African Gist celebrates these women who left everything to permanently relocate to Africa. Being entrepreneurs or looking for new professional opportunities, they share their experiences with us this month.
We met Justyna Sitarska, a young polish entrepreneur who left her home country in 2014 to build Filigri Consulting Ltd, a HR Consultant and Facilitator service in Lagos, Nigeria. She shared with us her thoughts on women entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
“Although I come from a fast-growing country, I believe there are huge opportunities in Nigeria”
The reasons why I decided to start my business in Nigeria is because I believe it can achieve greater heights in this market. Although I come from a fast-growing country – Poland, I believe there are huge opportunities in Nigeria.
Another factor is the fact that I am very passionate about helping people and growing their professional skills. Due to the gaps in professional capacities in emerging markets, I believe my work is being really appreciated and brings me a lot more satisfaction than if I were in the same line of business in Europe.
“Despite the actual economic downturn I wouldn’t do this job anywhere else in the World.”
As Nigerians are natural sales people, sometimes they need just a little tweak in their behavior and skills to bring measurable results. It truly makes my heart sing when the participants of our trainings send me emails saying that we “changed their lives”, they are selling more, becoming more successful or got promoted in the same year. At Filigri Consulting we truly believe that equipping employees with the right skills can change not only their lives but also affect the economy in a positive way. This is why despite the actual economic downturn I wouldn’t do this job anywhere else in the World.
” When you are confident in your skills and business, people will not underestimate you just because you are a woman”
I have never felt that being a woman affected my work in Nigeria in an overtly positive or negative way, especially when we have quite a few examples of very successful women. I believe that when you are confident in your skills and business, people will not underestimate you just because you are a woman. Africa is all about the opportunity that in my opinion does not exist anywhere else in the World right now. It means that with the right product or service one can be very successful and at the same time add value to a growing economy.
The beautiful thing about doing business in Nigeria is the fact that if you are committed to offering a quality product or service for which there is a need on the market, the decision-makers will give you a chance.
“Nigerian women have what it takes to succeed and Nigeria is indeed an exciting place to be a woman entrepreneur.”
I am aware that women in Nigeria suffer from stereotypes, hard access to the right business partners and shortages of financing opportunities. Nevertheless, the role of female entrepreneurs cannot be underestimated here. This has been confirmed by The Gates and Clinton Foundations who revealed that 41% of women in Nigeria are entrepreneurs whereas in US and the UK it is only 10% and 5,7% respectively.
In the trainings that we are conducting, very often we notice that women in Nigeria have this incredible drive, open-mindedness and low fear of failure that I believe are essential values for successful entrepreneurs. Despite some cultural stereotypes, I think that Nigerian women have what it takes to succeed and Nigeria is indeed an exciting place to be a woman entrepreneur.
As in any emerging market, obviously, there are disadvantages. In Nigeria, you can face obstacles you would not necessarily face in Europe. The truth is I do not consider infrastructural problems like power or traffic as disadvantages, because if you want to be successful in Nigeria you have to learn to live with certain issues, not dwell on them and just move forward. Accepting these disadvantages should be a part of your preparation to come to this country to do business.
“Naija is still such a special place to be”
If you have a good idea, enough resources and are ready to work really hard, by all means come and start the adventure of your life in Africa. In the case of Nigeria you have to take into account the current economic recession, however if your product is strong and you have the right business development team I believe the market will give you a chance and you won’t be disappointed. I feel our Naija is still such a special place to be!
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