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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.

 

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.

The Cost of Intellectual Property

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by The Moderator 8 Comments

Welcome to The Octagon. We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end in an 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? 

 

Jude: I’m Jude. I work in Brand Development and Crisis Management. I also co-own a food company with my brother.

 

 Damola: I’m Damola, I recently started a role as head of business development for A2Creative, a brand development group and also the founder of a brand consulting firm.

 

Yomi: I’m Yomi, I work in brand development as a strategist/account planner. I’m also an entrepreneur and want to be president some day.

 

Isi: My name is Isi Etomi. I trained as an architect, now Creative Director of my own design studio focused on architecture, interior, graphic design and photography. Interesting thing about me…in the past, I’ve pretty much done everything from working in McDonalds, to selling car and home insurance, to door-to-door sales, to working in practice for a firm that restored/repaired/renovated stately homes and cathedrals/museums. I like to think of myself as an all-rounder.

 

Alex: I’m Alex. Digital marketing/Strategy. I also dabble into event planning when I’m not busy being a super hero.

 

The octagon: Nice to meet you all. Let’s jump into the conversation.

As a creative, you will eventually have to face a couple of unfortunate truths in your career in Nigeria. One of the most prevalent ones being a client who does not respect the work you do. A client that believes ideas shouldn’t be paid for, and only the execution of the idea is worth valuing. However, in other parts of the world, Ideation and strategy is a valid line item in billing clients.

Another challenge is the zero respect for intellectual property. There are clients who will take your idea and run. These days people show up to meetings and sign NDA’s before discussing. But are these NDA’s really effective?

The most unfortunate part of this unfortunate truth is that it will all too often present itself in the form of a client who refuses to pay for your services once all of the work has been completed.

Do you think clients should pay for Ideation ? How important do you think the idea is in a project cycle?

 

Jude: There is no question about it when it comes to the value of ideas in any project cycle. An Idea can be the WHAT, the HOW, the WHEN and the WHY of any project. Sometimes, it is all of these things. Ideas are solutions. Solutions end problems.

 

Isi: Clients who do not respect what creatives do can be found all over the world. Case in point: Trump not paying his architect’s fees. Humans by nature only want to pay for something tangible. We struggle to understand things we do not see. Which is suprising, considering how some of us have taken to the idea of religion – believing in a God we’ve never seen. But that’s an argument for another day.

NDA’s –  I don’t mind NDAs, but I think an initial consultation fee is required. IF they are happy to pay, then at the very least, there is value exchange. The idea, I think is 50% of the work. The rest is planning and execution. Ideas are pretty important. You can’t plan and execute ‘nothingness’. And creatives counter this today by tying their work to production, and building strategic partnerships

 

Alex: Ideas form the backbone on which planning and execution are done. You can’t plan what you have no idea about. Like Isi said, humans like to pay for tangible stuff which i think is where most of the problem lies.

 

Damola: I understand not executing nothingness but the reason why I agree that there must be compensation for ideation is that it has been a line item since I started in management consulting for these reasons;

1. I have seen instances when we send a proposal. The client may terminate the contract prematurely or might even be a prospect. They wait and slightly remix the execution. That’s theft.

2. If you also Bill for hours spent on ideation you realize you have resources committed and they have to be paid for.

3. The possibility of using your IP without credit. Hence need for IP lawyers.

 

The octagon: How do you decide what to charge for the idea? Should the possible tangible results be more emphasised during the cost process?

 

Isi: Only a creative can dictate what they feel their time is worth. Figure out your rates and don’t let anyone short-change you. Easier said than done though.

 

Damola: Man hours spent ideating and royalty potential for me. An example, if I had an idea for a platform. With clearly defined mechanics and earning potential. You would have to charge something since you’re basically giving a platform away with the blueprint with the possibility that you won’t earn a dime from it. if a platform can earn 40m by projections, I would charge 5-10% for ideation

 

Jude: Hours… Value Added to the project.

 

Yomi: So quick question if you don’t mind, how can you rate or charge for ideation given that it’s subjective? On the creatives end, it’s seen as 50% and one of the most important elements of a creative process so we would seek to charge a premium on same. However the client sees otherwise and would be VERY reluctant to pay for something he/she doesn’t value just as much. So how then do we bridge this gap?

 

Isi: The only way really, is to educate our clients – Which is one reason why I really love the Netflix show ABSTRACT: The Art of Design. It shows everyone what creatives do and how they do it. It’s sooo important that people see this. Many times in the hallways at school, everyone thought all architecture students did was ‘colouring in’ and ‘drawing lines’. Not understanding that every line and colour represents a decision.

