Business Sectors Breakdown in Nigeria
Opportunities for Business in Nigeria
Types of Businesses in Nigeria
Nigeria is so blessed with numerous opportunities for doing business. This blessedness has been as the result of its ever increasing population, abundant natural and human resources and increasing per capita income leading to more persons entering into the middle-class rung; however, this potential has remained incompletely tapped. The list is endless for the types of business one can get started in this country as these opportunities are abundance. But in my article today, I will be listing at least the basic types of business in Nigeria anyone can practice.
If you have been thinking business, I believe a lot of ideas would have flooded your mind about the numerous opportunities of doing business in this country, and perhaps your only challenge would have been which direction you should go, what type of business should you start. In this article, we will get to know the types of business opportunities in Nigeria and also answer your question of which one you can get started.
Before we go any further, let me clarify a particular misconception many of us have. On many occasions, sometimes seminars, workshops, even on personal talk, I have met a lot of young people who want to launch into business, but more often than not, their big question has always been which line/type of business is most lucrative? (that is, one that guarantees high returns on investment), or which business is thriving or fastest growing in Nigeria? While I understand with them that as young people we are always looking for business that will give us millions within few months of starting, however, a lot of them in quest for answers to these questions have been swayed by some bloggers or individuals to start businesses which they do not have passion for which in a long crash.
Dr. Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman, ECONET Telecommunications, when asked in one of his article on business on Facebook page, which type of business is most lucrative, answered categorically that “all businesses are lucrative”. If am to be honest with you which of course I have always been, no particular business is ‘most’ lucrative, all businesses when ‘properly’ planned, all things been equal, have capacity to generate good results if you doubt me, ask McDonalds, Alibaba, Amazon, Facebook, Uber, Microsoft, Dangote, Bloomberg, Olusegun Obasanjo. Therefore, do not worry much about which businesses is most lucrative rather be worried about what value you have to offer for value addition is the ‘lucrative factor’ behind most business. Now let’s look at the type of business we have in Nigeria that one can do.
If we are to name each type of businesses in Nigeria one by one, what an endless list we will have. Hence I have just listed here some of the various categories businesses in Nigeria can be grouped into based on the different sectors and sub sectors of the economy there is;
- Commercial/ Retail
- Education and Training
- Energy and Power Generation
- Financial Services
- Haulage/ Logistics
- Media & Entertainment
- Oil & Gas
- Professional Services
- Tourism/ Hospitality
- Waste Management
Under each of the sub sectors mentioned above (which we will discuss some of them briefly) are many opportunities to do business, it behooves you therefore to find which of them align to your skills, passion, purpose and entrepreneurial goals.
Agriculture: Agriculture has been the mainstay of Nigeria economy even before the oil boom and subsequently. Considering the current economic situation of the country with the dwindling oil price, agriculture remains the only way forward. This is because there are numerous business opportunities in this sector ranging from the production, processing and commercialization. Under this sector we have business like, livestock farming (pig, goat, sheep, cattle, poultry, ostrich, grass-cutter, bee-keeping, snailery, etc.,), cultivation of crops like cassava, yam, maize, soybean, rice, fruits and vegetable, etc. there is also a huge potential for animal feed production that support the livestock industry, fertilizers for crop farming, processing of farm produce and commercialization. The list is just endless, the value chain is long, and if you’re thinking of business that has high potential with good prospect, think agriculture, you can hardly ever go wrong with food in Nigeria, it’s just an advice anyways.
Commercial/Retail: this sector popularly regarded as the “informal sector” involves buying and selling although that’s where all business boil down to, however, the product sold by these businesses are usually finished products from other companies, therefore they act as dealer in distribution. 75% of businesses in this country belong to this class, and the space is still wide open for anyone to venture in, all you need is a marketable product.
Construction: After food, shelter is arguably the next topmost necessity in our lives. Shelter in this sense refers to accommodation, office space public buildings, open space, etc. The increasing population and migration of people from rural to urban areas though it is mounting pressure on available and affordable housing in the cities and town across the country is actually an opportunity for business, no wonder Africa richest man, Aliko Dangote has been making continuous investments in cement production, the most vital material in the building construction industry. More so, other building and construction materials like wood, glass, aggregates and steel have become hot cakes. There is also demand for building and construction experts. Why not give this sector a second thought and perhaps create a niche for yourself.
Education and Training: In case you did know education and training is a serious business, one with good prospect where few people are exploring already. Demand for affordable and quality education and training are on increase everyday this is probably because government have not been able to meet this need effectively. This type of business takes the form of Daycare for children, Special education / learning programs and centers, training on special skills, online trainings, etc. Therefore, if you have passion for education or you have special skills you would like to train people on, you can venture into this area, however, you have to be innovative leverage on technology and make it affordable even to the less privilege.
