[Forum] How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected business operations in Nigeria?
Africa Business Communities has spoken with several founders, CEOs and startups in diverse industries in Nigeria about how the global pandemic has affected their business operations. For some, it was a game changer, for others it had little to no effect. And then there were those who saw a positive impact and even improvement in their work situation.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic and the work-from-home trend affected your operations?
Cynthia Chisom, Founder, The Aboki Africa: “Ours is a leather tech startup based in Abuja. The Aboki Africa, our shoe repair enterprise, was unaffected by the pandemic. Being a startup, our operations have always functioned remotely and work has always been done that way. Before the pandemic started we made a point of interacting with the teams and artisans only when critical. This made us better prepared than most for crisis and we have followed the same model post-covid19.”.
Joel Daniel, Founder, Solutions Platforms: “Due to the educational needs created by the pandemic, our platform developed a hybrid model which combined both physical and remote learning. We have achieved proficiency in the latter through our recently launched online educational platform solutionsplatforms.com, which reduced the need for in-person tutoring for the safety of both students and tutors involved. It also reduced the number of students experiencing our physical tutoring.”
Magaji Musa Buba, Founder, Theatre of Solutions, Nigeria: “COVID-19 has hit us more positively than negatively due to the lockdown that forced many people to be online for much longer hours. Consequently they have come across our campaign, which has an online orientation. The pandemic has also presented itself as the most single, common enemy of humanity irrespective of racial, religious or social status. This has opened more doors for people globally to express compassion, embrace diversity and exercise a good, common vision like never before.”
Gbolahan Tobi Ayediran, Founder, Suit-U Travels and Tours, Nigeria: “Covid-19 has ruined all previous narratives on development, lockdowns at the largest scale in human history as imposed by governments around the world to control the spread of the virus.
Yes, it has affected us as a travel agency because we were unable to sell travel needs, and the stay-at-home trend has compelled us to structure our work online.”
Elizabeth Adeshina, CEO, Wazima: “Typically, majority of us in Nigeria were not used to remote working but the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that there are other ways of doing things that can be just as effective. During the height of the pandemic all our teams were required to work remotely which had its challenges initially but many have adjusted well with new recruits even asking if we accommodate work-from home. We essentially had to ensure we were able to track productively and stay connected online as a team. Being a technology company, the transition has been a natural one and we are now working a hybrid of remote and in-office.”
Chidi Nwaogu, Co-founder, Publiseer: After the COVID-19 outbreak, Publiseer experienced a spike in sales. It appears that people are relying heavily on ebooks, audiobooks, and digital music to occupy or entertain themselves during these hard times. We have experienced a huge surge in new book submissions; it turns out a lot of writers are using this period to finish their manuscripts. However we experienced a huge decline in new music submissions, most likely because musicians are unable to visit the recording studios and create new music. So this got us wondering: “How can musicians create new music from their bedrooms or their living rooms with nothing but a laptop?” While looking for an answer to that question, we stumbled upon Soundation and BandLab, and we are currently working with them to assist our recording artists to create new music while at home.”
Chidera Jonathan Emerenini, Founder, Appi Technologies: “Covid-19 had a positive impact on us. We launched our food ordering service Appieatz during the lockdown and saw fast adoption and tremendous growth among local restaurants and food vendors. Customers were compelled to shift to online ordering due to Covid restrictions. The work from home wasn’t easy at first as the employees had to adapt to new company cultures.”
Anthony Owei, Founder, Chicken Palace & ePoulty.ng: “The pandemic did not affect us much, since we work in the food production sector. During the lockdown we were granted exemptions to move as part of an essential industry. Food production went on and it was during this time that we were inspired to start Chicken Palace. We started with online orders and home delivery and then followed it up with a physical outlet in September 2020.”
Dr Oluyomi Alarape, CEO, Wragby Business Solutions and Technologies: “COVID-19 has had an impact on Africa as well as businesses, especially the Omicron variant. The changes caused are significant to every business across the various areas and functions in which they operate. For us personally, the New Norm has assisted us in reshaping our notions about team collaboration using technology while also attempting to create a casual ambiance at the workplace that allows the employees to come to work for in-person meetings and interactions with coworkers. These are the kinds of organizational standards we are embracing as we have transitioned to digital collaboration. Adopting a balance between both is the wholesome direction we should pursue.”
Gabriel Nwoye, Founder, MultisScholar: “No, the pandemic did not affect us directly. I started my educational platform at home and that’s how I’ve continued. All my writers work from home and I’ve never even met most of them – we communicate digitally. The hiccup in our operations happened when schools got shut down as a result of the lockdown all over the world. There was less need for information and my readership and revenue took a hit. But that was only temporary. Things have since picked up and I don’t foresee any further interruption to our process.”