any foreign national be he resident or not of Liberia who violates any provision of this act and any Liberian, for purposes of evading the aims and objectives of this act, who fronts for a foreign national being a resident or not of Liberia shall be subjected to punishment of not less than three years in prison and not less than US$100,000 or its Liberian dollars equivalent.

In addition to the penalties herein described all materials, equipment, and proceeds associated with the violation shall be confiscated and auctioned for the benefit of the public treasury.”

SOURCE: The Observer

Fashion: 8 Problems you may face when starting your own fashion label

Fashion: 8 Problems you may face when starting your own fashion label

Fashion: 8 Problems you may face when starting your own fashion label

Starting out with your own fashion label might come with some forms of difficulty. This article outlines some common problems startup fashion labels do experience and their possible solutions.

1. Business and Financial Management
As a young fashion designer, one thing you will certainly lack is business and Financial Management. You may be a great designer but may not know how to generate leads for sale. The fashion industry is so competitive nowadays, so it’s important you hire someone to do the business side of your fashion label for you. If you would like to do it yourself, industry experts suggest that you go and study fashion marketing or fashion business at the Bachelor or Master level, depending on your current education level.

2. Identifying your Target Market
Start your label once you get an actual idea of the market, demography and demand. As a designer you expect your customers to appreciate whatever you design but the fact is totally different. Once you start your own fashion label, you realize the people who can afford your wears are really not the ideal body shapes neither are they experimental. your idea or hypothesis of the general market goes for a toss when your customers are totally different from what you expect. So a proper research is a must be carried out to properly identify your target market.

3. Positioning
A Designer should focus more on unique positioning of His/her styles rather than an immediate sale and should emphasize more on returning customers and relationships because the fashion industry runs on that. There are so many designers out there doing same stuff and charging similar amount. It is advised that you have a distinct style. If not, then develop one before developing a brand.

4. Your Network
Networking is one of the most essential personal skills for business people, but it is extremely important for fashion designers. Communication and strong presence in the fashion ecosystem are productive approaches which will help you along your way to building strong relationships with other fashion designers from different age groups, nationality and fields of interest.

5. Not Enough Funds
Countless people with incredible ideas languish because they are not able to access the necessary funds to enter the marketplace. Fashion is a Business where you need money in every step. To make a quality design, to market it, promote it. And when we are talking about Marketing it’s a combination of (advertising, promotion, media etc). and do you know guys for a particular dress how much money a fashion designer spend is actually Much lesser than the Money He/She spend in Marketing. Because No Marketing No sell.

6. Distribution Challenges

Designing and producing your clothes is totally up to you but you cannot fully control the distribution of your clothes. Distribution is usually a challenge for Designers. You have to work hard to get your brands into clothing stores and that might cost you more than a little effort and time. When the goods don’t sell at retail, the designer is forced to take them back and turn around to sell them to a “discounter,” further extending the cycle of “more for less.” This obviously doesn’t work.

7. Less Connection With End-users
Before going to any seller the designers access the group to whom they actually target, but the fact is way different at selling points. Because for any product the end user is not the only decision maker who will buy and wear, in most of the cases the decision makers buy the garment or dress and the end user wears it. So this process is ridiculously complex and the designers need to understand whom to target and whom to not for every product or for every line of collections. In that way they can increase their connection with the end user which not only benefits them but also the retailers will get the benefit out of this process.

8. Getting Good Manufacturers

Getting good and reliable people to handle the production of your designs might also be a challenging experience. If you decide to handle the production yourself, that would actually mean a lot more capital because of the costs of equipment and if you decide to outsource to companies abroad where it is usually cheaper, you would have the problem of minimum order quantity because these companies usually have a minimum order that they can take which is sometimes in hundreds. How sure are you that you would be able to sell a hundred pieces of the same design easily? Again, you would need a lot more capital to do this.

SOURCE: Fashion Online

We dared to follow our dreams

We dared to follow our dreams

We dared to follow our dreams
Clockwise: Dr Joy Mugambi, Stephanie Wanga, Fredrick Kimemia, Emma Nkirote, Tony Mochama and Brian Onjoro share stories of daring to follow their dreams. PHOTO | CHARLES KAMAU, DENNIS ONSONGO AND COURTESY

Lack of proper career assessment in early stages of education as well as inadequate mentorship rank high up on the list of factors that lead many into wrong careers.

There is also the added confusion that comes in the form of the grade that we score in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams that seems to be the key determinant of the course that we study in university, factors such as individual aptitude, interests and talents notwithstanding. Finally, there is pressure from parents and society in general to take up certain courses, the result being many individuals in careers they tolerate, rather than enjoy.

This week, we engage two groups: those that went to college to study for ‘prestigious’ college degrees they had no interest in, and those that rose above the poor grades they scored in high school to pursue their dream careers.

This feature is also a letter to parents and education stakeholders – it is time to lift the iron hand with which you pressure the youth to study courses they absolutely have no interest in.


