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Rising Africa Series

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 Thought Leaders Nigeria: a celebration of thought leaders, innovators, thinkers, problem solvers, and drivers of growth and development.

The Thought Leaders series is dedicated to promoting excellence in global leadership development. The series is aimed at young people that aspire for leadership and entrepreneurship roles in all sectors of the economy and the public sector.Through one on one interviews with leaders around the world, aspiring leaders can learn valuable insights and advice from those who have walked the path they want to take. We are currently focused on entrepreneurs and creatives who continue to forge ahead in spite of challenges to continually inspire us to forge ahead.

The Game Changer

Ugo Udezue was a successful NBA agent working for BDA Sports in the United States with a roster that included players such as Andre Roberson, Nenê and Festus Ezeli. However, he dreamt of creating and promoting a professional basketball league for talented players. That dream brought him back to his homeland of Nigeria where he created the Continental Basketball League (CBL). 

The CBL presented Udezue with another opportunity in the form of AFA Sports, one of the fastest-growing sports merchandising companies in Africa. AFA Sports, which means “Africa for Africa” has proven effective in creating a wide range of sports apparel and shoes tailored for sports and athleisure from an African context and terrain. Udezue serves as the company’s  CEO.

Ugo Udezue, CEO, AFA Sports. Picture: Supplied

What is the vision of AFA Sports?

We want to position the AFA brand to be the premiere sports brand company in Africa. Not only do we want to attract indigenous sport institutions, but foreign brands and investors to holistically develop the African and global sports industry.

Our goal moving forward is to develop a global audience by targeting mainstream sporting institutions in Europe and also developing a fast growing African conscious market.

AFA Sports is focused on empowerment. How so?

We have proven successful in creating a new industry and market in Africa which has in a relatively short period of time aided in creating employment, business, and investment opportunities for Africa and its people. We have poured our energies into providing talented African basketball players an arena to showcase their talents, and we have given sports teams a distinct and unique brand identity recognized by their growing fan base. 

One of AFA Sports most recent achievements towards enhancing sports development in Africa was the sponsorship of the Nigeria Women’s Basketball team – D’Tigress. D’Tigress broke the record by being the first African team to qualify for the quarter-finals of the just concluded FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and this had a turnaround on the AFA Sports brand,expanding our foothold globally.

Beyond becoming a recognized continental brand name, whatare AFA Sports plans?

AFA Sports currently has a flagship store in Victoria Island, Lagos, with plans of expanding to Abuja and Accra.

Beyond continuing to expand our sports merchandise offerings, we hope to prove instrumental in continuing to encourage and develop more sports programs across Africa. We are particularly focused on countries hat have suffered from a lack of investment in the past as we see the most opportunities to affect positive change for not just athletes but supporting businesses within those countries.

An AFA product. Picture: Supplied

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IWG GROWTH IN AFRICA – FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITIES

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Flexible working is growing rapidly, with IWG’s continued expansion across its operating brands, seeing another 156 new locations opening in 34 countries around the globe

The company has established 156 locations across 34 countries across its operating brands, since the turn of the year, continuing its mission to service a flex working revolution. Add to this the expansion of their franchising model into the African continent and they are on track to reach their target of increasing their presence in the 1,000 cities and towns where they already operate.

Flexible working, sometimes known as co-working, refers to office space, meeting rooms and co-working areas that can be rented by individual workers or corporates from one hour to several years.

A report by consultancy firm The Instant Group found demand for flexible workspace globally increased by 19% last year, stating that the growth in the supply of flexible space was ‘the number one story’ in commercial property markets around the world.

John Williams, head of marketing at The Instant Group, put the growth down to two factors, a change in how large companies were operating – specifically in relation to flexible working practices – and changes to the nature of the workforce itself.

A reluctance by major companies to sign long-term lease agreements in order to stay financially flexible was also a driver according to Williams. 

“Market demand is growing by as much as 30% each year in some global markets and it is our understanding that the majority of companies are still not aware of their options in flex space, they are still learning about the types of space they can access and the costs involved,” Williams says.

