Oluwashola Andrey Jesuseitan is an entrepreneur, business coach and Chief Responsibility Officer of Petdavella Group. Over the years his organisation has provided trainings and seminars to give stability to businesses in Akute, Ogun State via seminars and counseling. In this interview, he told DAYO EMMANUEL what his organisation has done in the past years. His outfit has been able to demystify the mindset that businesses die in Akute. He also shed lights on the upcoming seminar his community organisation is holding on 18th November 2017. Excerpts:
Can you tell us about your project?
The Business Owners Forum Enterprise- Network started as a group. After a time I just felt I should start praying for business people in my church. Later it turned to what we had like a business clinic. I got a lawyer who talked to them about the business name registrations and what the benefits are therein. Another time an accountant came to talk with us about benefits of complying to pay taxes, rather be enforced against by tax authorities . I am an advertising/brands communications practitioner so we held several business talks like that among us to discuss how adding value to our products and services is a good thing for our customers .
One day the Lord explained something to me about inflation, the reason a business man is building his business and inflation keeps coming to erode the gains. Your competitors are also there to take your customers. So if you don’t keep 1) adding to your products portfolio and 2) acquire more customers then ,you may be left behind. God told me about all these. These are things we have been teaching, I didn’t learn most of them in graduate business school.
And how has it been over the years?
Five years ago we had our first meeting, we called it inaugural breakfast meeting. We brought a brother who was the head of marketing in Coca Cola to talk about “Be Outstanding or Be Dead In The Marketplace.” His teaching was centered on Jesus as one who knows “Customer care and customers’ satisfaction very intrinsically, offering topmost quality to His customers eternity long. My own business Petdavella Group’s value proposition is around sustainability. Sustainability is not about you alone making it big, but about Empowering your staff, your community and people around you. By doing that you are building up the people around you, they will not just say look at this big man who is not even caring for anybody. The following year I traveled to Germany. I was on my hotel bed and the Lord Jesus Christ told me why don’t you formalise this thing? I knew the Lord wanted me to do this by offering support to established businesses (Acceleration).Also I have just left my job to start a business. God told me there are many people in your shoes who are trapped in 9am-5pm job but they don’t even know how to go about the ideas they have(Ideas Execution IE Incubation). So we had a program we called Discovery. After the first event we have been having seminars. By the second year I got to know of a global movement called Global Entrepreneur Week(GEW). They hold their weeklong event in over 125 countries of the world every 3rd week of November, it is usually a week event. It is a family in the USA that owned the initiative to support entrepreneurship growth and development all over the world. This is their 10th year. So that year 2014 we started having our event to coincide with that program. We started our program, our first name was business owners’ fellowship (BOFE). So in retaining that name BOFE, we said we want to expand beyond the church since the values we want to teach the world are Christian values. What name can we chose? With fellowship in the name people thought we are a church so that was how Forum Enterprise now came in. we are still retaining BOFE; Business Owners Forum Enterprise. This year ‘Network’ now came in. That is from the registration, they told us we can’t use BOFE alone. We are in Akute, the story we heard about Akute is that Akute means anything that gets there dies. That was what we heard. We are trying to challenge that mindset.
Is it true by your experience?
Well Intercontinental Bank died, Access Bank is back and Zenith Bank, Sterling Bank and UBA have been doing their businesses for about ten years. I think it is more of a mindset. To challenge that mindset we called our own seminar in the second year RISE Akute. Rediscovering Invaluable Successes Extravaganza (RISE) in Akute. So we called it RISE Akute, it is like a prophetic word that Akute Rise! So because of that nucleus you may not see us coming to town to host our annual events because we are really set up to jumpstart our community, to wake them up so we continued with that.
How has it been over the years?
