You read right. In case you are wondering, in this season of political jamboree and rigmarole. I can see heated debates going on across the sphere of Nigeria and different strategies and re-strategies going on and taking place. Alignments and re-alignments of different interests, passions and thoughts are gradually building up steam that would snowball into a major confrontation come 2019. Personally, i believe the next election would be a defining point for our nation Nigeria. The question is, how aligned are we to that move of God that is about to take place?
In the midst of all the hullabaloo of Lagos Primaries last week Thursday, i was opportune to speak at a forum. For a while, the organisers of the forum had tried to get me to speak and i had always FLED!! Until i was cornered and could not escape.
What is the forum about you may be thinking… Its called Market Women Initiative. And don’t get it wrong, there are men there too! This Market Women Initiative comprises of Small Scale Business Enterprises of peasant Traders, handcrafts Traders and household commodity sellers that you would see in your neighbourhood, road-side shops etc. Am sure you have an idea of who my audience was now. lololol.
So here i was at their regular 9am meeting every Thursday at the Ikeja Center, (There are five more centers with more opening as i got to hear.) And was pondering what i should tell this mix crowd of people. Am i speaking english to them or Yoruba or pidgin, i was in a quandary. So i asked the Coordinator, and he said, “simply be yourself..english, yoruba..just flow with them and connect with them”. So here i stood before a gathering of about 50 people or so. Elderly, young, retired (spotted her), middle-age, just think of it from different parts of Nigeria, with different conditioned mindset and background.
So i stood before this gathering, after they had made intercession to God and they had been prepped up by the Coordinator as it’s the usual norm with them. And i spoke to them about the 4 key elements involved in a business enterprise. 1. Capital 2. Expense 3. Profit 4. Reserve.
For the next one hour, we broke it down together and came to see, the need to pay attention to these four elements in their business. To summarize the meeting, it was clear to all they were all present because they needed Capital to continue to run their business. It was the motivating factor that bound them all together. And we all realized as well that, if we do not watch our Expenses, it would be what would run the business down fast! Hence the need for them to budget, what they require to pay their daily bills (which is very real) and how much they would recouping into the business for sustainability, and know what their Profit is at the end of the month. And in conclusion to create a Reserve out of their profit, to save for the rainy day. The story of the Ant cemented it in their minds and made them re-evaluate their daily priorities and life in general.
Now you reading this and wondering, how do these people, that i had described earlier, make any sense out of what i shared with them? Well, you have every right to think so and wonder. But before you turn to “wonderer” according to Femi Anikulapo Kuti’s hit track “Wonder”, i have never seen a gathering of people so attentive, with some of them taking notes and asking pertinent and intelligent questions! Mind you as well, this initiative has been going on for more than 2 years!! How does it work you ask?
A group of people came together, after realizing that, there is a segment of the business community, that is been neglected and in need of help to run their business and pay attention to them. So they came together to create the initiative called Market Women Initiative, to bring these peasant traders together, and give them non-collaterized, interest free loans to run their business. Risky? Yes it is, but what had been done is to create a community of supporting traders who recommend, based on their own credit rating with the initiative, who should be given a loan. And the amount ranges from 10,000 Naira to 500,000 Naira.
And beyond the loan, they are taught different life and business skills that has turned their business round and thier lives as well. Different people are usually invited to speak with them and teach them at the various centers in Lagos. At their end of the year party last December, they danced, shared testimonies and prayed fervently for the Initiative and the organizers, for changing their lives and business and for been there for them. A 600 seating capacity hall was filled to the brim by beneficiaries of this initiative last year December, and from reports, more people want to partake in it!
Beyond the politics, beyond the election, beyond who the next governor or president would be, there are people who you can be their Governor or President, based on how you impact their lives. The coordinator has a nickname, “Incoming President”, and he is well-loved and respected by the men and women of the Initiative because he pays attention to them, to their business and family, (He has no political ambition i must add!!!!!). And the account is overseen by a Chartered Accountant with work experience in KPMG and Cadbury! The organisers of these initiative, are real life heroes to the beneficiaries of this program, and it’s not far-fetched, they simply cared for them!
I invite you to join the Market Women Initiative today. Don’t dissipate your energy into that political argument. Yes we need to be involved in the Politics of our Nation and who our next Leader should be, but let’s look at the little rocks that can overturn the big rocks in our community. It’s not until you contest an election before you make an impact, you can start that impact, by having a Market Women Initiative Center in your community to empower them to live a more meaningful life and have a more profitable business. To learn more, i implore you to watch this video. You can always reach me or call these numbers: Wale: +2348072690088 and Seun: +2348024394582 to know how you can participate as well.
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”