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Social Entrepreneurship: Roles, Challenges and Solutions.

Posted on: August 13th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

The Moderator: Welcome to The Octagon Room. It’s good to have everyone in the house. In the simplest of terms kindly introduce yourself and tell us what you do.

Inioluwa Odekunle: Hi guys I’m IniOluwa Odekunle, Project Lead, and Manager for Social Enterprise for Africa Foundation aka Socially Africa. I’m a budding social entrepreneur.

Obianuju Asiodu: Hello everyone. My name is Uju. I create healthy communities for people with intellectual disabilities at Special Olympics Nigeria.

Dunsin Fatuase: Awesome Evening Everyone.

Inioluwa Odekunle: Glad to be a part of this conversation.

Debiyi Ajayi: My name is Debiyi Ajayi. I wear a lot of hats but to a large extent, much of what I do has to do with learning and development so I train and consult on a range of topics. I’m a legal practitioner and I’m also a volunteer with The Stellar Initiative. Happy to be here.

The Moderator: The floor is opened for everyone to speak… The conversation has started

Chisom Ogbumuo: Hello Everyone! My name is Chisom, I am the founder of The Conversation Cafe, a safe space for people to interact, learn, share and converse on alternative education topics and issues to engender personal and societal development. As well, a UN Youth ambassador.

Tony Joy: Hi Everyone, I am Tony Joy, the founder of Durian. Durian is a social venture that is committed to empowering rural communities through transforming their local waste into value.

Precious Eniayekan: Hello, Everyone, my name is Precious Eniayekan… I’m a serial entrepreneur, I run a fashion business and also a lead volunteer at The Stellar Initiative, an initiative that empowers young adults, men in the force and middle-aged women.

Dunsin Fatuase: Hi Everyone… I am Dunsin Fatuase. Director of Exponential Programs, at the Curators University and I am building an Industry 4.0 ready Africa through STEM in marginalized communities.

Abimbola Akinsanya: My name is Abimbola Akinsanya, lead volunteer for lend a hand to the development of Africa, OAP and creative director for Japhix creatives.

The Moderator: Great introductions. We have got 50 mins left. My name is Gabriel BALOGUN and I will be your moderator for this Octagon conversation. The plan is to ensure that we just let this conversation flow naturally like we are having a roundtable gist.

The Moderator: I will begin by saying that there are many opinions about the role and impact of social enterprises/businesses in the society. Some see them as a way for the private sector to fill the gaps left by the public administration and government, while others consider such businesses a vehicle for social change and nation-building.

Some even go as far as to view them as ways, people launder money from the government or foreign investors in an effort to get rich quickly. With the rise of Social Entrepreneurship in Nigeria, What do you think is the role of a social enterprise/business in the society?

The Moderator: The floor is open, anyone can answer

Obianuju Asiodu: Social enterprises are sustainable NGOs. Self-funded agents of change and social transformation at all levels (micro-macro).

Inioluwa Odekunle: Typically an enterprise/business is a system that’s built to meet a need through trade of value for financial exchange. What differentiates a social enterprise is that it exists to tackle societal problems while doing business (if for-profit or hybrid).

One major role social enterprises play is to heighten the awareness about deficiencies in the society and galvanize civic engagement in the citizens.

Tony Joy: Social entrepreneurship has indeed positively affected the nation’s economy, not just on one hand but in multiple ways. These in my view include social, vocational, environmental and educational development. All of these aspects have been brought to birth by several social entrepreneurs in the country who not only solve problems but also create opportunities for others. While there are genuine efforts, we also need to acknowledge the fact that some people are using the idea of social entrepreneurship to create another means of draining the economy and/or deceiving others.

Precious Eniayekan: First social entrepreneurship connotes a special, innate ability to sense and act on an opportunity, combining out of the box thinking with a unique brand of determination to CREATE or bring about something NEW to the world… So social enterprise meets a NEED and thereby they create VALUE that many can benefit from.

Debiyi AJAYI: For me, I see social entrepreneurship as the major driver of the economic future of any nation especially within the African context.
To a large extent, Africa has been limited by a paucity of genuine leadership and this has created a system where citizens have been forced to be everything to themselves. So we provide education, healthcare, power, shelter, basic amenities for ourselves. Due to this harsh environment, the divide between those who have and those who don’t is manifestly clear. Social entrepreneurship however has been the key towards bridging that gap and somewhat create a level playing field through innovative ideas and platforms that empower people who can then contribute largely to the profit economy of the nation.

Abimbola Akinsanya: The way people view social enterprises is dependant on how they have perceived them. I would rather like to say, how do we view the work we do in our various organization. It’s however imperative for me as a leader to understand that my work is about the problem I want to solve and the people I am about and stay true to it.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Social enterprise is the gap tool between capitalism and socialism. It yields a paradigm shift, provides opportunities and ensures growth. It promotes creativity and sustainability models

Obianuju Asiodu: Socal enterprises create opportunities that help to bridge gaps. They also serve as key platforms/champions for awareness and Civic engagement

The Moderator: With these roles stated, do you think Nigeria social enterprises/ business have made impact fulfilling these roles?

Dunsin Fatuase: First with, may we be clear about what a Social Enterprises are? From a simple but a birds view, a social enterprise is a minimalized approach to solving the world’s problem starting with the least available resources sustainably. While a business can be built on this framework, the main goal is not excessive profit, unlike every other business models.

Dunsin Fatuase: Most have not… There seems to be some form of imperfection with a very key factor of Social Enterprises which is self-sustainability in Nigeria.

Abimbola Akinsanya: I think some have, but I am reminded that there is more to do.

Tony Joy: We are daily growing into fulfilling our various roles because it is a process.

Precious Eniayekan: Some have, but we have to take direct action and generate new and sustained growth.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Yes, so far we have done/doing a good job. A lot more could be done if certain values are being put in place.

Inioluwa Odekunle: There’s been a significant growth and progress made by social enterprises, a good example is Andela, which has attracted foreign investment and contributed to the positive image of Nigeria in the global scale. Not to talk of the number of programmers that have been trained.

Obianuju Asiodu: Yes, they have.

Debiyi AJAYI: To a large extent, I would say that the social enterprises I have come in contact with have done a very good job in fulfilling these roles.  A couple of indices mark out effectiveness as a social enterprise in my view which includes:
-Focus
-Clarity of Purpose
-Clarity of Strategy
-Sustainability
I dare say that in the midst of really harsh conditions and a society where social enterprise is viewed with a lot of skepticism and suspicion, Nigerian social entrepreneurs have done well.
Although there are some bad eggs in the basket, it doesn’t negate the excellent work being done, I dare say by quite a number of the people in this room who’s work I have either followed it actively participated in.

