Speakers at the September 2017 edition of CFA’s Start-ups Hangout, which was held on Friday, September 22, 2017 at Adna Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, have advised startups to follow their passion and adopt technology for work processes.

The advice came even as the attendee Startups were not disappointed as they got to learn a lot from the two most successful and distinguished Speakers at the event.

The two speakers were Austin Okere, Founder and Vice-Chairman, CWG Plc, a leading player in the information communications technology industry across Africa and Banke Alawaye, Country Manager, Praekelt, an IT Consulting company and CEO, Rock Salt Services.

First to speak was Banke. She stated, for a Startup to be successful, he/she has to know the ‘Why’ and the ‘How’s of going into that line of business. She stated that the ‘Why’ of starting your own business is the passion that keeps them going into that business. “It is the ‘Why’s, that excites and drives them to pursue their ideas.

Banke stated that the ‘How’, includes issues, such as, finding the right relationship help you achieve your ideas, taking good care of them to motivate them well, in spite of the limited resources available to you as a Startup.It also includes issues on staff training the staff, so, they will focus on what you want them to achieve.

other issues on the ‘How’ list, she stated, include issues, such as using tech wisely to improve your work processes, understanding your product cycle and accountability, which involves tracking the cost of funds that goes into making your products and services, checks and balances, etc. Banke also reminded the Startups that anything they do as an entrepreneur, they do for the user.

Austin, started off by starting that, instead of asking the question as to whether entrepreneurs are born or made, the right question to ask is, in fact, “who volunteers to be an entrepreneur?”. His argument is that, anyone could become an entrepreneur, if you follow the rules that makes a good entrepreneur. He went on to state three things he always advised young entrepreneurs to do, if they want to become successful entrepreneurs.

The first is to make sure that they have a great passion for whatever business they want to engage in. The second advice he gave is for the young entrepreneurs to know that, success in business is not a destination where you can ‘arrive’, hence, they should not show off when they think they have ‘arrived’. He advised that, instead of showing off by spending funds recklessly, they should stock up for the long haul. The third advice that Austin has for young entrepreneurs, is to note that, entrepreneurship is, actually about providing solution, through a service or product. “The App is not the business. The solution that the App solves is the business,” Austin concluded.

Austin stated that some of the lessons he learnt along his entrepreneurial journey include the following:

  1. When opportunities come, be ready to take them up. Always be prepared.
  2. If you want to do big things, think big from the onset.
  3. Don’t assume that everything is okay.
  4. Do more with less resources by synergizing, diversifying, etc.
  5. Go for global standard registration, which is key for you to scale on the international level.
  6. Do what is within your control.

Austin went on to give the attendee Startups with what he calls, the three W’s that further helped to sustain him in business. These are, the ‘Why power’, ‘Will power’ and ‘What power’.

The two speakers answered various questions from the attendee Startups. In answer to one of the questions, Austin stated that the Startups don’t really need a godfather to succeed in business. “The godfather should be the quality of your products and services”, he stressed. Banke, on the other, in answer to another question that, Startups must strive to be known for something by creating a niche for themselves. “Don’t cut corners. Do not do something for free, if it is not sustainable because, it is capable of cutting corners” advised. She concluded by advising the attendee Startups the always seek knowledge by learning, all the time.


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