Strive Masiyiwa, founder and chair of the Econet Group, just made the 2018 FORBES list of African billionaires as Zimbabwe’s first billionaire.
FORBES estimates Masiyiwa’s net worth at $1.7 billion, ranking him 14th among Africa’s 23 billionaires.
Econet Group owns Econet Global, Econet Wireless Africa, Econet Wireless International, Econet Media, and Econet Entreprises and Liquid Telecom Group.
Masiyiwa’s journey to building these businesses has not been without toils. FORBES notes that he “overcame protracted government opposition to launch mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in his country of birth in 1998”.
In essence, he was engaged in a 5-year court war with his former employer, the country’s only telecom business at the time, before being awarded a mobile telecoms license to operate the company that would later expand into a global empire.
On Masiyiwa’s wealth and assets, FORBES notes:
He owns just over 50% of the publicly-traded Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which is one part of his larger Econet Group.
Masiyiwa also owns just over half of private company Liquid Telecom, which provides fiber optic and satellite services to telecom firms across Africa.
His other assets include stakes in mobile phone networks in Burundi and Lesotho, and investments in fintech and power distribution firms in Africa.
Masiyiwa is also a prolific philanthropist.
He founded the Higherlife Foundation together with his wife, Tsitsi. The foundation pays the school fees of some 40,000 orphaned or low-income students in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi and Lesotho.
The telecoms magnate is also at the helm of the Ambassador Andrew Young Scholarship, which enables African students to attend the Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, US.
Masiyiwa was named one of Time Magazine Most Influential Person in 2002. In 2014, he was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. He is a friend to many world leaders, often spearheading conferences with the likes of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Masiyiwa one of Africa’s most influential figures and a champion for technology and young people.Read More
There are many ways to strengthen your brand identity in Nigeria. For the purpose of this article, we shall be dwelling more on how you can use content marketing to strengthen your brand identity in Nigeria.
Content marketing is the method of passing the “no-logo test”. Can your product (content) stand out of the competition without the help of company names and logos?
Your content must be able to bring your brand to life in Nigeria. Content marketing creates a very distinct and unique perspective that is very beneficial to your target audience.
Whether small or multinational corporations, the ones that create contents (products) that reflect their brand’s unique personality are the ones that have the best content strategy.
Branded contents engage your customers and clients more because it is informative, entertaining and interactive.
If your content cannot pass the “no logo” test, then it is just another one of those contents that flood the target audience.
Therefore, to bring your brand identity to a great height, you must utilize these three approaches outlined below.
Your organization must have a vision and mission statement. You must be able to link the content you are creating with this vision.
The vision must also be aligned with the customer’s needs.
5 Ways To Make The Identity Of Your Brand More Consistent In Nigeria
Your ability as an entrepreneur to make the identity of your brand more consistent in Nigeria will help to shape your company positively in the future.
Due to the fact that there are many activities going on in the company to make it better, it is easy to get lost while trying to have a consistent brand identity.
Whether big or small business establishments, it is quite easy to go off course without even realizing it.
You may not notice at the beginning, that you have gone off course, but failing to identify the lapse will eventually lead to negative impacts.
Without consistency in your brand, it can become unreliable as well as confusing to the customers.
This has no positive impact on the business, both in short and long run. At any point in time, you notice that you have lost consistency in your brand identity, you can get back in line with these steps.
You must understand the need for consistency in your branding if you are to take it seriously in the first place.
Knowing why consistent branding matters and also making your team to understand the value in it should be your first point of action to making sure that you have a consistent brand identity in Nigeria.
It shows a great deal of professionalism from your team and company.
Consistent branding will also add authenticity to your identity as a company
It helps to clear the confusion and doubts that customers and clients might have about your organization and the things you stand for.
It helps the employees and executive team to stay in line with the core values and priorities of the company.
A business brand goes beyond just the logo of the company, it really is about who they are and the reason they are in business in the first place.
Have your own brand guide
A brand guide is really an important business document. Once you have understood the need for consistent branding, having a complete brand guide should be your next point of call.
The brand guide should contain sections that include:
The usage of the logo
Photography and graphic styles
The mission of the brand
You can also consult books on brand guides to help you create a very good one for your business.
