Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ennovators Breakfast Series [EBS 1701]



Fintech – the term coined for financial services technology is an extremely fast-growing industry worldwide. Nigeria is not an exception. In fact, the total global investment in Fintech between 2010 and 2016 reached as high as $80bn.
Its evolution can in large part be attributed to ‘disruptors’ – startups shaping the financial services landscape for good. Some argue that the secret to maintaining the industry is nurturing the startups through which new technology is birthed, but with Fintech gradually seeping into the growth strategies of traditional banks, how should bank relate with FinTechs?
This edition, EBS 1701, will examine how banks should relate with FinTechs.
eNNOVATORS BREAKFAST SERIES (EBS) is a quarterly cerebral breakfast event. It is designed for the Dreamers, Drivers and Doers (3D) of technology business in ICT industry across Africa.

Date and Time

Tue, March 7, 2017
8:30 AM – 1:00 PM WAT


Oriental Hotel
3 Lekki - Epe Express Way
Lagos, Lagos

The Start-Upper

What is the most critical factor for your startup success? IDEA, PRODUCT, INNOVATION, EXECUTION, FINANCE, TIMING, NETWORK OR KNOWLEDGE
This intense Startup Chatroom will identify and help address both the generic and the specific critical success factors for startups. It will provide a networking platform for early stage businesses, investors and knowledge experts.

There will be deep insights and compelling stories of self financing models from people who have done it and have supported others to do same.
The Start-Upper is a quarterly meetup of like minds and industry practitioners and have previously held in Port Harcourt, Uyo and now to be held in Abuja.

Limitted Spot available, please do not book ticket if your participation is not confirmed.

NB: All participants will cover the cost of their drinks and get 40% discount from the lounge

Date and Time

Fri, March 3, 2017
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM WAT


No 7 Agatu Street, off Ahmadu Bello Way, off Gimbiya Street
Area 11 Garki

CBN Pumps $180m into the Forex Market

The Central Bank of Nigeria continued its intervention into the forex market by pumping additional $180m into the market for settlements of various transactions.The sum of $100m was released into the wholesale forwards segments of the market,additional $80m was provideed to banks specifically for the settlement of dollar demands for schhool fees,medicals,and Personal Travel Allowance.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Dollar falls in Nigeria as Central Bank intervenes

The Central Bank of Nigeria last week intervened into the Forex Market in Nigeria through the Interbank foreign exchange market.

Ten banks got $162.8m on a rate of N330 to N360 per dollar on a 30 days tenor.6 banks got $58.52m dollars on a ratio of N315 to N320.50 per dollar for a tenor of 60 days.
The CBN interverntion will enable forex readily available for personal and business travels,medicals,and school fees.
Furthermore CBN injected $370.9m through forward sales at a qualified bid ranging from N315 to N360 per dollar.It made spot sales of $6m to 4 banks and sold $35m for payment of school fees, medicals and BTA.These measures brought down the price of dollars from a high of N520 to N460 as of Friday

Monday, February 20, 2017

16,000 civil servants to benefit from Nigerian Government Housing Scheme

Federal Government in a statement made it known though Ms Oyo-Ita that it would embark on a N13 billion Mortgage loan.The scheme is being executed by The Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board,The Federal Integrated Staff Housing(FISH) programme and the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company Plc(NMRC).
As at today,about  1,350 houses have been uploaded on the 'FISH' programme.The houses are mainly in Lagos and Abuja.More locations are to follow.

Wealth Initiative Summit for Entrepreneurs

         By Alexis Parris

Wealth Initiative Summit for Entrepreneurs is an initiative birth from deep thoughts and reflection on economic expansion and wealth creation, many businesses dies not in the lack of ideas but deficiency and compromised ability, focus, drive and executable tools.
First of its kind in this region is an epoch summit structured to reposition that dwindling business as the right consultations has been made to circumvent the loop holes through practical, life implemented and applicable strategies both from the USA and Nigeria.
In this regards, experts has been partnered to help you learn how and what action plans need be taken in sustaining your business in the present economy.
Making profit is one thing but maximizing your profits for expansion requires initiative and proactiveness.
This summit gives you an opportunity to meet with top executives and professionals who made several digits in an unstable business environs and you will have a platform to share constructive ideas applicable for your personal and business development.

MBA For A Night

Vice Dean Catherine Duggan will lead sessions on how changes in the global economy are creating new challenges and opportunities for African firms and investors, and how innovative startups are helping to solve some of the continent’s toughest challenges. You will emerge with insights about the state of the world and Africa’s position in it, inspirational stories about Africans doing well by doing good, and framework for helping to build critical thinking skills. Each session will conclude with a networking mixer for rising managers and seasoned business leaders.
Attendees interested in the ALUSB MBA for themselves or for their employees will be able to speak with representatives from the business school.