The Moderator: A couple of us here are either running or working for a social enterprise, what are the challenges? I want us to give very specific challenges

Tony Joy: Creating solutions with impact in view while also thinking sustainability

Obianuju Asiodu: However, social enterprises are still plagued by “regular business and system problems” and I feel that this has greatly limited and frustrated the impact/efforts of many social enterprises.

Precious Eniayekan: Basically major challenge has been social acceptance. Most people don’t understand what we are doing and it has in a way affected funding. In Nigeria, once we don’t understand something we often bad mouth and ignore. It is like making a statement like ”These NGO/ non-profit people want to steal our money and use it for themselves”

Abimbola Akinsanya: Challenges vary per time. However, for me, putting the right structure in place has been quite challenging especially thinking about sustainability in view

Inioluwa Odekunle: A major problem is that the current CAC does not recognize a Social Enterprise business, that is to say, you cannot be registered as a social enterprise. (I understand that the office of the Vice President is working with a team of lawyers to fix the laws to allow ease of business). In Nigeria, the law recognizes, either For-profit or Not-for-profit. Social enterprises are not recognized yet.

Chisom Ogbumuo: True!!

Precious Eniayekan: 👌👌👌👌👌👌

Obianuju Asiodu: I started a social enterprise in 2016, a major challenge I faced then was my bottom line. after producing my food products no one would buy it just because I was running a social enterprise model. I had to go out there market, invest and compete like every other for-profit brand. at the end of the day, I was running the impact on my 9-5 salary and there was no way that was sustainable.

Tony Joy: The challenges come in different forms, but one that I have found notable is sustainability.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Another major problem is getting the right team to adhere to the structure because of the norms they have been accustomed too.

Inioluwa Odekunle: Hmmm, lack of angel investors within Nigeria as opposed to the North Atlantic countries.

Dunsin Fatuase: Having transitioned from various sectors of Social Enterprises, here are very common problems I have identified.

– Sustainable Structure.
– Team Recruitment.
– Unfriendly Policy Procurement Processes.

Obianuju Asiodu: There’s no special recognition or tax exemption for running a social enterprise, even investors would evaluate your proposal like a for-profit organization.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Sustainability is also an issue whereas sustainability is supposed to be one of the major actors of social entrepreneurship

Dunsin Fatuase: How about no provision of locally reserved funds to support local initiative.

Debiyi AJAYI: I think one of the major challenges is the suspicious and skeptical nature of the society we are. Recall I said earlier that we have all been brought up in a society where it’s survival of the fittest and every man for himself. So when a person creates a social enterprise, it’s is first of all viewed through those lenses of “why, what and how”.

I believe this is largely one of the factors that make sustainability hard when it comes to social enterprise in Nigeria. A lot of people are doing great stuff but when the environment and conditions aren’t favorable it takes a brave heart to continue and keep pushing. It can be a thankless job really but social enterprise reaps the larger part of its value in the social value it communicates.

Debiyi AJAYI: Even the structure for not for profit is largely skewed, to be honest.  Its registration is a more tedious, more expensive process (this just defies logic for me) and even so, there are very few opportunities for continued investment and support for social enterprise. Like someone said, even an investor will evaluate you as a for-profit business, whereas typically social enterprise would require a lot more time to balance itself out and break even.

Tony Joy: I also think one more challenge is the fact that social entrepreneurs work in isolation.

Precious Eniayekan: THIS IS APT !!!

Tony Joy: Let me add to this by saying, somehow we are beginning to have a popularity of passion and less of practical experience sharing. There is a truth that is not so popularized which is not everyone can be social entrepreneurs. We have people going into social entrepreneurship for so many other reasons other than creating impact. So I agree that there is a knowledge gap between what it all entails. Some of us have learned through experience that running a social enterprise is not just about social media beautiful storytelling but also facing practical day to day management issues.

The Moderator: From a lot that has been said, Developing a Sustainability Structure has been the major one. What do you think can be a solution for this?

Debiyi AJAYI: As a way forward I would suggest that there is a clearly developed framework for social enterprise in Nigeria with clear codes of conduct which would make it easier to decipher who is real and who’s fake and also make it easier for partnerships and collaborations across the board to even deliver better results.

Obianuju Asiodu: Accessibility, Collaboration and advocacy for concessions.

Tony Joy: One that I can readily think of is Collaboration for social change.

Dunsin Fatuase: Collaboration by far the most effective solution. Next to it is proper awareness. Many just jumped into Social Enterepurship. No background. Just plain passion without adequate knowledge. Next is to help our policymakers understand how these works. Maybe not all.. but those who care to know.

Obianuju Asiodu: we have various organizations working on the same societal problems in the same location. we need to put personal interests aside and pull efforts to scale impact

Precious Eniayekan: Yesssssss

Tony Joy: We also need more information sharing on best practices from successful social enterprises\

Inioluwa Odekunle: Training in business administration and a clear understanding of the business projections & figures. Passion cannot be sustained on its own.

Obianuju Asiodu: Everything becomes a “secret” once you label it “business or organization”. At the heart of social enterprises is passion and sometimes passion can be very misleading. so one lesson I learned was to put my passion aside when creating structures and to test ideas on a small scale before implementing.

Abimbola Akinsanya: Ability to learn, unlearn and relearn as we carry out of various projects. Tides keep changing, we need to keep ourselves informed. Further still collaboration is in the crux of this matter, we need to work together to achieve more. I can say that we achieved more at LAHAfrica when we identified individuals and organizations we can work with per time. Of course, the visions of the organization might align with ours to avoid any misunderstanding.

Debiyi Ajayi: Collaborating with other social enterprises for me is the biggest solution possible. Once we can come to a place where everyone is pulling their own resources i.e. Financial, manpower, strategy, and execution etc in the same direction I strongly believe in the ability of social enterprises to deliver even more

Dunsin Fatuase: I agree. But if this is left to run without proper guidance. I fear what the complexities will later become. No doubt that they will work. But again, how long will they run ? will they answer the question of sustainability?

The Moderator: We are approaching the last 8mins of our time. Some companies have used their CSR to develop social enterprises or do the jobs of a social enterprise. Should every business become a tool for social and economic change? 

