Recently, there is a growing demand for SMEs (Small Medium Scale Enterprises) to bridge the gap for economic growth within Nigeria. A lot of Nigerian employees now have small businesses in conjunction with the 9a.m – 5p.m job.
A colleague of mine recently asked for my advice regarding setting up a small business. He has a medium sized fund kept away in the bank and he is interested in setting up a business to earn an extra income. He will be getting married this year and in order to kill two birds with one stone, he has been toying with the idea of investing in the instant wealth organizations springing up especially in Ibadan, Oyo State.
With the generated income from this instant wealth investment, he will use half of the available funds for his wedding and the remaining half will be used to purchase a plot of land for small scale farming activity.
While I recognize the need to have a business by the side, the entrepreneurial employee atimes has not conducted enough research about start-up capital, marketing research, location of the business e.t.c.
My advice to upcoming entrepreneurs is to have adequate knowledge about the business and the challenges that are involved in setting up a business.
In acquiring skills and knowledge, there are some non governmental organizations offering 3months to 6months programme in empowering aspiring entrepreneurs. One of such organization is ‘Fate Foundation’ located at Ijora Waterworks in Lagos.
The foundation offers aspiring entrepreneurs mentoring skills; marketing skills; presentation skills; advertising, legal requirements for setting up a business, business writing skills, writing a successful business plan and access to a wide range of business and motivational books with 24hours access to the world wide web.
You can visit their website for more information at www.fatefoundation.org. The form for aspiring entrepreneurs is obtainable for a sum of N100 while the course fee is N50,000 (was N20,000) some few years back. This sum is payable over four installments.
Regarding my colleague who is aspiring to be an entrepreneurial employee, these were some of the options I gave him:
o Instead of purchasing a land, it would be much more better to arrange for a lease to avoid tying down his start up capital which would be useful when purchasing seedlings, fertilizers, casual labour e.t.c for the farm.
o Never commence farming activities with the fruit or crop in season except there is a plan for export activities (i.e. Corn is the crop in season due to the rainy season. Instead of focusing on crops, why not focus on the next crop or fruit in season to gain an advantage over other farmers within the crop or fruit market).
o Excluding export opportunities for these cash crops, a lot of opportunities abound our environment ( I am yet to come across a neighbourhood crop store that eliminates the need of going to the open market, offering these crops at similar or reasonable prices to the open market). Shoprite located on Lekki Road has a crop and fruit store and the prices are quite reasonable.
o Aspiring farmers interested in export opportunities can access the world wide web for more information regarding ‘African Growth Opportunity Act’ which offers free export duties for cash crops from 34 Sub-Saharan African countries, to the United States.