Hey Smartpreneurs! In case you missed our second Instagram Live session, we have got you covered with insightful excerpts.
On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, our host Tallulah had a chat with Samalia Adoyi Ogwuche, CEO DandHausawa Media Ltd. Samalia is a multi-faceted entrepreneur, arguably one of the leading media and entertainment personalities in the north. The conversation was themed Understanding the SME sector in Northern Nigeria. This was a truly enlightening topic because there are a lot of questions as to the terrain of Northern Nigeria when it comes to business.
Here is an except for you.
Tallulah: There are so many preconceptions about doing business in the north. A lot of people do not know how to break into or navigate business in the northern market; can you please shed light on this?
Samalia: Aside from doing business here, I was also born and raised here so I very well know that some of those misconceptions are probably from people peddling things because they don’t know the people here (Northern Nigeria). Everything that you see the kids in the South or Western Nigeria do, the Northern Nigeria kids want to do the same. If someone is driving an exotic car in Lagos, there is someone in Kano who wants to do the same. It’s the same thing with business. Everyone wants to succeed. Sometimes you go to restaurants here where they sell Amala and you find out that 80-90% of people that go there are Northerners ordering for Amala. That goes to say we have the same aspirations, we all want to be great, healthy and well dressed. Yes some things, because of the culture here, are not totally embraced. Some things are not accepted in Eastern Nigeria as well. Northern Nigeria is a 90million buying power. It is one of the highest clusters in Africa. This means that whatever product or item you bring to the north, be rest assured that consumers are ready to purchase. People here aren’t going anywhere, they’ve been here for ages and they will continue to be here. Look at China for example; it is like the workshop of the world. People go there to produce because they have a lot of people. Northern Nigeria can be our China, there are a lot of people here and entrepreneurs can harness the numbers
Tallulah: What are the barriers you think SMEs face when targeting the Northern Nigeria market?
Samalia: The issue of culture has been over flogged in conversations concerning the North. If you take a tour of for instance Kaduna, you will see what people actually wear, how they dress, even Kano. Yes understand the culture but it is not something that should scare you because it is sometimes exaggerated, this is something that every entrepreneur targeting the northern market needs to understand. Then for people who are here in the north that may want to venture into entrepreneurship, they need to welcome every opportunity for capacity building. There is not even a huge number of the population going to school here. This is where vocational trainings come in aside the conventional schooling. Just like I said earlier, Northern Nigeria can be the China of Africa.
Tallulah: What are the best ways of marketing or communicating to the audience in Northern Nigeria? Should social media be considered or is traditional media such as billboard and radio better?
Samalia: If you still belong to that school of thought that Northerners are always with radio, then you have completely got it all wrong honestly. Every Northern Nigerian is online; they have phones that they can go on Facebook with. Northern Nigerians is the highest number of people on Facebook in Nigeria. I was at a forum some time ago and there was a BBC representative who stated that they have the largest number of Northern Nigerians subscribed to their platform. BBC Hausa Facebook group had the highest number in Africa at that time. Now a lot of them are on Instagram because it involves more pictorials and less write-ups. Northern Nigerian celebs are among the people with massive followership in Nigeria. A large community of Northern Nigerians are on Tiktok at the moment. Entrepreneurs need to know about all of this and move from the preconceptions about the North.
Watch full interview here: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CAYJvManISt/?igshid=16ci6b7emyqwq
This article is slightly edited for clarity sake