 Things to expect
  • Connect with other rising professionals and seasoned business leaders.
  • Learn how changes in the global economy are creating new challenges and opportunities for African firms and investors.
  • Analyze how innovative African start-ups are helping to solve some of the continent's toughest problems.
  • Glean insights about the state of the world and Africa's position in it.
  • Learn about inspirational stories of Africans doing well by doing good.
  • Discover a framework for helping to build critical thinking skills and leadership capacities for your teams.

  • Date and Time

    Wed, February 22, 2017
    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM WAT


    The Wheatbaker Lagos
    4 Onitolo (Lawrence Road)
    Ikoyi, Lagos 101233

Worldview Education Fair 2017- Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos

The Worldview Education Fair is primarily designed to open young talented students to education opportunities available around the World. The fairs gathers institutions from USA, Canada, France, UK, Cyprus, Switzerland, India, South Africa, Ireland, Spain and more under one roof giving you the opportunity to explore different study destinations around the world.

courtesy eventbrite
The World is becoming a global village, gone are the days when students were limited to specific study destinations. At the Worldview Education Fair, we present the many choices available in study destinations, courses, institutions and methods of studying. This is a unique opportunity that comes once in a year, so dont miss out! Come and meet directly with admission officers to discuss what courses, pathways and opportunities are available, as well as the general application and enrolment process.

Date and Time

Tue 21 February 2017
09:30 – 17:00 WAT

United Nations Volunteers in Nigeria

Volunteers wanted:The United Nations Volunteers(UNV) programme is asking for volunteers.
UNV contributes greatly to peace and development by working with volunteers and partners throughout the world.

Requirements to become volunteer
There are two types:
-University degree in a technical field
-Minimum ofv two years of professional work experience for NUNVs and five years for IUNVs in the relevant areas
-Not younger than 25 years
-Good command of one of the UN Languages

Contact-Faustina Ekwe 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

If Your Potential Managers Don't Have These 7 Skills, Don't Promote Them

According to a 2014 Gallup poll, companies, 82 percent of the time, appoint the wrong person to a management or leadership position. That's a staggering number. 
And yet it's not inconsistent with either my own experience or other statistics that we see -- such as one, this time from a 2015 Gallup poll, showing that as many as 70 percent of workers are either disengaged or actively disengaged.

More evidence? It comes from what seems to be the No. 1 reason why people leave companies: 50 percent of the time, they cite their relationship with their direct manager. 
We can only conclude that those managers shouldn't have been there in the first place, and that poor management appointments are to blame. We might also suspect that those appointments not only damaged the mood and morale of these organizations but affected their bottom line. For example, the weak employee-engagement figures cost American businesses around $450 billion every year. 
The challenge is that these situations are not going to be completely resolved until they address the real root cause: hiring and promoting the wrong people in the first place. Here are seven characteristics that companies should look for in future managers. If those people don't have them, then don't promote them.

1. Great communications skills

Not only do leaders need to communicate often, they also need to communicate clearly and simply. People are not afraid of hard work; they are afraid of failure, and good clear communication skills ensure that leaders know not only what needs to be done, but how it will be achieved. This builds confidence in both the leader's capabilities and also in the teams. When managers can show teams how they will be successful, they'll have more confidence in their managers' abilities to help them achieve the goal. 

2. Great coaching skills

More often than not, it's the people with the greatest technical skills who get the promotion. But teams cannot rely only on their leader's productivity level to be successful. Leaders have to be able to share their expertise and coach their teams to come up to their level of competence. When they can do that, they're basically multiplying the productivity level of their skills.
One of the challenges -- and you see this in sports all the time -- is that it's rarely the greatest players who make the greatest coaches. There is a big difference in being able to do something, and being able to coach others to do it well. 

3. Great nurturing skills

Leaders need to be able to develop their teams. Not only does this improve team performance, it also increases retention rates, as a lack of opportunity to grow is a top reason staff leave. So, look to see whether your potential managers have been involved in mentoring staff, or what they think makes for good mentoring.  
People are often promoted because of their technical expertise, but that doesn't mean they are going to be great at nurturing people and helping them develop. In fact, one of the smartest people I worked with said he intensely disliked mentoring people because he found the process too slow and didn't have the patience for it. Clearly, management wasn't a good fit for him, and it would have been a disservice to him and the people he would have led, to have promoted him.