Make sure you circulate the brand guide
The brand guide should not just be for those in the marketing and design department, it must be incorporated into the whole fabrics of the organization.
The brand guide explains not only how the company should be presented, it also explains what the brand is founded on. This makes it very important that every department has copies of the brand guide. This is really a great way to make the identity of your brand more consistent in Nigeria.
Always update and audit all branded materials
You must put your brand guidelines to work, once you have established it. All branded materials must be audited and updated to match the new brand guide on the ground.
The materials to be updated include social media profiles, posts, brochures, business cards, web pages, etc. your brand must be represented at each customer-facing points within your organization.
Have a plan for the future
In order to make the identity of your brand more consistent in Nigeria, you must create a plan for the future.
You will end up wasting your time, money and energy if you follow other steps without completing this last one.
You must have an annual update for your brand plan, design elements, and content audit. Make sure you follow your brand plan because you won’t regret doing so.
Segun Abgaje is a banker and entrepreneur. He also occupies an executive position at Guaranty Trust Bank as the Managing Director. In addition, he serves as a Director on MasterCard Board in the Middle East and Africa.
Background and Family
Segun Agbaje whose full name is Olusegun Agbaje was born into the family of Chief Julius Kosebinu Agbaje and Mrs. Margaret Olabisi Agbaje in 1964. His father was a banker and his mother a teacher. Segun got his secondary school education from St Gregory’s College, Obalende, Lagos State. He went abroad for his tertiary education. He got his BSc in Accountancy and masters degree in Business Administration from the University of San Francisco, America. He is also an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School. His older brother is a Jimi Agbaje renowned politician and a member of the People’s Democratic Party.
Rise to Prominence
Segun started off his career as a staff auditor at Ernst & Young in San Francisco, America. He eventually returned to Nigeria in 1991 to work for GtBank as one of the very first sets of employees. At that time GT Bank was a floundering financial institution headed by the legendary Fola Adeola. And as a pioneer staff, he was present at most of the groundbreaking innovations the bank made. He worked his way up the ranks and by 2000 he was an executive director, by August 2002 he was Deputy Managing Director.
Segun Agbaje also played a pivotal role in the introduction of Valucard and Western Union Money Transfer.
He also played an essential role in making GTBank the first Nigerian company and the first bank in Sub-Saharan Africa to feature on the list of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.
Under his leadership GTBank has won:
The award of Best Bank in Nigeria by Euromoney.
African Bank of the Year by African Banker Award.
Best Bank in Nigeria by World Finance UK.
Most innovative Bank by EMEA finance.
Best Banking Group by World Business Leader Magazine and Best Bank in Nigeria award by the Banker Awards.
Tayo Aderinokun was a Nigerian entrepreneur, banker and most notably one of the co-founders of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.
Tayo Aderinokun whose full name is Olutayo Aderinokun was born on the 8th of May, 1955 in Kano State, Nigeria. His father worked as a technician for the Nigerian Railways. Tayo Aderinokun attended the Baptist Day School, Kano for his primary education. His family, however, had to leave Kano for Lagos in 1966 after the civil war started. He completed his education in Lagos, from secondary all the way down to university- he attended Surulere Baptist School for one year, St Peter’s College, Abeokuta from 1968 to 1972 and then went on to St Gregory’s Boys College, Lagos from 1973 to 1974.
And then he got a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Lagos and then in 1981, he got an MBA in International Business from the Graduate School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles.
Rise to Prominence
Tayo Aderinokun has always been in the banking sector, he began his rise to prominence working for the Central Bank of Nigeria and then went on to work for Chase Merchant Bank Nigeria Limited. He moved on to Prime Merchant Bank where he occupied the position of an Assistant General Manager and Head, Financial Services.
He, however, resigned his position to start up his own business- First Marina Trust Limited which was a non-bank financial institution which would he supervised until 1990 when he co-founded Guaranty Trust Bank with Fola Adeola.
Upon its inception, he was made the Deputy Managing Director, a position which he held for 12 years from 1990 to 2002 and then was promoted to the position of Managing Director after the resignation of Fola Adeola. He remained the Managing Director until his death on the 14th of June, 2011.