Debiyi Ajayi: In a simplistic view of the question I would say yes. But if I were to take a more detailed approach I would say not really. As a corporate entity, one of the easiest ways to do effective CSR would be to actually adopt and to a large extent fund the initiatives of a social enterprise that aligns with your CSR goals.  Think about it, it still affords you almost all your usual needs as a corporate entity. You can track their progress made, monitor what and how the money disbursed is being used, get your tax write-offs as applicable and achieve all these while not over entering your staff on these activities.

Inioluwa Odekunle: The fact is that every business is a tool for social and economic change. When you look at it critically, businesses interact and affect the society and economy, through land use, employment, production, sales, branding, customer interface and so on. The question is are these positive or negative effects. The solution will be deliberate actions geared towards effecting positive changes (these will require closing some businesses that really bring no value but are just means of facilitating money and lining pockets).

Dunsin Fatuase: They should be, but the weakness with human want, Insatiable-greed. CSR has now become a tool to launder since there are some tax-evasions possible through this. Why that is on its increase. I think accountability of this CSR process from companies is al that matters after all.

Inioluwa Odekunle: Word.

Tony Joy: Our daily living which includes our businesses should be an avenue to solve problems and create a better future for our next generation. It is not about competition but about collaboration and various individual contribution to change, however, there needs to be an accountability system for our CSR system

Debiyi Ajayi: Like you said, proper guidance is the keyword. I referenced earlier the need for a clear framework of governance for the social enterprise. I’ve been made to understand over time that one of the reasons why it’s hard for a social enterprise to garner support is there is really no way to truly verify whether we are what we say we are.
If there was a governance framework, that would largely enable people to weed out the chaff and focus on the genuine ones.

Abimbola Akinsanya: I believe business are also solving one issue or the other, however with CSR being incorporated into their activities proper accountability should be put in place so it doesn’t become a tool to launder with creating any change.

Obianuju Asiodu: Yes, we are all tools for social and economic change on various levels n platforms. I can’t recall which company refers to theirs as Citizenship. I strongly believe that all organizations should be conscious of the impact of their products, services, policies, processes… on the society and economy. From my experience in the zero profit space, a lot of organizations CSR initiatives are all about “the numbers” and a few days fanfare.. good juice for the media that ends abruptly. This cannot be compared with the outcomes/scale of impact that social enterprises consciously achieve and work towards.

Debiyi Ajayi: So true…

Tony Joy: 👍🏼👍🏼 the focus is not on impact but on numbers

Abimbola Akinsanya: Without creating any change. The social media fanfare shouldn’t be the heart of the matter.

Obianuju Asiodu: These CSR initiatives are also good platforms for tax evasion so it’s not all “for the love of the society”.

Debiyi Ajayi I’ve pushed the idea over time that what most corporates today call CSR is actually only eye service really. A true impact can only come when their CSR objectives align with social needs and that would truly be actualized if they can partner with social enterprises.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Yes, I mean, Isn’t it to meet a need? Of which social and economic needs are very important in the rise of a nation.

The Moderator: Wow, Wow, Wow, Our time is up. But before we go, can everyone drop their last remark?

Tony Joy: 😭😭😟 I love it here😭

Dunsin Fatuase: Can we vote for an extension in time? Thank you all for the depth shared. Keep Saving the world.

Debiyi Ajayi: Looool. I would have supported this but I doubt if any length of time would be enough for a conversation this robust and we are limited by time, space and other commitments. 😊

Chisom Ogbumuo: That In our way, we should continue to strive for social impact and sustainability! Ps, I am having a Conversation cafe this Friday, 17th August. It would be lovely to have some of you around! Thank Y’all for an insightful evening.

Dunsin Fatuase: Structured or unstructured… It is far more glaring than our dear world needs more saviour. A “Saviour” in every genuine sense. Can we keep being that Saviour? Recognized or Not.

Tony Joy: Let’s do more as social enterprises to create change but while also doing this let’s remember that together we can do more. So more collaborations and not competitions. I enjoyed it here.

Debiyi Ajayi: I just want to encourage everyone here to seek opportunities to collaborate and share knowledge. The work will do is vital towards delivering the future and truly there is no one size fits all approach here. We must all share ideas, collaborate and largely do all that we can to further enhance the impact of our work out there.

The Moderator: Thank you, everyone, for participating. We loved every min of it.

Tony Joy: Thank you for being an amazing moderator.

Obianuju Asiodu: Thanks for having me. Enjoy the rest of your day

Abimbola Akinsanya: I enjoyed this conversation. Have a blessed week Guys

Inioluwa Odekunle: Thanks for having us.

Debiyi Ajayi: It’s been a pleasure being here. Thank you for the invite.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Thank you!

Tony Joy: It has been interesting sharing with you all and also learning from you. I am very open to collaborations.
Chisom Ogbumuo: Same here

Precious Eniayekan: Thank you for being an amazing host and nice meeting everyone.

The Moderator: This has been an amazing discussion and we would like to know what the members of your community think about the discussion. We ask that as soon as this conversation is curated, the link will be sent to each person and we would like you to share with your community and invite them to add to the discussions.

The Octagon Room 030: Sole Entrepreneurship: Roles, Challenges and Solutions.

Posted on: August 13th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

Tony Joy is a young Nigerian whose dream is to see a Nigeria where Rural doesn’t mean poor and marginalized but cool and creative. She is working daily on empowering rural communities to become self-sufficient through transforming their local waste into value. She does this through her social venture Durian (www.durian.org.ng). The organization currently works in Imafon community Akure Ondo State. She is a Kanthari Alumni, a LEAP SIP Fellow, an associate fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, a Queens Young Leaders Award Highly Commended Runner-up amongst others. She is passionate about social change, waste management, and rural development.