4. Great networking ability

Leadership is all about influence, and one of the biggest sources of influence comes from networking. Having a great network confirms that a potential manager has good communication skills, and shows that he or she understands the value of collaboration and cooperation. For those candidates that don't have a good network, you'll likely find it prudent to understand why. Do they not like networking? Do they have no time to do networking? Or do they not see the value in having a good network?

5. Great empathy skills

Having great empathy allows you to put yourself in the position of someone else. This ability helps you build much stronger connections with your team, and fosters trust. One of Stephen Covey's "7 Habits" is, Seek to understand and then be understood. When you can understand the position and views of others, you can better put your thoughts and ideas across in a way that makes it easier for others to understand and buy into. That's one of the secrets to increasing engagement. 

6. Great team player

Loners rarely make good leaders. So, identify those people who are good team players, work well with others and understand the benefits of great teamwork. Not only will they work better with their teams but also build teams that work well together and elevate the overall results.

7. Great humility

All managers and leaders need to have confidence in their own ability; but when that confidence boils over into arrogance, problems can occur. For example, when people talk about some success they were involved in, do they use "I" or "we" when they're explaining how certain results were achieved? Humble people give credit to others; they mention their own contributions, but they're not looking to take all the credit.  
When you interview leadership candidates, ask questions that will give you clues as to whether these individuals exhibit these seven competencies. Don't ask direct questions; instead, get them to talk about the successes they've been involved in and whether they have mentored others or not. 
by Gordon Tredgold

Why Some Startups Succeed (and Why Most Fail)

Over the last two decades of building and running businesses, and the last couple of years working full time with dozens of startup founders and CEOs on their strategies and funding plans in my consultancy business, I have observed that there are a common set of reasons that startups struggle and fail, and a consistent set of factors that make startup companies successful. I wondered if my observations were supported by hard data, and my curiosity around startup success and failure eventually got the best of me. I decided to do some in-depth investigation around this topic. I wondered if there were any research studies that showed why startups succeed and fail? I found several articles that were filled with unsubstantiated opinions and a few sources that had really great hard research around the topic. 