Under his tutelage the bank bagged many awards, some of which include:
The 2010 and 2009 best bank in Nigeria awards from the Banker Magazine
The 2010 and 2009 best bank in Nigeria awards from Euromoney Awards for Excellence
The SIAO 2009 and 2008 Best Corporate Social Responsibility Awards
The 2007 Most Respected Company in Nigeria Award from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Businessday
The Nigerian Stock Exchange President’s Merit Award in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008.
Fola Adeola was also a recipient of the esteemed Member of the Federal Republic national award.
Angel Adelaja co-founded WE FARM, an agricultural NGO that focuses on collectively ensuring a better future for Africa through sustainable agriculture.
Her farms are built inside shipping containers in the city of Abuja, making them the first in containerized farming in Africa. Angel and her team of young women, uses hydroponics to grow leafy greens and luxury salads with just nutrient-infused water and LED lights.
Because of hydroponic farming, we are able to grow a variety of products that are not normally comfortable growing in Nigeria and we grow them all year round whether its rainy season or dry season. If our average age of a farmer in Nigeria is 60, then we need to do something. We need to get young people interested in Agriculture. We need to make agriculture cool and fun.Read More
Jim Ovia is a Nigerian businessman and the founder of Zenith Bank. He is also the founder of Visafone Communications Limited which has over 3 million subscribers. In addition to that, he is the Chairman of the National Software Development Initiative (NSDI) and also the Chairman of , National Information Technology Advisory Council (NITAC). Aide being the chairman of Zenith Bank, he also holds the largest percentage of shares which is 9%. He is also the chairman of Cyberspace Network Limited.
Background and Education
Jim Ovia was born on the 4th of November, 1951 at Agbor, Delta State, Nigeria. He got his education at Southern University Louisiana and North East University Louisiana, University. He also went on to attend Harvard Business School where he attended the Executive Management Program. From Southern University Louisiana he got a B. Sc in Business Administration and from North East University Louisiana he obtained a Masters Degree in Business Administration in 1977. Jim is married to Kay Ovia and together they have children.
Rise to Prominence
Jim Ovia always knew that his place was in the financial sector and hence he wasted no time in going straight to it and working his way up to prominence. He started off his career working for Union Bank (Formerly Barclays Bank) as a banking clerk in 1973. And then he went on to work as a Financial Analyst at the International Merchant Bank under the agreement of First National Bank of Chicago; he had worked his way up to Senior Manager position by 1987. And from 1987 up until 1990 he lead the Corporate Finance Department of Merchant Bank of Africa under the technical supervision of Bank of America.
Jim also gained some knowledge and expertise in Information Technology when he worked at Baton Rouge Bank and Trust Company as a part-time computer operator.
Ovia founded Zenith Bank in 1990 and was the CEO up until 2010 when he retired and conferred the title of chairman to someone else. He initiated a lot of significant innovations to the Nigerian banking sector with his knowledge and experience. Under his tutelage Zenith bank was set up to become one of the largest and most profitable banks in Africa. Zenith bank expanded over the years and established operations in countries outside Nigeria, countries like- Sierra Leona, Ghana, South Africa, the Gambia and the United Kingdom.
He is also the Proprietor of the University of Information and Communication Technology, Delta State.
Jim Ovia is well known for his dedication to philanthropy and to giving back to the society. Some of his organizations include;
He is founder and chairman of Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE) which is a philanthropic organization centered on providing scholarships for the less privileged. Today some of the beneficiaries of those scholarships are acclaimed professionals in many different fields.
He also founded the Youth Empowerment/ICT Foundation which is concerned with inspiring and motivating the Nigerian youth to embrace Information and communication technology to improve their socio-economic welfare.
Jim Ovia has also served in other capacities aside the banking sector; he is a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University and also a member of the Board of Trustees, Redeemer’s University For Nations, Lagos. He was also formerly a member of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission from 1999 up to 2007. He also served on the board of American International School, Lagos from 2001 to 2003.
Under his leadership Zenith bank bagged quite a number of prestigious awards, some of which includes;
The Most Respected Bank in Nigeria by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2005
Bank of the Year by The Banker Magazine in 2005
It was named the most security friendly and conscious bank in Nigeria for 2005.
It was ranked the Fourth biggest bank in Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2005.