 

With a background in Project Management and Management Consulting (Advisory),
Obianuju is currently the Manager, Health Programs at Special Olympics Nigeria (SO Nigeria).  She is an advocate for inclusion of one of the world’s most vulnerable populations i.e. People with Intellectual Disabilities (PWIDs) and responsible for the successful planning, delivery, and synergy of all SO Nigeria health programmes.  Obianuju enjoys traveling, reading books and trying out new recipes.
Chisom is the founder and Executive Director of The Conversation Cafe and United Nations Representative to the Youth Assembly. She has facilitated several delegations of Model United Nation conferences in Nigeria over the past six years. As well, represented Nigeria enormously & severally at delegations such as the annual UN Youth Assembly at the UN headquarters, Instagram, United States Mission To The United Nation among others. She is also a pivotal member of the United Nation Association of Nigeria.
Abimbola Akinsanya holds a bachelor of arts degree in language from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University. She works as a relationship manager for a client relations company in Lagos and is also the founder of lending a hand for the development of Africa and Ngo that seeks to fill the void created by lack of access to education and health support and supplies experienced by children in poor families from local communities across Africa.
She is also an On-air personality and creative director for Japhix enterprise. In 2017 she was nominated by SME under 25 awards under the Social Entrepreneurship category. She is a member of the alumnus committee on training at her alma mats Inglewood Academy. She multitasks as a speaker, writer, and creative director.
Debiyi is an excellent public speaker, trainer, corporate event host & lawyer.  With cognitive experience in career enhancement coaching, SME advisory, public speaking etiquette training, and social entrepreneurship Debiyi have contributed towards the development of Nigerian Millennials by working with GEMSTONE, HOME ADVANTAGE AFRICA & THE STELLAR INITIATIVE amongst others. Having trained under some of Africa’s best names in the speaking & coaching space including Fela Durotoye, Jimi Tewe & Damilola Oluwatoyinbo, Debiyi has carved a niche for himself as an emerging voice in the speaking & coaching space. Debiyi is also the Curator of EQUIPPED, Nigeria’s first comprehensive, structured employability finishing school for FYBs & penultimate year students. A firm believer in dedication, smart work, excellence & determination.

Dunsin Fatuase is an Industry 4.0 Evangelist.
As a Socio-Exponential Entrepreneur, he leads the social-impact project to prepare 10,000 African youths for the 4th Industry Revolution as he helps organizations to be properly positioned in the digital space for opportunities.  He is the Director of Exponential Programs at the Curators University – A Nano-degree awarding and Africa’s first high impact university for mission-driven social entrepreneurs.

Precious Aderonke Eniayekan is a graduate of Computer Science from the Houdegbe North American University in Cotonou, Republique De Benin. She is also the founder and Lead Volunteer at The Stellar Initiative, a non-profit organization which over the past two years has done a lot of intensive work specifically geared towards the empowerment and education of teenagers on the principles required to live purposefully and create a success story out of their lives. Precious achieves this through The Stellar Initiative’s Revamp Conferences which have held consistently since its maiden edition in 2016 reaching over 700 teenagers in that time. Also, she reaches out to teenagers and young adults in rural areas through the Rural Revamp Project which began in 2017. She also leads and executes the “Reinforce” outreach project which is a welfare and appreciation outreach for uniformed officers which began in 2017 as well. Outside of her work Precious is a skilled video editor, a singer, and entrepreneur who runs her own fashion and lifestyle outfit, Sparkle Global. 

 

IniOluwa Odekunle is the Initiator and Founder of Planen Tekad Programme, a mentorship initiative geared towards raising the reading habits of children in public primary schools, encouraging creativity through talent discovery and management, and mentoring them all in the bid towards equipping them to live a purposeful life. He is also the co-founder of The Amber Circle a volunteer platform that connects volunteers with their area(s) of passion and also offers volunteer service to Charities and organizations involved in social works. Amber Circle volunteers number over 300 and are spread across the South West, South-South and North Central geopolitical regions in Nigeria. He is currently the Senior Project Manager for Social Enterprise for Africa Foundation, a social enterprise that exists to nurture and build the habit of giving and sharing within the community. Since May 2016, he has project managed over 20 community projects across Nigeria.

 

Is Personal Branding And PR A Neccessity For Political Aspirants?

Posted on: August 6th, 2018 by The Moderator 1 Comment

The Moderator: Welcome to The Octagon Room.

We are a platform of Trellis Group, aimed at cataloguing insightful conversations that can raise the level of thinking around specific subject matters and also kick-start solutions towards the problem of such matters. In the simplest terms kindly introduce yourself and tell us what you do.

Oladipupo (ladispeaks): I am Israel Oladipupo Ogunseye, knows widely as LadiSpeaks. I am the Marketing Manager of Transsnet Financials, a fintech startup in Lagos. I run the first pidgin based blog in Nigeria as well-known as PidginBlog.NG and I have keen interests in Politics.

Promise: My name is Promise Chima, a marketing communications expert and Project manager with one of Nigeria’s best Creative Consultancy agency.

Rhema: I am Tunde Rhema. I help hurting individuals recover, get balanced and live a fulfilling life.  A Behavioral Change Practitioner at SOBCA (Africa’s first certifying academy for Anger Management, Emotional Intelligence. Solution providers for Mental Health First Aid, SOBCA-MHFA.)

Muyiwa: Hello Everyone, my name is Muyiwa Babarinde. Is a Senior Communication Associate at Red Media Africa and I basically help brands to shake tables in the marketplace? I am extremely passionate about Marketing, Technology and Development.

Osaretin: Chief Osaretin. Graphic designer x Brand developer x Managing Partner, Jonathan Cole

Peter: I am Peter Kajovo. I am into Marketing Promotions and events.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): My name is Tosin Ajibade. Founder Olorisupergal brand, Media Entrepreneur, Convener of New Media Conference, Author.

The Moderator: My name is Gabriel BALOGUN I am the Project Manager Facilitation and Training at one of Nigeria’s best creative consultancy. I will be your moderator for this Octagon conversation.

The Moderator: Great Introductions. Glad to e-meet you all. Now that we have fully been introduced, we have got 40 minutes left to discuss.

The Moderator: Branding is an art, a well-calculated game of positioning. In the business of politics, we have learnt that impression is one of the most underlying factors to success.

But in Nigeria where it’s citizens are more interested/drawn to the political party than the political aspirants. Do you think Personal Branding and PR is a Necessity for Political Aspirants?

The floor is open 😃, let’s begin to share our opinions. Anyone can start

Promise: Person branding and PR are terms which will always be included in politics globally and this didn’t start today. The ability to make yourself be seen in a certain way and also push for everyone to see you are likely to win you a position in the heart of your electorate and also the election.

Muyiwa: More than ever before, I feel personal branding and PR is extremely important for political aspirants, especially in a time when Nigerians are actively seeking the alternative to the crop of politicians who have repeatedly failed them.

Granted the two largest political parties wield a lot of influence between them, and for any outsider to gate crash their territory and win elections even under their noses, it is important to understand the need to have a holistic PR/Marketing approach.

A data-driven approach towards engaging the electorate. A personal brand that will gain the trust of Nigerians irrespective of their tribe or religion.

