HOW SUCCESSFUL NIGERIAN ENTREPRENEURS RAISED MONEY FOR THEIR BUSINESS
John-Paul Iwuoha in his article for “Linked in” was of the opinion that many young Africans have rich business idea, mind-blowing business opportunities, but they are limited by one thing “capital”. The Business Dictionary simply defined the word “capital” as money invested in a business to generate income. In his article for small starter, he culled up reasons that people give for not starting their various business, reasons like “I don’t have the capital” or “nobody wants to give me capital” amongst others. However, irrespective of the fact that capital is a major disadvantage in starting up businesses, it can still be gotten easily with the right way. On this premise, I will write on few successful business men and how they were able to raise funds for their business.
The founder of Iroko TV, a mobile entertainment and internet TV platform which is known for its impressive catalogue of African movies. He also had his Rocky days, Wikipedia had it that he had a number of failed enterprises between 2005 and 2010. He went to live with his mother again and that was when he got the idea of an “African Netflix” and decided to start it up. How did he raise money for the start up? He simply got help from his friend and later Business partner and that was how his road to success began. Today, Iroko TV is now a multimillion dollar company.
For over a decade, Jide Ipaye worked as an IT professional, but deep in his heart, he wanted to do something much different. He wanted to make stylish footwear. From an early age, he always loved shoes but the options available to him were quite limited because of his foot size – he is a size 48 (European). So, finding shoes that are the right size and fit had always been a challenge. So, rather than just make bespoke shoes for himself, ‘Jide came up with an idea to manufacture cool and high-quality footwear in Nigeria. That was how Keexs, his Africa-inspired brand was born. But there was no capital to fund his dream. So, in 2015, he successfully raised £17,871 on Kickstarter, the world’s largest crowd funding platform. ‘Jide used this capital to produce the first batch of 1,200 sneakers that effectively launched the brand and made it a reality. In 2015 alone, the global crowdfunding industry raised $34.4 billion to support entrepreneurs across the world. But in Africa, crowdfunding remains largely unknown to entrepreneurs in the continent.
Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, currently worth $12.3 billion (mid-August 2017), is a role model to entrepreneurs on the continent. While his business interest currently spread across Africa, Dangote’s impressive fortune was built from very humble beginnings. What we know as Dangote today started with the amount 500,000 Naira that the richest African lent from his grandfather back in 1978. That’s about $1,400 in today’s terms. A common mistake we often make as entrepreneurs is to overlook and take for granted those sources of capital that are around us and within our reach. Owing to the fact that the business flourished, Dangote was able to pay back the loan to his grandfather in about six months.
In the early years, Dangote focused on importing soft commodities, including rice, frozen fish, sugar and baby food into Nigeria. That is not the case today because he has expanded further into production of salt, flour, cement, and recently he ventured into petroleum refining. These days, banks, private and institutional investors are keen to invest in Dangote’s businesses because of the track record of success he has achieved over the years. But in the beginning, it would have been tough – if not impossible – for him to raise startup capital from any of these sources. Remember, only people who know, like and trust you will be willing to take a chance on you in the early days of your business. While it is still a great option, I will show you some of the good and bad sides of raising capital from friends and family in the free course.
After his University program at New York, Mike Adenuga returned to Nigeria and joined his mother in her Saw Mill business, he was able to save up money from the business, and used the money to venture into the business of distributing lace material and later Coca-Cola product. He was able to make friends with military personnel and they helped him with construction contracts, and Nigeria’s former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, awarded him an oil prospecting license. He used that to build Conoil and became the first Nigerian to strike oil in commercial quantities. In 1990, he received a drilling license and in 1991, his consolidated oil struck in the shallow waters of South Western Ondo State, the first indigenous oil company to do so in commercial quantity. He was issued a conditional GSM license in 1999, and after it was revoked, he received the second one when the government held another auction in 2003. Adenuga’s telecommunication brand Globacom thrived successfully and emerged as rival to the giant MTN Group. It launched services in the Republic of Benin in 2008 and has continued its spread across Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, with more licenses currently being prospected in other West African countries. Evidence of his hard work in the African telecommunication industry was visible at the maiden edition of the African Telecoms Awards (ATA) on august 15, 2007, where he was named African Entrepreneur of the Year. He did not wait for loan from banks, or rich men, he started with the little business he saw, his mum’s business, and made “savings”. It was from the savings that he was able to move up the ladder little by little, and today he is the second richest in Nigeria and the fifth in Africa.
Orji Uzor Kalu
He is a graduate of three universities: University of Maiduguri, Abia State University, and the prestigious Harvard University. Orji Uzor Kalu is at present chairman of SLOK Holding and equally owns popular Nigerian newspaper outlet Daily Sun. From the very young years, he attempted to start his own businesses. Once, he started a profitable business with only $35 dollars in his hands, which he borrowed from his mother. Young Orji Uzor Kalu started his entrepreneurship by palm oil trade, as he bought the commodities from the eastern regions of Nigeria and then sold it to the northern region. Sometime later, Orji Uzor Kalu switched from selling palm oil to the furniture trade, which became a huge success. In the end, the business skills of Orji Uzor Kalu grew so quickly that he established his own company called SLOK Holding. It turned out to be a great success with branches spread across Nigeria and other African countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Liberia, Guinea, Benin Republic, Botswana, and Korea in far Asia.
Drawing conclusion from the people stated above, it is without doubt that one can kick start his dream by looking around your vicinity, not always begging for loan from banks, your savings, little money from close friends, even crowdfunding, all these little yet might ways can help one in becoming a successful business man.
- Draper Richard Kaplan Foundation Funding/Grants Opportunity for Entrepreneurs. - September 25, 2020
- UNICEF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY FOR TECH START-UPS - September 23, 2020
- UBA NATIONAL ESSAY COMPETITION - September 11, 2020