Clinical officer to consultant family physician


Her C grade in her final secondary school exams seemed to have completely erased her dream of studying medicine, but because of the desire that she had to become a medical doctor, she chose to put in the 11 years that she needed to become a medical doctor.

“I started with a diploma in clinical medicine, which took three years. After that, I worked for two years in Kiambu District Hospital and a year at Marie Stopes, Kenya. Afterwards, I travelled to Tanzania to study for my degree in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, which took six years. I then returned to Kenya, where I did my one year internship and then went on to work for three years. I got lucky to be partially sponsored by the government for my Master’s in Family Medicine, which took four years, but only because I took maternity leave in between,” she says. But Joy is not done yet, and plans to enrol for a PhD in medical ethics next year.

Her achievement did not come easy. The number one challenge was school fees, especially in her undergraduate level following her father’s death. It took the combined effort of her mother, sister and brother to keep her in school. Getting a school that would admit her for her undergraduate studies was also difficult.

“I visited the University of Nairobi and Moi University, but none was admitting clinical officers into their degree programs at that time, and so I expanded my search to the other East African countries and eventually got admitted to the International Medical and Technological University in Dar-es-Salaam. During my graduation in 2005, I was awarded for being the best in obstetrics and gynaecology.”

When she returned to Kenya, she sat the medical board exam, which she passed, and was posted to do her internship at Nakuru County Referral hospital. When she completed her internship, she stayed on at the hospital for the stipulated three years before applying for her Master’s in family medicine, a new specialty program that had started at Moi University.

“Don’t let your grades hinder you from your passion because failing is not the end, rather, the beginning. Start small and finish big, your efforts will always yield good fruit if you put your heart to it.”


Law graduate pursuing the arts


Stephanie chose to study Law for two reasons: the course was aligned to her favourite subjects – English and History, and because it was prestigious.

“My parents were keen on my studying medicine, but I decided to do law because I thought it was as close as I could get to the prestige of medicine whilst doing something I thought I would at least somewhat like,” she says. Once she enrolled for the course though, it was akin to a chemical reaction she did not understand, but which she desperately wanted to. “I realised that I was interested in subjects like history, religion and culture as expressed through mediums like music and literature, so studying law was not enough,” she explains and adds,

“I spent a year attending sessions known as Ideagasms with Storymoja Publishers, sessions in which we would discuss, debate and passionately argue about all the things I was interested in. I also frequently visited the Goethe Institut, which had lots of film and literary forums. That changed everything for me.”

But she worked hard and completed her studies, and in fact scored first class honours because to her, it is foolhardy to throw away a chance to get an education. “I only work at things when I feel a deep reason for them. I am passionate about my continent and I want to get at the core of what ails it. The core of what ails my continent is not in law. Law shows you how to deal with the symptoms of the disease. I want to get to the disease,” she explains.

Her family has been supportive even though they still do not fully understand the path that she is taking. She has moments where she doubts the path she has chosen and whether things will really work out for her in the end, but she is determined to keep going.

“During the day I am at The GoDown Arts Centre, immersing myself in different kinds of arts since for a long time I was only interested in literature. I am also writing my first novel. I work with an amazing woman called Sandra Chege on a platform called Hadithi (hadithi.co.ke) that captures true African stories on love, pain, motivation, and family by means of letters to self. I have also just got my offer of admission to study for my MA in African Studies, which I’m really excited about. At the moment, I am busy applying for scholarships that will enable me to attend the programme,” she says.

If you are studying a course you are unsure about, Stephanie suggests dropping it. “Interrogate what it offers you, how it might serve your real desires, stick it out, and if it comes short, follow your heart.”


He chose comedy over civil engineering


“I was in what one would call the Golden Class at Starehe Boys, so my career options were limited to medicine, architecture, engineering or law. I decided to take a gamble with engineering, though what I really wanted to study was film,” he says.

When he completed high school, he applied to the film school at the University of Cape Town and got a partial scholarship. No one was willing to pay the remainder of his school fees though, and so he forewent that opportunity and instead joined the University of Nairobi where he was admitted to study Civil Engineering. He dropped out in his second year.

“My parents were disappointed because all the hope that they had in me had been dashed. There was so much tension at home, I could no longer stay,” he says.

For a year, he was homeless, putting up with friends willing to host him. His parents have never come to terms with his choice of career, and the only time they came close to applauding his decision was when he won Sh400, 000 in KBC’s Last Laugh Competition in 2014.

“There have been moments when I have felt regret sneaking up on me especially when I am broke, but over time, I have taken responsibility for the decision that I made and accepted that there will be no going back,” he explains.

Brian is still building up his brand of improve and stand up comedy.

On Facebook and Instagram, their (he works with other comedians and producers) username is Nairobi Comedy Club, which can be described as a space for alternative comedy. “When you move away from that which is ‘normal’, you have to put in more effort to succeed because you are under pressure and are building from scratch, so you have a lot more to prove. You need a very strong work ethic to succeed.”


