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MSME

22 Lessons Every 20-Something Should Learn

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

For better or worse, your 20s are an essential time in your life. Careers, relationships, and an absurd amount of other stuff constantly occupy the minds of 20-somethings at any given time.

Fresh out of college, I myself have inadvertently learned quite a few life lessons as I delve deeper into this defining decade. Bad news, college friends: most real jobs require that you wake up before noon.

The truth is, you have to catch on pretty fast when life is changing around you at the speed of light. We millenials are just trying to be happy — one success (or failure) at a time — and that’s totally OK. We are all trying to figure it out. Read on to discover 22 crucial lessons I have learned about making it through my 20s in one piece.

1. You’re going to be broke.

Accept it. Think of it as that super savvy, frugal time of your life you will look back on once you can actually buy noodles that aren’t ramen.

2. Your parents are actually really cool.

Remember in high school when you were utterly mortified to be seen in public with them? By now you have finally escaped your angsty adolescence to realize that Mom and Dad are totally awesome and know a lot more about life than you. Don’t freak out when realizing that youwant to hang out with them.

3. Networking is everything.

You have heard it a million times, and that’s because it’s so true. The bigger your professional network is, the more opportunities you will have. Your skills count for a lot, but you’ll learn that your connections count for a whole lot more, especially when you’re young.

4. You will get your heart broken, probably a few times.

Love is hard. Some people get lucky and find long-term relationships right away, but don’t feel discouraged — or like you have to be one of those 20-somethings. It can take a few duds before you find a winner, so until the lucky guy comes along, enjoy being single. But when you do find him, don’t take what you have for granted.

5. Your metabolism slows down.

Put down the donut . . . or the pizza or the chips or whatever it is that’s calling your name from the kitchen cupboard. OK, take a bite, then put it down. You’re young, you’re stressed, food is good — trust me, I get it. Unfortunately for us, the human body’s metabolism rapidly slows down as it enters its 20s. That means you can’t eat what you want anymore — one of the saddest truths in adulthood.

6. Even if you went to college, there’s still more to learn.

A college education is so important, but there’s also a lot to learn outside of the classroom. That goes the other way around, too. Learn as much as you can early on both inside of a university’s walls and out of it.

7. Speaking up for yourself pays off.

Do you deserve a job? Do you want that raise? Nobody will know that unless you let it be known. Your own voice can take you pretty far.

8. Hangovers are a real thing that will actually happen to you.

Ah yes, let’s take a moment to reflect on the early years when you could go out multiple nights in a row and feel like a million bucks by the end of the weekend. Say goodbye to those glorious days and hello to your new friends Advil and coffee.

9. Landing a job isn’t easy.

We all dream of nabbing the career of our dreams right out of the gate, but as soon as you walk out of your dorm room and into the real world you will realize that it’s going to take a lot of résumés, applications, and hard work to get to where you want to be.

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10. Make time for your family.

So much is happening during this time in your life that it can be pretty easy to let the time you spend with family slip between the cracks. Pick up the phone or go visit, because everything else in your life is temporary. Your family, on the other hand, will always be there. Oh yeah, and they usually provide you with free meals.

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11. There’s more to life than social media.

We millennials love our smartphones. Sure, it’s a great way to keep up with friends and news, but obsessing over what you tweet or post every moment makes you miss out on what’s right in front of you.

12. Don’t compare yourself to your friends.

Your 20s are a time when your friends begin to go their separate ways. Remember that you’re all completely different people. While going to college might be right for one person, traveling to another country might be more fitting for another. One choice isn’t better than another; it’s all relative. You should all be rooting each other on.

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13. You can still wear whatever you want.

Warning: this is your last chance to wear that crop top. The magic of being in your 20s is that you can still get away with wearing just about any crazy fashion trend that you want. Enjoy it while you can.

14. That credit card bill is always going to come.

It won’t magically disappear, so don’t pretend like it will. Spend your money wisely, because it’s likely that you still have plenty of student loans to pay off in the first place.

15. Exercise now, thank yourself later.

Yes, I know it takes a lot of effort. And no, it does not get any easier. But if you exercise now, you will be a whole lot healthier in the future. At least take a walk or something, you know?

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16. Your college major will not define your career.

Most people don’t end up having a career in whatever they majored in, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t be surprised when your art history degree leads you to a job in marketing (or something else completely unrelated to your intended field; get my drift?).

17. Sleep is precious.

Say it with us: Sleep. Is. Precious. You will find yourself bragging about how much sleep you got last night far more often than how amazing it was to stay up super late.

18. Don’t worry so much.

I’m worried that you’ll be worried about worrying all the time after reading this post . . . see what I mean? We all fret way too much. Enjoy your life — these are supposed to be the best years, aren’t they? You will get rent paid and you will kill that presentation at work; don’t let those thoughts occupy the majority of your mind.

19. You still have to pay your dues at work.

Having a college degree is not enough anymore. In fact, it’s the bare minimum. That means you might have to start off with a job or position that isn’t necessarily ideal. It’s a building block for making it to the top, so throw your 20-something ego into the gutter and remember that you’re not too good to start at the bottom. All of your peers are hanging out down here with you.

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20. Love who you are, body and all.

Sometimes it’s really hard to love yourself in this world of Photoshop and unrealistic expectations. If you didn’t know it already, you are beautiful and amazing and perfect exactly as you are. As long as you know that on the inside, everyone else is going to see it. Besides, you’re at your ultimate hotness peak in your 20s, so enjoy it before the decade sneaks away.

