‘COVID-19 sparked entrepreneurs’ investment ingenuity’

Tonya Lawani is the CEO, Seal Group with subsidiaries like ABC Inflatables Nigeria Limited, Virgin Vie Angel Limited, The Virgin Hospitality Company and The Quick Print Shop Limited. Tonya who can be the creator of iSucceed Business Planner and a member of the Institute of Directors of Nigeria (IOD), speaks about empowerment and enterprise administration in the course of the pandemic. Excerpts:

What is the affect of the present enterprise setting on entrepreneurship in Nigeria?

The setting has been very robust – inflation, expertise flight, poor infrastructure and the continual fall in buying energy have affected numerous companies. Entrepreneurs are additionally confronted with the challenges of energy provide and a hike in operational bills. Start-up capital has additionally develop into more and more troublesome to entry given excessive rates of interest and volatility of the market.  Interestingly, it isn’t all doom and gloom.

Some individuals have additionally been lucky to obtain funding from respected programmess just like the Bank of Industry (BoI) Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) Programme. This programme goals to advertise entrepreneurship amongst NYSC members by offering as much as N2 million mortgage at zero per cent rate of interest. This and different particular interventions are a number of the methods entrepreneurs can navigate the present enterprise setting.  Entrepreneurship in these occasions requires courageousness and doggedness.

Arguably, the post-COVID-19 period got here with extra challenges. How have you ever managed what you are promoting throughout this disaster and what are your methods?

There is little question that COVID-19 additionally made many entrepreneurs suppose outdoors the field. Indeed, it sparked the artistic ingenuity in many people. This explains why some firms declared big income in the course of the lockdown final yr.

Companies discovered alternative routes to do what they’d been doing. Some firms diversified to fulfill the wants of the market whereas others constructed model fairness by way of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives they’re now leveraging.

During this era, we now have continued to supply high notch service within the printing and hospitality business to our current clientele. These happy clients additionally proceed to refer us. Our enterprise has big prospects, we recognized a prepared market with an ever-growing demand aspect and the advantages have been phenomenal. We present fairly quite a few companies in – branding, printing, gifting, promoting, promotional merchandising and hospitality. The buy-in is nice and there are extra alternatives for different individuals to key into this business.

To what extent have you ever been concerned in mentoring upcoming entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurship is one factor that I maintain very dearly. I proceed to search out methods by way of my many companies and initiatives to help younger entrepreneur’s particularly feminine owned/led firms.

At the SEAL GROUP, we lately launched an empowerment programme – “Girl Child Empowerment Initiative (GCEI)”, an entrepreneurial talent improvement initiative designed to empower adolescent women and set them on the correct half. Empowering adolescent women and giving them the alternatives, they deserve results in more healthy households, strengthened economies, and extra equitable societies.

It has develop into more and more clear that not one of the 17 SDGs that the world has dedicated to attaining by 2030 could be realised with out investing in and empowering the biggest technology of adolescent women the world has ever seen.

Under The Quick Print Shop (QPS), Our GCEI Initiative will minimize throughout Mindset-Attitudinal Training, Entrepreneurial Skills and Digital Skills Training. Some core modules will embody Visual Identity Graphic Design, Marketing and Advertising, User Interface (UI) Design, Motion Graphic Design, Art and Illustration, Publication and Packaging Graphic Design, and Printing.

We will even have lessons targeted on – Email Marketing, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing (Paid Advertising), Social Media Marketing (Organic Traffic), Introduction to Digital Marketing, Pay Per Click Search, Coding and much extra.

The programme designed to provide again to the society will deal with younger women between the ages of 15-25 years. These females on the programme will not have to have interaction in vices like prostitution, cybercrime, armed theft, kidnapping and many others. to place meals on the desk.

The final section of the GCEI is the Business administration and Financial administration Training. Successful graduates will endure this coaching and obtain starter packs that can allow them stand on their very own. QPS has additionally put in place an efficient Monitoring and Evaluating (M&E) mechanism, to observe up on the progress of trainees and in addition present steering.

In addition, The Quick Print Shop (QPS) and Seal Group even have an initiative that’s targeted on establishing Skills Clubs in faculties. These golf equipment educate life expertise and monetary literacy. We will proceed to leverage partnerships from states and different companies to ship on all our initiatives

Which main feminine enterprise leaders inspire you?

Mrs Ibukun Awosika and Hajia Bola Shagaya are a number of the leaders who inspire me.

Seeing all you could have achieved, are you able to inform us when determined you have been going into enterprise?

Upon commencement from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, with BSc in Economics, I sought to be an employer of individuals by establishing a merchandising and retail outfit, the Virgin Vie Angel Limited in 2005. I catered for a lot of huge company firms merchandising and branding wants making our identify within the business as considered one of Nigeria’s most constant, modern and worth creating manufacturers. This was the muse for all my different companies.


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