 

Jude: This client education is difficult in Nigeria. I was on a consultation project for an Architect recently, and I had to stress the importance of building concept portfolios.

 

Damola: Have you had to educate the client and how ? Especially the ones who wouldn’t watch these shows or heed to videos or decks of educative material.

 

Yomi: There’s also the angle of clients who feel they ‘know and understand’ creativity especially as it pertains to their businesses even more than you the creative person. Educating that type of client would be a tough one.

 

Jude: When creativity is only based on a client’s brief, they feel they know better than you. But for those that create concept portfolios where ideas run free of limitation, clients seem to respect the extent of their ability even before going into a meeting with them. I’ve seen this happen time and time again, And I just had to take it on board.

 

Isi: We invite our clients to the studio and we have our work and process PLASTERED all over our walls. There’s also a short clip of like 101 logo revisions before the final. Things like that go a long way towards educating a client. Concept portfolios are good, but clients want to see BUILT WORK.

 

The octagon: In the case where the client needs to determine the best agency to move their vision forward and reaches out to multiple firms to pitch… how do you present and charge for ideas? There have been cases where ideas have been pinched and shared with the choice agency.

 

Isi: Only bid for work where you’re paid an honorarium. Unless you choose to do the work ‘on risk’ – Then it’s on you. The fact remains that there are people out there who will do the work for free. And they need to be educated as well. Newbies don’t know much – same as me when I first started freelancing as a designer. And they’re the ones the clients want to find and latch on to for work. I’m curious to know what they’re being taught at Yaba Tech and other graphic design/creative schools. Is there a business module ?

 

 Alex: I think as much as clients need to be educated, creatives need to be educated even more!

 

Damola: Yeah that’s what makes half our client pitches done on risk. I think there is a legal protection needed along with the education. Happy that IP law is a growing category that’s very much needed

 

The octagon: Here is a funny scenario: What happens when agencies who do not have good ideas begin to spring up because they know that initial ideas are typically paid for?

 

Isi: Competitions. In this scenario, people are being compensated for their time. Clients know that they have to search for talent. So they put out competitions, with an honorarium which suits their budget. Then maybe….everybody wins?

 

Damola: Yeah it’s also a tactic used by big FMCGs during their annual pitches. Especially as they take on the risk by inviting those agencies specifically, for the RFP requirements and resources needed.  BUT, I know of some consulting firms that send out RFPs, get proposals. Go quiet. And then eventually use the research done or execute themselves. I see RFPs like that I run. Or respond with a credentials document without giving away the meat of the idea

 

Alex: At the beginning, we spoke about NDAs. Why aren’t they effective anymore? Is it a Nigerian problem?

 

Isi: Some big companies know they have the money to fight, and we don’t. It’s as simple as David v. Goliath. ‘We have deep pockets’. Until someone teaches them a lesson

 

The octagon: What are different ways to protect your intellectual property from being used by a client without consent ?

 

Isi: Watermark, low res, Password protected files, Disable right click/save image as, Screenshots, etc. Even sending watermarked images ALONE will get you your money.

 

Jude: I knew a guy who created an app where he shared his work. The app security didn’t even let people screenshot its pages. I sometimes put clauses where some essential development is done outside of the client’s billable hours. On the surface it looks like a discount, but in reality I do some essential work I want protected during this time.

 

Damola: That’s dope!!

 

Isi: Do we know of any cases where a creative has taken a big company to court for using their IP without compensation or permission? But we too are responsible though, we should call them out when it happens. Instead of shrugging our shoulders and saying ‘it’s what they do’. Maybe we need to file class action? Find other people who’ve been screwed similarly.

 

Damola: No one oh. Just morning exercise. Haha. I’veheard of only a few, but it drains the creative outfit in the long run. Re: IP court case. It’s out of fear and the effort required but when we get bigger I think the larger agencies have a responsibility they are not taking on. They become YES men because their billables have made them fat and docile.

 

Jude: We don’t have a coherent creative industry. Too much noise from mediocre champions desperate to feed.

 

The Octagon: From each of your different experiences dealing with clients, how have you been able to ensure that you get the best out of your engagement? Can you paint a picture for us?

 

Jude: It has been a struggle. When I started out, I was based in the UK and the issues I faced were different. Now I find myself having to be extra selective about clients. I must vibe with you on a personal level before I do a job for you. If a potential client is an a-hole, I make sure I establish some grounds before we work together. Tame the beast before entering its den, so to speak.

 

Isi: If from the very beginning, I sense a client isn’t a good communicator, that’s the first sign of trouble…in my opinion.

