It is not an easy feat to be called Africa’s richest woman!
Folorunso Alakija has definitely earned it and she stands in the position to speak on the challenges of doing business in Nigeria because she has seen and walked through the path.
In an interview with The Sun Newspaper, the business mogul shared some words of advice to women entrepreneurs.
On the challenges doing business in Nigeria
There are many challenges in doing business in Nigeria. There is no way we will talk about it and not mention corruption. Corruption will face you stark naked but you have to confront and overcome it and the only way you can overcome it is by holding strongly to your God.
You have to trust God for everything, do you understand? God will always make a way for you. There is no way you will talk about God and you would not face challenges. There will always be issues when you’re asked to do things your religion doesn’t permit. It depends on how you talk to your God. He will always make a way for you.
Another challenge is infrastructure deficit in your area of business or whatever you do. Starting with electricity. If there is adequate power, profit would be doubled. However, you will face challenges from people who want to take away what you have made. I am talking about armed robbers and those who believe that what you have belongs to them. They will always complain ‘why should it always be you and not them.’
Road networks are another challenge. Funding is another challenge. Which bank will believe in you and want to invest in your dream? But I always advise. start small.
I’m the greatest advocate of Ayo Megbeope who started her moi moi business with N1000 and today she is raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in turnover and that has brought her into the limelight. The fact that she started small, she was focused and determined landed her in the white house on two occasions. The list is endless but as I said, you must be focused and determined and to achieve your dreams.
Her advice for women entrepreneurs
What I have to say is that they must make sure the venture is coming from their hearts; it must be their heart’s desire because there are many challenges to be faced. Nothing goes from the lowest to the highest level overnight. Perseverance is a tool that we must imbibe and they must realise that nothing drops on anybody’s laps just like that.
So, working hard to achieve an objective is key. Anybody can aspire and want to be one thing or another but I assure you, there are challenges along the way; there are numerous hurdles. So, that you desire it and want it does not mean that you will achieve your dream so easily.
The implication, they must be ready to face the challenges they will meet along the way. But they should look at the light at the end of the tunnel. They should find that light and make their way towards it because there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Distractions will come, challenges will come but if you are focussed right from the beginning and if it comes from your heart that you want to be this or that, including becoming an entrepreneur, they will achieve it.
The Sun Newspaper has the full interview.
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