Entrepreneurship is national service by John James
Chief Executive Officer, Sunesis Farms, 27-year-old John James, in this interview with FEYISAYO POPOOLA says Nigeria is in desperate need of entrepreneurship
What crops or products does Sunesis Farms focus on?
At Sunesis Farms, we produce palm oil and rice paddy.
When and how did you learn farming?
Being a business-oriented person, I left the university with the mind-set to become an entrepreneur. As a result, I started learning about palm cultivation and processing in 2016 while going through the national youth service scheme.
I learnt a lot about the business online, joined a few groups of palm oil producers online and apprenticed with one of them at his business site for six months.
In May 2017, I joined the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, in order to diversify my business by plugging into the rice cultivation, which has a shorter gestation period compared to my palm cultivation. Hence, I am never out of business now as we produce palm oil in large quantity in its seasons and cultivate local rice round the year.
For how long have you been in business?
I’ve been in business for two years now.
What is your educational background?
I am a graduate of accounting from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. Also, I’m currently pursuing a degree in law.
Nasarawa State and SKDC Global Links Limited, an emerging markets and events company, have announced that the state will host a maiden edition of the Nigerian Entrepreneurship Summit in July.
The Project Coordinator, Mrs Stella Ajige, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
She said the summit would provide a platform for participants to exhibit their goods and services to an audience of over 2,000.
According to her, speakers will include distinguished experts engaged in small and medium business development.
Ajige said NES would further bring the smartest ideas and entrepreneurial spirit of start-ups, innovation hubs, established small businesses together with government, policymakers, industry leaders, consultants and experts.
“This unique audience has the influence and intelligence to power faster social and economic development, create collaborative opportunity and stimulate business growth,” she added.
The statement read in part, “Beyond participating in the summit, the exhibitions will feature fascinating sights and sounds of Nasarawa – tourism sites/products/economic assets, and cultural and heritage exhibitions.
“Service sectors such as telecommunication services, software, digital television, videos, music and local movie industry and Nollywood will be part of the package and focal point.”
The management of the Palms Shopping Mall has announced that after a month-long search for the most persuasive and viable entrepreneur deemed worthy of winning a N3m stall, Loshes Chocolates has emerged the winner of its first Win-A-Stall competition.
Other winners are an accessories maker, BlingThings Africa, and African kids clothing maker, AnkaraBaby.
The firm made the announcement in a statement on Thursday, adding that in a reality show-styled finale, members of the Palms management team led by its Chairman, Mr Tayo Amusan, and supported by business leaders such as the Senior Partner at KPMG, Mr Wale Ajayi; the Chief Executive Officer, Mobos Fashion, Omobowale Biobaku,; the CEO, Zaron Group of Companies, Oke Maduewesi, and the CEO, Vision Opticals, Mr Clinton Peterswere, served as judges for presentations by the eight shortlisted small businesses at the Palms Shopping Mall in Lagos.
The statement read in part, “The finalists, whose businesses ranged from children’s clothing to interior decorating, fashion and manufacturing, all made a case for why they deserved to win the stall at the Palms. They were chosen from among scores of other businesses who had made their pitches through the social media platform, Instagram.”
Amusan was quoted as saying that the Palms Shopping Mall had a history of promoting creativity and entrepreneurship.
He said, “Being an entrepreneur myself, we understand how tough doing business in this country can be. Therefore, an opportunity like this goes a long way in supporting young businesses, helping them grow and positioning them for sustainability. The Palms Shopping Mall is playing its part in your success story.”
You should pay special attention to writing your loan application because it is going to be foremost in getting approval for the business loan from the bank, according to www.commencebusiness.com.
You should consider your loan application as an advertisement and promotion for your business to the lender. Think of it as publishing an ad that your lender is going to read and approve or disapprove of your business loan based on information in it.
Your loan application should clearly state the long-term profit-making potential of your business that tells the lender that you will be able to pay back the money that you borrow as a loan.
Your application should convince the lender of your managerial ability and the fruitfulness of striking a long-term and profit-making business partnership with you and your enterprise.
Banks and commercial lending institutions need evidence of security, stability and business potential before they make the business loan. You can ensure that your application speaks about your business in such a form by staying both realistic and optimistic in stating the facts.
