Making a living from provision of household necessities

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Nike Popoola

Mrs. Mary Nduka is the chief executive director of M&N Stores located in a big shopping plaza at a Lagos estate where she resides.

Mere sighting the shop from the outside may give the impression that it is an office or a supermarket where all sorts of assorted things are sold because of its location and decency.

But M&N Stores is a place where you can buy all your food items at the prevailing market rate.

The items there include tomatoes, pepper, onions, meat, okro, garri, palm oil and ground nut oil.

The office is neatly furnished and fully air conditioned, which makes the environment very welcoming to all callers.

Rather than use such an office for a boutique or a supermarket, Nduka decided to bring the open market into the decent shopping plaza for the residents, mostly for people of high calibre who might be too busy to go to the regular market for food items and other related needs.

According to her, “I noticed that this estate is very big and inhabited by rich and busy Lagosians, who hardly have time to go to the market. I also noticed that there was no place around where people could buy their kitchen needs around because hawkers and street sellers are not allowed in this estate.”

She, therefore, felt such a business would be lucrative, while also helping the rich and the busy business people around there to do their shopping with ease.

She says that the business has been a very profitable one for her because she has been able to provide the needed service in the estate, which has continued to enjoy high patronage.

The President, Entrepreneurship Promotions Academy, Dr. Adebola Olubanjo, trained as a chartered accountant in Nigeria and abroad, and has worked as an auditor for many years.

As a successful entrepreneur who is engaged in diverse businesses, he heads EPA, a non governmental organisation, limited by guarantteee, and committed to fanning the flames of entrepreneurship promotion and development through initiating comprehensive events to train intending and prospective entrepreneurs.

According to him, entrepreneurship is the bedrock of any society that is intent on making progress.

He observes that often times, some people stay at home for years with the excuse of not getting jobs which makes them to live in poverty.

These people, he notes, may not need to stay idle if they are ready to take the right initiatives, which can make them become successful entrepreneurs.

He notes that there are many things that a person can do to make a living instead of waiting for someone to employ him.

According to him, ”There are many things that you can do, this world is full of problems. And business is about solving problems through provision of products and services at a price at which people are willing and able to pay, if the price is too high they will not be able to pay.”

He says that what many people need is the idea on what to do and that getting an idea is not a difficult thing.

An intending entrepreneur, he says, should find out what people are complaining about and supplying them at affordable prices.

Giving an example, he observed that two years ago in his estate, there were no pharmacists around and so, people found it hard to get drugs and had to go out to buy drugs whenever they were urgently needed.

Soon he observed, someone took the initiative and opened a pharmacist shop, which was serving everyone in the estate.

Later, he adds, another pharmacist opened a second shop but to have an added advantage, he joined it with a supermarket to attract more patronage.

While stressing the need for people to be innovative, he says, ”Entrepreneurship is the avenue for releasing and developing the productive genius in the citizenry, for socio-economic development and wealth creation. If we give entrepreneurship the required attention, the Nigerian economy will begin to flourish and soon, the unemployment and underemployment challenge would be much minimised.”

Chief Executive Director, Seat Nigeria Limited, Mr. Niyi Egbe, observes that it is a different thing to have the zeal or skill to do a particular business, but another to have the required knowledge to sustain it.

For this reason, he stresses that there is the need for existing and intending entrepreneurs to acquire the required knowledge that would help them, not only maintain their businesses but also to overcome the challenges such businesses are prone to.

”This will reduce the rate of unemployment in the country and help to alleviate hardship and poverty,” Egbe says.


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