In the second year our theme was “Protecting The Future Of Your Business” and our facilitator was really wonderful. He said if you don’t prepare for the future, the future will come and you will not be there. He cited examples. He said KODAK had the technology to give us mobile cameras, which became mobile phones. But they said what will happen to their stock of film if they gave people mobile phones? Black Berry is another example. They had capacity for Whatsaap and other global chat apps but they said let’s keep it to ourselves and what has happened to them now? He gave those examples and he said see yourself as an active player in the future, you must educate yourself, you must know national and global trends. One of the examples he sited was Fajemirokun. At a time the man was bigger than Abiola. He brought in lot of companies to Nigeria, few of which are still operating and why they are operating is because they did things right. The facilitator used that to explain to us. He said don’t put your wife who is not educated or your son who is not business inclined in your business. If you are putting your brother, put him because he understands the business, if you have not been carrying your wife along and if you die the business dies with you because she doesn’t know your clients or your business strategy as well as a lot of basic things that are necessary for sustainability in business. Such businesses will DIE! So you can see the quality of thinking we are giving to our community in Akute.
Who are the participants?
Our targets are business owners who need to build capacity for growth and youths who have ideas and want to develop it into businesses. That second year was the first time we had any event for incubation. The time I traveled abroad, I attended Discovery Sessions It was a wonderful experience and I was motivated to use it at that event. It was a coaching course I attended, it was 9am-5pm thing and by the time we finished the different classes, you would know either if you want to be a business/life coach or not. I said let’s try same thing, we used the panel discussion method. The interviewers did a great job such that anyone who has business ideas would have a better understanding on how to execute it. We also had another event in 2015 when the new government was talking about exports. We got different people and organisations to talk about export. By the second year edition in 2014 we added exhibition to the seminar and Discovery. Different products were exhibited. There was a widow who used to make pap and her pap has been going to London without her knowing. When I heard about it, I told her when we told you about export you are saying you don’t know how to do it. We told her how she can package her pap for export and get the right certification and do it officially so she can have contacts, values and prosperity. Last year there was recession and we didn’t host any event which is a lesson I have learnt. As a Christian you don’t watch the elements -you follow God’s leading, no matter how uncertain the times maybe. We saw a lacuna in the seminar space in Nigeria many people are not talking about that-Business Sustainability which we are plugging into.
You have given us a recap of the past years’ programs, what is in the plan for this year?
The theme for this year’s event is Business Sustainability- understanding the entire value chain from Ideation to Exiting The Business We have got different people. Deji Alonge is talking on ideas, every idea is from God and you must pursue it even if it is as small as a seed. Then we have execution, if you have a business idea and you don’t execute it, that idea can die. The person taking that is a zonal Director at Incubation Centre Agege, Dr. Momah, she will come and talk about how government assists businesses to begin in a cluster system that is cheaper and better than going alone to execute. You want to start anything production, you have to come. Let people come and hear about that. Then growth- moving beyond where you are, the woman coming to take that is a baker. She would tell the people how she moved from chinchin to bread. Then another of our friends will talk about the local economic development (LED) What is unique and special about our neighborhood, let us show it to the world. By the grace of God in 2018 we want to have a business website, an e-commerce website, let people around the world see the businesses in the local areas. She would talk about local economy development. Our key note speaker is someone who lived in Germany for so long. He is Joe Femi Dagunro and Ogun State government Ministry Of Commerce and Industry is coming to talk about government incentive to businesses. Ogun State IRS is coming to talk about Tax. Speakers are coming from the tax office to tell the people about tax, let them tell people not to run away from tax, it is a debt that we all owe so what is the bad thing if we comply? Let people ask them questions. Then the man from the ministry of Commerce and Industry will also come and talk to the people. That is the morning segment. The afternoon segment will also hold and that is when we would talk about technology. If you are doing business now and you don’t take advantage of technology to leverage and scale your business to the wide world audience with the use of technology aspect, if you don’t talk of social/digital media tools, digital marketing, it is not complete, just forget it. We have technology partners, it is a company that will tell our participants today’s world is a global village, think beyond the locality then another friend in a crowd sourced Farmers group is to take people on how to take Nigeria out of food poverty. We also want to have an award, not a fancy award. It is for unspoken heroes in our community, like a widow who has done small business and trained her children through schools. It is not that we are giving one award to a big man to get money, no. We have a team going round, listening to stories of people and picking the outstanding ones. That is how we intend to get nominees for the awards.