Nigeria’s BDS Providers Raise Profits and Hopes News Feed

Through the World Bank-funded Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) project in Abuja, Nigeria, businesses in Abia, Kaduna, and Lagos are benefiting from business development services provided by such local companies as Lateral Links, Nextzon Business Incubator, Toki Mabogunje & Co, and Jadeas Trust. The MSME project, managed by Nathan Associates and UK subsidiary eme, joins with the developers by means of a business development fund in assisting small firms at all stages of development—from start up to repositioning.

Securing a Brisk Start

Owned and managed by Telema Lawson and Mercy Osasewenlele, the Phone Booth has been providing discounted call rates and low-cost recharge cards to students since November 2006. With business development service provider Lateral Links, the MSME project helped the company write a business plan, secure a micro-loan for start up, prepare financial statements, and ensure quality. Sales have been brisk and growing since start up, with the profits helping the owners better meet their daily needs and provide for their child’s education.

Improving Products

Started in 2005 by Kingsley Eze, Customer Feedback Services Ltd (CFS) gathers, analyzes, and reports real time data from customers to aid business decision making. After partnering with the MSME project in July 2006, Nextzon Business Incubator helped CFS broaden its services and revenue stream, improve in-house proposal writing and presentation, and secure capital to fund direct marketing. Within six months, CFS went from offering one service and no follow up support to offering comprehensive solutions for customer service management. Turnover rose from 37 percent in June 2006 to 63 percent in December, while net profit rose by 64 percent. CFS recently hired two more staff members to meet growing demand for its services.

Repositioning for a Promising Market

Paymaster Nigeria Limited is a licensed point of sale terminal deployer under the Nigeria Debit Card Scheme. Nextzon helped the firm remodel itself, raise funds for expansion, and build capacity for overhead functions. After partnering with the MSME project, Nextzon also began advising Paymaster on staff development, financial management, strategic planning, and general management. Paymaster is now Nigeria’s largest deployer of POS terminals with over 426 terminals in use. Revenues grew 12 percent from June to November 2006 and the firm is still expanding as it positions itself for an anticipated “explosion” of the card payments market in Nigeria.

Putting First Things First

Run by Isaac and Nneka Moses, Goge Africa is an independent television production company in Lagos. The company runs a tourism and cultural program on AIT and on the Africa Magic Channel on MNET, the satellite television provider. The owners approached Toki Mabogunje & Co (TMC) for help with marketing. TMC, however, uncovered pressing strategic issues that they helped address through a three-step, three-month process: (1) visioning for a new mission statement and expression of core values; (2) an all-hands strategy planning event that led to a concrete action plan; and (3) advising on structure, job descriptions, and job position reviews. With a new strategy in hand, Goge Africa has launched a magazine, reorganized staff, lowered its debt, improved its market share, and gotten picked up by OBE, a UK-based station. And with a renewed understanding of the value of excellence and consistency, it won the Best Television Program and Best Overall awards at AFRICAST 2006.

Creating a Window of Opportunity

Jadeas Trust, an MSME project partner, developed a program to present the work of members of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) to Nigeria’s architectural and interior design firms. Jadeas introduced Nsikak Essien, an SNA member and stained glass artist, to B+TIC, architects for a 1,000-seat church in Parkview Estate. The firm commissioned Nsikak to design a window for the church. Though he is expecting to make a 25 percent profit, Nsikak is even more excited by showcasing his craftsmanship in an impressive public space and the prospect of gaining the attention of similar businesses.

For more information on the MSME Project, contact
Tom Timberg or Alid Camara

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