Remote work. Image credit microsoft
Although it is always preferable to establish clear remote-work policies and training in advance, in times of crisis or other rapidly changing circumstances, this level of preparation may not be feasible. Recent developments have left many employees and their managers working out of the office and separated from each other for the very first time.
Fortunately, there are specific, research-based steps that managers can take without great effort to improve the engagement and productivity of remote employees, even when there is little time to prepare.
Before we dive into the 4 most important first steps to take to help transition your team to work remotely I quickly want to make mention of this. If you are running a business that is mostly operational or servicing clients offline, thinking these solutions can not be applied to your business – I recommend you start off by reading this article on how to re-position your offline business and digitize your offering. You may be surprised by how much is possible.
4 steps to remote work
The first thing that is recommend managers do is to establish daily check ins or daily huddles. The morning huddle is a great way to get the team aligned on individual and company priorities for that day. The huddle is a really short meeting to share your number one or two priorities for that day, it is not a place to go over your to-do list. You will share your definition of done on those set priorities so that everyone understands exactly what you will be working on today and when this is considered to be done.
The huddle also functions as a way to recognise hurdles or bottlenecks that may get in the way of progress for that day – which then can easily be resolved on the spot by making use of the collective intelligence present – avoiding people getting stuck for hours trying to fix something all by themselves (which is killing for productivity). And I recommend doing this via a video conferencing tool always to keep that sense of human connection within the team.
Secondly, provide several different communication options – because you will find that email alone is insufficient. When it’s time for deliberation, strategy sessions, team collaboration sessions or any type of meeting that will take on more than 10 minutes by rule of thumb – use a video conferencing tool. Being able to see the visual cues of meeting participants allows for increased mutual knowledge that can be tapped in to, and will help make meetings more effective.
Of course, there are other circumstances when quick collaboration is more important than visual detail. And for these situations, provide mobile-enabled individual messaging tools like Slack, which can be used for simpler conversations as well as time-sensitive communication. And then you can make use of project management and tracking tools such as Monday, Trello or Asana.
Also make sure to properly onboard team members on how to use these tools. For instance, by making quick instruction video’s on how you wish they engage with the different tools available by using Loom Video’s for instance.
Rules of engagement
It’s very important to set rules of engagement. Remote work becomes more efficient and satisfying when managers set expectations for the frequency, means, and ideal timing of communication for their teams. For example you can decide that, “We use videoconferencing for daily check-in meetings, but we use Instant messaging when something is urgent.” – make sure to communicate that clearly from the get go. But also things like a “video always on” policy for all video conferencing calls – if that is what you would like to see happen, make sure everyone has the opportunity to align with that by communicating this clearly.
Last but not least is facility management – make sure to check in with each team member if they have access to the resources they need to work remotely. Aside from a PC or desktop, internet connection and mobile phone – you may find that you have one or two team members who are unable to create a space to work within their homes, and you’ll need to think of other ways to facilitate that.
As I mentioned before, while these are definitely 4 majorly important steps to take – this is not an exhaustive list. Inasmuch as I am more of a long term win kind of girl, I don’t believe that right now is the time to write up new 50 page policies on remote work. I do, strongly believe starting off with these steps will get your team going on the right track quickly and effectively – increasing the chances of us meeting again once we are able to flatten the curve of the corona crisis.
Article by: Kimberly Ofori: An Entrepreneur, Game changer, ScaleUp Consultant, Strategist and Managing Director at Ofori Inc.
ARM Holding Company Lists 6 Mutual Funds on Cowrywise
Today, Mutual Funds from Asset & Resource Management Holding Company (ARM) can now be accessed through Cowrywise. These new mutual funds, managed by ARM Investment Managers, swell the growing list of SEC-registered mutual funds now easily accessible on Cowrywise by retail investors nationwide. Also, this deepens our position as the platform with the highest collection of mutual funds in Nigeria.
Meet ARM: One Of Nigeria’ Top Asset Managers
Established in 1994, as an asset management firm, ARM, is Nigeria’s largest non-bank financial services firm with the primary objective of providing a platform that meets all the investment needs of individuals. ARM Group’s retail products comprise mutual funds, estate planning services, wills, pension, stockbroking services, and real estate.
