Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh has disclosed that budding entrepreneurs and business owners must retain a level of belief in Nigeria in order to scale their business. Ekeh affirmed that growing a business in Nigeria’s peculiar business environment requires the essential ingredient of a firm faith in the country.
He made this disclosure at The Kingdom Summit 2019, an International Marketplace and Leadership Conference organized by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) on Saturday October 26, 2019. The event, with the theme – From Business Person to Nation Changer – was held at the premises of the RCCG The King’s Court in Victoria Island, Lagos.
“You must not be discouraged by the challenges you face in business today. Also, you must not allow people discourage you with their negative projections. You must have faith in Nigeria in order to grow your business and scale. As a matter of fact, before I started out in business during undergraduate days in India and after my post-graduate in Cork City, I was clear that I was going to return to Nigeria.
“Sometimes, I laugh when people say things were better in the past than they are today. When I returned to Nigeria to start up my first company, Task Systems Ltd., the society was completely analogue. The print and publishing industry, which I transitioned to digital publishing, was still relying on the old system of casting metal type at the time. This was why I was determined to create an IT identity for Nigeria. We eventually achieved this through Zinox.
“It is on record that the Zinox Group pioneered electronic petrol dispensing pumps, Desktop Publishing and Computer Graphics, INEC Data Capture System, first internationally certified Computer brand – Zinox, pioneered E-Commerce in Africa, amongst other firsts. If we do not have faith, you will not have the mental capacity to research, incubate and achieve products that may add greater impetus to the economy.
“Today, you have the advantage of age on your side, quality education, common sense, more exposure unlike during our time, where common sense was supreme and few were educated. So, there is nothing stopping you,” he counselled.
However, Ekeh, a serial digital entrepreneur who has built several successful companies over a professional career spanning over three decades, cautioned participants on the need to incubate and go through structured process, incubate and build a culture of sustenance. More to the point, Ekeh frowned at the falsification of data in order to hood-wink potential investors.
“I see a lot of start-ups brandishing false figures and falsifying data in order to deceive investors to part with their money. There are a few high-profile instances of such here in Nigeria. Such a practice is highly dangerous and if you indulge in it, you will surely pay for it. A lot of business owners see it as a smart way of raising funds but your integrity is at stake.
“If you lose your integrity, you have not just lost all, but you have also destroyed others in same economy and you will pay dearly for it. In 21st century, there is a strong connection between wealth and spirituality. The way you made your money comes with eternal pain or pleasure.
“I see a lot of rich people that excites young people are in Hell on earth but you may not know. Wealth is now a right for both the children of the poor and the rich, but more kids from poor homes have better intelligence, energy and spirituality to challenge the status quo.
“Some of you just start out in business and decide to buy flashy cars or fly First Class as a status symbol. What you fail to remember is that the difference between an Economy Class ticket and a First Class ticket, your business may not be able to achieve it as profit in one year,” Ekeh declared.
“You must incubate and go through the process before you scale. When I started out, I used to sleep in my office. Before my staff resumed, I was already up so they did not know I used to sleep there. I also ate once a day at Sheraton hotel, normally the afternoon buffet. This is part of the price I paid to succeed.”
Continuing, Ekeh affirmed that the current generation of entrepreneurs have all it takes to achieve within five years what the older generation strived to build in 30 years.
“What we spent over 30 years struggling to achieve, your generation will outstrip within five years. Konga is a very good example of this. My son, who runs the business, and his colleagues are currently burning money. However, once the business turns profitable, in two years they will recoup all they have invested into it. E-commerce is the riskiest business globally in the first quarter of this century.
“Konga has undergone massive turnaround since we acquired the business, with massive technology and other infrastructural deployment nationwide in partnership with Microsoft and other major stakeholders. It is another Nigerian corporate miracle waiting to happen. Without faith in Nigeria, this may be impossible to achieve.”