Ultimately, a brand is a promise, a promise which everyone expects to be kept. In today’s evolving world, as the citizens become more interested in politics and as they ask more questions from political aspirants, a personal brand that displays elements of efficiency, effectiveness, vision will be more important than ever before.

Rhema: I’d like to focus on PR.  Political Aspirants can be referred to as people who are institutions, whose fragrance of personality affect others. They are people we believe can identify a gap (Problem and/or a need) and will proffer solutions. It’s essential for aspirants to know how to communicate a process to the general public as well as the stakeholders.  He or she must be spontaneous and speak the language of the people so as to gain their attention.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Personal Branding has been known to be a way in which people perceive an individual. Relating this to the Nigerian political landscape, Nigerians largely vote based on perception. Political aspirants or those who seek or desire a political office, it’s important that they carefully manage how people perceive their image and identity.

Rhema: PR goes beyond marketing to the general public that you will make free food available for the people. It goes beyond patronizing people that there will be power supply. The aforementioned are failed, consistent promises that smart people are tired of hearing.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): I feel personal branding is key for every candidate out there. We can’t ignore the fact it is important during campaigns and even in office.

The Moderator: Great responses. What exactly then is Personal Branding and Public Relations (PR)? What’s the difference?

Muyiwa: Personal Branding is the basically the act of creating a certain perception or image of an individual or group to an audience. It is the experience that people have when they encounter you.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): P.B is where individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. Personal Branding also builds self-confidence.

Peter: 👌👍

Muyiwa: I will use the example of a football club. Different teams have their own style of play: Barcelona plays flair-driven, possession & expansive football, a Stoke City for example however employs a more direct approach. Whenever you put on your TV and you see both teams playing, you can decipher which teams they are, due to the experience you expect from their brands.

Promise; P.B is simply a perception marketing strategy for everyone to see in a certain way.

Muyiwa: However, PR is an ongoing strategic communication process which you can use to build, create, improve, protect an individual or organization’s brand.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): I will add to this that in Politics, it is continuous.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): However, I would like to add that all activities that a political aspirant does to create, shape, manage his or her constituency’s image of him or her can be regarded as Public Relations activities.

Osaretin: Yes, you are right

Osaretin: This is true.

Osaretin: Personal Branding to me is creating and deploying a perception about an individual to people’s subconscious mind. That helps them make a decision about that person. That’s where I fell PR comes in.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): The importance of these two for a Political aspirant cannot be overly emphasized like I mentioned earlier. Take for an example, a Politician who is from the South Senatorial District in a state. The district has a reputation for producing absolutely reckless leaders. That aspirant is faced with one challenge already which is to correct this perception. Now the activities this aspirant will do to correct this would involve Public Relations activities, for example, visiting markets to relate with the citizens there, feeding the destitute etc.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Now this same person at these visits would need to exhume and create a personal brand at these occasions such that when people speak of this person as a brand, they can describe him or her with a word that he or she so desires.

The Moderator: We have seen a large introduction of young candidates since the not too young to run bill… Do they have a chance at winning especially with the right positioning and PR?

Osaretin: Oh yes they sure do.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): No and you know the truth

Osaretin: Why do you say so, ma’am?

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): They may not stand a chance.  I’ve used ‘may’ carefully because I believe that there are stakeholders in every society that you can appeal to with good PR and get them to support your ambitions even though you’re a young candidate.

Promise: It is a 70% and 30% possibility. The system is so flawed and will take a lot of education and sensitization for us to have people (electorate) vote for value. Let the PR and P.B continue and change will come.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): The truth that we are in a corrupt country and we know where all of this will end. It is between corrupt leaders who created parties just for themselves and then move from one party to the other and the same thing happen every 4 years just to stay/remain in power.

I salute those who came out to run and it’s not like I don’t believe in them but let’s be realistic here, are they not the same set of people ruling since Obasanjo’s regime? The new aspirants are trying but until our ‘forefathers’ leave then we will know that there is hope ‘in the near future’.

Rhema: They do have a chance but they can’t WIN if they still use the same approach displayed so far. Several flaws noticed even if they have good intentions. They can communicate better.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): To start with, people don’t believe in the NTYTR Bill and move and you’d need to convince Nigerians on the need for a new order. In fact, the African believes in the older politicians because we in Africa believe in old people have more wisdom which is a mental block for anyone planning to run as a youth against an older person.

Tosin (Olorisupergal) : A notion that needs to change here. Not all old people can rule and also have wisdom. See where they led us.

Osaretin: Yes.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Very true but sadly it’s a societal belief

Muyiwa: My take on this is that we don’t have to see it is a sprint but a marathon. Granted they stand a very slim chance of winning. However, we can all agree that elections all over the world over the past few years have not taken the direction people thought it would go

From Brexit, to Trump, to Macron, we have seen individuals who didn’t seem to be the leading candidate win elections, riding on the anti-establishment wave that has been spreading all over.

Osaretin: True

The Moderator: which do you think is more important for them P.B or PR.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): PR is more important even though both can be said to be equally important.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): PR is more important.  That is what the world wants to see. Personal Branding now becomes something you need to do over and over again ‘being conscious’ of your new title and all. PR is what the rest of the world wants to see. Why are we forgetting that communication is key in this context?

Promise: P.R gives you mileage while P.B gives you outlook, so P.R is more important.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Which is where PR activities come in most especially for young candidates

Osaretin: Both are important.  Branding is a journey. if you wear black shoes today it would say something about you, like it or not.

The Moderator: As subject matter experts what advice can you give them as they may read this.

Muyiwa: For our new aspirants as well, even though victory might not come at the first trial, their participation is extremely important for the growth of the country’s democracy as it takes us closer to the leaders we want.

4 years ago, it would have been almost impossible for anyone to say the incumbent government with all their power and might would lose the election.

However, the electorate sent a very strong message that if you have good branding or PR or rode on the wings of some influential godfather to get into office, and you don’t perform, you will be booted out

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Give yourself a positive Personal Brand. Draw up a PR Strategy that helps you connect with the people, position yourself as a plug between the old and the young and defines you as class away from other charlatans who are youths.

Muyiwa: For political aspirants who are looking to throw their hats into the ring. They must have a very strong communication strategy to sell their candidacy to various stakeholders. They must understand the power of data-driven marketing, they have to tie their plans to the pain points that hurt their constituency the most.

Most importantly they have to understand that they are fighting against the establishment. To win, they have to mobilize the English, and Yoruba, and Hausa, and Pidgin and Igbo languages and send it into electoral battle.