21. You don’t have to take everyone’s advice.

This is a very important time in your life, so naturally you are going to be bombarded with a lotof advice and opinions. Nobody said you have to listen to all of it; ultimately it’s your life and you know what’s best for you. Chances are you’d like to throw out a few points in this very post.

22. Discover who you are.

Figuring it all out is tricky. You want to know what’s going to happen and how it’s all going to play out. Chances are your life will be nothing like how you expected, and that’s for the better. Take a deep breath and dive into your 20s headfirst; you’ll bob back to the surface in no time.

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Columnists

How MSMEs can get easy access to finance

MSMEs must take the following steps for loan readiness.

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How MSMEs Can Get Easy Access to Finance

MSMEs are considered the backbone of the Nigerian economy. In 2019, they made up 90% of all registered businesses, contributed more than 50% of the country’s nominal GDP, and employ 84% of its labour force. Despite this, MSMEs were the recipients of less than 5% of all credit granted by the banking industry.

One reason for this is self-selection by MSME owners. Many MSMEs refuse to apply for loans from banks due to a fear of rejection and a belief that banks charge exorbitant fees and request hefty collateral before giving loans to MSMEs. Now more than ever, in this era of cashflow-based lending and low-interest rates, this harmful myth is costing businesses access to finance that they need to scale.

Another reason is the MSMEs’ lack of loan readiness. Unlike large companies, small business owners do not prepare themselves before applying for loans. This causes them to make many mistakes that discourage banks from lending to them due to a fear of non-repayment.

In order to overcome this hurdle and join large businesses in taking advantage of the low-interest climate, MSMEs must take the following steps for loan readiness:

1. Maintain financial records – Research shows that 69% of MSMEs in Nigeria do not keep detailed financial records. As a business owner, you must ensure that funds pass through your business account. Your business’s financial records as reflected in your bank statement will help your bank determine your repayment capacity. This is important, whether you want a collateral-free or collateral-based loan.

2. Use narrations for transfer into personal accounts – Again, always use your business account for business funds. However, if funds must be paid into your personal account for any reason, then ensure that those payments have a narration that reflects the purpose of the payment. For example, Two shirts purchased. This helps isolate business funds from personal when computing your turnover in order to determine your loan amount and repayment capacity.

3. Know what you want – Always know exactly how much you want and what you want it for. If your account officer asks you how much you want and you say “any amount you can give me”, they automatically assume you have no plan for the money or a plan for repayment. Before approaching your bank, determine how much you need and how much you can repay per month, using your monthly income.

4. Have a repayment plan – Always have a plan for repayment. Know how much you can afford to part with per month. Note however that your repayment plan might not align with that of the bank. Banks prefer not to take more than 33% of your monthly income in loan repayments, so your loan repayment period will probably be dependent on how much you can pay per month. Regardless, a well-thought-out repayment plan will build confidence in your repayment ability.

5. Engage your account officer– It is important to have an engagement with your account officer before applying for the loan. Instead of just writing a loan application letter to the bank and waiting for a response. Armed with your financial statement and your knowledge of how much you need and for how long, visit your account officer and have them work with you in getting your loan.


Ese Atakpu is a writer and banker.

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Commodities

AFEX raises $50 million to Finance Agri-SMEs in Nigeria

The $50 million Agri-SMEs fund is expected to bridge the funding gap between lenders and borrowers in the agric sector.

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AFEX to partner with FMDQ and Dubai Commodities Exchange, 50,000 farmers to benefit from AFEX Commodities agric funding initiative

AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX), a private commodities exchange company, has announced the first Warehouse Receipt Backed Commercial Paper in Africa. The paper has tech-enabled operations and a 24-hour fast cash turnaround for borrowers.

This was disclosed by AFEX in a statement issued and seen by Nairametrics on Thursday.

The $50 million Agri-SMEs fund is expected to bridge the funding gap between lenders and borrowers in the Nigerian agricultural sector with a commodity-backed instrument – for the first time.

READ: AFEX partners FMDQ, Dubai Commodities Exchange to deepen markets opportunities

Ayodeji Balogun, CEO, AFEX, stated, “The AFEX financing deal will help eradicate the high cost of procurement incurred by processors by deploying a discounted value of a warehouse receipt distributed among five leading players in the Food and Beverage, Trading Poultry and Animal Feed segments in Nigeria.

“The receiving companies are top 10 players in their respective segments. They have now been enabled access to a tool for managing price volatility, enabling up to 30% direct savings on prices.

“With our vision to reach a cumulative total of over $5 Billion in investment to the agriculture sector over the next five years, this financing deal is right on track to achieve this goal.’’

He added that as AFEX move towards building a derivatives market in Africa, “we want to be able to reduce exposure to price risk for stakeholders, by enabling them to hedge their positions and trade in commodity derivatives.”

READ: CBN to increase loans to agricultural sector to 10% of total bank credit

Why it matters

  • The warehouse receipts, which can then be transferred from commodities to a financial asset and listed under the borrower’s portfolio on the AFEX trading platform, will create a sustainable funding structure and address underfunding in the Nigerian agricultural sector.
  • With the warehouse receipt system linked to financiers, the system allows financiers value and marks the commodities’ price to market on a real-time basis.

What you should know

  • AFEX’s mission is to provide low-risk working capital facility for stakeholders in the Agro sector, in a way that is transparent and has a very high viable investment return.
  • As a licensed commodities exchange and warehouse receipt system operator, it deploys a warehouse receipt system and collateral management infrastructure to increase market confidence for both lenders and borrower.

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