If you’re like most aspiring Nigerian entrepreneurs, capital is one of the five things holding you back from starting your own business. Learning from others who have surmounted this obstacle can inspire, motivate and help you overcome your own challenges in this area too. At Connect Nigeria, we believe in the power of practical tips and personal experience, so here’s what we learnt from how Nigerian entrepreneurs responded to the question, “How did you raise capital to start your business?”
1. Don’t underestimate the power of personal savings…
“We raised capital through personal savings.” ~ Abodunrin and Oluwawamide Opanuga, Greetings World (@greetingsworld_)
2. In addition to your savings, don’t shy away from asking family and friends…
“My initial capital was from my personal savings from my 9-5 job. I like to refer to Style Rebirth as my night job because I am an IT consultant and have a regular 9-5 career. Subsequently, my family bought into my entrepreneurial vision and also infused more capital as the business grew. I tried to get funding from banks in the early stages but we all know how Nigerian banks and small businesses can be.” ~ Funmi Ibiyode, Style Rebirth (@StyleRebirth)
“We raised capital from our own hard earned savings and through family and friends who believed in the idea and put their monies where their beliefs were.” ~ Emeka Mordi, Buyam.com.ng (@BuyamNG)
3. Save, ask family and friends, and be willing to start small…
“I started business with N2, 500 (two thousand, five hundred naira). My best friend’s sister, Yemisi Akaahs, gave me the money; just enough to print some A4 black and white flyers, and to buy my first supply of newspapers.” ~ Stanley Oyovota, Barows21 Media (@Barows21)
“BOOTSTRAPPING!!! I had to scream that (laughs) but seriously, I have a partner who supports with finances when she can and I have had great support from family and friends.
What has kept me going is the fact that I applied the lean start-up approach with the business from the outset. I operate a virtual office and where I can; I barter rather than exchange cash. I have also maintained a good relationship with most of my suppliers over the years, so we have credit arrangements.” ~ Mofolusade Sonaike, Trezorlandia (@Trezorlandia)
“I started African Things while I was doing my NYSC. I used my monthly salary to buy Ankara jewelry wholesale from people who made them, then resold for slightly higher prices. I bought 10 earrings and bangles then 20 then more and more. Before I knew it I was known as ‘Ms. African Things’ selling to friends, family and co-workers. I got to the point where I wanted to expand the business and produce quality bags in bulk. My family especially my mother gave me the money I needed to expand the business further. Soon I was buying 40 backpacks on a monthly basis and selling on a number of online platforms, like Jumia and Konga.” ~ Tosin Lawson, African Things (@AfricanlThings)
4. Save, ask family and friends, start small, and plough your profits back in as capital…
“I raised capital from my previous job. I also started out small, and grew the business with the funds from some of the jobs I over the years was privileged to co-ordinate.” ~ Ngozi Nkiri-Ossai, Doubletap Events (@doubletap_ng)
“The business has grown organically so far. Capital has been raised from the first pair of slippers sold, to the last pair sold till date.” ~ Kene Rapu, Slippers by Kene (@KeneRapu)
“Like most SMEs, Beddings ‘n’ Beyond started with funds from my own pocket. My start-up capital was well below N20,000. It’s truly inspirational how far the brand has come from that initial N20,000 with minuscule external influence, financially.
It does mean that sometimes you ponder at your finances: Where are all these monies being realized from the business? Then it hits you: They are spent growing the brand! Every kobo made is ploughed right back into the business.
It takes a while but when you start reaping, it is major. In all though, God has been faithful! It’s always been Him!” ~ Ogochukwu Agu, Beddings ‘n’ Beyond (@beddingsnbeyond)
Interested in more tips from entrepreneurs? Check out our CNTV Meet the Boss series.