They have to tell a story that unites Nigerians, they have to paint a picture of the future they want to create, they have to show passion. True passion (the kind that can’t be faked). And they have to show that they are committed to Nigeria and Nigerians.

Promise: PR and PB is very important, more importantly, the education of the electorate is very important and should be taken seriously this is the only way change can happen.

Rhema:  Let them focus more on reaching out to people. Data collection and utilization is all they need right now. What if one of them speaks on Channels TV immediately after 10:00 pm news for 10 minutes in 7 days. This will cost them a lot but you can’t change a 10 years old Believe in 10 days. So let the young aspirants focus on this and speak less of the old aspirants.

I also think they should know about cultural intelligence. Let them speak the cultural language of the people. Let them understand the norms, values, and communication styles that runs deeply in the people they want to rule.

Engage Influential People in different sectors. Engage musicians who can generate 10Kviews in 20 minutes. Also, reply to some people’s posts on IG and other platforms. Make the public know you are listening to them.

Cultural intelligence does not require you know everything about ALL tribes. It requires that you adapt or respect your host community. More so, automate some responsibilities on your desks.

The Moderator: Wow!!!  Our time is up. This has to be the best conversation I have had on politics in a long time.

Thank you, everyone, for participating fully. Thank you for your time and for sharing valid points. Thank you for adding value.

The Moderator: Thanks Rhema for this loaded advice

Rhema: Thanks Gabriel and everyone. God bless our Nation.

Muyiwa: Thanks Gabriel for hosting us. PS: One final note. They have to build one tribe of Nigerians through their communication.

Promise: Thank you Gabriel for this panel.

Osaretin: You’re most welcome GB

Tosin (Olorisupergal): Thanks Gabriel

The Moderator: Thank you, everyone, once again. I am glad we all had this conversation.

Opinion ED: Does The Nigeria Society Hate Women?

Posted on: June 20th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

This article was written BY WILFRED OKICHE 

Misogyny unlimited…

When president Muhammadu Buhari’s visited Germany in October 2016, like many Nigerians who voted for Buhari in 2015, wife of the President, Aisha Buhari about a year into his presidency, found herself unimpressed. The Buhari presidency had admittedly arrived with lofty expectations but the man at the centre made it his business to dash every single one of them. Unlike most Nigerians, Aisha Buhari was in a position to speak out and when she did, she was unsparing.

The presidency must have been embarrassed by Aisha Buhari’s public approach to criticism and Buhari chose a moment when he was on the world stage to put his wife in her place. Responding to a query by a foreign journalist, Buhari offered a thorough dismissal of his wife, who was constantly at his side while he was on the campaign trail.

According to President Buhari, the first lady isn’t a card-carrying member of the political party, and thus had no reason to meddle in the very masculine world of hardcore politics. He then went on to utter the ugly words that would forever define him in terms of gender relations. “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room,” Buhari threw up while sitting next to the all-powerful and very female German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

There are many Nigerians who were embarrassed by Buhari’s outburst, and they should be. Not simply because it happened on foreign soil. Even though that was bad enough, it should worry Nigerians more that instead of choosing to engage with his life partner mentally and politically as an equal, instead of granting her the respect she deserves by virtue of her being a human person, the President chose to sink into the sewer of assuming that on account of her gender, Aisha has no right to weigh in such manly matters as politics.

In Buhari’s world, Aisha is merely a nuisance to be tolerated during election period as she smiles for the cameras and poses merrily with Akara sellers. Having an opinion of her own, let alone one contrary to the party line, decided upon by a roomful of men must be considered radical and retribution handed swiftly. In simple terms, women must never be encouraged to speak out of turn.

In March 2017, Nollywood actress and producer, Rita Dominic, a veteran of over fifteen years, a majority of them spent as a top-flight movie star, took the occasion of the release of her latest film, Bound, to advice that not all films should be screened in cinemas. The statement, put out via an innocuous enough Instagram post, was at once, rebuke and indictment. Her comments didn’t go down well, especially among those who considered themselves ‘’movers and shakers’’ of the industry.

The reactions to Ms Dominic’s post were not surprising. Nollywood, after all, is an industry not known to take well to criticism. But the response of film producer, Don Pedro Obaseki who made Igodo back in 1999 and hasn’t mattered in a long, long, time took the misogyny to another level. Brandishing his PhD, Obaseki thought it fitting to put Dominic in a place he considered hers. Obaseki reminded Dominic of her days as a struggling artiste ‘’roaming from one set to the other’’ and advised her to take a lesson in humility.

The irony was stark and reflective of a larger problem that even successful women are forced to contend with. That a filmmaker who hasn’t scored a hit in years considers himself superior to an in-demand actress just because they crossed paths at the early stages of her career. It didn’t matter that the actress has since gone on to co-star and produce her own film, the critically acclaimed The Meeting in the years since both last made contact.

It also didn’t occur to Obaseki in his rush to shame, and with his intent to punish, that Dominic like most contributors to a functional society, could actually take pride in her humble beginnings. A woman could be beautiful, wealthy, successful, and the average man still considers himself superior just because he is a man.

God help us all. Clearly, a lot needs to be done to redress all the assault that constantly targets women in Nigeria, what are the actionable steps we think can be done?

Do you agree with Wilfred’s points? Do you agree that the Nigeria society hates women?

Kindly share your opinions in the comments.

#TheOctagonYouthSpeak on NYSC

Posted on: November 21st, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

Welcome To The Octagon. 

We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end in 1 Hour. We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do ? 

Thank You.

Ini: Hi guys, my name is IniOluwa and I am a passionate person focused on community development and nation building.

Ayo: Hello everyone, I’m AyoOluwa, a Medical doctor and I just finished youth service.

Ayotemide:Hello everyone, I’m Ayotemide. I’m a Medical doctor and writer. I just completed NYSC.

Adewale: Hello everyone,I’m Adewale. I’m an MC and kiddies event planner. I’m a Student of the university of Lagos.

Igbinoba: Hello, I’m Igbinoba Osaro. I’m a law student of university of lagos. I specialize in ankara crafting, and I’m the legal secretary of Terranexus.

Oyin: Hi I am Oyinlola Olawale… I am studying quantity surveying in the University of Lagos.

The Octagon: Thanks for the introductions.

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is an organization set up by the Nigerian government to involve the country’s graduates in the development of the country. There is no military conscription in Nigeria, but since 1973 graduates of universities and later polytechnics have been required to take part in the National Youth Service Corps program for one year. This is known as national service year.

