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Interview With CryptoBrokerage CEO and Founder, Sheriff Olujide

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Sheriff Olujide, CryptoBrokerage CEO and Founder is a fintech expert with experience gained in investment banking, financial crime compliance, quantitative analysis and alternative investments. In this e-Interview with Alaba Ayinuola, he speaks on how his brand is providing cryptocurrency ecosystem the opportunity to access the global cryptocurrency exchanges and trade at the best available prices. Excerpts.

 

Tell us about CryptoCurrency Brokerage and the role you play?

CryptoBrokerage is a Fintech start-up and the owner of a trading platform called BestecX. Described as the Booking.com of the cryptocurrency market, CryptoBrokerage by BestecX  aggregates the prices from more than 200+ exchanges and allow users to compare and trade cryptocurrencies at the best available prices.

I am the CEO and founder of CryptoBrokerage

 

What is your startup capital and how were you able to raise it?

50,000 GBP – Through Personal savings

 

Why is business different from other FinTechs or CryptoCurrency Startups?

BestecX is unique as it combines block-chain technology with a suite of algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing. Our platform and software targets all following customer segments globally; Retail investors (B2B), Institutional investors (B2B), Professional traders (B2C), OTC Brokerages (B2B), Cryptocurrency Potentials (B2C) and Cryptocurrency Newbies (B2C).

 

What are the challenges and how are you overcoming them?

As a Fintech, the most serious challenge we face is funding, however we continue to work hard within and outside of the team to develop our platform as we know the economic model of our business has been truly tested and its in our everyday life, from booking hotels to buying insurance and mortgages and flights.

 

Where do you see your business in 5 years and what steps are you taking in achieving them?

In 5 years, I believe our platform would be the number 1 best execution platform globally. We are putting together a strong team and building a platform that is safe secure and reliable as well as user friendly to everyone within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

 

How is your business contributing to the development of Africa?

I believe our platform would provide the cryptocurrency ecosystem the opportunity to access the global cryptocurrency exchanges and trade at the best available prices. Blockchain projects would also be able to raise capital to develop projects.

 

What’s your view on the development of Africa business ecosystem?

I believe its evolving, however we are still a long way from the successes you see across Europe however the spirit of entrepreneurship in Africa is unbelievable.

 

What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa.

My simple advice to any potential entrepreneur is that nothing worth having comes easy.

 

How do you relax and what books do you read?

I like going to the gym and watching football especially Arsenal. I love reading legal thrillers especially John Grisham and Sheldon Siegel. My girlfriend would also add I read and listen to too much news.

 

Visit https://crbkofficial.com/

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Uko Sokoni is bringing East Africans closer to the global marketplace for goods – Munwangari Cynthia

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Munwangari Cynthia is the founding member and Director of Marketing of Ukosokoni. A Ugandan logistics & supply chain company, specializing in e-logistics (ecommerce) and retail arbitrage. In this e-Interview with Alaba Ayinuola, she speaks on how her brand is working towards being the number one e-commerce player in Uganda with a foot Print In Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. And bringing East Africans closer and closer to the global marketplace for goods. Excerpts.

 

Tell us about your business and the role you play?

Uko Sokoni, founded in 2018, is an ecommerce platform that brings online shopping to Ugandans. Ukosokoni.com makes available for purchase in and delivery to Uganda those products available on the International market but that the likes of Amazon and eBay do not deliver to most African Countries. Ukosokoni.com also curates and displays the best of African Products, whether they be African Garb, Ornaments or Arts and crafts for purchase by the rest of the world.

I am a founding member of Ukosokoni and Director of Marketing.

 

What was your startup capital and how were you able to raise it?

Our Start Up capital was 100,000$ which we raised from the savings of the three founding members.

 

What are the challenges and how are you overcoming them?

