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agric

November 8, 2014 2 comments

I came to Nigeria a few months ago to explore some business opportunities. During the course of my stay, I’ve met up and run into a few friends; people I’ve managed to keep in touch with all these years. One of those friends, Onyew B*, has been a friend of mine for over thirteen years. During one of our many talks, she told me about an organisation she has working with – Quintessential Business Women Association (QBWA), under the Quintessential Young Leaders (QYL) arm. From what I understood, the aim of QYL is to prepare and train young people for leadership roles in various aspects business. However, the parent group, QBWA, is laser-focused on the development and empowerment of women and young people for business in the agriculture and solid minerals sectors.

I told her my SME Advisory firm, Herança Financial, has clients in that industry, but I’ve never personally cared for business in agriculture. She tried to encourage me to consider it, but I wouldn’t budge. Last week, she invited me to a conference the QYL was organizing in partnership with QBWA and the Federal Ministry and Youth Development in Abuja. I was going to be  Abuja that week, so I accepted.

Friday, November 7th, I found my way to the National Centre for Women Development. It wasn’t hard to find, so I got there at about 8:35am. It was to start at 9:00am.

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To my surprise, unlike a couple other events, I had been to in my short time back, it started relatively on time – about 9:30am-ish. It was called White Collar Job In Agric. They meant business lol. Everyone got a lanyard with a participant card, plus a branded pen, folder and notepad. I thought that was quite impressive. 

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They had ten speakers, but I could only stay for the opening speech (which Onyew gave) and the first presentation (which I was most interested in) on business in agriculture by a representative from the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). Before the SMEDAN representative began, there was a short charge by Shimite Katung, Founder of QBWA. She was quite electrifying lol. I could tell she’s very passionate about developing people for leadership as well as helping develop highly successful businesses in the Agriculture and Solid Minerals industries.

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The presentation was quite informative. I hardly get excited about things, but yesterday, the speaker piqued by interest. QYL hoped for five hundred attendees, but they made about half of that while I was there. To help out, I’ll share what I learnt about QYL and starting/owning a small business in Nigeria’s agriculture sector.

Agriculture is a major branch of any economy, most especially the Nigerian economy. It has the potential to generate employment for up to seventy percent (70%) of the population. Unfortunately, Nigeria relies more on imports than being self-sufficient. Nigeria is at a point where the export of crude oil isn’t going to cut it anymore, and requires its youth to become agro-entrepreneurs.

Nigeria is so richly blessed that each of its thirty-six (36) states has at least two unique agricultural products it can contribute to the economy – for both its populates and for export, but the opportunities aren’t being properly explored. The Nigerian agricultural industry has the raw materials to mass produce and export beef, cassava bran (garri), dairy products, fish, fruits, goat, groundnuts, grass-cutters, poultry, rice, snails, variety of vegetables, and waste-to-work materials.

If you’re wondering, as I was, how successful a business in agricultural produce can be, here are some numbers we were given at the conference: Africa spends thirty billion dollars ($30,000,000,000.00USD) annually on the importation poultry products, and Nigeria spends fifty billion naira (N50,000,000,000NGN) on the importation of fish annually. That’s a lot of money in any currency lol.

With all this potential, there is very little interest because of the stigma attached to agriculture in Nigeria. A lot of young Nigerians think agriculture and farming are synonymous, and they are not interested in being farmers; and there lies the misconception. Agro-entrepreneurs aren’t farmers; they are people who make money from running successful businesses in the agricultural sector. As was pointed out during the conference, there are different avenues available – beef production, cattle raring, fish farming, poultry farming, mechanized farming, development of devices and machinery for farming, frozen foods facilities, logistics and transportation, packaging facilities, and warehousing.

I have a lot on my plate, but I think I wouldn’t mind investing in an agric start up, or partnering up with someone or a group of people looking to take advantage of the opportunities in the Nigerian agricultural industry. Apparently, even the government is giving grants to companies looking to develop quality agricultural products for local consumption and exportation.