You should always stick to stating the facts on your loan application. It is also very important to make sure that your business loan application is complete. When some information are missing, your many bankers will assume that either the information is being hidden on purpose application, or the business owner doesn’t know his own business well enough to put the required information together.
There are 12 separate items that are usually included in every business loan application. The importance and length that each section takes will depend upon the kind of business you are running, your industry, and the amount that you are borrowing.
Sections of a business loan application
Coversheet: Think of this as the title of your business loan application. All it needs to contain is your name, name of the business and the name of the lending institution that you are submitting the business to. It should also include your business cell phone number and the date on which the application is being submitted.
Cover letter: The cover letter is a personal letter to the bank asking them to consider your application for business loan. This letter usually should not exceed one page and also describes your business in general such as whether it is a partnership or corporation, in manufacturing, distributing or retail business and what type of goods or services you provide. You should include just a few lines in order to give an idea of what your business plan is.
Table of contents: This section is a summary of all topics contained within the business loans application according to page numbers, so that the banker can easily find the information chronologically or otherwise listed, as well as the documents included.
Amount and use of business loan: As we have said, business loan approval also depends upon the purpose for which it is being sought. The tenure of the loan usually depends upon this fact. For example if the loan is for the purchase of a new piece of machinery, it could be up to some years. If it is for meeting business expense, then it can be as short as four months. Whenever you seek a business loan for a particular purpose, show the contract price, cost of freight and installation and all other amounts that will contribute to the amount you require. In the end, you should clearly state the amount of money you will be providing from your own resources and the balance you are seeking to borrow.
History and description of your business: Describe your business in greater detail in the section. You spoke about your business briefly in the cover letter. Now, speak at length about the conformity of business, why the new monetary influx is going to be profitable etc. Speak about the future plans of the business. It is essential to stick to the facts and only state those matters that can be justified and proved with documents and statistics.
Management team: The lender will also like to know about the people at the helm of the business and in charge of running it. Your managerial team is likely to be your most valuable asset and pivotal in the success of the business. It could be several employees in key positions, it could be just you or one more person or it could even be other consultants such as accountants, bankers and lawyers. In one or two pages, you should list each person’s name and responsibility. Where appropriate and if to the betterment of your application, you can describe the background of a person in an important position and why he is ideally suited for the job.
Market information: In this section, you should give a complete description of your product line of service as well as the target market. Give details about how you are going to target your market and any future clients you already have for introducing new products and services.
Financial history: Most bankers want to see balance sheet and the income and profit and loss statements. If you are a business start-up, you have to use projections, which the bank will compare to the norms in your industry.
Financial projections: This section includes three sets of documents, a projected income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. These statements tell the bank how the business intends to use the loan and how it can generate short sale profits to pay off the loan. In most circumstances you will need the assistance of your business accountant to prepare these documents.
Collateral: In most circumstances, you will have to use the collateral as security in order to get a business loan. This collateral can include your personal assets such as your stock, including loan on your home or a personal loan. The collateral used can also be that of the business such as the inventory, accounts receivable, business machinery and equipment etc.
As a business start-up, you are going to find it difficult to get an unsecured loan without using any collateral security. Almost all lending institutions want a secondary method of payment to recover the loan in case the business owner happens to default. Each collateral you are going to use should be described in detail, with a fair market value.
Personal financial statements: As a start-up, a bank or lending institution will want to know about your personal net worth. They will also want to know what personal guarantee you can offer in order to secure the business loan from them. In order for them to be able to gauge your personal net worth, they will want to see your tax return and balance sheet. Many banks offer a pre-printed forms that make listing these figures relatively easy.
Additional documents: This section should include all of the documents that can further enhance your chances of qualifying for a business loan. For example, if you have a new sales contract on a piece of equipment or lease on any location that has the potential of growing your business revenue, you can include it in this section.
In case you have plans to introduce a new product or service, you can include a product brochure and additional market-research information as well. This section can be especially important to new business start-ups who do not have a track record. You can even include assurance and feedback from one of your major customers to give the bankers an idea of the value of your business and its potential for growth.
The session will provide a platform where participants can network and forge partnerships with French and African business leaders and policymakers.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme is hosting it over 2000 budding entrepreneurs across Africa with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, who is in Nigeria on a working visit.
The interacting session will be chaired by the UBA Chairman, and Founder TEF, Tony Elumelu, and will give African entrepreneurs a platform to closely engage with President Macron, and garner ideas from his wealth of experience as one of the youngest Heads of State in recent times.
