Except you live in the Mass – you’d have noticed the renewed push for ‘Made In Aba’ support. TBWA with Support from The Ford Foundation is currently running a ‘Proudly Made in Aba Campaign.’ Aba is a cosmopolitan industrial city in the South-Eastern State of Abia in Nigeria. While Nigerians were more comfortable with imported products, not so many of them knew that perhaps some of the ‘foreign products’ were indeed ‘Made in Aba.’
In the ’80s, Aba was one of the industrial powerhouses of Nigeria. Years of neglect and lack of vision from leaders led to the decay of infrastructure and public utilities. This, in turn, led to many of the factories shutting down. The factories could shut down but not the families who had no place to go. On the heels of the departing factory owners and devastation, ruin and oblique future, rose a generation of innovators and industrialists who fought neglect and lack of support to produce world-class goods/products fitting enough for the foreign market but not for Nigeria!
The story continued until Nigerians – beaten by the hard times occasioned by the loss of value from the recession and inflation arising from global oil price slump – suddenly realized that dependence on oil was a big mistake and started the #BuyNaijaToSaveTheNaira Campaign on Social Media.
The timing of the #BuyNaija Campaign coincided with the ascendance of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu who quickly seized the moment to launch the Made in Aba campaign.
However, it is TBWA in partnership with The Ford Foundation that have taken the campaign to heights hitherto unimagined. Everywhere you turn from social media to International Television, the #ProudlyMadeInAba campaign sticks out. That the campaign is successful isn’t debatable, but, are the people on ground aware and positioning for the benefits of this campaign? There’s a consensus for a massive knowledge/technology intervention in the city to help modernise and position the hard working business people in Aba to reap benefits of this campaign.
This presents huge opportunities for startup in different areas and this article will shine light on some of those.
1. Quality Control / Assurance Agency
The #ProudlyMadeinAba campaign is reconstructing the narrative and perspective of how business is done in the region while also showcasing the volume of quality products being produced in the space. This no doubt will raise awareness and increase demand for goods and services.
Any company that can figure out how to convince the manufacturers to pay for QA, while earning the trust of the rest of the world will no doubt be in business. And this can be replicated across the other manufacturing hubs/clusters across Nigeria.
Startups also can set up training facilities and modular courses to teach quality/standard concepts and procedures to meet with global best practices. Easy to use training courses that could utilise innovative mobile technology to help manufacturers in Aba seem like a big enough market that can be replicated in other hubs.
Innovative Logistic solutions will definitely be worth the time and energy. Existing companies might want to look into expanding there. The solution(s) must be centred around shortening the delivery time and security of products while considering cost.
4. Marketplace Solutions
Technology driven Marketplace Solution will also benefit. The website and app development market around Aba is about to peak. Companies offering these services might want to set up shops now.
5. Business Process Automations
Technology driven Automation processes will soon be in high demand. As business struggle soon to meet-up with the increase in demands, they’d be looking for ways to improve efficiency and maximise profit.
6. Tax & Statutory Compliance Consulting
Startups also have a huge market opportunity in building a business around creating solutions for the public sector. Areas to consider majorly should include modernising taxation processes in the various markets and manufacturing clusters in Aba. Taxes and other related compliance matters are easily sorted out both for businesses and for the agencies(both private and public).
These don’t scratch the many opportunities that are present and open for startups to benefit from as the #ProudlyMadeInAba campaign continues and its impact grow more and more.
Joshua Triumphant contributed to this article.