Perturbed by the lack of opportunities to project business products and services among indigenous enterprises, Temi Shenjobi, founder and director of Simply Nigerian Fair is convening the fifth edition of the fair on the 18th of November to facilitate market links between local entrepreneurs and potential customers.
Entrepreneurs across sub-sectors of fashion and footwear, home and lifestyle, hair and body, food and beverage, plants, flowers and fresh produce will converge at the Garden Fusion Centre, displaying the best of their products.
Intimating business a.m. of the fair at the SNF Master Class for vendors in Ikoyi, Lagos, Shenjobi said many local entrepreneurs possess brilliant concepts but were largely challenged with the tools to project their businesses to the right circles.
Apart from the dearth of promotional opportunities, the director also noted that many of these businesses were constrained by the inability to fund shop spaces due to costly rents.
She said: “We realise that there are a lot of people that do not know how to project their businesses. This is like the end of the chain where you produce your things and find where to go, how to meet your customers and how people know what you are doing. And because lots of people cannot afford shop spaces, this fair gives them the opportunity to be able to exhibit. The focus of the fair is to exhibit homegrown entrepreneurial businesses; that is made in Nigeria things focused on the Nigerian market. You need to show people what you do. If they can’t see it, how do they relate? It’s not just posting on Instagram and selling”.
Earlier, Nike Ogunlesi, the CEO of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, who led the Master Class session urged entrepreneurs to understand the niche they are willing to create within the market space.
According to her, businesses need to project their areas of strength as well as understudy the void needed to be filled by the products or services offered.
Speaking to the fashion industry, Ogunlesi advised that aspiring designers learn to split their processes of garment making into individual departments of production, saying such measures give accuracy and consistency to the output of their production.
She also identified the gap in skills and inconsistency of government policies as issues that still need to be addressed to support local content development.
“There is still a deficiency in government’s support to people who are already doing this where they have a need. Stakeholders in the industry have to come together with one voice, stating exactly what we want. We need to check policies on trainings, what can come into Nigeria and what cannot,” she said noting that “nobody can match the price of Denim like the Chinese can. The important thing is that we take this denim as a raw material and add value. Over 60 percent of Nigeria’s population is young and wears jeans. That’s a market with huge potentials. Let the fabric come in, setup up the factories, give us access to long term capital that is patient at 3 or 4 percent because you cannot grow the fashion industry with 16 to 18 percent interest rates. It’s not possible. It’s a suicide mission.”