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GEW 2015 Communique

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators, who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During one week in November, GEW is a platform created to inspire people globally through entrepreneurial fostering activities, help exploit existing and emerging opportunities as well as intimate networking gatherings, and connect practitioners to prospective investors, collaborators and mentors.

For a period of one week, the SSEDC joined the world to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015, with different packages created to engage Agro-allied businesses, tech innovators, creative industry drivers. This was done with the aim of driving interaction with experts in the business and showcase cutting edge innovative and user friendly products and services that will enhance the productivity and profitability of SME’s.

As an institution set up to drive entrepreneurship within the region, collaborating with the Calabar Chamber of Commerce, and joining the global entrepreneurship community, the CBN South South Entrepreneurship Development Centre, organized commemorative events to celebrate the week. The events were targeted at captains of industry, government agencies, Entrepreneurs, Financial Community and General members of the public.

Download full brief here

1. The Digital Farming Concept

Simply put, digital farming is the use of computer software and hardware applications to attain a high level of productivity, performance, quality and accountability. I have a conviction that every living thing is a running program just like a computer software program. If you study animals, plants and even human beings closely, you will agree with me that every one of these entities passes through various stages and phases during which some life events occur.

Computer programs are designed to work in the same way. There is lots of instruction or codes written to make some events happen when a user makes a request for something within the ecosystem of an application. You can clearly see therefore that animals, plants and computer software have lots in common. The primary common factor being that they all have input, processing and output. Animals and plants are running programs designed by God the Almighty. This is our mind-set at CAD Digital Farm and we have been able to bring this belief to reality with our farm management software application called "CADERPTM LifeTimeTM".

CADERPTM LifeTime™ for Farm Management
We employ the use of Computer-aided management for our production operations. Our management software helps us monitor every aspect of production, locking out wastes and yielding higher profits than the conventional farm record-keeping methods. Listed below are some of the features of this solution:

Animal husbandry

  • Date of next mating
  • Date to wean litters
  • Date to introduce next box
  • Delivery date
  • Date to sell off or harvest meat
  • Date to administer drugs or vaccination
  • Suggestion of male or female to mate with since Lifetime maintains history of mating and birth records
  • Forecast next production date and amount
  • Identify non performing stock

Farm accounting and Inventory management

Farming is a business venture and must apply business principles in its day-to-day activities. Sales and purchase transactions need to be captured and posted into the respective ledgers at the right time. Other transactions like bank lodgements and withdrawals and other journal entry related transactions must be captured. Financial statement should be generated monthly to monitor the status of the business. "CADERPTM LifeTimeTM helps to manage all materials used in the business for production. When tasks are performed, the system automatically deducts the quantity of materials used from inventory. This allows constant tracking of the quantity of materials on hand.

For large businesses, central production management can easily monitor multiple farm sites from one central location; saving time, and improving management response to any issue in the production process.

Other features include: Mobile Farm Technology, Business Intelligence Module, Financial Integration, Time sheet and Payroll.

2. Shield Academy Partners Limited grows SME with ₦10M.(Trains 1,143 participants)

Shield Academy Partners Limited agency of the central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Entrepreneurial Development Centre (EDC) south-south zone, Calabar, on Tuesday officially launched a N10million empowerment programme for 100 participants and graduands of the centre to boost their businesses, after successfully presenting their business plans. The chief executive officer of Shield Academy Partners, Seni Hazzan said the launch of the N10 million seed fund was born out of the desire to equip the graduands to start-up and grow their own businesses, as part of effort of contributing to the national economy.

He said the south -south EDC comprising of Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa and River State, with headquarters in Calabar is one of the three Entrepreneurial Development Centres newly established in January 2013 by the CBN, as an intervention initiative of the federal Government to stimulate the development of new enterprise that will create jobs, and reduce unemployment in Nigeria. According to him, the initiative is targeted at citizens without formal education, secondary school leavers, unemployed graduates and aspiring or exiting entrepreneurs who desire to take their businesses to greater heights.

The programme director of Shield Academy Partners, Gbenga Owolabi said the SEED Fund is part of the company’s contribution to the development of small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sectors in Nigeria; and to assist some of the EDC participants who have completed and certified their business plans during the EDC training programme. “Since the commencement of the programme, we have trained 1,143 participants and currently have another 400 participants receiving training in our class-rooms. We observe a high level of enthusiasm on the part of the participants to contribute their quota to improving the economy of our nation,” he said. Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State said the launching of the SEED fund by shield academy would bring investment in human capital. This according to him would bring about meaningful and enduring development, as it is geared at developing the people for which they are to benefit.

3. Entrepreneur of the Month - Emmanuel Eteta Ita (Ultimania Aesthetics)

Emmanuel Eteta Ita is an accountant by profession,though he has never worked for anybody. A man of possibilities, who’s driving force has always been, the fear of going hungry. He started what became today’s Ultimania Aesthetics from hawking used clothes (Okrika) to forming shapes from wrought iron.

Unknown to people, Emmanuel popularly called Ultimania sold his most valuable asset, a 14inchs colour television to start his business. According to him, the problem with youths of nowadays is their beliefs and faith in make-belief life as displayed on TV shows. To him, real life is different and must be faced with real plans and solutions.

Ultimania regards himself as a hand – on – person. He possesses great potentials in designing and forming wonderful things including chairs, tables, etc. from wrought iron. Today, Ultimania Aesthetics is a household name in furniture, and a name to reckon with as far as Calabar and its environs are concerned. With two showrooms and over 15 employees, Ultimania Aesthetics has become a multidimensional venture with core interest in interiors decoration, furniture and supplies.Ultimania is an entrepreneur to the core. Currently, he is diversifying into poultry farms with over 700 birds in stock. He is also planning to go into fishery. His life philosophy is “never back down”.

