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7 Steps for Starting a Social Enterprise

 Have you identified a problem in your community which you can solve using an effective business solution?

Do you have stirrings inside of you that continually push you to start a social enterprise?

Then, read, eat and sleep the seven tips laid out by Devon Ysaguirre on Forbes.

These seven tips are very good pointers towards helping you start your Social Enterprise.

Tell us how it goes.

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What does “9japreneur” mean?

I am currently in New York as an Acumen Fund Global Fellow, undergoing a two month intensive training program that will clearly help me better understand myself as a leader and teach me some of the basics of handling challenges associated with running a Social Enterprise-hopefully. I am enjoying my time here, but have been asked several times what a “9japreneur” means. I have had to explain my thoughts on the term ‘9japreneur’ to these people verbally and decided to also extend this explanation to my reader community, in the hope that we can work together and bring about positive changes in society together through business and otherwise.

Taken from the word entrepreneur, a “9japreneur” simply means a Nigerian (citizen or just resident) who is engaged in any venture that brings him or her profit and/or contributing positively to the society and the lives of people around them. It is an attempt to highlight the positive spirit and attitude within the country with a long term plan to connect entrepreneurs and provide support through activities like bootcamps and investor forums etc.  This definition is not meant to cover people who do business without a conscience, not considering if their activities have negative impact on people or the environment.

Just a little about me, I am an experienced business consultant and an upcoming integrated energy engineer who believes that every man or woman can be successful in their chosen positive venture, make good profits and also benefit the society in the process.

I am gradually growing into a social entrepreneur, using the tips on this blog as a starting point to support the growth of new and emerging businesses across 9ja, Africa and the world as a whole.

Leverage the power of the Internet to boost your start-up

For a start, let us review some mind boggling statistics relating to internet – desktop and mobile – penetration in Nigeria.

As we speak, the country has over 43 million internet users, about the largest internet penetration in Africa. Nigeria is among the top three countries that uses opera mini in Africa and about 80% of all adults have mobile phones today. In conservative terms, it means you can cast a very wide net to target your products and services at over 50 million Nigerians, especially if your product appeals to the mass market.

By utilizing this internet power within Nigeria and across Africa, you can move your business to the next level.

Be in the face of potential customers by having an online presence

The very first step to building an online presence is to create a good website for your business. Free resources for websites include gnbo.com.ng and yola.com among others. These sites offer you ready made templates that can help you create a professional looking website within minutes. With as little as NGN 2,000, you can get customized domain names and up to 10 e-mail addresses on that domain.

The next step is to ensure that you keep your site alive, interesting and engaging. Infuse your site with new content related to your products and services at least twice a month. You must understand that customers will always remember a dynamic website that offers new things at every visit. Create a newsletter for your products and integrate links to social networks into your website. There is so much you can do to keep your website engaging, and we have mentioned just a few here.

Two 9japreneur run businesses that have greatly fascinated me within the internet space in 2011 are Dealdey and Wakanow. These start-ups are currently changing the face of e-commerce in Nigeria. Hopefully, I might run the profiles of the faces behind these businesses sometime in 2012. Apart from the exposure these companies gain from the internet, they have positioned themselves strategically as the link between buyers and sellers of products and services at unbelievable good prices.

Every 9japreneur must understand that creating a great product is very important and non-negotiable. Convince yourself that you will always buy that product and refer it to others. After this is done, then the power of the internet can take your product/service across the world without much stress. Top tips for keeping customers happy with a great product can be found here.

Apply these tips above for a start and see how it works for you. Visit back for more great tips next week.

Are you a 9jaPreneur???…Think Innovation

Hello there,

Are you proudly Nigerian? Do you run a small business of your own, function as a freelance professional in your field, or employ a number of people in your company within or ouside the shores of our great country, Nigeria. If so, I think you qualify to be called a 9japreneur. 9japreneur, a word coined by me simply means an entrepreneur whom is desirous of making profits from his or her business, while also improving the situation of our country and its citizens.

Personally, I believe that people with great business ideas have a great role to play in the transformation of the Nigerian economy. We will really need to draw into our inner selves to unleash that level of creativity that allows you to provide a revolutionary product at the least cost, while delivering great value. 

My aim, for a start using this blog as a medium, is to get 9japreneurs to think together, forge partnerships, brainstorm and deliver the much needed economic change to make our country a true giant of Africa and the world at large.

On a weekly basis, I will come up with tips, case studies, stories and all forms of creative writing that will inspire 9japreneurs to improve themselves, their businesses and also the people around them. Feel free to make comments and also inform me of topics you will like to read about. I will surely oblige you within a month.

Let me leave you with a saying that goes thus “BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE”….

Check back here regularly for great 9japreneurship tips….Cheers