Genevieve Craig is the chief executive officer of Tandem Media, a digital media-consulting agency that provides advisory to small and medium enterprises. In this interview with Correspondent, she explains why she helps small businesses to grow and thrive.
What motivated you to start the company?
I was motivated to start the company because I want to be able to offer a service that is affordable to start-ups. I found that most digital consulting agencies out there charge high fees and many start-ups are not encouraged to go to them.
I first started with an e-commerce store, which was the first start-up I worked with and marketing was the biggest challenge that I had and when I was able to get a hold on marketing, I said let me start an agency that would be able to encourage other start-ups and entrepreneurs to push their businesses online without having to spend so much.
And how long have you been doing the business?
Tandem Media is over a year now but I have been in this space for over three years.
What has been the experience for you since the inception of the business?
The experience has been very encouraging. Technology is moving fast in Nigeria and it is catching like a wildfire. You see businesses springing up everyday and most of them are very viable that in the next five to ten years they will still be around.
From your experience, what is the biggest challenge the Nigerian small and medium enterprises face?
There are lots of challenges that small and medium enterprises and other businesses face in Nigeria. I would say that the challenge is unique to each business. For instance, for a marketing business accessing foreign exchange will be one of the major challenges; for a retail business, getting an office space and the overhead logistics and keeping the office space running will be a major challenge. So it really varies from business to business. I will probably say that getting an office and the overhead cost of maintaining that office on a monthly or yearly basis will be the most challenge that businesses face. We do not have enough co-working spaces that are affordable for start-ups to be encouraged to actually take their businesses from the bedroom to outside and mingle with other entrepreneurs and intelligent minds that can push their businesses to the next level.
What is your assessment of the environment for start-ups?
The business environment in Nigeria is a challenging one. Anyone can come up with an idea that he can be a CEO because he has a good idea. But it takes a lot to be a CEO in the true sense of it.
The environment is tough and government can help out by providing infrastructure and multiple facilities that support start-ups. For instance, government can provide loan schemes and co-working spaces where entrepreneurs can go and have Internet access at a subsidized rate. Government can also provide skill centres where entrepreneurs can go and build themselves up in different areas so that by the time they are going back to their businesses; they will do so with a wealth of knowledge. The truth is that these businesses are the future of the nation; they can grow and become multi-nationals.