Stakeholders brainstorm on success strategies for startups in Nigeria

Pioneering startups

Pioneer and successful players in startup businesses have unanimously advised that success could only come in the way of upcoming entrepreneurs through passion and perseverance rather than the desire to get rich quick.

They gave the advice on Thursday at the breakout session on the WorldStage Economic Summit 2023 held at the event centre of the Nigerian Exchange, Lagos, themed: “The Game Changer,” moderated by the Editor-in-Chief of Global Financial Digest, Mr. Mayowa Oludare.

Guest speakers took turns to share their experiences and address issues that were critical factors in understanding and running startup businesses to succeed.

Speakers included Mr. Tim Akano, CEO, New Horizons Nigeria; and Mrs. Adekunbi Ademiluyi, Managing Director, HumanManager Limited, who represented the Group Managing Director of SystemSpecs Holdings, Nigeria, Mr. John Tani Obaro.

Mr. Akano admitted that startups are always tough at the beginning, but that passion and perseverance would make starters to overcome any challenge that might come their way in the build-up stages.

According to Akano, it takes perseverance to overcome challenges and it’s not a bed of roses to scale various hurdles for anyone ambitious to venture into startups.

But every startup entrepreneur must have it at the back of their minds that the reward for solving problems is money and therefore make problem solving their focus if they desire to make headway, he stated.

“Don’t make a company of negative people, particularly the learned and academic who are fond of analysis to paralysis, only rolling out problems rather than solutions,” he warned.

Speaking on the benefits of mentoring and mentorship, Akano argued that not everyone could be a mentor but real mentors were called to serve other people, with little concern for reward.

Describing how critical mentors are to the generation of upcoming entrepreneurs, he quoted a statement by Albert Einstein that ‘he sees far by standing on the shoulder of a giant’ to support his position on the significance of mentorship.

Speaking on: “Journey from conception to launch,” Mrs. Adekunbi Ademiluyi agreed with Akano that understanding and knowing one’s passion is key to upcoming entrepreneurs to achieving success.

“Focus on your goals even when your plan is cascading,” she counseled.

She outlined other factors for success in entrepreneurship as understanding and engaging with community; asking the right questions with ideation; challenging the status quo; listening to unmet needs and desires of the world; conceptualizing by shaping ideas into tangible, viable and scalable solution – determining solution that fits the problem; creating a value proposition; defining business model; and putting a legal structure in place.

A successful launch isn’t where the story ends, going live aims at monetization, customers’ satisfaction and creating new markets.

Bringing ideas to fruition  

Ademiluyi also recommended execution based on nurturing ideas, refining and bringing them to life, processing product development, building workable teams and planning resources.

“A successful launch isn’t where the story ends, going live aims at monetization, customers’ satisfaction and creating new markets,” she elaborated.

She mentioned the contributions of the government at encouraging startup businesses such as instituting the Bank of Industry (BoI), Micro finance banks etc to ensure easy access to funding for financially deprived individuals that sought to go into startups.

Responding to the question about the fintech sector being dominated by technical people, she said it was because investors and venture capitalists always looked for technologists and that those that applied for their jobs were people with a background in financial technology.

To halt or curb the “japa” syndrome currently depriving Nigeria of the services of her bulk of professionals, Ademiluyi said: “In every problem there is an opportunity. It’s a global issue. There’s even domestic japa where people resign their jobs and prefer to work on their own. There are opportunities in Nigeria, we only need to adjust ourselves to curb the lure of japa.”

In his opening remark, the President/CEO of WorldStage, Mr. Segun Adeleye said WES 2023 was accommodating a special breakout session tagged: Startups on WorldStage with the Theme: ‘The Game Changers’ for founders, startup enthusiasts, corporates, angel investors, and media to network and chart the way forward.

He said, WorldStage, a globally focused media group with strong business/economic contents, is leveraging on its capacity to engage the emerging startups and project them for global visibility.

“Data from the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that unemployment and underemployment rates increased to an all-time high of 56.1 percent in 2020, pushing 133 million Nigerians into multidimensional poverty with economic growth not inclusive as it faced key challenges of lower productivity and weak expansion of sectors with high employment elasticity,” he said.

“Getting the youths to work must be an immediate task for the government and will be driven by fixing productivity through combinations of policies that cut across some strategic sectors of the economy.

“Many startups that need to be encouraged are developing technology to solve identified problems in payment systems, insurance, agribusiness, e-commerce among others. The beauty of their emergence is that their concepts are globally acceptable, making them eligible to expand to other countries while attracting foreign exchange and creating new jobs.”

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