4. Business 101: Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is both an attitudinal and behavioral tendency to favor one brand over all others, whether due to satisfaction with the product or service, its convenience or performance, or simply familiarity and comfort with the brand. Customer loyalty encourages consumers to shop more consistently, spend a greater share of wallet, and feel positive about a shopping experience, helping attract consumers to familiar brands in the face of a competitive environment.

Five(5) reasons why customer loyalty matters.

It’s easier to up-sell and cross-sell to loyal customers:

  • Loyal customers are familiar with their favourite brands and more willing to try out and explore recommendations and new products. Marketing Metrics found out that the probability of selling something to new prospects is only about 5-20%, whilst the probability of selling something to an existing customer is 60-70%. For the same amount of effort to sell something, expected sales as such is higher from selling to your loyal customers.

Loyal customers are your free marketing agent, brand ‘ambassador’ to help build your brand:

  • Loyal customers are more inclined to share their positive experience and making recommendation of a business to their friends. They love your brand, they speak about your brand and humans are generally more influenced by people they are familiar with. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful channel of marketing, if not the most. They reinforce your brand in the mind of consumers that are unfamiliar and new to your brand.

Lower costs to acquire new customers:

  • It is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire new customers than servicing your regulars. Businesses have to advertise to attract their attention, incentivize them with discounts, educate them about their brand and product, provide personalised services which all amounts to costs. By focusing on customer loyalty and building your brand, your loyal customers will be a strong influencer to get new prospects to try out your brand, substantially reducing the associated costs in acquiring new customers. Cultivate loyalty, and get an army of free, sales people to spread the love of your brand.

Customer loyalty insulates your business from price competition:

  • Competition is heating up! Let’s slash prices! But through loyalty, it reduces the effect of price sensitivity on your customers and in the words of Warren Buffett, it gives you an ‘economic moat’ from losing customers to competitors. It takes more than reducing prices to lure your loyal customers away. Loyalty also helps in the opposite direction when prices have to go up. In times of rising costs and inflation, the stickiness and commitment towards your brand makes it easier to pass on additional costs to customers without them defecting in mass, eventually helping to protect your bottom line.

Loyal customers provide honest, quality feedback

  • Feedback is crucial to know where and how to improve. Loyal customers, they love your brand. They wouldn’t hesitate or be shy to provide their honest feedback, especially negative ones as they want to see your brand thrive and serve them better. In many instances, new customers visit your brand, try it out, have some dislikes or unpleasant experience and they tend not to voice it out and telling themselves that they will not return again. You hardly get feedback loop from new customers and this is detrimental to your product and service quality.

Loyal Customers

These see you as a friend and ally, they're reluctant to jump ship, even if it means they can get something a little cheaper. Creating such relationships requires both the right attitude and the right behaviors. Naturally, we need to be communicating with these customers on a regular basis by telephone, mail, email, etc. These people are the ones who can and should influence our buying and merchandising decisions. Nothing will make a Loyal Customer feel better than soliciting their input and showing them how much you value it. In my mind, you can never do enough for them. Many times, the more you do for them, the more they will recommend you to others. Customer satisfaction is the number one driving force behind developing loyal customers. Gaining loyal customers is like striking gold! This group of repeat customers converts easily, spends more, costs less to service and helps spread the word about their positive experience.

Tips for Building Customer Loyalty

  • Make relationships your priority: Customers immediately sense if you're using them (and the relationship) to work your own agenda. Put the relationship first and treat it as more important than making the sale. Your customers will sense you've got their best interests at heart.
  • Get curious about people: People are drawn to those who show a true interest in them. Honest (but non-intrusive) curiosity helps you understand how you can better help your customers, while giving you the opportunity to learn new things and make new connections.
  • Be consistent and reliable: People only offer loyalty to those whom they trust. Customers decide whether to trust you based upon your day-to-day behavior . If it's unpredictable, they'll shy away. If it's consistent over time, they'll know you can be counted on.
  • Let yourself be vulnerable: Pretending to be Superman just alienates people. Building a relationship requires discovering the areas where you and your customer can work best together. This is only possible if you're willing to admit your weaknesses and limitations.
  • Keep an open mind: If you walk into a customer meeting absolutely convinced that the customer needs your offering, the customer will sense you're close-minded... and become close-minded in return. An open mind helps the customer be open to the relationship.
  • Be willing to recommend competitors: When you're open to the idea that the customer might be better served elsewhere, your customer will begin thinking of you as a trusted adviser and consultant rather than a salesperson trying to make your numbers.
  • Have real conversations: A customer meeting should be a conversation and never a "sales call." Always spend more time listening to the customer rather than talking to the customer. (And never, ever talk at a customer. No sales pitches!)
  • Be a professional: Customer want to do business with individuals who are serious about what they do, and willing to take the time to achieve a deep understanding of their craft, their industry, and the how the customer's business works.
  • Cultivate fearless integrity: Never be afraid to take a stand, even when it's unpopular with your customer or your company. That does not mean being picking unnecessary fights, but it does mean being willing to make decisions based upon what you know is right.
  • Decide to make selling more fun: Building great relationships is not just good business, it's also great fun. Consider: wouldn't you rather spend time with people whom you like (and who like you in return) rather than trying to manipulate people into buying stuff they don't need?
  • Keeping touch with customers using email marketing, thank you cards and more.
  • Treating your team well so they treat your customers well.
  • Showing that you care and remembering what they like and don’t like.
  • You build it by rewarding them for choosing you over your competitors.
  • You build it by truly giving a damn about them and figuring out how to make them more successful, happy and joyful.