Alright, that’s about it. I hope I’ve inspired someone to take a chance. As Sir Richard Branson once said, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity, and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”

made the cover i

October 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Almost two months ago, I mentioned that a former classmate from high school got in contact with me, told me about his plans for a new bimonthly magazine, Deere President, requested to interview me for the premier edition, and asked to me to be the regular contributor on Small Business Management & Entrepreneurship for the magazine.

Deere President was launched and distributed to retail outlets on Monday, October 1st, 2012.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m on the cover! That handsome, young man is yours truly lol.

I was just as shocked as a couple of you may be when he sent me this photo last weekend. It wasn’t our arrangement, and I didn’t request it either. Apparently, there were several cover options to choose from, and after deliberations, my photo was the final pick.

I was initially very uncomfortable with the idea because I love my privacy, but a little publicity never hurt anyone, I hope. Besides, I figured it could be good for business expansion and so on. I know it isn’t Forbes, but it’s a start!

The target market is students and young adults, hence the magazines are mainly being sold in schools. However, orders can be placed and deliveries will be fulfilled via courier. According to him, his primary objective at this time is to continue spreading the word and creating awareness. A copy of the magazine sells in Nigeria for two hundred naira (N200.00).

Find a retailer and buy one or two, I’m sure you won’t be too disappointed. I’m kidding, you’ll like it. In fact, work has already begun on the next edition which should be out December 2012.

By the way, if you like the magazine, have a product/service for its market (students and young adults), you can advertise with them; currently, there are vacant spots and the pricing is reasonable.

Well, a new edition means I have to start writing the next article on the business tips very soon! Take care 🙂

sp campaigns

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

All campaigns involve the participants (students and non-students alike) changing their avatars/display photos/profile pictures to the posters, and also changing their personal messages/status messages to one of the two specific messages (sentences or one-liners) that go with each campaign. Let’s spread the word!

Phase One (December 10th, 2011)

The “You’ve Dulled” Campaign is for CollegeTix

The “You’ve Dulled” messages: “Post Uni Events Online For Free via linkor “CollegeTix has the largest selection of college/university events from all around the world and now students can post their events for free so it’s easier to find and share them with others via link“. Please follow link for visual aid.

Phase Two (December 22nd, 2011)

The “Bored? Pick & Choose” Campaign is for CollegeTix

The “Bored? Pick & Choose” messages: “Bored? Pick and choose from the largest selection of events for college and university students in the world via link” or “Bored? Select events from our vast selection via link“. Please follow link for visual aid.

Phase Three (January 7th, 2012)

The “Second Look” Campaign is for Datlik

The “Second Look” Campaign messages: “Stop losing marks and credibility for inconsistency, poor grammar or spelling mistakes in your essays, web pages and work: datlik.sylverpro.com” or “Say bye to losing marks and credibility in your essays and work: datlik.sylverpro.com”.

 

Once again, thank you in advance if you decide to help. God bless you 🙂

japan ’11 sos

April 2, 2011 1 comment

As part of its social responsibility, I ensured that The SKA Group Inc. made a donation through the Canadian Red Cross today – Saturday, April 2nd, 2011. This donation is to aid the survivors of the earthquakes and tsunami that hit Japan early last month.

We asked people to get involved by making a donation (or supplementary donation) along with the company by purchasing a “Pray for Japan” button for $5.00CAD from Pearl Kreations; and the response was phenomenal!

All the proceeds were combined with our generous donation this afternoon. I personally like to thank everyone who made a donation, purchase, simply showed some support or even prayed! You are the reason this was such as tremendous success. May God bless us all and Japan, especially.

ska legacy

April 10, 2010 10 comments

Prior to the one year remembrance of my dad, I’ve decided to do something significant. Rather than just look gloomy and reminisce every 11th day of May, I want to honor his memory annually – on his birthday, not the day of his passing. I’m calling it SKA Legacy. I hope to eventually make it a befitting annual celebration of a very remarkable man.

