After Prince Akin Onalaja’s returned from Europe in 1999, he joined a Lagos based plastic processing company with an agricultural extension; here he got his first motivation to go into farming. When he returned to his home town, Ago-Iwoye in Ogun state, not only did he see the opportunity to put all he had learned into practice but also as an avenue to provide jobs for the people of Ago Iwoye especially as a prince of the town. His business, an agro allied farm business called Legacy Foods Farms Ventures has a cassava farm, garri processing mill and several farm structures like two poultry farms with over 2500 birds, a large pig sty and rabbit pens.
Prince Akin noted that before he joined the SME Loop programme in 2017, his greatest challenge was record keeping and creating a proper financial management system for his business. He thought book keeping was too complicated even though it was causing him yearly losses. However, after putting everything he learnt from his financial literacy class; a module in the SME Loop training, he started keeping proper financial records. He said that for the first time, he had the confidence to create a business plan and apply for a loan from the Bank of Industry, because his financial records were accurate.
Prince Akin, who operates Legacy foods farms ventures on a large expanse of land, aspires to build a competitive brand, one he hopes to expand to meet international market standards. He is also the chairman of Agbe`lere Farmers business school corporative in Ijebu Ogun State.
The Impact of the SME Loop
Major changes achieved during the SME Loop:
- The training and coaching session has helped Prince Akin to keep proper records of sales, cost of production and revenue. Now he can run and manage his daily business activities effectively and efficiently.
- With guidance from his coach he has also been able to write a detailed business plan. This has enabled him for the first time to approach banks for loans
- Today, through interactions with other members of the SME Loop, Prince Akin learned how to package his legacy foods ‘PAO Garri Ijebu Oloyin’. He also makes special branded packages of this cassava flour for customers who request it. Nonetheless, soon he hopes to rebrand PAO garri to meet international market standard.
Impact in Figures
- Annual income has increased by 115% from the income generated at baseline since the start of the SME Loop.
- 11 permanent jobs have been created at Legacy Foods Farms Ventures.
The SME Loop
The SME Business Training and Coaching Loop (SME Loop) is a combined approach of basic and advanced entrepreneurship trainings and individually tailored business coaching, spanning over a 6 months period. The SME Loop approach was developed by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Sierra Leone and further enhanced by GIZ in Benin Republic. It was conceptualised as a mix of tools from various institutions including the Financial Literacy Toolkit from GIZ Nigeria. In Nigeria, the Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria Programme – SEDIN, implemented by GIZ and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), aims to foster employment and increase income of MSMEs. This is done through financial systems development as well as private sector development. In April 2017, SEDIN started to adapt and apply the SME Loop approach with a thorough application process and a total of 252 enterprises (about 30% headed by women) certified in 2018 for successful completion of the SME Loop.
“My coach is a fantastic coach, he has the spirit of service as he dealt with me like I was the boss while teaching, guiding and motivating me to be the productive/innovative SME the SMELoop programme equipped me to be. I have also learnt some leadership skills from this GIZ’s programme.”
Prince Akin Onalaja on how SME Loop has influenced him