Why do companies fail?
According to an article in FastCompany, Why Most Venture Backed Companies Fail, 75 percent of venture-backed startups fail. This statistic is based on a Harvard Business School study by Shikhar Ghosh. In a study by Statistic Brain, Startup Business Failure Rate by Industry, the failure rate of ALL US companies after five years was over 50 percent, and over 70 percent after 10 years. This study also asked company leadership the reason for business failure, giving a list of four main reasons for failure with sub-categories below those. They also gave a list of 12 leading management mistakes. It is worth checking out the details. This research-based analysis confirmed some of my observations. I bracket the Statistic Brain finding into seven key reasons for that entrepreneurs experienced business failure:
  1. Lack of focus
  2. Lack of motivation, commitment and passion
  3. Too much pride, resulting in an unwillingness to see or listen
  4. Taking advice from the wrong people
  5. Lacking good mentorship
  6. Lack of general and domain-specific business knowledge: finance, operations, and marketing
  7. Raising too much money too soon
All of these focus on the decision-making of the entrepreneur and general business knowledge.
In another study, CB Insights looked at the post-mortems of 101 startups to compile a list of the Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail. The focus was on company level reasons for failure. I think this list is instructive, but each of these reasons for failure is due to a failure in leadership at some level. The top nine most significant from this study are:
  1. No market need
  2. Ran out of cash
  3. Not the right team
  4. Got outcompeted
  5. Pricing/cost issue
  6. Poor product
  7. Need/lack business model
  8. Poor marketing
  9. Ignore customers
Notice that all of these are business- and team-related issues, even the ones that relate to the product. Issues like there are always tied to leadership and the leader’s ability to build a strong team and drive a business model and business thought process and discipline. Also, keep in mind, if running out of money is the ultimate reason for failure, there are always other factors that cause this result.
Why do startups succeed?
Next, I looked for sources of information of why businesses were successful. I found some good research from Harvard Business School, Performance Persistence in Entrepreneurship, which suggest that serial entrepreneurs that have prior success are more likely to have success, and that the best VCs are good at picking serial entrepreneurs. However, that really didn’t answer my question about the qualities of the entrepreneur.
The best comprehensive research that helped to answer the “reasons for success” question that I could find was from The Ecommerce Genome by Compass in their Startup Genome report, which looked at 650 internet startups. Although this research is tech industry specific, I still think it is very instructive. The report stated 14 indicators of success. Some of the 14 were a bit redundant, but you should review the report yourself. This analysis also confirmed some of my observations. I bracketed these 14 indicators into nine key factors for success:
  1. Founders are driven by impact, resulting in passion and commitment
  2. Commitment to stay the course and stick with a chosen path
  3. Willingness to adjust, but not constantly adjusting
  4. Patience and persistence due to the timing mismatch of expectations and reality
  5. Willingness to observe, listen and learn
  6. Develop the right mentoring relationships
  7. Leadership with general and domain specific business knowledge
  8. Implementing “Lean Startup” principles: Raising just enough money in a funding round to hit the next set of key milestones
  9. Balance of technical and business knowledge, with necessary technical expertise in product development
Are the reasons for success the opposite of those for failure?
There are things that you must possess to be a successful entrepreneur, but they won't guarantee success. That said, it stands to reason that if you fixed the reasons for business failure, you would at least improve your chances of success. So, I decided to look at the side-by-side comparison of the reasons for failure and the factors for success.
If you look at both the reasons for failure and the factors for success, it is clear that commitment to a plan is key. This, of course, implies having a plan. This does not mean that you are completely inflexible, but you can stay the course. This is why the most successful companies have one or two pivots. I do not think that every little business adjustment or fine-tuning as a pivot. A true pivot is a change in course of direction that results in a material change in the product-market strategy. It could be along the product axis or the market axis, but it has to be enough of a change that it really requires an adjustment in strategy and a corresponding adjustment in resource allocation. At least, that’s my definition. Passion and motivation are the obvious factors. Every entrepreneur, business coach, consultant, advisor, newscaster, investor and industry analyst talks about passion. Steve Jobs is quoted all the time about this. It’s probably become too cliché and overused at this point.
What I like about this analysis is that it goes to the root of the passion. People that are successful believe in what they are doing. The successful entrepreneur feels that they can make an impact and a difference in the world. There is so much inertia and negativity around getting a startup off the ground, much less getting it to “escape velocity,” that if you don’t have this deep-seated commitment to making an impact, you will surely give up. Successful entrepreneurs are competitive. They play to win, and they hate to lose. This trait may show-up differently with different personality types, but I have never met a successful entrepreneur that doesn’t have a competitive spirit and a will to win.
The next two things go hand-in-hand. I kept them separate since I think mentorship is so important, and it has played such a huge role in my career success. Just because you are willing to learn does not mean that you are willing to seek a mentor and listen to their guidance. By the way, I’m not advocating that you take every piece of advice and guidance from your mentors, but if you have selected strong mentors that have significant domain, technical or business expertise, you should at least consider thoughtfully consider what they have to say. Otherwise, why have them around as a mentor? It gets to humility. It’s one of those things when you think you have it, you don’t.
Successful startups are businesses. It therefore stands to reason that you need to establish and implement solid fundamental business principles and practices to improve your chances of success. Many technical founders fall in love with their product idea and consciously or unconsciously believe that if they build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to their door. However, both the success and failure studies show that you need leadership in the company with general and domain-specific business knowledge to be successful. Of course, you also need to have strong technical expertise in your chosen product development area. 
Does this mean that a technical founder cannot be successful as a CEO? No, it doesn't. Look at Dr. Irwin Jacobs, the co-founder and founding CEO of Qualcomm, as a classic example. Dr. Jacobs is a brilliant engineer and former professor at MIT. However, he also has a brilliant business mind and a lot of business knowledge. Prior to Qualcomm, Dr. Jacobs ran another company, MA-Com, so he had experience running a company. He also surrounded himself with a strong management team. There are many other examples of this success formula, but there are far more where there is a seasoned businessperson who has domain expertise leading the company, and a strong technical team driving product development. Steve Jobs (Apple, NeXT, and Pixar) is the classic example as a business-oriented founder. Meg Whitman (eBay) and Eric Schmidt (Google) are great examples of CEOs who were brought into companies at an early stage to complement an exceptional team of technical founders.
Finally, having a clear and realistic idea of how long things take, setting intermediate milestones for every 12 to 18 months, and raising just enough money it to get to the next set of key milestones, is not only important to capital efficiency, it is also important for success.

How do I become a member of the $100 million club?

Interestingly, according to the Kauffman Institute, in its article The Constant: Companies that Matter, the pace at which the United States produces $100-million companies has been stable over the last 20 years despite changes in the economy. The study sates, “Anywhere from 125 to 250 companies per year (out of roughly 552,000 new employer firms) are founded in the United States that reach $100 million in revenues.” My former company, Entropic, achieved this status. How do you become part of that club? You need some luck and a good sense of timing. However, as said by the Roman philosopher Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity.”
Beyond that, you need a plan, persistence, perseverance, a willingness to be flexible, and a world-class team. You also need to be frugal, bright, and cultivate strong mentors. The best way know to do all these things well and efficiently is to follow a systematic process where you plan, commit, track results, promote accomplishments and raise the necessary capital, or "fuel in the tank," to drive the growth of your startup.
Plan. Commit. Win.
by Patrick Henry