There does not seem to be much of a place for runners up in the market of Tech based companies. Our biggest challenge is to place ourselves in the number one spot.  The Key Success Factors in the e-commerce industry can be found to be embedded in Logistics, Marketing and Technology.  Luckily for us, we have an edge over the players who had the first mover advantage; two of our founder’s have successful international Logistics businesses and the marketing strategy that I drive, is yielding very good results. We may just be on our way to that number one spot sooner than later.

 

Where do you see your business in 5 years and what steps are you taking in achieving them?

We intend to be, in 5 Years, the number one e-commerce player in Uganda with a foot Print In Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. We have no doubt that our value proposition will sooner than later help us achieve our goals in Uganda.  We are aggressively seeking Local partners in the markets (of Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and Rwanda) who share our values and vision whom we can work with to achieve our goal of diversifying geographically.

 

How is your business contributing to the development of Africa?

We believe that Ukosokoni.com is helping deepen African Markets for goods and services and further connect Africans to the rest of the world. Moreover by assimilating into Africa new technologies from the western world, we are helping fasten the economic convergence forces however small our contribution.

 

What’s your view on the development of Africa business ecosystem?

I believe that Africa is the next frontier of economic development driven by the migration of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) fleeing the rising cost of labour in South East Asia. The African business Ecosystem will continue to grow in size and deepen in complexity as wealthy countries continue to see Africa as a viable alternative to East Asian countries in terms of outsourcing their production and manufacturing.

 

What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa.

Opportunities abound; do and dare!

 

What inspires you and keeps you going?

Knowing that Ukosokoni will be the best online shopping company in the region in the next five years!

 

How do you relax and what books do you read?

I meditate and talk to myself! I read everything related to politics.

 

Visit: https:ukosokoni.com

 

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Afripreneur

Sahara Foundation Empowers 30 Entrepreneurs To Mark World Entrepreneurship Month

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Beneficiaries of #StartUpNation photographed with the organizers in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

November is celebrated globally every year as the Entrepreneurship Month. It is a period to celebrate men and women who brave all odds to take smart risks in business – an informed leap in the dark if you will – to create value.

StartUps are gaining traction across the globe as more people continue to embrace the challenge of carving a niche for their business ideas. Particularly noteworthy and deserving of commendation are the young people who have taken the bull by the horns by starting, running and sustaining businesses in climes with peculiar economic challenges.

Sahara Group is delighted to celebrate these heroes who would ultimately emerge as icons and business leaders.

Having spent the month of November showcasing innovative business solutions by entrepreneurs across various sectors, Sahara Foundation organized an Entrepreneurship Workshop to help beneficiaries lay a solid foundation for their businesses.

Themed StartUp Nation, the one day workshop hosted 30 young entrepreneurs to five transformative sessions with accomplished professionals and entrepreneurs as facilitators. The entrepreneurs who were selected via the Foundation’s digital platform for young innovators and entrepreneurs – www.saharahub.com – were exposed to business rudiments as well as knowledge and information for growing their businesses.

Olumuyiwa Adebayo, CFA Head, Group Finance,  Sahara Group during a session at #StartUpNation
Olumuyiwa Adebayo, CFA Head, Group Finance, Sahara Group leading a session at #StartUpNation

The workshop sessions included topics on finance, business funding, branding, social media use for business and starting and growing a business with currently available resources.

Ivie Imasogie- Adigun, Group Head, Human Resources, Sahara Group set the tone for the workshop with a thought-provoking opening remark. “Entrepreneurs are people who pursue their dreams passionately and are never afraid to fail. This tenacity ultimately equips them for the journey ahead, paving the way for success as long as they remain focused, innovative and determined. This is a path we have been through and continue to develop at Sahara Group and we are delighted to support young people to realise their dreams,” she counselled.

Beneficiary at #StartUpNation
Beneficiary at #StartUpNation

The Facilitators included Olumuyiwa Adebayo, Head, Sahara Group Finance; Oyindamola Johnson, an African Union Youth Champion; Omolabake Bode-Matthew, a successful entrepreneur; Adenike Bamigbade, Digital Marketing Expert; and Tunji Andrew, a serial entrepreneur, radio show host and investor. Their sessions were engaging, practical and resourceful.

