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How Nigerian Startup Founders and Innovators Can Easily Access UK Visa



, SiliconNigeria

eMigr8, a programme by Bincom Dev Center, holds regular open day sessions, where globally sought-after experts discuss pathways for legal migration abroad. The firm has recently initiated a new campaign that focuses on educating people how to move to the United Kingdom (UK) within three to six (3-6) months.  , SiliconNigeria

At the most recent open day edition hosted by Tech Entrepreneur, Bade Adesemowo, Coach Oluwaseun Fadiora, an innovator and startup founder explained his journey to the UK and how anyone interested can replicate it without going through the UK global Talent visa or student visa route.

The UK Startup Visa route is less expensive compared to the student visa route. It requires minimal background tech experience; visa holders can work full time while building their startup. However, one must be interested in and dedicated to building a startup in the UK.

On the other hand, the UK Innovator Visa is for people who already have their startup running with about fifty thousand pounds (£50,000) invested. As a recipient of the innovator visa, there is a pathway to settlement. It’s also possible to go from a UK Startup Visa to a UK Innovator Visa. For both routes, you need to find an endorsing body to endorse you and your ideas.

In addition, you are required to show commitment to building and growing your innovation and adding value to the UK system. The eMigr8 programme offers the training and information required to aid you on this path and get endorsed. Bincom Dev Center has a team of qualified coaches to inform and handhold you through the chosen path to success.

At the event, Coach Fadiora began by sharing experiences from his past, present, and future. According to him, “Our past is a sum of all our previous experiences, we often discount our past without properly understanding or acknowledging that it is what pushes us into our present and ultimately, our future.”

He mentioned that in his first year in the university, he had a 0.47 out of 5 GPA, but he eventually finished with a second-class upper grade. “A lot of us try things, fail, and then refuse to go back. However, when you fail, you should go back and try again”, he enthused.

He further debunked the myth that innovation must be mind-blowing and must have never been done before. According to Coach Fadiora, innovation is not necessarily doing something new; it could be as simple as reducing a ten-step process to a five-step process.

He started his career in an editing firm, then a research firm. He later worked in investment banking before starting his own business.

He would later hear about the UK Innovator Visa and spent time trying to find an endorsing body. One of the bodies replied to his application, saying that they were not impressed with his idea. He pressed on until getting endorsed.

He met a client whom he had shown integrity in the past and would later invest and provide his proof of funds. After speaking to various professionals and hiring a lawyer, he eventually got the endorsement and visa.

The Innovator Visa is a higher version of the Entrepreneur Visa, and there are steps to being successful in its pursuit. First, you must have a concept that is viable, innovative, and scalable. Another condition is that you must employ five people and pay them up to twenty-five thousand pounds (£25,000) per year.

Coach Fadiora added that at the end of the day, what’s important is that you can improve the system, provide solutions, and show tangible proof of work. It’s essential to take the first risk (the first step) and then move on strategically from there as all the decisions you make today will contribute to the future.

He concluded by saying, “The world is your stage, don’t limit yourself or restrict yourself. Look to the future always and retry even if you fail.”

eMigr8 helps talents become globally attractive by either enhancing their tech profile or building a tech-enabled business. They support clients through information sessions, preliminary assessments, handholding, consultation, among others.

They also offer premium services, which includes the eMigr8 circle, a closed community, and personalised coaching services. Although they do not offer legal advice, you can benefit from previous processes and other people’s experiences.

Other services offered by the Bincom Dev Center are categorised under beginner-level and intermediate-level programmes including the Bincom Global Tech Programme (Learn Tech Now, Pay Later), Bincom Mentoring Platform, Labs by Bincom, and Headhunter Service (Tech employment and recruiting services for Individuals). Look out for the upcoming sessions on UK and US global talent visas.

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Entrepreneurs, Start-ups Receive upscaling strategies as 9mobile’s Hack visits Enugu



, SiliconNigeria

 The coal city of Enugu was abuzz as Nigeria’s innovative and SME-friendly telecommunications brand, 9mobile, further reaffirmed its commitment to the growth of SMEs when it hosted small businesses, start-ups, and budding entrepreneurs at ‘The Hack’, its networking and business mentorship initiative, taking them through strategies and solutions that will help them build their business presence, and upscale.

This edition of ‘The Hack,’ the first in the series for 2023, was held at the popular Amadeo Event Center, by Tunnel Crossing in Enugu.

The Hack’ by 9mobile is an enterprise mentorship and networking event where seasoned SME mentors, business leaders, growth experts, and facilitators share practical business fundamentals and insights to help SMEs and growing businesses scale up.

Lead Facilitator and Online Business Coach Nelly Agbogu, also known as ‘NaijaBrandChick, spoke extensively on the topic: ‘How to use social media to grow your business’, and emphasized the importance of social media to the growth of SMEs. “Every business must be on social media to leverage presence and ease of accessibility, to make sales, engage with customers, and generate business leads”, she said.