Currently, it manages 6 mutual funds and all of them are now available on Cowrywise. Get them here with any comfortable amount. This partnership with ARM dovetails into our commitment to help change the way Nigerians invest.
Speaking on the collaboration, Henrietta Bankole-Olusina; Managing Director, ARM Financial Advisers, stated; “Our goal is to empower more individuals to fulfil their dreams and encourage them to imbibe a healthy investment habit. Our range of mutual funds caters to different needs depending on their investment goal and risk profile.
How Do Nigerians “Invest”?
In 2019, when mutual fund assets hit the ₦1 trillion mark, Nigerians spent ₦730 billion on sports betting. That means, in 2019, 73% of the industry’s total value was equal to what Nigerians spent betting in just one year. Diving deeper into the report, we see that the drivers for this adoption are:
• Ease of access
• Ease of understanding
• The hope of expected returns
Sadly the adoption of betting has done more harm than good in general. Hence, to place people on a sustainable path of wealth there is a gaping need to make investments simple and clear about their rewards.
Starting in 2017, we launched into the market with a digital savings product. The process was (and is still) simple, people save any comfortable amount and we help invest the bulk in treasury bills and bonds to earn returns. Alongside, we curate a robust finance education system that simplifies money for the everyday person.
These efforts positioned us to initiate our core plan of helping everyday people access high-end investments through mutual funds. On May 21, 2019, we started off with four mutual funds. Today, we have nineteen high-profile mutual funds.
The Journey To 10 Million First-time Investors
Partnering with top fund managers across the country, we will bridge the gap of onboarding and educating the average Nigerian. In essence, we are easing up more time for fund managers to grow wealth while we drive up demand. Our commitment is to introduce 10 million first time investors to mutual funds in the next five years.
ARM Mutual Funds: The Details
The ARM suite of mutual funds is a diverse one. Its offerings fit the desires of various types of investors. Below are its current offerings.
• ARM Money Market Fund: this is a low-risk fund that invests in instruments like treasury bills. A good fit for short term investors.
• ARM Fixed Income Fund: like other fixed-income funds, this is a medium-risk fund. It’s a great option for medium to long term goals, as it can serve as a source of steady income.
• ARM Ethical Fund: helps investors put their money in firms that align with a strict ethical selection.
• ARM Discovery Balanced Fund: designed for a balance between equities and fixed income. It’s a medium-risk fund.
• ARM Aggressive Fund: got a long-term view? This is your fund. Though high-risk, it helps your investments grow over the long term.
• ARM Eurobond Fund: this fund gives you access to investment instruments denominated in United States’ Dollars. Also, it is excellent for protecting your investments from currency depreciation.
ARM Funds on Cowrywise
Today, all above-listed funds, and thirteen others, are accessible on Cowrywise with any amount and in few clicks. There’s no better deal than this. We say this as the number one marketplace for mutual funds in Nigeria.
Currently, we offer the most diverse basket of mutual funds in Nigeria. To top that up, we provide relatable advice at no extra cost and you get to invest with any comfortable amount.
To buttress this, Yarmirama Ashama, Product Manager at Cowrywise, described the recent partnership as an expansion of the opportunities that come with investing with mutual funds. In her words, “We cannot raise a new generation of investors alone. This is why partnerships with fund managers like ARM are important. Having them onboard feeds this vision, and we are excited about the results that will follow.”
Confused about what fund to pick? Check this guide.
How to Invest in ARM Funds
To start investing in a few minutes, follow these steps:
• Signup here
• Tap “Invest in Mutual Funds”
• Start investing
How to List your Fund as a Fund Manager
Over the past year, we have opened up the retail market for top fund managers. With a bespoke retail and onboarding process, we have brought a younger demographic of first-time investors into the mutual funds’ space.
Currently, our audience age range sits between 21 and 35 years. If you want to improve the visibility of your funds to this demography, you should join us on the journey to 10 million. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got questions about how mutual funds work? Start with this guide.