The bank was awarded the African Bank of the Year in 2007 by African Investor Magazine.
The bank was named Quoted Company of the Year by the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2007.
Socially Responsible Bank of the Year awarded by African Banker Magazine.
The bank also won the Web-Jurist award conducted by the website rating arm of Phillips Consulting.
Jim Ovia has also received the Nigerian National Honour
Uzo Umeh is a Los Angeles based restauranteur curating gourmet Mexican food in Lagos, Nigeria. She shares her experience with Starting and running a business.
FROM HAVING AN IDEA TO STARTING YOUR BUSINESS, SHARE YOUR JOURNEY WITH US
From December 2014 to June 2015, I worked as a branding and communications lead for VFD Group at Lagos Island. Within that time I decided to go back to Los Angeles to further my career in the restaurant industry. However, as a Mexican food lover, I noticed that there was a disconnect in what was being served as Mexican food at the time in Lagos and it’s cost. That’s where the idea came from, while I was working in LA, I began building my El Padrino brand and putting into practice what I wanted to accomplish in Nigeria. In June 2017, I returned to Lagos and started curating.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO? THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER BUSINESSES YOU COULD HAVE EXPLORED, WHY THIS?
I love interacting with people and witnessing the joy a good food experience brings them. Most of all, I love bringing people together and food helps me do that.
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU KNOW BEYOND ALL DOUBT THAT THIS IS GOING TO WORK?
I haven’t gotten to that point yet, and I am not sure if I will. However, I am grateful that people enjoy my food and I keep working hard so that more people can.
HOW DID YOU RAISE THE CAPITAL TO START YOUR BUSINESS, ESPECIALLY WITH THE HIGH COST OF RUNNING BUSINESSES IN NIGERIA?
A couple mentors helped me with some money to get off the ground and since we are running a somewhat lean model by being a mobile pop up, it was easier to get them on board.
HOW SOON DID YOU START MAKING PROFITS?
Because we locally source our ingredients and have very little fixed costs, we were able to maximize our margins from the start.
BRILLIANT IDEAS DON’T ALWAYS MEAN GREAT SALES, HOW HAS IT BEEN MARKETING YOUR SERVICES?
It has been fun, we are new in the space and we are very adventurous with our online and offline marketing. There is a conventional way of selling high-quality food without an actual restaurant; we are making our own rules as we go.
AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE HIRING STAFF AND BUILDING YOUR TEAM?
I have been lucky! Though it was not an easy start – especially when you are looking for high-quality staff for what is not typically considered high-quality work. The harder part of our job is getting reliable dispatch, other than that I have two assistants with me that I am incredibly grateful for and look to build with.
YOUR GREATEST SKILL/STRENGTHS THAT HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY BEEN OF HELP IN STARTING AND RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
I listen often, filter through the noise frequently and just keep making moves.
DID YOU HAVE TO GET A FORMAL TRAINING OR QUALIFICATION TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS?
I have a 10-year restaurant background including general management, and I am a certified ServSafe Manager in California which pertains to proper food handling practices.
YOU HAVE BEEN RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS FOR SOME TIME NOW, WHAT DO YOU KNOW NOW THAT YOU WISHED YOU HAD KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED?
I wish I honed the phrase, “Prepare for the best, expect the worst,” a bit more in the beginning.
ANY LIFE EXPERIENCE THAT HAS PARTICULARLY PREPARED YOU DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY FOR WHAT YOU DO NOW?
I cannot pinpoint one in particular but I believe that every leadership opportunity and restaurant I have worked at prepared me for what I do now.
CHANGE CAN BRING OUT A PART OF US WE NEVER KNEW EXISTED, WHAT NEW THINGS HAVE YOU DISCOVERED ABOUT YOURSELF IN THE COURSE OF STARTING AND RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
I didn’t think I would be able to handle accounting but when you are paying salaries and not just waiting for a paycheck, you have to watch numbers carefully.
THE GREATEST BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED AND BY WHO?
One of my mentors, Nonso Okpala told me once that the most important thing in business is to stay in business.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS ESPECIALLY IN NIGERIA?
