We Use Technology To Solve Problems – Hamidu | Independent Newspapers Limited
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We Use Technology To Solve Problems – Hamidu

Posted: Jul 22, 2016 at 3:15 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Ibrahim Hamidu is the founder/lead consultant at Asked 4 Tech Solutions in Abuja. He is a computer scientist; an expert in the areas of e-business and information system, web design. He tells Ikechi Nzeako how his company is using technology to solve problems for clients. He also speaks on the business environment in the country.

Excerpt:

What did you have in mind when you set up the company?

I worked for other people in the past and I enjoyed it because it allowed me to use my skills to provide solutions to problems. As a kid, I had the vision to work on my own and have my own company and it was a dream that I realised when I established Asked 4 Tech Solutions.

What kind of services does your company provide?

We offer services in the areas of web design, graphic design, software development and training.

I like to say that we solve problems with technology. As we have it in the country, there are few solutions in terms of technology and some of the solutions out there are not up to the task. We try to provide technological solutions to challenges of our clients. We often have people import solutions into the country from all parts of the world; some of these solutions do not suit the Nigerian environment. What we do is provide a Nigerian perspective to the solutions we provide.

Why did you decide to go into training and empowering others in business?

Training was something I had always done from childhood. As a child, I trained some of my classmates in the art of reading the Quran and some of them became better at reciting the holy book than me. I have always loved and enjoyed doing that; I love to impart knowledge to others. It is a way of giving back to society. I have trained more than 1,000 people so far.

I have trained people in the army. Coming back to Nigeria, because I schooled in the United Kingdom, I have learned a couple of things that I think will benefit people in the country. Some people did not have the opportunity to travel abroad to go and learn and having been given that opportunity, I want to give back to society by imparting Nigerian youth with skills that can help them to be on their own and even employ others. We all know the employment situation in the country. Training youth in the country is the least

I can do to contribute to the development of the country. Apart from training in ICT related fields, I have gone to secondary schools where I trained students in the use of ICT. I have also gone to conduct training at the Ministry of Education. I even went back to my former secondary school and trained the teachers who taught me at that level. Training is something that gives me joy and whenever the person I am training understands what I am teaching him, it is a thing of happiness to me. I do not worry if they will become competitors or not. The underlying factor is that they will learn and understand and make society better.

What is your assessment of the business environment in the country?

The business environment in the country is tough. It is especially tough for start-up businesses. It is tough right from the point of registration to looking for capital, seeking for clients and what have you.

It is a dire situation as we have it today for businesses in the country. But as an individual, you have to understand this and take the plunge as I did. These difficulties will always be there as it is the situation in other parts of the world where the market is more competitive. But in the case of Nigeria, we have a virgin land for technology. If you have a very good service or offering, people will look for you, no matter where you are.

So it is a matter of perseverance and a bit of dexterity as well. As time goes on, you will reap the benefits of your effort. You should seek to improve whatever you are doing and better the existing system. You need to solve problems with technology. People will see you as standing out in the things that you do.

How has the business fared?

We have done some projects and as time goes on, we will do more and people will get to know more about them.

Internet penetration is very deep, how has that affected business?

The Internet situation is interesting. Before I left Nigeria for my studies abroad, access to the Internet was restricted and costly; that was in 2008. On coming back in 2014, access to the Internet had become wider and cheaper. Accessibility and cost are fair.

However, I will like to seek the help of government to provide a level playing field for businesses in the country and consider reducing prices.

There is need to implement policies that bring more competitiveness in the business space. If we have competitiveness, it will engender development in the country. It was competitiveness in the GSM sector that led to the huge fall in the cost of making calls in the country.

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  Young People Should Not Be Afraid To Start Business

  Kingsley Nyong is the managing director and chief executive officer of BBB Agro, an agro-oriented business organisation.

BBB Agro provides services in innovative farming, investment programmes and also helps to empower the youth of the country by providing them with knowledge that they can use to start a business and be on their own and even employ others. We develop and empower entrepreneurs. He spoke with Ikechi Nzeako at a recent summit on youth entrepreneurship in Lagos. Excerpts:

At the youth entrepreneurship summit, you spoke about a lot of things; can you give us a summary of what you said?

I said that the youth should not relent in their business pursuits, especially as start-ups. A big tree starts as a little seed; what they need to do is pay attention to it and watch it grow into a forest if they are diligent and work with the right people.

What do you say to youth entrepreneurs, who do not want to start small?

They may never start and if they start big they are very likely to fail because business can only be sustained if it is based on test and trust. Most people stick to a particular brand because they used it and liked it and continue to go back to that particular brand. This may last for generations and if we do this in business, we will excel. This is more so for upcoming and young entrepreneurs.

Some of the youth say that the business environment is tough, how do you encourage young people to become entrepreneurs at this time?

I told them that they should look for someone to mentor them in their area of business. Businesses do not become big in one day; that is why there is a cycle; they need to spend time for mentorship. They need to spend time to serve and acquire enough knowledge and if loyalty has been built and there is integrity, the people you are working with will help you get to the next level.

What policies do you want in place to make the environment friendlier for business to thrive?

It is the people that comprise the government. It is the people that can create that force or platform, as the government cannot start a business for the people. The government in terms of the people in governance will not start a business for anyone; they will only start business for themselves. You must start your own business; you must show quality. For example, government met Aliko Dangote somewhere and he met government somewhere.

How have you fared in business over the years? Can you share some of you experiences?

My business has grown and it has grown because my partners and I have been working with the right people and being available for the business. You cannot run a business and go to sleep. There are some government policies that you should be aware of and follow up in business. If you do not follow up on those policies and respond appropriately, your business may go under. If you incorporate your business, it will be difficult for anyone to steal your company name or product. You need to work with professionals to get your business going. Everything in this life depends on value and value depends on where it is found. For instance, people are crazy about catfish in Lagos and it is expensive. However, if you go to northern Nigeria, people hardly eat it; it is in the mud wasting away. They do not value it and will not pay for it. The sun will come and dry up the fish and it is wasted. However, in the southern part of Nigeria, people value the fish and are prepared to pay for it. Young people need to and should venture into something reasonable; if you are afraid of falling, then you will never rise up.