Patient attendant turned health system management CEO


“A poor grade in high school should not discourage you from pursuing your dream career,” says Fredrick.

When he got grade C in his KCSE exams, he doubted his capability and doubted he could realise his dream of becoming an architect. This score also meant that he would not get direct admission into the university.

He felt that his only option was to become a farmer, and yet all he really wanted to pursue was a prestigious course.

“Following my poor results, I gave up my dreaming of becoming an architect, and instead focused on my second option—a health-related course, which I knew I had to sacrifice a lot to achieve.”

His father gave him Sh6, 000 with which to register at a medical college. Following his brother’s advice, he first registered for a certificate course. He had to work part time as a patient attendant to support himself through school because apart from the registration fee his father gave him, he hardly received any money from his parents while in college.

It has been a tough journey to where he is today, and as you read this, Fredrick has a Masters of Science degree, which took him a whopping 18 years to get.

To get here, he studied for several certificates, then went on to study for a diploma, (he has two) followed by a Bachelor’s degree. He will complete his PhD this year.

“For younger people whose parents might be struggling to raise fees, and there is no scholarship forthcoming, I would advise them to take the longer route instead of giving up.

Start with a certificate in an artisan course, then build up from there. It will save your parents the heartache of trying to fund your training at the expense of the younger ones who require


Lawyer turned writer


The cluster system got Tony into law school. “I had very strong grades in English, History and C.R.E, so my natural choice for a career would have been law,” he says, explaining that he chose law because he was fascinated by the courtroom and what went on in there. In fact, he and his friends often visited the High Court just to “check it out.”

He also found local TV show Vioja Mahakamani interesting. “The series of books featuring Perry Mason also made me think that law was very glamorous, so I grew up with a very romantic idea of Law,” he adds.

His mother’s death shortly before he joined university contributed largely to the changing of the trajectory of his life.

“I joined law school as a very troubled student, and found myself writing poems to drown my sorrow.”

While in his second year, he got suspended for making caricatures of lecturers he did not get along with and posting satirical poems on the university noticeboard. It amused his fellow students but enraged the targeted teachers.

“I would go on to sojourn at David Makali’s Expression Today, writing and learning. David was like my school of journalism,” Tony explains. But it was later during his pupilage at a cousin’s law firm that Tony became pointedly aware that he wanted out of the legal profession. He walked out after just two months.

“I realised that I had not done any creative writing in the duration of the pupilage because I was immersed in writing affidavits and working on reports. I felt that my brain was becoming short-circuited and I was losing touch with my creative side, so I quit.”

He feels that over-emphasising certain courses at the expense of others is very colonial and needs to be done away with.

“People seem to be always looking for formulas when the truth is that life is very random,” he asserts.

When he quit his pupilage, he did not have a clear plan of where he wanted to go. “My father wept. I was scared, but only because I had no idea what would follow, so I started writing obsessively and would spend all my time at the Macmillan Library.”

A chance meeting with a Russian professor during a Kwani? writing workshop got him a 18 months writing scholarship at St. Petersburg (Russia) and that set him off as a professional writer.

Fifteen years later, Tony says he does not regret walking away from law.

“There are many fine lawyers in this town and chances are I would have joined the ranks, but then, writing has given me some continental prizes and I am really fulfilled as a writer,” he says.

But Tony is very particular: if you are in school studying whatever course it is,  whether you see yourself practicing it after you graduate or not, put in your best because that knowledge will come in handy.

Do not throw away the opportunity to get an education, he advises.

“The problem is that people equate knowledge to careers, let the passion that you have drive you.”


Emma’s KCSE exam score of D+ shattered her. “My academic performance started going down while in Form Three because I had stopped taking my classwork seriously,” she says, explaining that she allowed herself to be distracted by partying and other factors that accompany peer pressure.

She was fortunate that her mother believed in her, and therefore supported her and encouraged her to register for courses that did not demand a certain grade.

“I started with a certificate, then a diploma at the Institute of Advanced Technology in Mombasa. I later joined Africa Nazarene University, where I did my pre-university course and then continued with a Bachelors in Peace and Conflict Resolution, and finally a Master’s in Governance, Peace and Security. I majored in governance,” she says.

For Emma, joining university was a second chance she immediately seized, and worked hard to ensure that she did not squander it.

“I took my studies very seriously, and with the help of my lecturers and fellow students in the Peace and Conflict Department, the journey was fun.”

She adds,  “The system will not always be fair because it judges you with this one exam. To paraphrase what my mother told me when I found out what I had scored in my final high school exams, if you do not have a direct entry to university, don’t give up, the journey may be tough, but you have to make your dream come true, whether you crawl, walk or run.”

How a parent reacts to his or her child’s performance in school and in exams, she says, plays a key role in how their future pans out.