Two major brands that have used Regus to grow in Africa are Google and P&G. Google has 50 employees with Regus in Kenya, and P&G has 100 employees in the country.

Though they have the finances and resources to build their own offices, startup costs can be expensive, and getting an office up to spec with high-speed broadband, useable meeting rooms and desk space can take up valuable time.

Plus, using flexible office space reduces the commitment for these big organisations, many of whom are still testing the water in new African cities.

A report on the Future of Work in Africa released by the World Bank, shows that access to digital technologies could set Africa on a different path to the rest of the world.

While there is globally a focus on new and old sectors, in Africa digital transformation will predominantly enable advances in productivity and efficiency in current sectors.

IWG is currently seeking driven landlords, private equity firms, multi-brand franchise operators and high net-worth individuals to partner with to buy into the lucrative flexible working market at attractive returns.

With the first franchise centre already open in Angola and new centres opening in Guinea and Djibouti in September, the company is determinedly targeting the African continent for development and investment opportunities for early adopters of the franchising model.

Eligible franchisees will commit to opening a prescribed number of centres within a period of 5 years, have a proven track-record in business, property or investment and will work closely with Regus to find and design ideal locations and uphold IWG’s strict operating standards.

In return, franchisees buy into an established global brand that provides multiple revenue streams including monthly memberships and referral fees; leverage their highly effective marketing strategy and global sales platform, which generates 100,000+ enquiries every month; have access to IWG’s entire network of world-class operational support; and diversify their investment portfolio to include an industry that will have created 30 million jobs across 16 of the world’s countries by 2030.

To find out more: https://franchise.iwgplc.com/

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Nigeria’s Manufacturing Power Couple On The Future Of Manufacturing In Nigeria

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Chief Razak Okoya: Chairman Eleganza Group And Rao Property Investment Company

Chief Razak Okoya is an industrialist who has managed to transform a small trading company into one of the largest conglomerates and indigenous manufacturers of household products in Nigeria.

As founder of Eleganza Group and leading property investment company RAO Property, he employs about 5000 people across Nigeria. In his interview with Forbes Africa, he discusses the trends that will influence the competitive Nigerian Manufacturing sector in the next decade.

Chief Folashade Noimat Okoya: Managing Director, Eleganza Industrial City

Chief Mrs. Folashade Okoya has been at the helm of affairs of the Eleganza Group and RAO Property Investment for the past decade using her strong entrepreneurial drive to further strengthen the goodwill of both organizations and its corporate positioning in Nigeria.

Under her watch, Eleganza Group has risen to new heights strengthening its position as a leading indigenous brand in Nigeria as well as one of the benchmark manufacturing companies in the country.

She talks about the stigma of women in manufacturing and the need for greater automation in the manufacturing process in Nigeria.

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Nigeria’s Biggest Corporations: A Pan-Nigerian View To The World

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At the beginning of the Japanese Economic Miracle, were the likes of
Akio Morita – Co-founder of Sony. In setting a Mission for Sony, Morita had
resolved to set for Sony Corporations the Mission to make Japan known for quality at a time the country was known for cheap-copycat product. It is indeed in this vision, that True Nigerian Experience was founded with a mission to showcase the Best of Nigeria.

According to the International Monetary Fund in 2018, Nigeria is regarded as the biggest economy in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product of about $400 Billion Dollars – Leading the entire 54 African Economies both in Population of over 180 Million people and GDP.

The Nigerian Economy is ranked the 30th largest Economy in the World. To mention a few, Nigeria’s Nominal GDP is bigger than the Republic of Ireland (US $373 Billion), Israel (US $370 Billion), Hong Kong (US $363 Billion), Singapore (US $361 Billion), Malaysia (US $354 Billion), Denmark (US $351 Billion), Colombia (US $333 Billion), Philippines (US $331 Billion), Chile (US $298 Billion), Finland (US $275 Billion), Czech Republic (US $242 Billion), Romania (US $ 240 Billion), Portugal (US $239 Billion, Peru (US $225 Billion), Greece (US $219 Billion), New Zealand (US $203 Billion) and over a hundred other countries’ economies in the World.

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