In commemoration of this decision, I will share my final words to my dad with everyone. This is my farewell message as it appeared in the program of his funeral mass on Thursday, May 28th, 2009.

The banner placed over the main gate into our residence during the ceremonies

FAREWELL DAD

There are so many things I wish I could say, but I literally would use up everyone else’s spots so I’ll attempt to make this as brief as possible. Growing up, I didn’t really have him around so I didn’t know a lot about him safe for a few things- he rushed everyone out of the house into the car workday mornings, he loved to watch CNN, he playfully called me ‘Sonny Jim’, we were both hairy, and that we are both Sylvester (which I thought was cool)…later, when I asked him if I was Sylvester Jnr or Sylvester II, he laughed and said anyone I like.

When I got into my teen years, he had retired so I got to see more of him…which was a disaster waiting to happen- a teenage boy and his ‘stay home’ dad. He was practically on my neck half the time- Sola, you’re too conscious of pimples…stop acting like a woman, turn off the lights when you’re not using them, girls shouldn’t be calling you this late, go get a haircut, turn off that television and read, keep to time…don’t be like your mother, learn to save etc. Not to mention the holidays when he would always insist I read ahead for the next session or term, go to summer school or read a book. He hated us waking up late. In fact, the ‘terror’ list is endless. I was certain I didn’t want to be anything like him. I thought he was not cool, mean and too much of a disciplinarian. The only thing we agreed on then was my choir practice because he was in the grammar school choir, and WWF wrestling on Sunday evenings.

Growing into a young man (which is the present), I started getting wiser and began to admire and understand him. The pimples were a phase. Time waits for no one and every second counts. Study now and enjoy the fruits later. The reading helped my grammar.  And now that I live alone, I save on my electric, water and phone bills. I might not have wanted to be like him, but we were alike in so many ways. I started spending more time and doing things with him: going to the barber shop together, enjoying the evening breeze outside together and listening to his life adventures, teasing my mom, listening to ‘Ikan be’ by Akolawole Olawuyi, buying shares etc.

He was a very loving dad in his own special ways. I was told of when he would put me on his laps while he drives so I could put my hands of the steering wheel and drive, sponsoring my formal education and holidays, driving to Ijanikin every month in 2002 just to see me in school along with some lunch, crying bitterly both times I was leaving Nigeria for Canada, giving me the best, and calling me “Mr Buttons” when I started my button-badges business. I also realized he was cool. For example, he had a nickname in high school – he was called ‘Wild Cat’. He was also quite athletic. I remembered the day he chased me around the house trying to cane me for something I did; I thought I was quick on my feet until that day. We both eventually had a couple of laughs after he finally had me cornered though.

All his kids and I will never forget, “Read Hard, Pray Hard, Play A Little, and you’ll succeed” and in the last two days I spent with him, God made me persuade him to give me advise for business, life, relationships and family; and he did! He always drove me to better than the best. He didn’t live to see me graduate, but I know he was proud that was becoming quite the family man (being close to all my sisters), a business man and my new last name.

My dad was responsible, thrifty, intelligent, soft-spoken, generous, good-looking, polished, honest, well-mannered and humble. He wasn’t perfect, but he was pretty close. Well, I think I’ll stop here and say, if I am ever a man worth emulating or celebrating, I owe it to God who gave him to me. Rest in perfect peace dad. I love you.

– Sylvester II Olusola Kay-Adade

I don’t think we shared the typical dad-son bond, but I miss him. This has a few entertaining stories of my life with my dad, but there are more – more I hope to share in a book called Sonny Jim, by God’s grace. A few weeks ago, a friend said to me, “I know you miss him, so what keeps you going?” I replied, “We miss him, but knowing he’s happy being in a better place, and knowing we’ll see him again is very comforting.”

Contrary to what people say, time doesn’t make it easier, God does. Thanks for reading.