Techstars Atlanta MD, Tyler Scriven, to visit Lagos to find the next big Nigerian startups

Towards the end of last year, Nigeria welcomed a number of high-profile Silicon Valley investors. Of a sudden, what seemed to be a mere initial interest in Nigerian founders has climaxed to actual investments from these investors.
Early into the new year, Nigeria is already looking to welcoming more investors into its shores. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Mark Zuckerberg500 startups, and Y Combinator, is Techstars Atlanta.
Tyler Scriven, the Managing Director, will be travelling with the Ingressive’s Tour of Tech between February 27th to March 4th, and interestingly, Lagos, Nigeria is his first stop.
On February 27th, Tyler will be among the Social Media Week panelists, where he will be speaking on the topic, “Investing in Digital Media.” Also, one can sign up to meet with Tyler during his startup office hours.

The expected arrival of the Atlanta-based investor is an attestation to the rich history of talented and globally minded entrepreneurs in Nigeria. These facts are not lost on Tyler, as he will be visiting Lagos with the hope of identifying companies to participate in Techstars Atlanta’s upcoming Accelerator program in July, where they would receive a $120,000 investment and be surrounded by world-class mentors.
Techstars Atlanta selects 10 to 12 companies per year to invest ($120,0000) in. The companies are invited to Atlanta in order to participate in an intense 3-month acceleration program.
Last year, the accelerator programme hosted high-profile founders such as John Collison (Founder of Stripe), Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft), Aaron Batallion (Founder of Living Social) among others.
The next batch will begin on July 15th and applications are already open
by Ifeanyi Ndiomewese

Saturday, February 18, 2017

CBN pegs dollar rate for school fees and PTA at N375 to a dollar

In line with its determination to boost dollar supply in the economy as well as to bridge the wide gap between the interbank foreign exchange (FX) market and the parallel market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday pegged the Naira exchange rate for payment of school fees (strictly universities) abroad and Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) at N375 to the dollar.

The central bank disclosed this in a closed-door meeting it held with all chief executive officers of commercial banks as well as other authorised FX dealers in attendance. The meeting took place in Lagos.

A source who was at the meeting said the new rate for school fees and PTA would become effective from Monday.

According to the source, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele who chaired the meeting, assured that the central bank would provide enough dollars to meet all FX demands for these invisible items.

“For tuition fees, the CBN said it would only cater for those in the universities and the persons involved can only get $15,000 per term and the FX would be wired directly to the school abroad. We (the banks) were all told to ensure compliance and that heavy sanction awaits any authorised FX dealer that flouts this rule,” the source added.

THISDAY also gathered that applicants for FX for tuition fees must have tax clearance certificates and Bank Verification Number.

The move, according to another source is to drastically reduce FX round-tripping which appears to be one of the factors responsible to the wide gap between the interbank FX market and the parallel market.

On the other hand, for PTA, the source said: “People are entitled to PTA only if their flight(s) is not less than five hours and they are only entitled to $4,000 per quarter.

“The CBN has also undertaken to provide enough dollar liquidity to see these through.”

Emefiele had while making a presentation to members of the National Executive Council (NEC) on Thursday appealed for patience, saying that the CBN was working on halting the widening gap between the interbank FX market and the parallel market.

The NEC members had generally expressed concern over the current situation of the exchange rate and called for an urgent review of the current forex policy, especially the gap between interbank and the parallel market rates.

But Emefiele sued for patience and understanding, assuring that the situation was being closely managed.

Meanwhile, the Naira maintained its value of N516 to the dollar on the parallel market yesterday.

Donald Trump Cadillac Limousine For Sale

United States President Donald Trump have put up his old Cadillac limousine for sale in Gloucestershire. According to reports, Trump’s old special edition Cadillac limousine is available for sale at Fifty Thousand Pounds (£50,000). Donald Trump's Cadillac Limo was manufactured in 1988. The limo was professedly utilized by a relative - presumed to be his dad - before it landed in the UK in 1991.

Furnished with a 5.0-liter petrol motor and a programme transmission, the Cadillac Trump limo has 45,000 miles on the odometer and is in good condition. Obviously, the inside is done with fine cowhide and rosewood trimmings, and even contains extravagance augmentations, for example, a beverages bureau, a paper shredder and a fax machine. It is about 30 years of age, all things considered.

And keeping in mind that it is suspected that Trump customized the interior components, things like the steering wheel and the door handles don't seem to have been adjusted for use by kids, or grown-ups with little hands.

So if there's anybody out there intrigued by securing a strong piece of American political history, this is a chance to yank enthusiastically by the hand.

