Apologies for the delay in updating the blog. At some point in Lagos, I was fed up with the slow Internet connection and decided to table updates until I was back in the US. But once I was back, all I wanted to do was take it easy...maybe a little too easy. Regardless I did want to sum up some of my internship highlights.
Through the TEF, the associates and I had learning sessions with:
- Doreo Partners Founder & Managing Director, Kola Masha: Lesson learned - don't eat boiled peanuts, a Lagos street delicacy, because of the harsh chemicals it contains
- Jobberman.com CEO & Founder, Dr. Ayodeji Adewunmi: At the time it was founded, it was Nigeria's only job site, similar to a Monster.com for Nigeria and much needed. I think the concept was very interesting because I had been told that jobs that are advertised are often filled through informal networks vs applicants. 'Deji didn't seem to think that was too much of an issue for Jobberman.
- Verod Capital Management, Danladi Verheijin: The frankness of this presentation was refreshing but also showed the high investment risk in Nigeria. Regardless, I thought it was cool that they own Spinlet and are the head investor in a group of firms building Lagos's first rail line to be completed in 15 years.
- Vanso, Mobile Money with Jason Mycroft & Udochi Nwogu (AMIP '11): We're all familiar with mobile payments (for credit cards) but mobile money involves storing monetary values on cell SIM cards since it's so expensive for the Nigerian Central Bank to print and maintain currency (apparently $4/bill). This was insightful and also a great innovation to target the bottom of the pyramid.
- Echo VC, Eghosha Omoigui - sourced investments for Facebook and LinkedIn and are interested in early stage tech mentorships in Nigeria.
- Given that they were the third VC to visit my company, I'm starting to realize the business interest because there's huge potential for infrastructure development. I'm glad I got to see it in its early stages.
Overall, I came into this summer wondering about applications of business skills for international development and I definitely received it. While the intuition is seemingly obvious, it was helpful to hear someone say "Africa is not going to reached developed nation status through aid grants. Africa needs to encourage business development." I'm not saying that there isn't a need for policy and NGOs, but the public and private sector need to work together and I definitely got a sense of how the private sector can contribute to economic development.