In what could have easily passed for a mini-MBA, the participants were schooled and practically shown the way to navigate business terrains with particular reference to the Nigerian market.

 Oyindamola Johnson - Curator, Elevate Your Game
Oyindamola Johnson – Curator, Elevate Your Game at #StartUpNation

Citing the entrepreneurial trajectory of Sahara Group, Mrs. Pearl Uzokwe, Director of Governance & Sustainability, closed the session by assuring the entrepreneurs that they had the potential of becoming the next big businesses. “Sahara Group was founded by three entrepreneurs 22 years ago and today the business has become a global conglomerate operating in 38 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. We believe you are on the right path and Sahara Group will continue to support young entrepreneurs through the SaharaHub and similar initiatives. StartUps and small businesses are critical for economic growth and development and we remain committed to providing platforms for small businesses to thrive and grow.”

Sahara Foundation Manager, Oluseyi Ojurongbe stated that the empowerment project was the first of many more platforms to support young entrepreneurs with the tools, resources, networks, and funds needed to grow their businesses. “This is the thrust of Sahara Foundation’s Extrapreneurship drive,” he added.

 

SAHARA GROUP

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Afripreneur

We are positively impacting farmers as well as inspiring youth to find agriculture attractive again – Kenneth Okonkwo

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Kenneth Okonkwo is the Managing Director of FarmGate Africa, an agricultural technology company focused on bridging the gap in the agricultural value chain by providing major processors and international buyers the opportunity to purchase commodities directly from farming clusters, using technology. In this e-Interview with Alaba Ayinuola, he speaks on how FarmGate is bridging the gap in the agricultural value chain in Africa, and linking African farmers directly to the international markets. Excerpts.

 

Alaba: Tell us about your business (vision and objectives) and the role you play?

Kenneth: FarmGate Africa is an agricultural technology company focused on bridging the gap in the agricultural value chain by providing major processors and international buyers the opportunity to purchase commodities directly from farming clusters, using technology.

Our vision at FarmGate is to bring the farmers closer to processors and international buyers. This will by extension empower African farmers economically by curbing the loss caused by waste, among other factors, that they typically experience during agricultural transactions.

As the Managing Director of FarmGate Africa, I am leading a team to fulfil other objectives including solving the imbalance in market access faced by processors, reduce the activities of multiple layers of intermediaries playing in the value chain, and ensure that African farmers are paid premiums for toiling all year in their farms.

 

Alaba: What are the challenges and how are you overcoming them?

Kenneth: One of our biggest challenges is that the agricultural space in most African countries, for now, is unstructured. Many farmers do not have access to international buyers without parting with a large percentage of their profit margin, and this is a problem. Because of this lack of structure, we are working tirelessly with local farmers to make sure that the commodities that they have available for trade or purchase, meet the specifications of the processors as well as the buyers.

 

Alaba: How does your organisation measure its impacts?

Kenneth: Our impact is measured based on the improved quality of life of the farmers that we come in contact with. For example, if we work with twenty farmers who each typically sell forty metric tonnes of their farm produce for NGN 40,000.00, after working with us, we would like them to have increased their income by at least 30-50%. At FarmGate Africa, we measure our impact by the number of farmers whose livelihoods have been significantly improved because of our work with them.

We are also able to measure impact from the amount of cost savings we give to our buyers as well. Many of our processors and buyers have challenges reaching farmers directly and they also part with huge margins during these processes. Our ability to connect buyers with sellers so that they can purchase agricultural produce without actually losing their profit is a win for us. Several multinational corporations, especially in Nigeria, have significantly been affected by the activities of middlemen, many of who see their need as an opportunity to be taken advantage of. At the end of the day, we save cost for our buyers and also ensure that our farmers receive the right premium for the produce.

 

Alaba: Where do you see your business in 5 years and what steps are you taking in achieving them?