Agbogu harped on the choice of social media platforms and knowing the ideal place brands can meet customers, noting that brands must be honest with themselves when making choices of social media platforms to reach their markets. She hinged business success on stability, trust, and intentionality. “I will always tell anybody who cares to listen. To succeed in business, one must be consistent, trustworthy, and intentional about business. If you are not consistent in your actions, you will lose it. So, remain scalable, profitable at every single point in time, and consistent”, she advised.

The Head of Network and IT Procurement at 9mobile, Femi Olaojo, spoke on ‘Negotiating Your Way to Business Growth’, and noted the significance of vendor performance evaluation, cost of ownership, sourcing strategies, and contracting in business.

The Manager of SME Marketing, 9mobile, Segun Dawodu, spoke on ‘Sme Business Automation’, stating how automation can help reduce business costs. “Automation can help you, as an SME, to streamline your processes, increase efficiency, reduce cost, and customer experience”, he said.

“What we do at 9mobile is to help you automate your customer expectations with voice solutions, CUG, accounting, inventory management, customer relations management, and CRM tools”, Dawodu disclosed.

The attendees all expressed gratitude to 9mobile for the initiative. They professed that ‘The Hack’ in Enugu broadened their horizons on how to grow their businesses. 

The Hack’ is a platform by 9mobile that seeks to support and promote entrepreneurs in the SME space. It is anchored as a business and networking mentorship program facilitated by business experts who share business ideas with participants and groom them to scale their businesses. The first edition was held in Lagos and has since made stops in Abuja and Port Harcourt, with the next stop scheduled to hold in Kano.

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Lere Awokoya to Drive Growth and Customer Engagement as Jumia Nigeria’s CMO  



, SiliconNigeria

Lere Awokoya, an experienced marketing expert, has been promoted to the position of Chief Marketing Officer at Jumia. Previously, Lere served as Head of Brand for the leading e-commerce platform, where he was responsible for the company’s brand strategy and execution.

In his new role, Lere will oversee all marketing activities across Jumia’s portfolio of brands, including Jumia Mall, Jumia Food and Jumia Pay. He will be responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies that drive growth and customer engagement, as well as leading a team of marketing professionals.

“I am honoured to be promoted and grateful for the recognition of my contributions to the company,” said Lere. “I am excited to take on new challenges and continue working towards Jumia’s mission of improving people’s lives by providing for their everyday needs. I am motivated to work even harder and exceed expectations in my new role”.

Lere brings over a decade of experience in marketing and brand management to his new position. Prior to joining Jumia, he worked with several multinational companies, including Betway and Moet Hennessy.

“We are thrilled to have Lere as our new Chief Marketing Officer,” said Massimiliano Spalazzi, CEO of Jumia Nigeria. “Lere has been instrumental in shaping our brand and driving customer engagement, and we are confident that he will continue to deliver exceptional results in his new role.”

Listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Jumia is Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, offering a wide range of products and services to customers across the continent. With Lere at the helm of marketing, the company is poised to continue its growth trajectory and cement its position as a leader in the industry.

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M-KOPA raises $250m to scale high-impact consumer fintech across Africa



, SiliconNigeria

M-KOPA, a leading fintech platform, today announced it successfully closed over $250m in new debt and equity funding to expand its financial services offering to underbanked consumers across Sub-Saharan Africa. This marks one of the largest combined debt and equity raises in the African tech sector, enabling M-KOPA to continue its rapid growth.

Over $200m in sustainability-linked debt financing was led and arranged by Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank and long-term strategic partner to M-KOPA. Other participating lenders include The International Finance Corporation (IFC), funds managed by Lion’s Head Global Partners, FMO: Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, British International Investment, Mirova SunFunder and Nithio. A further $55m in equity investment was backed by existing strategic investor Sumitomo Corporation, which is contributing $36.5m to the total raise and will engage closely with M-KOPA on new growth markets and products. Blue Haven Initiative, Lightrock, Broadscale Group and Latitude, the sister fund to Local Globe, also participated in the transaction.

M-KOPA’s fintech platform combines the power of digital micropayments with the Internet-of-Things (IoT) to provide customers with access to productive assets. In markets where individuals have limited pre-existing financial identities and conventional collateral, M-KOPA’s flexible credit model allows individuals to pay a small deposit and get instant access to everyday essentials, including smartphones, electric motorcycles and solar power systems, and then graduate to digital financial services such as loans and health insurance. M-KOPA’s solution embeds credit into the product through a smart digital connection, giving customers ownership instantly, which they can pay off through micro-instalments over time. The company has sold over 3 million of these products through a unique direct sales model that includes more than 10,000 agents. M-KOPA’s operations started in East Africa and successfully expanded to Nigeria in 2021 and, more recently, Ghana. From 2020 to 2022, M-KOPA recorded a compound annual growth rate of 85% in new customer acquisition, and was recently recognised as one of Africa’s Fastest-Growing Top 100 companies by the Financial Times for two consecutive years, in 2022 and 2023.

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