Hi there, I am Lawson Omoruyi, the owner of WOW! Cakes Enterprises. A cake studio here in the heart of Benin city, Nigeria. I would be your guest blogger for the day. Many thanks to Richard Chowning and the whole Africa Mentor team for giving me this opportunity.
Back to business, I have a couple take away points for Expatriates who have their eyes set on investing in Nigeria.
Firstly, your major competitors for Africa’s resources and talent is China and it’s citizens. The Chinese are weaving tight bonds with Government bureaucrats and can cause an artificial monopoly in some sectors like Mining & Power. Thinking about Retail, Chinese brands have flooded the Nigerian market at ridiculously cheap prices. To compete in retail, focus on delivering “status” and luxury goods. Our politicians and upwardly mobile professionals are a captive audience.
Secondly, you need well-recommended lawyers on ground, who are familiar with the tax laws and levies of the state you are setting up shop. Multiple taxation and red tape is common. For example: You want your flagship store in Victoria Island, Lagos. Getting the schedule of Eti-Osa LGA tax and levy collection is a must. We don’t have a smooth system like the IRS, so things can get a bit messy. Keeping a cool head under pressure and being slightly detached will let the Government agents know who’s Boss!
Thirdly, emails and phone business transactions should be at a minimum. Skype video calls where possible should be employed. Shady characters use email marketing to swindle the naïve. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s a red flag. Verify you business contacts authenticity by contacting/googling The Chambers of Commerce of the various cities, and Banks too(huge database of clientele). Networking with the Expatriate community on ground is a plus.
Lastly, Infrastructure in Nigeria is under a lot of strain. You would need a power plant or solar installation for uninterrupted electricity on your premises. You might not create the next Instagram in Nigeria, but a knock-off of a tech-idea adapted to my country will do great(once cashflow is certain). As our people say, “Photocopy ko easy!” There’s a lot more to Nigeria than the news on foreign media. Come have a taste, it will be an adventure you would never forget!
Bio: Lawson Omoruyi is a first-time entrepreneur with a passion for all things food, books, music and photography. Got any questions? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .You can subscribe to his WOW! You Notice! Podcast on iTunes or on www.lawsonomoruyi.podbean.com