Kenneth: By the end of 2019 from Nigeria alone, we would have succeeded in trading over 12,000 cattle from over 10,000 farmers; 30,000 MT of grains to local processors within Nigeria; exported over 3,000 MT of dried organic ginger while working with over 1,000 smallholder farmers in Southern Kaduna; exported over 15,000 MT of sesame from over 30,000 farmers in Benue, Nasarawa, Kano and Niger States.

I had to communicate some of the numbers for 2019 to illustrate what the plans are for FarmGate. By December 2023, we would have succeeded in connecting over 1,000,000 smallholder African farmers directly to major processors and international buyers across Africa, Europe and the Middle East. We are doing all of these through superior collaborations with technology companies, farmer cooperatives, multinational corporations, international buyers and development agencies among others.

 

Alaba: How is  FarmGate Africa contributing to the development of Africa?

Kenneth: In November 2018, we attended the Meet the Farmers Conference in the UAE alongside several other African businesses and we realised that a lot of businesses have been trying to get produce from African farmers, but it can be quite difficult. They outlined several limitations ranging from inability to meet quality specifications, multiples intermediaries and so on.

FarmGate Africa is linking African farmers directly to international markets which in return motivates our farmers to produce more as a result of the increased margins they earn from such transactions.

 

Alaba: What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa?

Kenneth: Adewale Ajadi, Country Director of Synergos Nigeria once said to me, “Nigeria is a beautiful place and a blessed country. Individual brilliance but collectively almost a failure because we compete when we should collaborate, and then we collaborate when we should compete”. As an entrepreneur in Africa, collaboration will always be key in succeeding but you must always be careful to know when to partner and when not to. Start small, understand your business model, know your numbers or hire someone that can interpret those numbers, learn from the people you seek to serve, be funding creative, be action driven and don’t speak too much English or French, and most importantly, “Always remember that not all doors are locked when you look from a distance, you just might need to get close enough to see it requires intense proximity just to open it”.

 

Alaba: What inspires you and keeps you going?

Kenneth: I am inspired by the fact that although we are doing good work, there is still much work to be done. The average age of a Nigerian farmer is 65 years old. If that figure remains the same for the next twenty to thirty years, we might face a major food recession. Being a part of a company that has the leverage to positively impact farmers as well as inspire youth to find agriculture attractive again is primarily what keeps me going every day and I love my job.

 

Alaba: How do you relax and what books do you read?

Kenneth: Whenever I need to relax, I travel. Travelling to developed countries gives me a fresh perspective on life and helps me appreciate the wonder of excellence and how certain countries have created robust economies and thriving enterprises from nothing. In my free time, I read Brian Tracy’s books. I find his work brilliant as well as motivational.

 

Visit: https://www.farmgate.africa/index.php?/

 

His Bio:

Kenneth is a First-Class Graduate of Economics and Business Studies (Marketing Specialization) from Redeemer’s University, Postgraduate Diploma Holder from the Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, an Associate Member of the same Institute and a PhD scholarship recipient from the Delta State Government.

Kenneth has worked on several projects spanning across diverse sectors. Before joining the Farmgate team, Kenneth was Innovation Specialist/Consultant with the World Bank Group, where he was responsible for mapping innovations that cuts across agricultural productivity, livestock, market information, financial services, etc. Kenneth has also worked and consulted for developmental projects funded by Rockefeller Foundation/Sustainable Food Lab (Food Loss and Waste Pilot), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation/TechnoServe (State Partnership for Agriculture), just to mention a few.

Kenneth started his career in Heineken Nigeria (Nigerian Breweries Plc), where he was Project Support Analyst for the merger between NB Plc and Sona Breweries Projects in three locations (Ogun, Anambra and Kaduna State) in 2010-11. He has worked and consulted for several publicly quoted firms like SCOA Plc, First Aluminum Plc, Accenture, just to mention a few.

He is a result driven professional and was appointed as Managing Director of Farmgate Africa in September to drive the expansion of the business to other African countries and the Middle East. Farmgate Africa is a subsidiary of EMFATO Group.

 

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