After graduating with an MBA from the Manchester Business School in the UK, Nigerian Abasiama Idaresit moved back home in 2010 to start his own business. Idaresit is the founder and CEO of Wild Fusion, a digital marketing agency which services some of the world’s biggest brands operating in Africa. The 34-year-old technology entrepreneur speaks about the lessons he has learnt in business, why he is betting his money on Africa and the many opportunities in Nigeria.[hidepost=9][/hidepost]
What inspired you to establish your own business?
[The] technology business is something I am and will always be very passionate about. Having done intensive research on the impact of technology on poverty as my final year degree project, I was very confident working with technology, and making a difference is what I really wanted to do. Starting a business came naturally. I started Wild Fusion, a digital marketing agency enabling brands and advertisers to approach marketing differently, relying on interactive technology to achieve their marketing objectives. Quality of service, innovation and our people are the heart of who we are.
Describe the challenges you face at Wild Fusion.
Like most businesses operating out of Africa, we face some challenges. In Nigeria, infrastructure needs a lot of investment; we generate our [own] power, provide our [own] water, literally everything and afterwards you must remain competitive. Nevertheless, Nigeria is a cauldron of opportunities – it’s the world’s ninth largest country by internet users dwarfing Spain, Italy and Turkey. From the service industry to agriculture to banking to consumer goods, Nigeria is littered with opportunities.
What are some of the lessons you have learnt as an entrepreneur?
Follow your passion. You will burn out easily when you do what you are not passionate about. Start small if that’s all you can do and believe in yourself. When we started Wild Fusion, we didn’t make one dime for eight months and our first income was US$250. Today we have operations in three countries, [Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya], and decent annual revenues. Without passion and perseverance, this would have been impossible.
How vibrant is entrepreneurship in Nigeria’s technology sector?
It is very vibrant and will remain so for a long while. From marketing to media to entertainment to content, entrepreneurs are making big bets on technology. We have decent numbers of investors who have noticed and are investing aggressively in the market.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs in Africa?
Be passionate about what you do and remain ambitious. Africa is rising and this will continue. Keep investing in your business.
There is a lot of optimism about the continent’s economic and growth prospects. How can we take Africa to the next level?
African countries need to invest in infrastructure, both human and physical. Without these investments, today’s growth progress will not be sustainable. With a huge youthful population, countries like Nigeria have to move quickly to unlock its potential or else we will be in a difficult situation a decade from now.
What are your future plans for Wild Fusion?
Wild Fusion is already servicing some pan-African brands from our local offices in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. We will continue to build our proprietary technology which will enable Africa to compete in the global marketing technology space. We will continue to offer the services to clients and invest in our people. You are looking at a company that will be quoted in a few years, with thousands of employees across Africa and revenue in excess of hundreds of million dollars. We believe in Africa, we have made our bet and are putting our money where our heart and mouth is.