MTN Nigeria Collaborates With Lumos, To Launch Mobile Electricity Solution For All

In a bid to make the lives of Nigerians brighter and more meaningful, ICT giant, MTN Nigeria has collaborated with world renowned solar architect, Lumos, to launch mobile solar electricity systems for the benefit of families and businesses around the country.

The national roll-out of the service which is set to hold on the 20th of February,in Abuja, will officially introduce the mobile electricity systems into the marketplace, making it easier for Nigerians to access the revolutionary product.
Marketed as Lumos Mobile Electricity Service, powered by MTN, the solution promises to be a catalyst for growth, poised to improve the daily lives of Nigerians. With this innovative product, Nigerians can enjoy accessible, noise-free and fume-free electricity for everyday use and conveniently pay with airtime from a MTN mobile phone. The mobile electricity device which comes with a 5-year warranty, can light up bulbs and power appliances like fans, televisions, cellphones and computers.
Commenting on the partnership with LUMOS and the product, CEO MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ferdi Moolman noted that over the years, MTN Nigeria has launched a variety of technology-driven products and initiatives which have helped to improve the lives of Nigerians, solve problems and encourage intelligent minds with brilliant ideas to achieve more with natural resources.
“Our partnership with LUMOS was borne out of the need to provide safe, affordable electricity alternatives for Nigerians to uninterruptedly conduct their daily businesses. We at MTN value lives and the overall wellbeing of Nigerians and we’ll continue to put out initiatives that focus on providing life solutions,” Moolman added.
The first of its kind Mobile Electricity kit comprises of a solar panel, an indoor power unit, phone charging accessories and 2 LED light bulbs. The kit can be purchased at MTN stores nationwide.
culled from Techcabal

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Online cake store to relieve customers of delayed delivery

Nigerians in need of quick cake delivery service can now heave a sigh of relieve as CakeStore9ja has been set up for a better and faster service. This service is likely to beat the traditional cake option, as it is the first of its kind in Nigeria.
While speaking at the official unveiling of the online store recently in Lagos, Chief Operating Officer, Prananet Technology Limited, Dr. Dayo Elutade, said the idea was conceived to meet the needs of Nigerians too busy to patronise the traditional markets for their confectionaries through a secured online shopping experience. Elutade noted that the time had come to give cake business the utmost attention it deserves, adding, “The new online store would enable customers place orders from the comfort of their homes and get the cake delivered at their doorsteps, anywhere within the country, with free delivery within Lagos for the next two months.”
He explained that Prananet, the company behind the initiative, the ICT arm of the Nimco Group, would be leveraging on Nimco Group’s culture of quality service delivery to make a difference in
the nation’s cake industry.
 Elutade explained that the company’s staff, especially the bakers, have been duly certified, haven gone through a series of training to make them exceptional in the business. He said these bakers are in every part of the country to effectively offer value for customers, adding, “What we are simply doing with CakeStore9ja is to take off the burden of having to go from one store to the other in search of cakes from
the consumers. With the new online cake store, all that is required
of a customer is to place his order, and get such order delivered to
him in the comfort of his home or office.”
The director also said the company had partnered with NAFDAC and other consumer protection bodies to ensure its cakes are healthy for consumption.
Head, Business Development, Nimco Group, Mr. Makinde Olumide, stated
that in spite of the tough economic challenges, the company is
determined to always offer its customers value for their money. One of such, he stated, are the store’s planned consumer Valentine
promotion in various campuses of higher learning within Lagos to
enable customers in these areas have a feel of the online cake
culled from the Guardian

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Radio engineer turns to the sun to fight information darkness in South Sudan

In South Sudan, most people don't have a TV. They rely on radio to get information. But limited access to power means entire communities of are left in information darkness for days at a time, especially in remote areas. One man is turning to the sun to change that. 
Issa Kassimu, an electrical engineer, came up with the bright idea of setting up the country's first solar-powered local radio station, Mayardit FM. Since March 2016 the station has been running on sunshine.  
The devastating impact of information darkness
Mayardit FM is not only changing the media landscape, it is also transforming people's lives. Vulnerable populations in South Sudan are very isolated and any kind of information darkness can have a devastating impact. 