He concluded by asking everyone in the full-packed hall to do a self-assessment and be determined to alter their destinies. Ekeh noted that this essential exercise will create a positive multiplier effect in Nigeria.
The Kingdom Summit 2019, which attracted dignitaries from the public and private sector, had in attendance the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo who was represented by the former Minister of Trade and Investment, Okey Enelamah. Also in attendance was a host of speakers including Brett Johnson, Founder, The Institute for Innovation, Integration & Impact Inc.; Alero Ayida-Otobo, CEO, Incubators Africa Ltd; Alex Densmore, CEO, Battco Energy Storage Systems; Brian Mukudzahvu, Founder, Axis Solutions Africa; Pamela Ajayi, Founder, Synlab; Otto Orrondam, Founder, Slum2School Africa; Kayode Pitan, MD, Bank of Industry; Prof. Chris Bode, Medical Director, LUTH and many others.
Host was Ben Akabueze, Provincial Pastor, RCCG The King’s Court who doubles as the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation.
Atsu Davoh is building ways for Africans to easily acquire and spend cryptocurrency
Atsu Davoh has gone from failed projects to running one of Ghana’s most innovative startups.
In recent times, the tech space in Africa has experienced immense growth, with the introduction of several key players and disruptors across various sectors. One sector that is also rising is the cryptocurrency space with Africa experiencing greater crypto ownership and trade volume.
The number of Bitcoins processed on a single day reached its highest value at the beginning of 2021, as more people displayed interest in the cryptocurrency. Due to its fast adoption, more fintech players have created platforms that have made trading with cryptocurrency easier. One of such players is Atsu Davoh who calls himself the “product guy.”
Atsu Davoh dropped out of college (Carleton College) in the United States and moved back to Ghana to help innovate on Africa’s financial infrastructure. Atsu first discovered Bitcoin in 2017 during the first boom when it became mainstream. Before then, he and his co-founder Samuel Baohen had been involved in many failed projects.
He developed a USSD system where people could buy bitcoin through their phone numbers, like tying crypto to phone numbers in a native way. This was one of the first iterations of Bitsika.
Atsu was invited to Join Binance Labs Incubator by Yele Bademosi where he got $150,000 after graduating from the incubator. Bitsika went on to raise around $900,000 from investors. This brought the total seed raised to $1,050,000.
This USSD system worked in Ghana but didn’t work in Nigeria. Atsu and his team then pivoted the platform to a donation crowdfunding platform, which allowed people living in other countries to send donations to African nationals in need of the funds before finally building it into a cross-border crypto remittance platform.
Bitsika users can deposit and remit money across multiple currencies using the app, with all monies deposited in Bitsika stored in USD credits or stable-coin.
Bitsika has over 50,000+ downloads on Playstore and processed nearly $40 million in 2020 with $18,872,474 in deposits, $17,890,807 in payouts (withdrawals), and $3,189,834 in internal peer-to-peer transfers.
Despite a few unfavourable regulations surrounding cryptocurrency in Africa, the market has shown no signs of slowing down as more people are building products that will make trading seamless.
FG signs new Sustainable Development Goals agreement with UN
The Agreement is for new development cooperation with initiatives towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals set in the UN Agenda 2030.
The Nigerian Government has signed a deal with the United Nations to develop new cooperation towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in a statement on Thursday after the agreement was signed with the United Nations Office for Project Services, UNOPS, represented by Ifeoma Charles.
The Minister said, “On behalf of the Nigerian Government, I signed an agreement with the UNOPS represented by Ifeoma Charles Multi-Country Office Rep. The Agreement is for a new development cooperation with initiatives towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals set in the UN Agenda 2030.”
What you should know
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are:
No Poverty; Zero Hunger, Good Health, and Well-being; Quality Education; Gender Equality; Clean Water and Sanitation; Affordable and Clean Energy; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Reducing Inequality; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Consumption and Production; Climate Action; Life Below Water; Life on Land; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and Partnership for the Goals.
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