 

Damola: Mine has been interesting both as an employee and a business owner. I worked with a big agency, it was easier to absorb the hits and fire clients that we weren’t interested in when they didn’t conform to our terms of engagement (smaller clients). With larger jobs we pitched for we took a risk and absorbed the hit.

As a business owner, I literally almost went on a dating expedition before I signed with the client before I engaged and even when I shared proposal. Always kept something before I got some kind of commitment (financial) to share more. In those cases the chemistry worked for the better for the engagement because of the trust.

 

Yomi: To be honest, I believe it’s about positioning yourself as not just being the ideas guy but also the execution guru as well. Creating a perception in the mind of the client of being as critical a factor to the execution of an idea as the idea itself has upped my chances in a lot of instances. (This however isn’t full proof).

The Octagon: Thank you for taking time out to share your insightful thoughts with us. We will be sharing this conversation on www.theoctagon.com.ng next week. We hope this has been exciting for you as it has been for us.

Alex: Thank you for having me!

Yomi: Same here! Have a swell day!

Isi: Thank you! This was a great conversation!

Jude: Thanks for having me. Thanks everyone.

Damola: Thanks! It was great discussing with you all

 

Survey – Youth participation in community building

Posted on: November 8th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

take-poll3

We would like to know what you think about youth involvement in community and nation building. Please take a few minutes to fill these survey questions. Thank you.


 

The rise of social entrepreneurship and its role in solving challenges in Nigerian communities

Posted on: October 17th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

The Octagon: 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 ?

Inioluwa: Hi guys.. I’m IniOluwa Odekunle, Founder of PLANEN TEKAD a volunteer driven social enterprise. I am passionate about community building and ensuring children have the opportunity fulfill their true destinies.

Venya: Hello everyone. I am Ven Lannap founder and Lead of Bo Sita MADE, a youth developmental organization that is passionate about fighting sex trafficking…and the Founder and Director of Before & After School Academy a 3in1Child Care Centre: Creche, Pre-School and, After-School School of Performing Arts.

Buki: Hello Everyone my name is Olubukola Olukuewu, friends call me Buki. I’m a Sustainability enthusiast in its entirety. I believe in building lives and society

Uju: Hello everyone, my name is Obianuju Asika, a crusader, PR manager ad lifestyle lover. I believe strongly in community development and adding value to the society.

Bankole: Hi, my name is Bankole Ojo-Medubi. I’m an architect, carpenter and executive director at Westwood Works. But for the purpose of this conversation, I’m the COO for Fashion For Charity, an organization that uses the power of fashion, entertainment and the visual arts to help vulnerable people.

The Octagon: Over the last few years there has been an explosion of social entrepreneurship which have unfolded against the backdrop of increasing world crisis. Unlike the typical charities and non-profit organisations, social entrepreneurs develop innovative business models that blend traditional business with solutions that address societal problems.  It is believed that charities exist to redistribute income from the haves to the have-nots while social entrepreneurship’s role in social value creation is to be a change agent through innovation. One of the main arguments for social entrepreneurship has been that it does not rely 100% on seeking donations and its workforce are remunerated.

Regardless of the disparity between the two, Africa in the last 10 years has experienced an increase in societal challenges, been more aware that its people are poor and is in need of long term solutions.

What would you regard as the key cause for some of the societal challenges faced in Nigeria? What are the top challenges Social enterprises and charities face in Nigeria?

Ini: I believe the key cause of societal challenges in Nigeria is the mindset

Buki: Nigeria as is common with developing countries is fraught with a lot of societal challenges; some of which I believe is caused by the quality of leaders we have had over time. It’s a vicious circle cause citizens become leaders and leaders become citize. It’s a common situation in Africa. But I believe we are on a journey out of this by God’s grace. Secondly I believe charities lack the support that they should get from Govt, Corporates and HNI. From my readings, societies that have their social enterprises and charities working have support from these entities. They have support structures like enabling policies which we lack here in Nigeria. Policies which are not being put in place and might probably be rejected because of lack of trust in our leadership and lack of accountability by leadership. This we saw when one of the senators tried to pass a CSR bill.

Uju: People today don’t ‘trust’ the term charity anymore and you won’t blame them. Most organisations use these as a money making scheme, to increase their profit margin per say. The introduction of the social enterprise makes value adding more believable because of its transparency and accountability. For the challenges faced, The economy today is harsh, I mean I live in Minna and it is difficult for them to survive – what is the government doing? So its a mixture of politics, governance and the economic situation. Our support system is weak.

Bankole: At the very root, everyone has experienced failed systems in Nigeria. So there is a massive distrust of the concept of the “common good”.

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