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Five startups emerge winners at the UK Government’s Lagos Immersion program

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Lagos – 12 July 2019: The UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT) in partnership with Innovation corner launched Lagos Immersion hosted by Microsoft. A program which aims to promote seamless bilateral trade and illuminate the strengths of the Nigerian technology scene and encourage greater investment; especially those which address some of the macroeconomic and development challenges of the continent.

UK High Commission ICT Lead, Boma Beddie-Memberr expressed the readiness of the British High Commission’s department for International Trade to facilitate trade and investment between Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as support the thriving technology ecosystem in Nigeria. 

On a similar note, Tochukwu Egesi, CEO of Innovation Corner, a social innovation centre, appreciated Social Good Lagos, a UN Foundation program for supporting the program with volunteers and assured the audience that Innovation Corner will continue to create technology products to facilitate social development in Nigeria and extend her network to startups in Nigeria for their growth.

Winners at the Immersion hackathon include Wesabi, Utive, Datarica, Econergco and Salubata. The winners will receive the following benefits:

  • Links with the UK’s thriving tech sector and work with UK expertise to take their business to the next level.
  • Winners will be paired with mentors with investment background and access to a wider network for 4 months.
  • Winners will be invited to the Beyond Nigeria networking session with the Deputy High commissioner of the UK High Commission in August 2019 and subsequent sessions.
  • Pitch their ideas to potential investors and partners in Nigeria and the UK.
  • Receive support from the Department for International Trade and Innovation Corner.
  • Access to local and foreign Immersion corporate partners and much more.

Also in attendance were executives from Private Sector Healthcare Alliance (PHN), Africa Fintech Foundry, Fintech Association, Africa Prudential, AGS tribe, The Paper Packaging Company, Social Good Lagos.

Leftmost male: Tochukwu Egesi(CEO, Innovation Corner), Khadijat Abdulkadir (CTO of Africa Prudential) Boma Beddie-Memberr (ICT Lead, Department of International Trade, UK High Commission) and  Ifedayo Durosinmi – Etti (Founder AGS Tribe)

Also Read Lillian Barnard: Tech Enthusiast And First Female Managing Director, Microsoft South Africa

More Pictures;

 

    

About The Department for International Trade 

The Department for International Trade is a United Kingdom government department founded in 2016 responsible for striking and extending trade agreements between the United Kingdom and non-EU states.  

About Innovation Corner 

Innovation Corner is a social innovation centre focused on using technology to solve social problems and supporting entrepreneurs through learning and her network. Two technology-driven products have been launched via the internal innovation team, these products are, Blueform and Rem Health.

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Kwik Delivery reaches 2000 verified customers 2 months after its launch in Lagos

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kwik verifies its customers through mobile phone OTP as well as email verification

LAGOS, Nigeria, August 22, 2019 – Just two months after its launch in Lagos, the kwik Delivery platform reached 2000 verified customers and is already well on its way toward 3000 verified customers.

“We are thrilled by the response from Lagosians to our on-demand B2B delivery service. Among the 2000 verified customers are several large corporate accounts as well as numerous merchants relying on our service to deliver good and documents to their suppliers, customers, business partners and so on”, explains Romain POIROT-LELLIG, Founder & CEO of Africa Delivery Technologies (ADT), developer of the kwik app.

kwik is seeing a very wide typology of customers signing up and using its platform, from pharmaceutical companies such as Medsaf to construction companies like SPIE to automotive companies such as Mitsubishi. Kwik is also used by hundreds of merchants who use it to make deliveries to their suppliers and to their customers in Lagos.

Also Read Cycles, Nigeria’s No.1 Bike-Sharing Platform Achieving The United Nations SDG Goal 11 – Damilola Soladoye

kwik verifies its customers through mobile phone OTP as well as email verification. In addition, Corporate customers need to provide their corporate registration number and are brought on board by a dedicated team that checks their background.

“We are also thrilled to observe that not only our customers return, but that they are using the service for farther and more complex delivery use cases as they gain confidence in our ability to deliver to them a great service. Average order value is going up! ” continues Romain POIROT-LELLIG.

“We will continue to work hard to expand and improve our service for them”, concluded Romain POIROT-LELLIG.

Kwik

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5 Ideas to shape your focus on Business Partnerships or Collaborations

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Picture: Rawpixel

Business collaborations or partnerships are a great way to create more value for our business, clients, and consumers. However, here are five (5) things to keep at the back of your mind when pursuing business partnerships:

1. Partnerships should be meaningful.There should be a reason why you would want to partner or be partnered. From my experience having started a new business, the essence of collaborating with another company is to create more value for your clients and your business towards a certain goal or vision. It is also important to note that, there should be a clear revenue model created for business partnerships so that you would know exactly how financial value can be measured. On the other hand, know what you would also be bringing to the table. You should be bringing some great value to your partner’s business too. Understand their current goal for the partnership and be sure it is in alignment with yours. It’s a win-win.

2. Choose a partner who respects you.

I have collaborated with partners who didn’t respect me as a person and all of such partnerships even when they made us some good money, didn’t bring us fulfillment because we had to bend the rules quite too often. There are a lot of entrepreneurs and business leaders out there who are selfish, disrespectful and mean. Be on the lookout because when someone disrespects you and your processes, it affects how you run your business in general.

3. Choose a partner that is aligned with you.

Once you partner with another company whose work culture is not aligned with yours, you would always have problems executing projects because you two may not believe in the same processes and principles. Even though every organization has a distinct work culture, it becomes more difficult working with another company whose work culture doesn’t marry yours.

