On certain November morning in 2008 at 5am Peju was called by Mr Kolawole(Not real name) that her friend Ngozi(Not real name) was at a local midwife house about to put to bed, he solicited for her prayer for his wife to have safe delivery. After about an hour she called the husband of Ngozi but his phone was switched off because there was shortage of power supply, her expectation was caught shot when at 8am as she step into her law office she got the sad news that Ngozi had died while putting to bed. This singular event disrupted her day at office, this event could not be forgotten by Peju as she vow to stop mortality rate, this led to the start of Mother’s kit. After 7 years Peju is reshaping the way business is done in Nigeria, Mother’s kit has helped over 10,000 women put to bed safely at a token price of 1000 Naira only.
The Mother’s kit is a success because it seeks to solve a basic need of the people which is to reduce mortality rate of pregnant women. Peju reaches out to most of these pregnant women through the cheap local midwives that the pregnant women patronize for delivery. Before now, businesses in Africa are about what we can get from our customers, there is little or no relationship between the business and the customers. Businesses in Africa are profit oriented and not people oriented; they are about money and not wellbeing of people. African entrepreneur set out for survival rather than to solve a unique problem. That is the first challenge. If the relationship between business and society is people then business that will succeed must put people first.
When you enter an African store on African soil, the manner of approach is poor, the ambience is not friendly, the words are rude and overall the customer doesn’t feel loved as businesses lack of customer care is the second challenge of business in Africa. As Africa grows, it is only the genuine care and love of businesses to customers that will make the customer return to transact a business. Business will thrive on referrals, a small thank you text message will matter, a feedback phone call will make a difference and a maintenance pack for equipment will mean all to the customer. As most of the women who have used the mother’s kit testify that they were told by another woman who had used it.
If businesses are about creating wealth and opportunity then why are there 500 millionaires in Nigeria out of 170 million people, there is inequality in the sharing of resources, policy of government must seek to balance the equation between the poor and the rich and create the environment where there will be equal opportunities available to the poor, rich, women, men and people of all creed and race to prosper. The mother’s kit price makes it easy for poor Nigerian women to deliver their babies at an affordable price.
Africa will see an exponential growth if solving a social or basic problem in Africa is the basis for starting a business and government create a suitable environment for businesses to thrive, as government cannot solve its people problem. The root to development is raising Afripreneurs with a strong concern for Africa and with culture of love for life. It would be nice to have a world where all entrepreneurs re-invest their extra-profit or a percentage of their profit into one of the 19 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The Mothers kit is an amazing example as it seeks to reduce mortality rate of pregnant women. It will be nice where everyone see beyond race, tribe, colour, religion and creed. A world of brotherhood filled with the aura of love.
For all I care love and care is the ingredient I will like to add to the way business is done in Africa. Love overcomes all and overrules law. Businesses must seek to solve social need of the people. If things don’t change we will have a poverty stricken populace and this will cause an increase in crime, violence, rape, robbery and mortality rate. The court will become busier, the prison will become more congested and death rate will increase.
We must beginning to do business in a different way from the past. Solving people’s problem in an innovative and creative ways. Access to almost zero cost internet with web base educational institute will bring about flexible and cheap education to the global citizens. Mobile applications that solve educational, agricultural or even health problems will become necessary. In the nearest future business that will thrive in Africa will be the one that solves social need of Africans like Peju Mother’s Kit.
60% of Africa’s population are youth, this is a pointer that youths must be actively involved in the growth and development of Africa, fostering education is key to growing their capacity as source to human capital that business need to grow. Youths must become more engage in governance as they are the most affected by government policies, this will aid more youth led businesses to spring forth in the continent reducing unemployment creating jobs and more opportunities. As the whole world is fighting the ISIS, Taliban, Al-quaeda, Boko-haram, Al-shabab, e.t.c. this is a an evidence that growing inequality in the world can’t be good because UBUNTU; I am because We are, My business will grow better when there is more money in more people pocket to buy my product. Mother’s kit will continue to sell as long as many people give birth and mortality rate reduces. Businesses are because there are people to buy. #UBUNTUPEOPLE