Connect with us

Business

2017: The year of Start-ups and Small Business

Published

on

small-business
  • 2017: The year of Start-ups and Small Business

In a few weeks, the familiar greeting of ‘Happy New Year’ will fill the air as we all begin the journey into yet another year. Most Nigerian’s (including myself) are created with the most optimistic DNA enmeshed in us, as such, we will expect the new year to bring with it tidings of peace, love, warmth and a better economic performance for both our nation and our respective businesses.

I have themed the 2017 financial year, ‘The Year of Start-ups and the Small Business’ and while it may sound like wishful thinking to many, I do believe that for those entrepreneurs who have been working on great business ideas, and have done all that is required to go to the market, 2017 is a great time to venture out. You may be wondering why I am so optimistic given that as a nation, we are enduring our worst recession in decades, inflation rate is over 18 per cent, borrowing rates are above 30 per cent per annum in most Banks, many businesses are failing, most of our friends and loved ones have lost and may soon lose their jobs, the foreign exchange market is in topsy-turvy mode, and the list of negatives goes on and on. I am however of the opinion that we may have seen the worst of the recession and while I cannot categorically state that things will get better, I also do not expect things to get any worse.

Let us examine our macro-economic environment. I like to define the macro-economic environment as “those extraneous factors, which are beyond our control but have a major influence on the outcomes of our businesses”. Let us focus on two elements of the macro-economic environment that you and I are familiar with to support my optimism.

Political Environment

By the end of 2016, the current Government will have spent 19 months or 40 per cent of its tenure. Without doubt, the political landscape with 2019 in view is already beginning to take shape and as such, I envisage that subtle campaigns across all tiers of Government will start taking place at some point in 2017. These campaigns will attempt to reach out to the people and giving the current economic circumstance, any campaign that doesn’t have an economic appeal may fall flat to the ground.

I therefore believe, that we will see a replica of some Government programmes such as the Lagos Employment Trust Fund and the recently launched N-Power scheme across most states of the Federation. Where properly implemented these schemes have the potential to energize existing businesses and birth new businesses thereby combating unemployment and other social maladies. So we have a choice, we can start positioning ourselves to be beneficiaries of these schemes or join the majority and say these schemes don’t work. I will rather position myself to participate than hear of people who benefited from these schemes when the opportunity is gone.

Economic Environment

Nigeria is officially in a recession and signs of an immediate turnaround were dealt a further blow when the Q3 report from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed a negative growth of 2.24 per cent. Some analysts suggest there won’t be a rebound until the last quarter of 2017 where an estimated growth of about 0.6 per cent is envisaged.

Economic indicators from GDP growth rate to Inflation rate; from the balance on our foreign reserves account to our balance of payment position; from the barrels of crude oil sold to our foreign exchange market all reflect a weaker economy than in recent years. While I am not wishing away the challenges, I can’t but ask myself this question, in the 15 years of my professional experience, was there ever a time when I thought our economy was great? You may want to ask yourself that question. And if your answer like mine is an emphatic “No”, then it is yet another reason for me to be optimistic….okay “cautiously optimistic”.

I also believe that the Managers of our economy haven tried different things to steady the economy, would have learnt a thing or two. At least what not to do to an ailing economy. So I won’t be surprised if in 2017 we see some positive policy reversals, more stability and less tinkering with policies around the fundamentals of the economy. There is a direct relationship between the political environment and the Economic environment and our economic situation will form the theme for the 2019 elections campaign which like I said earlier will start at some point in 2017. This is another reason to be cautiously optimistic.

Here in Nigeria, many successful enterprises where birthed during seasons of economic malaise same way many closed shop. In my last two articles, “5 reasons why small businesses fail” and “What small businesses can do to survive their early years”, I had attempted to point start-ups and small businesses to a path of both survival and sustainable growth. In 2017, I believe that individuals or start-ups who choose to be optimistic in addition to doing the right things (I have mentioned some in my last posts) stand a chance of weathering the storms.

There is a hymn we sang in my primary school with the wordings “he that is down needs fear no fall, he that is low has no pride…” we are already beaten by the economic challenges we are faced with and are therefore down.

Thankfully, when we fall down or are beaten to the ground, we have only two options. To stay down or to rise up. I believe we have nothing to lose in being cautiously optimistic, making a choice to stand up and not remain down on our backs.

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Association of Nigeria (SMEDAN) suggests that there are at least 17 million enterprises in Nigeria and these enterprises contribute about 50 per cent of our GDP and 75 per cent of national employment.

Those figures include you and me, it suggests that despite the harsh operating environment we find ourselves in, we have without all the required support from the Government, braved the odds and contributed immensely to our Country’s growth and development. I believe with the required Government support and an enabling environment, we can achieve more. Nevertheless, we can still achieve progress in the face of daunting challenges, an environment filled with pessimism and stories of a failing economy if we are armed with the right mindset and the right business model.

