Some of us out there may have heard about the “I’d Rather Be Self Made” project currently being carried out by our very own LINDA IKEJI. It is basically a self funded project that is aimed at empowering young girls to be financially independent by providing them with capital to startup a business of their choice.
WOW! You must think this is the best thing any Nigerian celebrity has ever done for their people. Wait until I pretty much dissect the story…
First of all, before I go into the story proper, I would like to humbly state that this article was not in any way written as a result of a personal vendetta or out of contempt. I am an opinion blogger and as you know, I write my non-biased, non-conforming opinion on societal matters.
So here goes my opinion:
In 2013, Linda Ikeji who is one of the most influential bloggers in Africa made a commitment to Nigeria where she promised to donate 10 (ten) million naira of her personal money every year to empowering young girls who have a great business idea but no available capital. She promised to provide the capital needed so as to enable the girls become independent and in her own words, “stop sleeping with men for money”. Read it here.
Now I don’t have a problem with Linda helping her fellow Nigerians. I think it is a beautiful and selfless act. After all, ten million naira is a lot of money to give away to people that are not even related to you. That is hands down philanthropic behavior!
Here is what I have a problem with: THE WAY SHE DID IT!
For the first half of this year, Linda gave out 5 million naira to a total of 15 girls who were the beneficiaries of the first half of the project. She received business proposals from over 800 girls across the nation. Then cut them down to about 50 after proper scrutiny by a panel and finally shortlisted the proposals to 15.
One of the girls got 400k startup capital. Others got 300k, 200k and 150k.
Let me reiterate that to make my point.
Some of the girls got ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND NAIRA as startup capital for their business. For our foreign readers, that is LESS THAN SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS.
Now I ask you all to be very honest with yourselves. Is there really any profitable business in the entire world (talk less of Nigeria) that you can start with 150k? Do you really think this is a reasonable investment?
Rather than divide the 5 million naira between 15 girls, don’t you think it would be a lot better to reduce the number of the beneficiaries to about five or less? That way when you split the 5 million amongst them, it comes up to about a million naira each.
Now one million naira (over $4000) is a substantial amount of money that can be used to startup any type of business.
I don’t mean to be pessimistic but I highly doubt anything tangible can come out of this giving the high cost of renting a shop and the outrageous prices of goods.
Even if they opted for a business that doesn’t require a place of operation like selling human hair or clothes for example, is 150k really enough to buy supply of clothes or human hair? Unless you are buying OK (okirika) clothes then you might have a shot. But how exactly are you going to become “Self Made” from selling OK? Or isn’t becoming “Self Made” the sole purpose of this project?
Chances are that 98% of these girls will not succeed not because they failed to try but simply because they find themselves at the same place they started off (with little or no capital) even after being a beneficial to Linda Ikeji’s “I’d rather be Self Made” project.
Linda my advice to you is that for the next batch of beneficiaries, kindly put this into consideration and reduce their number so as to enable the capital you are giving to them be sufficient enough to even start up the business. Remember, the major reason why 98% of SME’s fold within a year is due to “LACK OF SUFFICIENT CAPITAL”.
However, i must thank you Linda Ikeji for even having this initiative and I say MORE GREASE TO YOUR ELBOW!
Do you think Linda got it right with the large number of beneficiaries to her project?
Feel free to comment, ask questions, share your opinions and suggestions.
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PS: Words are an expression of opinion; WRITING is SPEAKING!