Issued by Cowrywise
Eksab Raises $500,000 Investment for its Daily Fantasy Sports Platform
Eksab co-founder and CEO, Aly
Mahmoud (Source: Eksab)
Cairo, Egypt: Eksab, the leading Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) platform in the Middle East and
Africa, announced an investment of USD $500,000 from 4DX Ventures as well as other
strategic investors within the international sports and entertainment ecosystem.
“Daily Fantasy Sports and monetized competitions are a multi-billion dollar a year industry in the US,” said Co-Founder and CEO Aly Mahmoud. “Our goal is to become the premier sports entertainment company in the MEA region by offering exciting Fantasy Sports competitions as well as highly engaging local sports content.”
With over 1 billion football fans across the Middle East and Africa, Eksab’s goal is to make every match more exciting. Users sign up to the platform at www.yallaeksab.com, join both
free and paid competitions, make predictions on live international football games, collect
points based on the accuracy of their predictions and then get rewarded with prizes or cash. “We’re bringing the FanDuel and DraftKings model to the world’s largest football market,” continued Aly Mahmoud.
With the investment from 4DX Ventures, Eksab plans to scale its product to the millions of football fans in the region with the goal of launching its first paid competitions over the next year. Peter Orth, Partner at 4DX shared – “We see the region as one of the most exciting and underserved markets for a sports entertainment platform. We’ve been really impressed with Aly’s vision for a next generation and technology driven platform that is also highly tailored to local fans and their preferences. We’re excited to be on this journey with Aly and the rest of the Eksab team.”
“Our ultimate goal is to provide an unmatched daily source of entertainment, engagement
and content for the region’s football fans” highlighted Aly Mahmoud.
“There has never been a more exciting time to be a football fan in the Middle East and Africa. Over the next year, we plan to work with a select group of partners to make the experience even more immersive. We’re excited to have 4DX with us on this journey.”, added Aly
Issued by Eksab
30 Reasons To Invest In Egypt
Egypt, one of the oldest civilizations, is today becoming one of the hottest investment destinations. Seven years ago, the Egyptian government adopted a long-term strategy to boost the performance and economic attractiveness of the country. Starting with monetary reforms with the assistance of the IMF, Egypt has implemented one of the most successful programs of economic turnaround. The Egyptian experience was praised by all international institutions and is presented as the example for developing countries to follow.
In parallel with monetary reforms, the authorities have been conducting many infrastructure megaprojects (transportation, energy, digital transformation, legislative) to prepare Egypt for a long period of sustainable growth.
The fruits of these reforms and huge investments are already having an impact on the Egyptian economy. Based on IMF predictions, Egypt will be one of only 18 countries to enjoy economic growth in 2020 (revised upwards to + 3.5% in September after a June forecast of 2%). Long-term growth should be close to 8%.
Growth is accelerating, and business opportunities are emerging like nowhere else in the world. Egypt is clearly open for business. Having worked during 20 years in 15 countries located in 3 continents, I can confirm that the magnitude of change achieved by Egypt, greatly surpasses anything I have seen before.
Below, you will find 30 strong reasons why you should consider Egypt as your next investment destination.
Investors will find many market opportunities in Egypt, as well as untapped growth potential
1) Vast market, thanks to a large (100 million) and young (average age 25) population, which is expected to reach 160 million by 2050.
2) One of the most diversified emerging economies, making Egypt resilient to crisis and economic cycles.
4) The eighth-highest contributor to global growth in 2019 (PPP-based), according to Bloomberg, thanks to multiple growth engines.
Infrastructure is ready to support business growth
5) Ranked 28th worldwide for road quality, thanks to the huge investments undertaken by the government (Egypt was ranked 115th as recently as five years ago).
6) Cheap, abundant, and diversified energy sources (gas, solar, hydro, wind, and nuclear).
• Excess capacity of 15 gigawatts -after a deficit in 2013- exported t oneighbouring countries.
• Regional center for gas transformation and export to Europe, thanks to large reserves and established processing facilities.
• One of the largest solar parks in the world, Benban, covering 37.2 km2 and visible from space, producing 4 TWh of electricity per year.
