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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Seriki urges Nigerians to celebrate local brands

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Omatek Ventures Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki, has urged Nigerians to celebrate local brands and patronize them as a way of creating wealth and preventing the country from being a dumping ground for anything foreign, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Mrs. Seriki also implored the federal government to seek new ways of empowering entrepreneurs through policies so as to eliminate the many challenges confronting them.

Seriki who made the call at this year’s Economic Summit organized by the Trinity Leadership School in Lagos, over the weekend, advised young entrepreneurs to ensure they have the passion and focus in their endeavours.

“There has to be a public statement, the public sector can empower us more, we did not need to have started the hard way if the government itself bought what we were trying to build,” she said.

The Omatek boss also called on the banks to change their attitude towards startup entrepreneurs, especially the young ones, noted that banks hardly believe that customers are knowledgeable enough to deal with them.

“Again, I will like to appeal to banks that the kind of accounting officers we had in the past contributed to our success, because they will seat with you and plan with you, and then package it for you. Today we no longer have that kind of accounting officers; they believe you do not know what you are doing. I am insisting on this because funding is key for SMEs in the information technology (IT) sub-sector,” she said.

Further, Mrs. Seriki who spoke on the ‘Importance and use of IT in a global world and the opportunities in a developing economy,’ said there is an urgent need for seminars to be organized for the public sector.

“I think this kind of summit should be arranged for the public sector, this is what China did, they made it a government thing and it was a whole country’s affair,” she said.

The first few years will not be easy, local brands will campaign for people to patronize their products and at the end of the day pricing will not be cheap either.

She cited an example, saying that at times suppliers are required to buy upto 10,000 pieces of mother boards per month.

“And for a completely knocked down factory, the amount is enormous as we will need to buy several components from 13 or 14 different factories scattered in as many towns and provinces in Asia, therefore, the supply chain is a challenge,” she lamented.

She advised young startups to lean to use consultants in the particular area of business venture they engage in stressing that there is a lot to be done in the IT sector and there is a lot to do in the SME scheme and entrepreneurship is something to be promoted now.

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