Don’t be afraid to be yourself – in its entirety. Wear what you want, talk how you please (with respect of course), try when you want. There are no rules, find your Beyoncé and be the woman, your god intended.
credit women.ngRead More
Every military barrack in Nigeria has one thing in common; a mammy market. A mammy market is a place close to the barracks, where soldiers’ interact and buy their day-to-day needs.
However, many do not know that mammy market was named after a woman, Mammy Ochefu, the wife of the late military governor of the defunct East-Central state, Col. Anthony Aboki Ochefu.
Mammy started the sale of enyi (a local non-alcoholic beverage similar to Kunun Zaki) in 1955 in Enugu barracks just to support her husband in taking care of the family.
Although, her husband initially declined as soldiers’ wives were known to stay at home and take care of the family, but when mammy told her husband it was to support him, he grudgingly accepted.
When Mammy started her business, people started complaining about flies, so, she stopped the business for a week. However, her customers who liked the drink, put pressure on her so much that a Lieutenant Colonel ordered a kiosk to be built for her.
Sadly, her family was posted out of Enugu to Abeokuta but Mammy continued the business wherever her family was posted to, while she added snacks that would interest the soldiers’.
Interestingly, whenever her family was transferred to another state, she would hand over the business to women who were interested in it but asked that the name of the business be retained.
Mammy registered her business as “Mammy Market” in 1971. By the time her husband retired, the business had grown into a supermarket and a transport business.
In an interview with Tribune, Mammy Ochefu explained that military officers like General Ibrahim Babangida, Ikya, Ejiga, Ataua Dickson, including President Muhammadu Buhari patronized her business.
Richard Agetu with his partner, was inspired to establish Richsi Nigeria Limited, a start-up agro business focused on processing and packaging of a special brand of fish known as ‘Ejazuki’ in the Nigeria’s capital Abuja and its environs.
This business was born out of his quest to
address the issues of post-harvest losses and Nigeria’s product rejection at
the international borders.
These triggered his entry into the country’s aquaculture industry to provide lasting solutions to the challenges, forcing him in 2016 to establish Richsi with his partner.
Richard, a fishery graduate, along with his partner, established the fish business with an initial start-up capital of N300, 000.
He and his partner do not own a fish farm but buys fresh pieces of fish from farmers within Abuja and its environs for onward processing and packaging. The fish is then exported to many parts of the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States.
“I worked with farmers and realised that post- harvest losses and rejections of our produce within the international borders were the major issues farmers faced. To address this challenge, we established Richsi Nigeria Limited to employ best practices in processing and packaging of fish that can compete with others internationally,” Richard said.
According to him, the business has grown in terms of output, reach, number of farmers in the off-take chain and the number of jobs being created within the value chain.
“Our business has grown in terms of consumer reach. The number of farmers we buy directly from has also increased, and we have been able to create direct and indirect jobs to more people and partnership opportunities are being opened to us from various parts of the country and the world,” the University of Ibadan graduate said.
Richard told Start-Up Digest that the business has received funding from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, enabling it to scale up production.
The business currently receives direct overseas orders from many of the world through its online platform.
Richard noted that the packaging materials used are sourced locally and designed and produced by him and his partner.
“We design and produce the packaging materials ourselves from scratch, here in Abuja. As a green enterprise, we use eco-friendly and re-cyclyable materials to produce the packaging,” he said.
Answering questions on what the government can do to ensure that youths find agriculture attractive, Richard said that the government must ensure continuity of agricultural policies and ensure that the sector become mechanised.
He noted that youths will only find agric attractive when there is innovation and the government are able to follow through policies and programmes in the sector irrespective of change in government.
Speaking on the challenges faced since starting his business, Richard stated that restricted access to technical data and high cost of credit remains the biggest problem confronting the business.
“The bureaucracy involved in getting industry data from most ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) is very tasking and discouraging. This often leaves new agricultural entrants like me information-stranded,” he said.
“Numerous bottlenecks in accessing government incentives such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)and the Bank of Industry (BoI) loans discourage SMEs from approaching these bodies,” Richard added.
He urged the government to make industry data available and easily accessible, while stressing the importance of data to investment decisions and planning.
He also called on the government to make access to government funding easier for start-ups with exceptional business ideas.
Answering questions on advice to other entrepreneurs, he said, “To other entrepreneurs, the set time to think and act globally is now.”