4. Choose a structured organization.

Before marrying with another business, be sure and certain on their organizational structure and processes. It is not an easy experience working with an organization that isn’t well structured. An unstructured organization says a lot more about the business. It translates into an unserious organization with no clear vision, people and principles. This simply means the partner is not really ready for long-term business collaboration.

Also Read GO Ads: A hybrid Ad Network pushing adverts on every screen in Africa – Boluwa Olojo

5. Collaborations should bring results.

If it is all about the money, then probably it is just a short-term contract on a project. If it is about the value you intend to create towards a certain goal or vision, which is often ideal for a business partnership, then it should bring great results. For a startup, I would recommend having someone on your team to take care of business partnerships and collaborations. The entire marriage between your company and another should be results-oriented, sustainable and successful.

Overall, business partnerships or collaborations should make you stronger, better and greater with better value and offerings, as an organization. 

 

Author

Derrick S. Vormawor

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Economy

Nigeria’s informal economy: A catalyst for economic growth

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Balogun market, Lagos, Nigeria. Pic: Megainsights

In a country like Nigeria that lacks social safety nets and has a minimum wage of less than US$98, a significant section of the population have no choice other than to turn to the informal sector as a survival strategy. However, there is every potential for the informal sector to be more than just a means of survival.  If carried out effectively, government engagement with the informal sector can lead to an invaluable economy boost.

The informal sector: What are its contributions?

In a nutshell, an informal sector business is an unregistered business owned by one or more members of one or more households selling goods and services. Informal workers are workers engaging in work without formal employment contracts or workers producing goods for final use by their households. Jobs under this category include paid domestic workers, drivers, subsistence farmers and artisans. Over 61% of the world’s working population work in the informal sector. 85.8% of employment in Africa is in the informal sector. Over 65% of the working population in Nigeria is in the informal sector. In the 2016 fiscal year, 41% percent of GDP came from the informal sector and the informal economy also accounted for 73.7% of created jobs.

Whether the numbers tell the full story or not, the contribution of the informal sector to economic growth is more than negligible. Notwithstanding, the informal sector does not figure as prominently as it should in economic growth plans, even in previous administrations. The seven point agenda of the Umaru Musa Yar’adua administration did not consider the informal sector; neither did the transformation agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Why must we pay more attention to the informal sector? Simple. The present and projected demographic of the Nigerian population demands it. Nearly 65 percent of Nigeria’s population is between the age of 15 and 64. Only about 8% of the adult population is formally employed.25% of Nigerian children aged between 5 and 17 are engaged in labour, all of whom are most likely in the informal economy. About 43 percent of women in Nigeria, particularly Northern Nigeria are married before the ages of 18 and in all likelihood have little to no chance of obtaining higher education. The chances of such individuals ending up in the informal economy are very high.

There are about 44.3 million small business owners in the sector employing about 22.9 million people. It is important to harness the potential contributions of the informal economy, which is responsible for the employment of such a significant section of the working population, to the fullest.

How can we remodel the informal economy? Two points will be made here. First of all, greater attention should be paid to proper regulation and structuring of activities in the informal economy. In doing so, the government could create an organization responsible for the registration of businesses in the informal sector all over the country. Such organization would be established by law and its activities monitored by established bodies. Subdivisions of such organization(s) at state and local government level could be established for effective monitoring at all levels. The Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (ERGP) developed by the Muhammadu Buhari Administration in 2017 places the responsibility of monitoring the informal economy on the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. It remains to be seen whether this function will be carried out effectively by this organization.

Also Read Interview: African Energy Chamber Executive Chairman, NJ Ayuk on Transforming Africa’s Energy Sector

Any formalization processes that will be carried out under the ERGP or any other economic plan should comply with International Labour Organization (ILO) standards in that it provides opportunities for income security, livelihoods and entrepreneurship. If the informal economy can be formalized through registration of informal businesses and workers, an obvious dilemma would be how to develop a proper taxation regime. If formalization does not result in taxation, government revenue from a significant aspect of the economy is reduced. Taxation on the other hand may discourage business owners and workers from being registered. A possible solution may be granting tax reliefs to registered businesses and workers below a certain income or profit level with income derived from taxation of formalized units being redirected towards investment in such sectors.

Furthermore, effort should be directed towards removing any ‘stigma’ associated with the informal economy. 61% of all workers worldwide are informally employed and as discussed earlier, the informal sector makes significant contributions to the Nigerian economy. Concerted effort must be made towards promoting the informal sector as a viable economic growth/poverty reduction mechanism. Informal workers are also skilled workers and the informal economy is also a skilled economy.

Accordingly,the government can create and sponsor low-cost well-equipped skill platforms that connects individuals willing to work in the informal sector and experts together. The current government appear to be taking steps in this regard. In 2015, the government approved the establishment of Vocational Enterprise Institutions(VEIS) and Innovative Enterprise Institutions(IEIS), secondary schools which work with businesses to provide vocational and technical training. There are now about 82 VEIs and 152 IEIs in Nigeria.

However, these institutions, as with other educational institutions in Nigeria, suffer from funding problems and are also expensive for many of the prospective beneficiaries. The government could provide assistance in this regard by subsidizing costs for prospective attendees. Alternatively, the government could collaborate with private organizations to organize periodic technical training programmes for members of the public. The allocations to the Ministry of Education in the 2019 budget proposal and projects listed under it do not indicate that the government is willing to make significant investment in this regard anytime soon.

It may be unheralded but the strong contributions of the informal economy to employment and economic growth cannot be easily discountenanced. With proper structuring, it could be an economic goldmine.

 

Author

Oluwafifehan Ogunde is a research specialist and legal consultant. He has a PhD in Law from the University of Nottingham and is a qualified barrister and solicitor of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

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