The entrepreneurs are alumni of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme.
Tony Elumelu said the collaboration between the French President and TEF is a result of President Macron’s acknowledgement that African entrepreneurs remain the key to Africa’s economic transformation, and his desire to connect with and elevate the voices of future leaders.
“We welcome President Macron of France to meet our entrepreneurs, over 2,000 of them from across Africa. Macron is a new kind of leader. He brings the discipline of the private sector and understands the social obligations of the state. He speaks to Africa as a strategic partner and most importantly, he is a champion of entrepreneurship.”
“It is a pleasure to introduce him to our Africa; the Africa of innovation, determination and opportunity. We share a somewhat similar background with the French President being a banker, who became a visionary, and is bringing a new mindset to politics and business,” Elumelu said.
The historic session will also provide a platform where participants can network and forge partnerships with French and African business leaders and policymakers who will be in attendance.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange has said it is partnering with Kinabuti Fashion Initiative to empower young people with entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy.
The NSE, according to a statement on Wednesday, is leveraging Kinabuti’s ‘Dare 2 Dream’ initiative across university campuses in Nigeria for the empowerment.
It said it would engage about 25,000 undergraduates expected to be reached during the 2018 edition of the ‘Dare 2 Dream’ activation by giving them a financial literacy talk, educating them about the various offerings available in the capital market and conducting trivia quiz to test their understanding of the learning from the various talks.
The bourse said a stock broker would be on ground to assist youths interested in opening a brokerage account in order to invest for the future.
According to the statement, the state champions of the programme who will proceed to the boot camp will have the opportunity of visiting the NSE, and have an experience of the trading floor as well as meet with brokers to better understand how trading is done.
It said the NSE officials would further participate in the programme by featuring as judges in selecting the winners of the project at the grand finale.
The statement said prior to the NSE’s participation in the project, the platform empowered Nigerian youths by developing talents and skills in fashion and entertainment-related industries.
It said with the sponsorship, the participants would have an opportunity to learn more about finance and enhance the potential for participation and job opportunities in the capital market.
The Head, Corporate Communications, Olumide Orojimi, said, “Only a highly financially literate population can take advantage of suitable financial products and services to achieve sustainable financial well-being.
“This partnership complements our various financial literacy programmes aimed at building a highly financial literate population that is competent to, or confident in choosing and utilising financial products and services to raise their welfare. With about 65 per cent of the Nigerian population as youths, we have carefully chosen this partnership to help raise the financial literacy level of our future leaders.”
The Co-founder, Kinabuti, Francesca Rosset, said, “We are excited to welcome NSE on board season 5 of the Dare2Dream initiative. The partnership is key to promote financial literacy amongst the youths, an essential for building an inclusive economy in Nigeria.
“In addition to the great learnings we have in store for the youths, their being able to better understand the capital market and investment from the NSE will play a huge role in preparing them for their future.”
Lagos – Determined to promote sound moral values and rekindling the kindred spirit among Nigerians, FirstBank Nigeria Plc, has launched SPARK, an initiative aimed at restoring the fading age-long culture of being one another brother’s keeper.
Start Promoting Acts of Random Kindness (SPARK) as a values-based initiative designed to raise consciousness on the need to be kind was introduced in 2017 to reignite our values especially acts of showing kindness which appear to be eroding fast.
Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, FirstBank’s said SPARK will help drive goals such as promoting acts of random kindness by meeting the needs of people and touching lives.
She said the framework of SPARK is a three-year approach which started last year during the Bank’s Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Week (CR&S when the employees were encouraged to participate by nominating those they thought were deserving of acts of random kindness
“FirstBank is pleased to announce that 10 beneficiaries have emerged from over 100 nominations based on the criteria of community and individual’s emotive story and the significance of the individual/community need”, she enthused.
The beneficiaries include Baby Ijeoma, who was in dire need of cardiac surgery to correct her congenital heart disease and forestall irreversible and life-threatening complications, got about N1.5 million in assistance. Also, Mrs. Mary Pius, a widow with five children and fruits seller who was unable to send her children to school, received N100,000 and this gave her business some boost.
Others are Lawal Seun, a boy and the third child of a blind woman in Ondo town whose husband abandoned with the four children some years ago. Seun is now able to pay his school fees in his secondary school due to the N150, 000 SPARK offer