Since South Sudan's independence in 2011 more than 2.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict. The majority of them, almost 1.6 million, are internally displaced and reliant on word of mouth and radio to find out how to access food, water and shelter. 
Based in Turalei, in the northeast part of South Sudan, Mayardit FM is fitted with 84 solar panels and 48 batteries and can broadcast for 24 hours using reserve energy built up from sunlight. Kassimu says that so far $172,000 was spent on switching to solar power, but those costs will be covered within five years and will eventually save them money on fuel, equipment and repairs. 
"We used to spend $22,000 a year just to maintain the generators. In those remote locations, fuel is two to three times more expensive than the cost in Juba, so I thought of something that could at least be sustainable," he said. 
courtesy internews

Dependency on generators 
While Mayardit FM relies on solar power, most radio stations in South Sudan depend on generators for electricity — because only 1% of the population has access to the country's electrical grid. These generators regularly break down due to the unstable energy they produce. 
Kassimu is one of a select few in the country who knows how to repair them. He spends a lot of time travelling, single-handedly fixing generators. Remember, South Sudan is the size of France so there are large distances involved and people often wait for days in information darkness.
"Once a generator breaks down, it would take me up to five days to fly to the location and fix it. And the radio would remain off air," Kassimu says. 
For remote parts of South Sudan radio is often the only link to the outside world.  Kassimu is part of a network of six local radio stations called the Radio Community which aims to bring radio to the entire country, broadcasting in local languages and reaching up to 2.1 million listeners. Two of the stations are off air because of the volatile situation in those areas. 
The project is run by Internews, an NGO funded largely by USAID that aims to empower local journalists and develop the capacity of media outlets. South Sudan is one of Internews's biggest projects. 
"The illiteracy rates in South Sudan are incredibly high," says Steven Lemmy, the Radio Community's Senior Broadcast Engineer. Adult illiteracy rates are around 30%. 
"So, if you use one language to broadcast to all the people around the country who speak different dialects, they will not understand. The only thing you can do is bring these standalone radio stations to different, often remote, localities," he says....
By Nikolay Nikolov

20 quotes from Mark Cuban that proves he is plain awesome

                                                                             Image credit:Forbes

Naturally, great experience comes with tremendous wisdom. Here are 25 quotes from this inspiring entrepreneur, Dallas Mavericks owner, and Shark Tank investor that are worth pondering over.
1.     “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
2.     “I’m the one guy who says don’t force the stupid people to be quiet – I want to know who the morons are.”
3.     “Find something you love to do. If you don’t make money at it, at least you love going to work.”
4.     “The thrill of victory in business blows away the thrill of victory in sports. Business is a sport 24X7X365.”
5.     “Doesn’t matter how many times you fail; you only have to be right once.”
6.     “Every no gets me closer to a yes.”
7.     “If you can sell, you’ll never be unemployed.”
8.     “You’ve got to work like someone is trying to steal your business.”
9.     “Always wake up with a smile knowing that today you are going to have fun accomplishing what others are too afraid to do.”
10. “Doesn’t matter if the glass is half-empty or half-full. All that matters is that you are the one pouring the water.”
11. “Creating opportunities means looking where others are not.”
12. “Don’t start a company unless it’s an obsession and something you love. If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession.”
13. “The key is having great players. But there a lot of teams that have all-stars and haven’t been able to put it together.”
14. “Treat your customers like they own you – because they do.”
15. “It’s not in the dreaming, it’s in the doing.”
16. “Push yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you.”
17. “If you’re looking where everybody else is looking, you’re looking in the wrong spot.”
18. “The only thing any entrepreneur, salesperson, or anyone in any position can control is their effort.”
19. “Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.”
20. “Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don’t do it.”
culled from

Nigeria Not utilising its Investment opportunities

Many Nigerians are not keying in on emerging investments opportunities in critical areas like agroallied processing and agricultural products storage, education and human capital development and electronic payment platforms.

Meanwhile these sectors represents new investment frontiers aided by growth in technology, government’s keen interest to drive growth in their value chains, relative ease of securing private capital and a yawning supply gap.

These are the views of experts who made presentations at the Vantage Forum 2017, an annual entrepreneurship advancement initiative organised by the Elevation Church in Lagos on January 26.

With unemployment rate at about 13 percent and underemployment rate of 19 percent, for over 61million Nigerians without gainful employment, an ability to scan the environment for opportunities and sharpen their entrepreneurial skills are now winning skills.

Doyin Salami, economist and faculty member at the Lagos Business School in his lead presentation said Nigeria’s current economic recession masks opportunities for discerning investors.

“There are emerging opportunities in the economy and the sectors that will continue to thrive despite the current recession are the biggest sectors, fastest growing sectors, those sectors that are the best recipient of capital either debt or equity and those sectors that are the resilient.”

In his presentation, Okey Enalamah, minister of Trade and Investment represented by Toyin Adeniyi, a director at the Bank of Industry (BOI) said that government has left the planning stage and is now diversifying the economy to insulate it from external shocks and increase investors’ confidence.