Energy and Power Generation: Both you and I are aware of the current power situation of this country and how it has affected doing business in Nigeria consequently, any business that proffer to solve this problem at a bearable cost should expect a very good return on investment. Some people are already making effort on solar energy but there is still so much to be done therefore if you have idea and the know-how, don’t dream anymore, wake up and get something done.
Fashion: if there is any nation in Africa that has a good sense of fashion, then that country is Nigeria. We love fashion; some folks even go hungry just to get the latest dress, shoe or hair in the market. These demands are ever increasing, and as day go by, so is our taste increasing; I’m glad lots of persons are already rising up to meet this challenge, we now have an incredible number of fashion designers in town, but they alone cannot meet the need of over 180 million people. Are you creative and you can sew? Probably you have been sewing for yourself and family; it’s time to turn that skill to a business, because there are huge opportunities, you can make ties, shoes, clutch bags, do beads making, barbing/hairdressing salon, etc.
Financial Services: Are you aware it is not just banks that are involved in rendering financial services? These days that are several microfinance institutions and individuals who render these services. With a lot mobile financial platforms available such as Etransact, Ecocash, Paylater, PocketMoni, Paypal, Zoto, the list is endless employing hundreds of thousands of persons. You can either choose to become an agent of these platforms and even banks to render diverse financial services on their behalf and get commission for each transaction made or if you can afford to set up your own platform, trust me, it’s a good business.
Healthcare: with new diseases sprouting out every now and then, coupled with chronic diseases like heart attack, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes which is causing more death in this country due to poor access to essential medicines and vaccines, low quality healthcare, malnutrition, the need for healthcare-focused entrepreneurs cannot be over emphasized and as a matter of fact, there are a lot of benefit to be reap as the market is so large.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT): In this information driven age, the opportunities in the digital space is just so endless. There is rarely anything (business) you can do successfully in this generation without involving ICT as would either need a GSM, a website, blog, an email or e-store. There are a lot of opportunities in computer hardware and software production, repairs, programming, mobile App development, online learning, cyber cafe etc.
Manufacturing: this aspect of the economy is so broad; it involves the manufacturing of several items either on a large scale or small scale basis. Items can include paint, electrical and mechanic items, household products, soaps, detergents, etc.
Media and Entertainment: the media and entertainment industry is a wide umbrella term for any business or company involved in fields such as news media, TV and Radio shows, event coverage, Music, Movie, Dance, sport, comedy, event management, photography etc. the major requirement is this industry is talent and training.
Oil and Gas: over the years, when people hear of oil and gas business, what comes to their mine possibly owning an oil block/well, or an oil and gas company; whereas that is true, such ventures requires huge capital to start, but other smaller business opportunity in it, for example you can make huge profit from becoming marketer of oil and gas products.
Professional services: these are expert-based services some which would require holding professional licenses such as architects, doctors, engineers, auditors and lawyers and usually take the form of consultancy services. It is a good business I tell you.
Tourism/Hospitality: A lot of businesses are under this umbrella. Under tourism you can start a recreational center, start a park, etc., under hospitality, we have hotels, bars, restaurants, fast food centers, catering services etc. these are real business!
Transportation: With millions of human and goods that move around every day across the country, transportation has become central to the functioning of Nigeria economy. With a population growing that is faster anywhere else in the world, transportation remains a problem of the present and future of Nigeria and any entrepreneur that rise to this challenge, has a lot to gain. You can read the testimony of Uber, you’ll be surprised what opportunities are available.
Waste Management: Nigeria is losing its natural beauty and environment to different forms of degradation especially solid waste pollution. Apart from the dirty and unsightly look that heaps of wastes are giving to several cities in Nigeria, poor waste management is closely related, and largely responsible for outbreak of diseases. This opens up opportunities in waste recycling (like paper waste, kitchen, plastic and metal), other forms of waste applying appropriate technology can be turned to a renewable source of energy.
This article is intended to open your eyes to possibilities, opportunities around you for business. Nigeria is a land full and overflowing with amazing opportunities for people like you and I to make money. The challenge is that most of these opportunities are buried inside tough and challenging problems and a solution to any of this problem results in a profitable business, more so, the tougher the problem you, the more money you are likely to make. What are you waiting for? Why not align your skills and passion to any of this sector and see the problem you can solve.
BUSINESS CONSULTANT- AUTHOR - SPEAKER - SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR - BUSINESS COACH
He is an alumnus of Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Lagos Business School (LBS), Pan-Atlantic University (PAU). Through his training, mentoring, speaking and coaching programmes, he has empowered many young people over the years to start and grow their own business, build wealth, create multiple streams of income and achieve financial independence.
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