Getting a well paid job in a developing sub-Saharan country has always being a Gordian knot leaving several youths resorting to starting up their businesses. A small scale businessman is what you get if you tramp the trail in several of Africa’s sub-Saharan urban cities. But very few of these entrepreneurs put their best foot forward; many go into small scale business without carefully considering the cost of going solo
So what would you consider as a hindrance to setting-out? The number one prerogative would be the right amount of capital. Without sufficient capital many of Africa’s upstarts are left in a tailspin, in a jiffy many who were euphoric of being their own bosses are left in the lurch; debt-ridden and bankrupt, sometimes as early as year one. Another group of young businessmen are handicapped due to poor government policies; no one is sure when the musical chairs will begin the next spin.
So where does that leave the rest of us? The answer unanimously lies with the banks; several banks in Nigeria had emerged three years ago with great hope, promising different loan schemes, but like renegade politicians have reversed their plans for more investor- friendly interest rates. A number of young businessmen learnt the hard way. Most of these loans given out attract astronomical interest rates and the banks are usually not patient enough for the long haul. They grant to you the credit facility on the one hand and on the other hand like shylock demand for a quick return even before you say Jack Robinson.
But then getting the loan, capital and a good government policy isn’t everything, many businesses have closed shop in Nigeria because of abysmal power supply. Nigeria has a legendary power sector where even a change of name failed to bring succour to investors. It is even jocularly said to foreign investors nowadays BYOI; bring your own infrastructure. Almost every genuine businessman now uses a generator as fixed power supply and public power supply as an alternative just to break even; but then are a number of smart alecs who are still doing fairly well…but that’s a story for another day