7) Determination to boost green energy production and use.
• Renewable energy target at 60% by 2035
• National program to replace gasoline by LNG and to rely in the near future on locally produced electric vehicles.
8) Tripling of Internet speed in just 12 months and still accelerating.
9) 887 new laws passed, and 294 international treaties ratified in the last five years to attract foreign investors and increase the efficiency of government services.
• new investment law.
• digitization of customs.
• digitization of tax collection.
• many more initiatives expected particularly in the new administrative capital.
10) Already signed trade treaties giving free access to 2.6 billion people including 47 European countries, and 19 Eastern and southern African countries (Comesa).
The geographical location of Egypt has always been an unmatched advantage throughout human history.
11) Proximity to many European markets, gateway to Africa, regional hub for the Middle East (confirmed by Amazon’s recent decision to set-up in Egypt its regional manufacturing hub ).
12) What can we say about the Suez Canal, through which 10% of the world’s traffic moves?
13) Spared from most natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, volcanos, cyclones, and tsunamis.
The 100 million population offers an immense pool of talent
15) 125 general universities by 2030 teaching disciplines most in demand, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, health-tech, IoT, an increase from the current 72 universities.
16) Ranked 56th out of 172 countries in Government AI Readiness Index, jumping 63 places in a single year.
17) Wide use of European languages, particularly English, making Egypt a hub for international call centers (e.g. Vodafone).
18) Cheap labor, thanks to the low cost of living: average monthly salaries are $150 for workers and $400 for engineers.
Egypt offers a rich and mature business environment
20) 38 commercial banks, 39 insurance companies, many investment banks, numerous law firms, specialized local and international management consulting companies, multiple chambers of commerce for specific sectors or bilateral cooperation with foreign countries, several governmental bodies providing reliable data about the Egyptian market (CAPMAS, ECES), rich choice of office space, free zones benefitting from exemptions from customs taxes, sales tax, and many other fees.
21) A sound banking system considered the most efficient worldwide (cost-to-income ratio less than 30%).
22) Egypt hosts 138 foreign embassies, higher than the 121 embassies in the UAE and the 112 embassies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
23) Price purchasing parity (PPP) of 4.33 according to the world bank , making Egypt four times cheaper than the US (and even cheaper compared to many European countries).
24) Ranked the eighth-safest country in the world, according to a Gallup Global Law and Order report, ahead of all European countries except Norway and Switzerland.
Egypt is beating all macroeconomic targets
25) Strong long-term growth prospects averaging between 6% and 8%; one of only 18 countries (and the only country in the MENA region) expected to have positive economic growth in 2020 (+ 3.5%), according to the IMF; same positive outlook for the European bank for reconstruction and development, making Egypt the only economy across all of the EBRD regions likely to escape recession in 2020.
27) Stable currency: one of the few emerging currencies to appreciate against the dollar in 2020 (+ 2.1% YTD on October 31st).
28) Political stability proven by the smooth democratic process to elect the representatives of both parliament chambers in 2020.
29) Shrinking trade deficit, increasing remittances (+ 7.8% year on year after seven months of 2020), rebound of Egypt’s reserve of foreign currencies to reach USD 38 billion, covering eight months of imports.
30) Second-highest real interest rate in the world, despite recent rate cuts, making Egypt the new darling of emerging markets, foreign investors’ holdings of government T-bills reached $21 billion in mid-October, up from $10.4 billion by the end of May 2020, only country in the Middle East and Africa to maintain its credit rating with a stable outlook at the big three rating agencies, despite Covid-19 challenges.
On top of all these rational reasons, Egypt offers a magnificent climate, splendid sandy beaches, rich coral seas, mind-blowing historical monuments, and a most vibrant social life. All these additional aspects offer a superb quality of life for foreign expats.
Last but not least, Egyptians are genuinely one of the warmest and most friendly people on earth, bonding easily and appreciating long-lasting relationships.
So, what are you waiting for? Come to Egypt and we will help you explore investment opportunities!
Author: Nadim Samna, Managing Partner at Stratexis