With a mandate to improve the ease of doing business by 60 places before 2019, Enalamah said the ministry’s strategy is built on implementing Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), providing support for Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) and support digitisation of the economy.

“Short-term headwinds should not becloud the fundamentals of a strong market, as government is seeking to partner private capital to diversify the economy,” said Adeniyi.

Enalamah said the government is tackling the current poor macroeconomic performance of the economy by making the economy more inclusive, tackling export dependent nature of the economy with diversification and increasing investors confidence to encourage foreign direct investments.

Godman Akinlabi, lead pastor of Elevation Church while responding to questions from journalists said government can find ready partners in leaders of faith-based organisations who are ramping up social programs to tackle societal ills.

“The level of cooperation and partnership between government and private sector is growing but it is not the same with faith-based organisations.”

Akinlabi said government is missing out an opportunity for more robust, inclusive ideas to develop the society as these leaders have potentials to contribute developmental ideas and even sell government’s programmes better to the people.

John Obaro, CEO of SystemSpecs said government’s drive towards digitising the economy signifies opportunities to advance technological knowledge in areas that will solve practical problems for in Nigeria.

However, 80 percent of new businesses never make it out of the start-up stage despite leveraging technology.

Ndidi Nwuneli, founder of LEAP Africa in her presentation said a possible reason is because some are not running demand-driven businesses, poorly leveraging the power of technology, and failure to instilling corporate governance practices which limits access to funding needed to lead their business to scale.

“How many of you have a properly articulated vision, manage your businesses ethically, have a board, communicate your goals properly, have a governance structure, a regular audit and engage with your communities?”

Salami said that entrepreneurs who will remain in business despite the current challenges will adopt three key strategies: improve in their knowledge of their customers, competitors and remain persistent despite headwinds.

However macroeconomic challenges still poses a threat. Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 18 percent in December even as prices of basic commodities soared by over 50 percent.

Inefficient exchange rate management has seen over about eleven different exchange rates providing inefficiencies and ‘opportunities for bad behaviour,’ according to Salami.

“The solution is implementing fully the Monetary Policy Decesion reached last year to liberalise the foreign exchange market.

The guidelines were in place and the market started but because of the acute problems of the supply side we have not implemented the framework as articulated.

“I know people are worried that if we allow it, to what level do we allow the currency to depreciate, but there’s nothing that says also that it will not appreciate.

Salami said the issue is to determine the fair value of the currency and if it is liberalise the “value of the naira should probably be somewhere between N307/$1 and N325/$ depending on the assumptions you make.”
By Kay Ugwuede

Brexit:Uk to grant Nigerians fast track visas

The United Kingdom, UK, is making plans to amend its border control system to benefit citizens from 52 Commonwealth countries, including Nigeria.

Forty-five members of the UK parliament said Commonwealth countries may get fast-tracked visas to the UK after Brexit if the proposal sails through.

UK Telegraph reports that the suggestion was made in a letter addressed to the home secretary, Amber Rudd.

According to the letter, Commonwealth stood with Britain when it witnessed “existential threats”, but that UK has left its allies in the cold as it “pivoted to Europe.”

The letter read, “I am writing to urge you to extend the hand of friendship to our Commonwealth partners.

“In the previous century, Commonwealth countries stood with Britain as we faced existential threats from abroad but as we pivoted to Europe, increasingly, our Commonwealth allies were left in the cold.

“The lack of consideration for Commonwealth citizens is at its starkest at our border. While EU citizens are collecting their luggage or exchanging greetings with loved ones, our Commonwealth friends wait tirelessly in the ‘All other passports’ queue.

“Firstly, signs at border control that class every non-EU national as ‘All other passports’ should be changed to ‘The Commonwealth and all other passports’. This is a small step but one that can be enacted quickly.

“Secondly, the government must commit to examine ways to reduce wait times for Commonwealth citizens entering the UK, perhaps through the use of dedicated Commonwealth border control gates.

“Entry processing may not be as quick as in the EU channel as several of the 52 Commonwealth nations require a visa for travel to the UK however, this would send out an important message about the value Britain places on its relationship with the Commonwealth.”

Another suggestion made was that Commonwealth citizens be allowed access to the registered traveller scheme, which would allow them access to use UK/EU lanes and reduce time spent waiting in line.

They added, “Finally, access to the Registered Traveller Scheme should be further expanded to include additional Commonwealth countries. This programmee, predominately aimed at the business traveler, allows some foreign nationals who meet specific requirements to register and use the UK/EU lanes and e-passport gates, dramatically reducing the time spent waiting in line.

“Home secretary, you are in a position to effect real, positive change in our relations with our Commonwealth partners. It would be a shame to let this opportunity pass us by.‎”
By John Owen Nwachukwu
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