NYSC has been met with criticism from Corpers, most of whom believe that the program is a waste of time, and does not fulfill it’s promises.

Question 1 : In your opinion, does NYSC offer any benefits ? If yes, what are the benefits?

Question 2: What are some of the De-merits of the program ?

Ini: I can’t speak of any benefit, and most of my friends who have participated in the scheme have nothing positive to show for it except a certificate that says “You’re now fully employable”. As for demerits, there are a couple I can mention off the top of my head – Squandering of the youth power and potential. You are forced to leave a lucrative and hard-fought job, abandoning your brainchild, small business that is adding value to you personally and your community. The reason why we have very good theoretical minds, wonderful policy makers and strategists, but so few implementors and technocrats. A massive waste of human resources.

Igbinoba: I believe NYSC should be scrapped, because it has lost its value and purpose in Nigeria. Government should channel the money to developing society.

Ayotemide: I feel NYSC has some benefits. The highlight of the experience for me was meeting new people, and being exposed to a whole new culture. It helped me understand some important reasons why health is still so bad in Nigeria. But the programme does not provide valuable work experience for an individual’s career path and it does not effectively utilize an individual’s knowledge and skill set. For example, it is quite painful that an engineer or lawyer is forced to teach, when he can use his knowledge and skill set to do something that he/she is more interested in doing.

I also had a few friends who had to abandon their start up businesses back home for the sake of NYSC and it was not a good move for them.

Another issue I have with this scheme is the substandard services provided, like the uniforms, feeding, and the ridiculously meagre amount of money paid as transport allowance. What message does this send to Nigeria’s youth? It’s as though there’s no standard of excellence to look up to anymore. Things are done anyhow, and we’re expected to accept this as the norm.

Oyin: There are no benefits I can think of, except the fact that some people use the one year experience to build their CV. My colleague at work Is currently serving at a popular construction firm, which defeats the whole purpose and aim of the NYSC. What’s worse, you’re unemployable for a year. I think like everything in Nigeria, corruption has affected NYSC.

Ayo: The NYSC scheme offers tremendous benefits. For one, It offers a medium where young adults are forced to think about others and not themselves, creating opportunities to really serve and at the same time make new friends you would otherwise not have met, basically increasing network. I think the initial plan for the scheme was fantastic, but over the years NYSC has become, not something to be enjoyed or a learning process, but somewhat of a punishment because it was allowed to just become a routine without value being imparted. I think that it should be remodelled to fit into now, as what was initially planned isn’t working anymore.

Adewale: I think I concur with this thought to an extent – Yes it creates a platform for meeting people, and learning a different culture. However, it has a larger demerit – I feel it has become something of Zero importance in Nigeria. Why should a lawyer and engineer start teaching, after learning in school instead of experimenting what he or she has learnt ?

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The “Motivational” Leader vs the “Instructional” Leader

Posted on: September 19th, 2016 by The Moderator 3 Comments

The Octagon: Welcome to The Octagon. 

We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end at 5pm (1 Hour). We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do ? 

Thank You.

Sam:  Good day, gentlemen. I am Sam Ikoku, Ocean Lifter, and a Productivity Consultant with NAKACHI Consulting.

Oyiza:  Good day everyone, I’m Oyiza Salu and I lead the HR team at GTBank

Shina: Shina Atilola, I lead the strategy and communication team in sterling bank.

Aruosa: Good day all, i am Aruosa Osemwegie, my day job is Lead Partner, Enable Africa and Programmes Director, The HR School; my night job is speaking and writing people and organisations forward and some books have gotten published through some restlessness.

Chude: Chude Jideonwo, co-founder RED here!

Dikko: This is Dikko Nwachukwu. CEO JetWest Partners.

The Octagon: The relationship between leaders’ behavior or the leadership style and subordinate has gained increased attention in recent times especially with the emergence of millennials in the work place. Their career aspirations, attitudes about work, and knowledge of new technologies define the culture of the 21st century workplace. Millennials want a flexible approach to work, but very regular feedback and encouragement. They want to feel their work is worthwhile and that their efforts are being recognized. As a result there have been increasing complaints and even employee turnover rates. This is a real concern for businesses as these are “tomorrows people” and understanding how to manage them is key.

There is also the discussion that the larger organizations lose their core/essence, ability for top leadership to impact and give accurate appraisal as it keeps expanding operations.

All these impact the employee to customer relationship and more businesses are loosing the loyalty they once enjoyed.

How important are employees to a business success? Does leadership style affect organizational productivity? Is there a problem with the way leadership in Nigerian Businesses relate and channel its employees? Are there any leadership styles to lean towards?

Shina: Employees in business are like the blood in a human system. Therefore they are not only important but the most important for business success. Leadership can make or mar an organization. A critical trait of leaders that are successful is the ability to get the best from people always. It takes you knowing them beyond the work place. Building trust and creating a conducive environment.

Sam Ikoku: I believe The Octagon is addressing all types of people so I’d like to look at the two types of leadership from 60,000ft.  More and more the term employee is becoming obsolete. Partners best describe them and leadership must recalibrate to better manage them. A phrase attributed to Steve Jobs captures this well. “Why do we hire smart people if we tell them what to do?”

I believe the topic raise really cuts to the heart of the matter because the type of leadership now becomes a part of the business model.

For me,  after more than twenty five years of trial and error, I have come to some resolution on the difference between Instructional and Motivational Leadership. Despite talk about the Millennial Generation, both types of leadership have a role to play. The tweaking is in the prominence of one over the other. It is the employees who drive the business. Before now their role was mostly tactical, but more and more they formulate strategy as well.

Oyiza: It goes without saying that people are the core of any business. A lot of the times, you hear the phrase -“Our people are Our greatest assets” but to what extent is this demonstrated day to day? That being said, I believe that a lot of effort has actually gone into making this saying come to life within organizations especially with today’s reality of managing a diverse workforce.

Aruosa:  There is a limit to what one person can do. Having more people on board (otherwise called recruitment), is a way to multiply our results. Then if this group of people achieve synergy only then can they ACTUALLY multiply their efforts. And leadership style affects the ability for us to reach this synergistic state. The Nigerian business or Nigerian entrepreneur has a lot to learn but they might be finding it difficult to learn with the a difficult macro economy and a lot of learning of the wrong things too. Particularly if one doesnt create alternate communication diffusion systems which allows real info to get to you and of course creating a culture of candor

Oyiza: I agree with Sam & Dikko’s assertions. In terms of leadership style, it is important to find a balance depending on a number of factors including Organizational Culture. Also leaders need to ensure that they are not far removed from the goings on in the organization. They should be accessible to a large extent in order to really feel the pulse of their people, sell the vision and get buy-in.

