Trends and Innovations Coming Out of Africa
Paul Squirrell, director of thenetworkone, catches up with Kemdi Ebi, founder of Enterfive, Nigeria. Kemdi is leading a seminar on African trends and innovations for thenetworkone's upcoming series 'Global Trends and How to Leverage Them'.
Paul: I’m here with Kemdi Ebi of Enterfive, based in Lagos in Nigeria. Great to see you Kemdi!
Kemdi: Hi Paul, great to see you. How’s it going?
P: Kemdi, you’ve kindly agreed to do one of our seminar series for us, which we’re very exicited about. You founded Enterfive in Nigeria, a company which exists to help entrepreneurs scale their businesses in Africa. I wondered if you could start by telling us a bit about you and your business?
K: Enterfive exists to help companies who exist within Africa, and come into Africa to scale their operations. We built the agency model looking at the heartbeat of the economy, which is at the SME level. If you look at other well-groomed global economies, they all have the same track to success by their SMEs to create jobs which spurs economic growth. Africa is no different, so we felt like there was a gap we could fill.
As we continued the agency growth, we wanted to further scale our value proposition through our product Versus, which is a consumer insights tool that helps companies that want to know more about the African consumer, through proprietary methodologies like social listening from a pan-African context, as well as having scouts on ground and research at scale made available to you directly.
P: You were at our Indie Summit a few years ago with a fantastic presentation on emerging trends in Africa ,and you’ll be doing much the same for our seminar series. Have you noticed any major trends coming out of Africa recently?
K: Without giving too much away.. Amazon has seen significant success after the pandemic, and the same goes for the Amazon alternative in Africa, Jumia. Recently they saw their share price increase by just over 50%, their highest ever since they listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Some retailers are even now moving their businesses completely online and changing their entire business model.
Online penetration has increased- as you know, in Africa mobile penetration is almost synonymous with internet access. Nigeria for instance, has increased internet subscribers by 23% since the lockdown. SA have seen a similar increase- they have 33 million more internet subscribers, equivalent to an increase of around 5%. Even Kenya, where 85% of the population are subscribed to the internet, has continued to increase internet penetration.
P: the interesting thing about Africa is that many trends start with you guys and then filter to other parts of the world. What can the rest of the world learn from Africa?
K: Good question! I would say, in simple words: innovate or die. Never rest on your laurels. African consumers use digital technology to leapfrog things that we don’t have access to, most times as a result of poor governance, and we’re young in the process of catching up to the bigger economies. Innovation is something that has come out of the need of the average African to survive.
P: Consumer attitudes and consumer behaviour around the world have changed considerably since the pandemic. What has changed in the countries where you are?
K: I think one really interesting consumer behaviour, if I highlight just the consumer-side, is the increased interest in investments, particularly crypto. Nigeria was reported to be the second largest crypto-trading country in the world, after the USA. Nigeria is obviously a big consumer market within Africa. That in itself really highlighted the fact that African consumers are not happy to focus on what’s existing- they are keen to learn and teach themselves what the alternatives are to investment, etc. Online access means they can find this information from many sources, and they actually self-taught their way into this alternative form of investment.
P: What can people expect from your session?
K: Being in the position that we are, our goal is to add a new perspective through sharing insights and data we’ve collected. I’m just looking forward to a great, sort of ‘symposium’, for lack of a better word!
If you would like to find out more about thenetworkone's upcoming seminar series, please visit https://thenetworkone.com/leadership-seminars/