Name: Raymond Agholor
Name of Company: Cokodeal
In the challenging business environment, driven by the foreign exchange restrictions and low oil price environment, Nigerian businesses need to find innovative ways to stay afloat. Ecommerce firm, Cokodeal is a B2B Ecommerce Platform in Nigeria that provides a platform specifically for the sale of locally produced goods.
We catch up with Cokodeal to discuss all things about B2B Ecommerce Platforms in Nigeria, entrepreneurship, local businesses and much more.
How We Created a Successful B2B Ecommerce Platform in Nigeria
Terser – Can you describe Cokodeal, the idea and concept as if I knew nothing about it or the market?
RAYMOND – Cokodeal is an online B2B ecommence platform where Nigerian small-scale manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, wholesalers and craftsmen can promote products and connect with buyers locally and globally. To operate on Cokodeal you have to create an online self-managed store, upload pictures of your products, and promote them across all cokodeal’s promotion platforms, which include the cokodeal.com online marketplace, social media, blogs, newsletters and online exhibition.
Terser – How was the idea of Cokodeal conceived, and how did you decide that B2B ecommerce platform was needed in Nigeria?
RAYMOND – The concept was birthed out of the strong belief and desire that Africa is not just all about consumer market but it is a continent endowed with tremendous resources to participate in the global market.
Africa shouldn’t be an object of pity and foreign aid but a centre for global trade. Over the years we have seen the foreigners come and explore our lands, they would go to villages and pay peanuts in exchange for our cocoa, granites etc. We are saying we should also be in the supply chain; Nigerians can also explore these resources and sell on cokodeal.com.
We can help our local manufacturers locate that there are resources they might need in their manufacturing. Yes, it was gradual, we built the multiplatform to support its online operation, and signed up businesses. We then marketed it using social media, and grew an audience that helped grow the platform.
Terser – How would you describe the journey so far?
RAYMOND – It’s been a real adventure and a challenge running a business in Nigeria that requires a lot of expenses that don’t directly add value to the organisation. These expenses can quickly erode the company’s revenue, and if it’s not sustainable, the company can no lo exits.
We have also learnt a lot about how rich Nigeria is and the tremendous untapped opportunities and resources.
We’ve also seen that cokodeal which was conceived 4 years ago is a timely solution in a period when Nigeria is beginning to realise we need to start producing to grow and diversify our economy. As it was seen on social media “Made in Nigeria” and #buynaijatogrowthenaira campaign on twitter.
Terser – What are the benefits for customers using Cokodeal over another B2B ecommerce platform in Nigeria?
RAYMOND – Cokodeal is the largest promoter of Nigerian-made goods in the world. While you would find largely imported goods on other ecommerce platforms in Nigeria, the products on display on cokodeal marketplace are made by Nigerian businesses.
Cokodeal has a huge social media campaign, which keeps increasing by the day and a dedicated creative team to support our subscribers to attract more customers.
Cokodeal accepts agro products, wholesale goods, and goods on the platform are sourced from other African countries, which allows buyers to have better choice of goods.
Lastly, because Cokodeal connects businesses beyond Nigeria, other countries like Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya can source goods from Nigeria through our platform.
Terser – How vital has teamwork been in contributing to the startup so far?
RAYMOND – Being a startup with a strong team is invaluable. It has helped us work faster, execute and exit ideas with flexibility thereby bypassing bureaucracy in our approach to executing ideas.
We also have remote workers and we have implemented clear communication processes to enable us to achieve specific goal. Our mission has kept us motivated and kept our feet on the ground as we know we’re just starting and there’s a long way to go. This keeps us strong, motivated and humble.
Terser – Is your market limited to Nigeria and do you have any plans to expand your reach in the near future?
RAYMOND – Our market reach is not limited to Nigeria. Nigeria was our market entry point. We want to cover all major commerce trade countries in Africa. Our vision is to connect inter-intra Africa trade to global market.
Terser – What Future projects will we see Cokodeal involved in?
RAYMOND – Cokodeal would look to empower local businesses in Africa to do more trade (within and to global market) by conducting online trade exhibitions for business connections.
Other aspects include facilitating credit facilities in form of soft loans to support business people to trade more. Lastly helping business people to enter new markets by forming joint ventures for similar businesses, while helping connect them to potential investors.
Terser – African startups and businesses are currently receiving a lot of global attention, what areas of business do you feel African startups must improve in order to fulfill their promising potential?
RAYMOND – Customer service and trust. Also for startups to show it will be profitable, as we are well informed about many startups that have brilliant ideas but little or no strong revenue business model. African startups need to be able to demonstrate that it is profitable to launch a business in Africa.
Terser – And what would be your advice to young people who are passionate about starting a business enterprise in Africa?
RAYMOND – Truth be told, business and startups is not for everyone. If you’re not ready for it mentally and physically, don’t start at all. Be ready to pay the price to achieving your vision until you see it to the end. Work with a good team, ask for help, keep learning and keep growing.
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