Chude: I’m interested in Sam’s point about how to marry the two.

Sam: In my view, instructional and motivational leadership are different parts of the same spectrum which begins with self-awareness and ends with appreciation.

Dikko: Having led a company of 1500 people. I can tell you that when a leader sits in his or her ivory tower. You only get to see what your people want you to see. I think a leader needs to be visible and accessible.

Aruosa: @ Dikko, would be nice to know if and how you solved it.

Dikko: @ Aruosa i spent one day a week working in the field and got on flights whenever I could helping out in every aspect. From loading bags, to cleaning aircraft to checking in passengers. It resonated with our people very well. They felt motivated. They had direct access to put suggestions and ideas that made the system work better. It also made us the senior management understand their issues better. So it wasn’t always about Naira and Kobo. And when the catering department said they needed a high loader we quickly bought one because we too had carried food on to the aircraft and it was back breaking work.

Oyiza: @Dikko – That’s a very good way Of building credibility and trust.

Sam: @Dikko, I think that is a good example of instructional leadership. I want to assume you seize upon every learning moment.

Aruosa: Wow. Instructive. Sounds like what someone called Management by Walk Around. We can see exactly how YOUR leadership style affected their morale and company results. Thanks for sharing.  A leader defines the climate in his/her team and climate being simplistically “How it feels here to me”….and how it feels to me as an employee affects or defines how i do my job; how I relate to other staff and customers and whether i go the extra mile or not.

Sam: @Dikko One question. Would it help if leaders walk the path before creating job descriptions, providing tools and negotiate remuneration?

Aruosa: By the way what is instructional leadership…and what is motivational? thinking getting commonality of meaning would help deconstructing the matter.

Sam: I believe they are part of one spectrum. In that spectrum instructional leadership, which is the centre point is bracketed on both sides by motivational leadership. On the self-awareness side motivational leadership is inspirational due to the leader’s own achievements. On the appreciation side it is due to the leader’s ability to create an empowering environment for those working on a common vision.

The Octagon: The motivational leader is one who leads by getting buy in and constantly pushes his team to take ownership …. The instructional one leads by giving tasks/instructions.

Aruosa: For an academic discussion it would be nice to ask which is better or needed between instructional and motivational, but from a practitioner discussion, BOTH are needed….a leader needs to have both in his/her repertoire.

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To partner or not to partner in business – Pros and Cons

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by The Moderator 4 Comments

Welcome to The Octagon.

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation

The Octagon: We appreciate your taking time out to join this chat session which will end at 7pm. We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do?

 

Otisi: My name is Otisi Ukiwe. I work with a risk management and security company in Lagos. I have a passion for sports and own a sports marketing and management company. May I just be permitted to state that being invited by The Octagon is an honor and also very humbling

Tobi: I am Tobi, I manage Strategy for a Financial Institution.

Gbenga: Product Manager, Financial Institution

Bankole: Bankole Oluwafemi, Blogger. Co-founder of BigCabal Media, publishers of Techcabal and Zikoko. Currently missing his stop in a Keke because he is typing this.

Emi: Name is Emi Faloughi. Currently running my family holding company AKA learning to be a Jack of all trades and trying to be master of all!!! I Love travel, art and making jewelry (which I flog by the way!)

Donald: Donald Okudu, Creative Director, Mesh Media Labs & Mesh Ad studios

Kunle: My name is Kunle Erinle. I’m a certified Solution Architect, and I work with Intelligent campaign hub ltd – we create digital solutions.

Chiekezi: I am Chiekezi Dozie, I work as a sales director for a multinational ISP, I’m also a professional photographer, serial techpreneur, Co founder of Ediyara Technology Group and Co founder of www.nigerianbride.com.

 

The Octagon: Great. Everyone is here. Let’s Begin.

Growing businesses face a range of challenges. As a business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions – what worked a year ago might not be the best approach.  Effective leadership creates a clear path and makes the most of the opportunities, creating sustainable growth for the future. The adage that two brains are better than one may explain why a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners create partnerships. Today, business partners start businesses together with little planning and few ground rules. Sooner or later, they discover the hard way that what’s left unsaid or unplanned often leads to unmet expectations, anger and frustration.

Should more Nigerian small businesses consider partnership?  What are the Pro’s and Con’s of partnering in Business? What are the ways in which a partnership can work?

 

Otisi: In my opinion partnerships are very important and key for growth. One of the key partnerships I feel is in the employees – a big partnership that is generally ignored.

Chiekezi: I agree totally with this but I think a lot of people don’t go the extra mile with employees. For me 20% equity is vested in all employees.

Tobi: I think small businesses need to partner to succeed or expand. You can’t know everything required to grow your business.

Chiekezi: For me the fundamental principles of partnering in nigeria as simply trust, mutual respect and openness. Partnerships are key as all knowledge cannot and does not reside in one person.

Otisi: I agree Chex. But I will also partner with someone I don’t trust. I will however build the required barriers. Even thought this could be limiting. Buhari/APC/CPC by rhetoric partnered with groups/people they hated 4 years prior. What happens if someone who you don’t like/trust can be the route to achieve what you want to achieve ? Will you shift your goals ?

Chiekezi: No I won’t shift goals. I will find another way to either hire or buy the expertise via consultants.

Kunle: Would you say that the APC partnership is working well less than 2 years down the road?

Emi: @Otisi Limiting…but Necessary. I work really simply – I trust u but I verify. The key I find is to understand (as best as you can ) the underlying motivations of those u are partnering with. I like what you say, but actions speak louder than words.

Tobi: Building the right culture is the single hardest thing in business. Ownership mentality however is even harder to instil or brew within an organisation. Like Emi mentioned it’s hard to figure out everyone’s motivation and that is crucial to ensue ownership.

Donald: Totally agree and maintaining that culture or rather improving it. People’s motivation changes with time.

Kunle: Partnership is key when complimentary skills are brought to the table, however our culture is one of the reasons why partnerships here often fail. Successful partnership is built on honest open and objective discussions. In Naija we tend to do things based on sentiments a lot.

Chiekezi: This is quite simply because in my opinion Nigerian Workers do not understand the concept of ownership culture unless they are vested.

Otisi: I think the thing about partnerships is just about the goal.

Chiekezi: I disagree. Not about the goals but for me more about shared vision and each individual’s fundamental principles.

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