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Create jobs by solving tangible problems, not by just applying for jobs with Companies – Jinmi Oluanuiga, MD/CEO Business Ununusual Ltd.

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The bite of the current recession in the country is not only being felt by some quarters of the country but by all. Companies have folded up and thousands of Nigerians have been laid off due to the precarious circumstance that has enveloped the Nation for over two years now. Despite the efforts of government and the role of individuals to help alleviate the untold hardship that seem to have become neighbours with the masses, experience from other developed Nations who at one time or the other have had to go through similar situations in the past, shows that entrepreneurship and job creation is one key factor that can help reduce the burden of unemployment which is a direct effect of recession.

As the crusade for entrepreneurship rages on, some Nigerians have been at the forefront of engineering their ingenuity to create jobs for people while also training more and more interested and talented youths into being able to channel their strength, might and creativity for the betterment of their lives, families and the country at large. As a Chinese proverb says; “If you are planning for a year, sow rice. If you are planning for a decade plant trees. If you are planning for a lifetime, educate a person”, Mr Jinmi Oluanuiga is a consultant and a professional “Techpreneur” who has been a strong advocate for entrepreneurship as the way forward. He is the MD/CEO of Business Unusual Limited, a Consultancy firm with offices here in Nigeria (98 Awolowo Road SW Ikoyi, Lagos) and in the UK (Victoria House, 18 Dalston Gardens Stanmore Middlesex HA7 IBU).

Business Unusual is no small fish in the world of consultancy, and has been so since 2007 when it was founded by continually plotting its path against the status quo and this is keeping in line with the vision of its founder, Mr Jinmi Oluanuiga. A very busy man no doubt, National Impact crew caught up with him to get to know a bit about him and his story and He was all too pleased to grant us a bit of his time. The excerpt:

 

Can we meet you Sir?


Jinmi Oluanuiga is a professional techpreneur, a qualified technical project manager and program director, and founder of Business Unusual Consulting.

 


Tell us about Business Unusual, how did it come about?

I founded Business Unusual in 2007 having worked with some mainstream consultants that seemed to keep taking capability and resources away from the organizations they worked for. I wanted to do consulting that built capability into their clients by making the consultant redundant, until a new project was needed. We believe in challenging the status quo, and not just doing things business as usual, hence the name Business Unusual Ltd.

What are the achievements of Business Unusual over the years?

We’ve been fortunate to work on some very large projects, Sky’s rollout of a real time CRM application for its Call centre base of 4000 employees and agents in the UK, delivering the $240m Main One submarine cable project on budget and on time, developing Nigeria’s first ever National Broadband Plan, and helping to oversee some of its implementation, helping to deliver additional broadband connectivity across Nigeria, Ghana, West Africa, and helping new tech companies and entrepreneurs to navigate the tough African business terrain.

What are the possible challenges that the establishment face currently?

Africa can be tough to do business in, take for example Nigeria and the need to provide more connectivity to more businesses and homes. You would expect that this is a good thing, but it could sometimes take up to two years or longer to get permits to build fiber infrastructure or new towers that could provide additional connectivity or telecoms coverage. Sometimes it feels like there is not enough sense of urgency in really getting states like Lagos, Ogun, Abuja, Edo, etc with the much needed ICT infrastructure they deserve. Having said that, there are so many things to consider when we are selecting projects to implement for clients. Sometimes no matter how much you believe in the client or the project it just isn’t adequately funded, forcing things to grind to a halt eventually. Sometimes this leads to not getting paid for months or even years. That’s a serious business challenge for any start up, funding and cash flow, and for a niche company like ours; accounts payables versus receivables.

 

How has Business Unusual contributed to the economic growth of the Country in terms of employment and youth empowerment?


I’d like to think we’ve made some significant contributions in this regard but the sheer volume of the problem sometimes makes one feel like the contributions are sometimes insignificant. Take for example the successful landing of Main One cable which led to a 50% drop in the costs of blackberry internet service and mobile internet subscription services making the internet more affordable for a larger number of the population. That was significant, but everyday new challenges arise that threaten to limit the ability to access the Internet, and to increase the cost of internet access for every Nigerian. Every 10% increase in internet penetration and access has a direct correlation and contribution to the growth of the economy and the country’s GDP. We have decided to continually work on major infrastructure projects that help to deepen broadband utility access, alongside power as foundational building block of a diversified and robust economy.

The Internet and increased access to it also serves as a direct enabler for youth who are geographically dispersed and financially strapped. I have held several classes, training sessions and mentoring sessions aimed at educating younger workforce on the need to create jobs by solving tangible problems rather than just by applying for jobs with companies. This can be a tough mantra to follow but it is an essential part of the growing pains for youth.

 

With the way the Country is right now, the economic recession and all, what advice can you give to the youths out there?


Having said the above one great thing I learned early which is a challenge every young person faces is, how do I get a job if I don’t have experience? And how do I get experience if I don’t have a job? It’s the classic chicken and the egg conundrum. Which comes first? My advice is this, you can get experience without a job, but you have to be willing to do things for free at first. One of my favourite writers Robert Kiyosaki says this, and calls it ‘Working to Learn, and not to earn’. It’s a tough one, and sadly no one has the patience or financial freedom these days to work for nothing while they develop their skills. Many young people who have worked for Business Unusual have often been under pressure to increase the amount of money they earn before they have even been able to contribute anything meaningful and of true substance to the organisation. In the end they end up job-hopping with half baked skills that leaves them stunted. Sadly it’s a problem I do not see going away any time soon. Mind you at my age, I too I’m still also classified as a youth.

 

What is your philosophy about life, what has kept you going?


Frankly I think it’s been two things, basically I try to contribute my own little quota to the general positive progress of the world. My old man has a saying that ‘If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem’. It’s an interesting world view and I guess I’ve always tried to position myself as being part of the solution. I’m a natural problem solver. Another world view has been one based on upbringing which is having a spirit of excellence, ‘If anything is worth doing, then it’s worth doing well’. However I am also learning some of the limitations of this kind of world view. One must decide which problems one really wants to solve in life, because you could run yourself absolutely ragged trying to solve all the myriad of problems Nigeria, or even Africa has. So to that I say, choose your battle carefully, and commit your life’s work to that, while also being mindful of the need to take care of your own needs for self and for family. God and Family must always come first.

 

How do you relax, after your busy schedule?


I don’t relax. It can be tough to relax sometimes. But when I do make the time to wind down I spend it with family just chilling, bonding, watching a movie, reading a book or listening to music. I also like playing sports and board games, physically and mentally challenging sports and games. To someone else that’s not relaxing at all, but if I’m being idle doing absolutely nothing I might find it very hard to relax for long because there’s always some work that isn’t getting done.

 

For those that would like to contact Business Unusual, how can they reach you both online and office address?


Visit our company site, we’re a very small consulting firm looking to do more projects and grow, so if you think we can be of value to you, or you have a project you’d like to get delivered and are not sure how to go about it, talk to us, send an email to info@b-unusual.com, and also visit our website at wwww.b-unusual.com. We work with investors, governments and entrepreneurs to make sure their projects get delivered, on time, and within budget. It’s our passion.