Lack of capital gave birth to my business – Babalola | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Lack of capital gave birth to my business – Babalola

Posted: Apr 25, 2015 at 2:21 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Abiodun Babalola is the managing director of Duality Microcredit Cntrepreneurs. In this encounter with our Correspondent, Olamide Bakare, he narrates the journey and the challenges affecting entrepreneurship growth in Nigeria.

Doing business in Nigeria is tantamount to a camel passing through the eye of the needle. It is one great risk no one wants to take a plunge at. Little wonder, many people have embarked on the journey only to back out midway due to contending challenges .However, there are few who have brave the odds to carry on with a determination to fulfill their passion. Abiodun Babalola falls among the few lots driven by passion to become self reliant. While ushering this reporter into his office, Babalola whose graceful and charming smile speaks volume of his customer friendly attitude recalled how his passion in the early years transited into real business. Today, not only has he made success as a business man, he  sits atop a company that has given birth to many entrepreneurs. Abiodun who was full of excitement speaks on the company and the driving force.



He said”Duality Microcredit empowers small business owners and market women by providing loan facilities for them. We encourage them to save money and train them on how to keep records, grow their business, retain customers etc.

The first driving for force for starting a business in a country like Nigeria is to survive and navigate economic hardship. Personally, I went into business after I left teaching because I love being self-reliant and I have a friend who also shared the same ideology with me, so we team up

Duality is not the first business we venture into. We have started a company called Bullbear Ecosystem two years earlier before Duality Microcredit that specialised in training Small Business and Investing. I have been doing business full time since 2008

It started as result of the feedback we usually received from previous training business. People who attended our workshop still ended up doing nothing and when we asked them reason for not doing anything they would say no capital. So in trying to solve that problem of lack of capital, we started a company that can give loan to small business owners to start their business”.

Considering the level of economic hardship in the country and the lack of trust, there is no doubt that raising funds could pose a big threat to the realization of such goal. Asked how he was able to come up with the needed resources, Abiodun said that but for the support of some Nigerians who saw a great future in the business, the dream could have collapsed like a pack of cards.

He says” Raising initial capital was not that easy. It took us more than 14 months to raise the first seed fund. Having prepared the business plan, we approached people and pitched the idea to them but we got turned down until we met Mr Thomas Babatunde (now our Board Chairman) who bought into the idea and gave us names of people to contact who might be interested. We contacted them but very few invested into the business and eventually we were able to raise N1.2m as equity investment”.

With an unwavering courage to continue, Abiodun is the very model of a warrior determined to see the business succeed amidst challenges. Recounting his experience in the beginning, Abiodun says it was a period filled with many ups and downs

He notes”The business operation commenced officially on the 1st March, 2012 even though I have been in business since 2008. As for the experience, it has been ups and downs especially when people fail to pay back the loan collected and we had to tactically find a way to recover it”.

Asked if any thought crossed his mind of taking a wrong decision when he chose the path of entrepreneurship as against gainful employment, Abiodun stated that nothing of such came up but that decision either wrongly or rightly was necessary as  part of a learning curve

He said” Wrong decision! . Yes, in fact, decision is a must and we make a lot of wrong and right decisions. I can’t say which one is more devastating than the other, I see wrong decisions as part of the learning curve.  In any case, I take absolute responsibility of the outcome of any decision I make and which made me to have more experience”.

Abiodun who is equally delighted at the turn of the events for the company, said sooner than later, many young Nigerians would begin to embrace entrepreneurship.

He said” I am very happy for the business.It has witnessed tremendous growth in spite the short time. As I speak, the business is worth N10 million.”

It is natural to think that a business which started three years ago must have witnessed some measure of growth both in values and recognition, Abiodun expressed great delight for the measure of success recorded so far. He also expressed great optimism going forward.

He states” I am very confident of expansion into more branches and complimentary services. In the plan before the end of the third quarter in 2015, we would have launched DualityXtral and DualityConnect. These services will complement existing services and strengthen our capacity to add more values to our customers.

According to Forbes report, there are 28 million small businesses in the US and over 22 million are self-employed with no additional payroll or employees with annual turnover of over 1 trillion dollars and 52% of those businesses are home-based. There were an estimated 5.2 million small businesses in the UK which employed 25.2 million people, and had a combined turnover of more than £3, 5 billion

Commenting on the areas where he would appreciate government intervention and his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, the enterprising young man spoke on the benefits of support as well as the tips needed to survive as a business especially in this difficult terrain

He said” Our government should support small business because it is the engine of any economy that is interested in growth. They can do this by ensuring that the institutions that are responsible for SME are strengthened in a way that less privileged Nigerians would have access to facilities. Besides, government should set up trainings across the states ,local governments with a view to sharpening those who are interested in small business with the necessary skill set. Many Nigerians lack what it takes to succeed in small scale business.They need the right skillset, toolsets and financial backing required to start any business. For business like ours, we need to be encouraged by providing us with growth fund needed to expand”.

“There is no perfect time to start business. The best way to learn about business is by starting one. Don’t wait until you have all the money. Go for the basic skill set you need and get your hand dirty. Today, with Internet you can start any kind of business depending on the problem you are trying to solve. I urge you to read my blog on how you can start one.  If you through the blog, you will get proper insight on how to succeed.”