I believe 2017 will be a better year for the economy however marginal; new businesses will be born and entrepreneurship will thrive. I also believe 2017 will be “The Year of Start-Ups and The Small Business”. What do you believe?

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

Continue Reading
Comments

Company News

Lafarge Africa Board Proposes N30.60bn Dividend, Lower Than Previous Year

Published

on

Lafarge Africa - Investors King

Lafarge Africa’s Board of Directors has recommended a dividend payout of N30.60 billion for the year ended December 2023, a reduction from the previous year’s dividend.

The proposed dividend translates to N1.90 per unit of shares and awaits approval from shareholders at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company.

In a corporate announcement filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Lafarge Africa disclosed that the proposed dividend is payable from the Pioneer Reserve to shareholders registered as of March 28, 2024.

Despite the lower dividend proposal, Lafarge Africa recorded an increase in revenue to N405 billion, marking an 8.6% rise from the previous year’s N373 billion.

However, the company’s post-tax profit experienced a 4.7% decline, amounting to N51.14 billion, attributed mainly to the devaluation of the naira.

Lolu Alade-Akinyemi, the Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa, expressed confidence in the company’s performance despite economic challenges.

He highlighted the growth in revenue and an improved operating margin, despite pressures from inflation and currency devaluation.

Looking forward, Lafarge Africa remains optimistic about the construction sector’s growth in Nigeria, despite prevailing economic challenges.

The company aims to leverage its market opportunities while maintaining a focus on sustainability and stakeholder value.

Continue Reading

Business

South African Billionaire Christo Wiese Predicts Return of Major Players to Nigeria Despite Recent Exodus

Published

on

Christo Wiese

South African billionaire Christo Wiese remains optimistic about Nigeria’s economic prospects, predicting the eventual return of major players despite a recent exodus from the West African nation.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Wiese explained that it is impossible to ignore Nigeria’s large and growing population, “how do you ignore an economy like this?”

Wiese, the former chairman of Shoprite Holdings Ltd., acknowledges the challenges faced by businesses in Nigeria, where recent currency woes and policy missteps have contributed to an exodus of international companies.

Procter & Gamble Co. and Shoprite are among the global conglomerates that have announced their departure from Africa’s most populous nation.

However, Wiese sees the recent exits as temporary setbacks rather than a long-term trend. He believes that the allure of Nigeria’s vast consumer market and its economic potential will eventually draw major players back.

Despite the current uncertainty, Wiese remains confident in Nigeria’s future, emphasizing the need for governments to adopt correct policies and for investors to exercise patience.

While acknowledging Nigeria’s single-commodity economy vulnerabilities, Wiese highlights the resilience of the nation’s economy and its potential for growth and development.

He suggests that foreign investors, including South African ones, are adopting a wait-and-see approach, anticipating a time when the economy stabilizes and favorable policies are in place.

Continue Reading

Appointments

Seplat Energy Names Udoma Udo Udoma as Independent Non-Executive Chairman, Bello Rabiu as Senior Independent Non-Executive Director

Published

on

Seplat Energy Plc - Investors King

Seplat Energy, a prominent Nigerian energy company listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited and the London Stock Exchange, has made significant changes to its board leadership.

In a recent announcement, the company revealed that Udoma Udo Udoma has been appointed as the new Independent Non-Executive Chairman, succeeding Basil Omiyi, who is set to retire on March 31, 2024.

Udoma Udo Udoma, a distinguished lawyer and seasoned board administrator, brings a wealth of experience to Seplat Energy.

He holds degrees from St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, and has had a remarkable career spanning various sectors, including petroleum, energy, and natural resources.

Udoma has served on numerous large-sized company boards, including UAC Nigeria Plc and Union Bank Plc, and held key public sector appointments, such as Chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission and Minister of Budget & National Planning.

In addition to Udoma’s appointment, Seplat Energy announced the selection of Bello Rabiu as the new Senior Independent Non-Executive Director, effective April 1, 2024.

Rabiu, a seasoned professional with extensive experience in the petroleum industry, holds multiple degrees and has served in various capacities at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The appointments come as part of Seplat Energy’s commitment to upholding strong corporate governance practices and ensuring a smooth transition of leadership.

Both Udoma Udo Udoma and Bello Rabiu are expected to play pivotal roles in guiding Seplat Energy as it continues to expand its operations and consolidate its position as a leading energy company in Nigeria and beyond.

In a statement, Basil Omiyi, the outgoing Chairman of Seplat Energy, expressed confidence in the newly appointed leaders, emphasizing their capabilities to steer the company towards further growth and success.

The appointments underscore Seplat Energy’s dedication to fostering excellence and innovation in the energy sector while meeting the evolving needs of its stakeholders and contributing to Nigeria’s energy transition efforts.

Continue Reading
Advertisement




Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending