BizIdea1 – Uber for bikes

I read a few days ago, the call of FRSC for complete elimination of motorbikes on the streets. I do understand and sympathise with their reasons but it’s a long shot. Motorbikes, however dangerous they are, have become a critical part of our lives. The question for me is how we can make them safer, more reliable and more efficient.

Uber for bikes seems like a solution to this problem. How will it work?

  1. Individuals buy bikes which they register on the platform
  2. Bikes and riders are verified for compliance
  3. Riders are checked and trained properly 
  4. Bikers have uniforms, wear helmets, and hold helmets for their passengers
  5. Passengers book for riders with the app and they’re picked up and dropped at their destinations.

Many will benefit from this. Just think about the number of people who want to dash out of the office on the island during peak hours but dread taking a bike. With the safety and confidence this gives, they will happily ride. 

What do you think?

It’s a new year – 2017! Let’s push the limits…

What’s life without risks? What do we stand to lose? What is our deepest fear? At the end, we all wish we did more…more when you were the health prefect in secondary school, more in college as secretary of the frat club, more in the university as a captain of the football team, more in your first job as an office assistant. We all wish we did more. Why did we not? Fear? Doubt? Peer pressure? Laziness?

2017 presents us with a new opportunity to put timelines to all that we dreamed of and pursue them with the fervor of the same guilt of not doing enough in the past.

Over the past few years, I have kept an archive of several business ideas I conceived, either by i-nspiration or see-nspiration. Over the next few days or weeks, I want to publish several of them out there. I hope someone will be brave and daring enough to take an idea and run with it. Make it your own and run with it.

I wish you all a beautiful 2017 and pray God will order your steps and set you in the right path!

I was locked up…in Bucharest

My colleagues and I were cuffed and our faces covered with black hoods. We were led down the hall of a dungeon (or so I felt) and I was separated from the rest. A metallic door opened and I was shoved in and the hood removed. After adjusting my sight to the room I was locked in, I realized I was in a cell which was not more than 15 sq. ft. The cell had metal sliding bars as doors and a wall separated me from another cell. And there was another wooden door after the metal doors locking in both cells.

I had scramblings in the next cell next to me and I asked who was there and realized one of my other colleagues was locked in the other cell. But where were the remaining 3? The wall separating us had hollow space with some sort of maze and a pulley system. I started searching through the cell I was in to see if I could find anything that could help escape from the cell. After searching frantically, I eventually opened the cover of the wash hand sink in the cell and there was a key. I tried it on my cuffs and puff…it unlocked. There was no way to pass the key to my colleague to try but there were some markings on my wall which later proved helpful. After deliberating with my colleague for a while, we realized if we could slide a golf ball we found in my cell into the hollow space in the wall, it will fall through the maze and unlock something…what it was, we had no clue. So we got to that and tried hard to guide the golf ball through the hollow space. Eventually, it slipped and it started rolling down the maze. We waited, hoping and wondering what would come out of this. Eventually, it hit a dead end and we had a click sound…my cell door automatically opened.

I got out but I could not leave as there was a wooden door which seemed to need a code to unlock. I went to check my colleague and was surprised to find out she had some form of wooden jigsaw puzzle on the floor which she was fiddling with. There was a missing part of the puzzle which was in a 3rd cell which I had to get for her. As soon as she put together the puzzle, it formed some 4 numbers. We tried the numbers on a code reader and her door opened. We still had to figure out how to get out through the wooden doon. Eventually we did and we got into a hall way with 2 doors. One was opened and the other locked! Through the opened door, we realized our colleagues were locked in other cells in there. I first handed them the key to the cuffs and they were able to remove their cuffs. There were some marking on their wall indicating a part of the wall in the hall. We went back there and we saw nothing. Hitting on the walls, we discovered a part of it was hollow and after shoving hard, we pulled a brick out of the wall which had a key; we used the key to open a locker in the hallway and found the code to open the cells of my colleagues.

Eventually, 5 of us stood in the hallway wondering how to open the main door to the hall way. We would definintely need a 4-letter code but how to get the code was the question. After fumbling around the hallway for a while, one of us evetually noticed there were multiple lighting system in the room. We turned off the yellow light and put on the purple light and all of a sudden, the wall of the hallway which was empty was covered with several mathematical equations. We pulled out a sheet of paper and started adding, subtracting, dividing…it was mind boggling! We got the code, punched it in and the door opened to us. We got out in 59mins and 14 secs!!!

This was my first experience with the escape room game. It was the most awesome experience I had ever had as it challenged my thinking, enhanced how I communicated with my colleagues, questioned my assumptions, tested my wits and ultimately helped me realize how well I do under pressure as we had only 60mins to break out. Escape rooms are now the fastest growing adventure games in the world.

It’s really great to know now that the first escape room game has opened in Nigeria. While its not a prison break like I did, this has a serial killer theme – a serial killer kidnapped and murdered 3 ladies and now has a 4th target. You have access to his crime scenes and his den and you have 60mins to identify him, his 4th target and what weapon he uses. If you have the opportunity, you should go with your friends, colleagues or family to really have a great fun time. Check it out at http://www.escaperoomnigeria.com

 

 

 

Technology meets Agriculture: Digital revolution in the industry

Anyone who knows me well will not doubt my passion for technology. When you think technology in the context of agriculture, several people will readily think of the farm machinery, irrigation equipment and probably even inputs such as improved seeds, fertilizers, chemical protection, etc. However, I am thinking differently now, especially for those who think their passion for digital technology makes them incapable of exploiting opportunities in Agriculture.

In recent times, several agriculture firms have been investing in technology to help make smarter decisions. Monsanto purchased The Climate Corporation which mines data to produce valuable insights and information as recommendation to farmers. It could be as basic as when they should plant or if they should treat their crops earlier than planned. These sort of information usually proves helpful to farmers. In 2014, more venture firms started backing Ag Focused technologies, with CNBC reporting that over $250m was spent in Q3 2014 on Agriculture and Food sub sector investment. 50% of that investment went into precision hardware and Food Logistics & Safety.

If you think about this, as the need for protein increases both from a rising income and population increase point of view, the pressure on land, water increases. We have to seek ways to get more from less. While the agriculture R&D firms need to continue to research how to do this from a biological point of view, the world of technology could also rise to the challenge to empower farmers to make the appropriate use of the stretched resources. How would it be if farmers could better predict the climatic conditions or get quicker insight on observed pest on their field and acting accordingly or get better visibility on commodity prices at the point of sales or map their fields and get advice on what the fertilizer requirement of the different portions of the land would be.

It would ensure that the already limited resources are used more efficiently and farmers are putting their money exactly where it is needed. The needs differ between developing and developed countries but ultimately, technology has a major role to play in the transformation of the Agriculture industry over the next few years.

I will write next on one of the projects proposed in the LAKAJI Corridor assessment that explores the role of technology in the sector within the context of a developing country.

(Feel free to comment below on other areas where you see technology playing a key role in Agriculture revolution especially in developing countries)

The LAKAJI Corridor – the future of Nigerian Agriculture?

If you are familiar with the Brazilian Agricultural terrain, then the Cerrado will not be strange to you. This is an area covering over 2,000,000 square km, which is about 23% of the country. The cerrado has a rich diversity, estimated at 160,000 species of fungi, plants and animals. According to the oxford journals, over the past 25 years modern agriculture has been developed in the cerrado to produce soya, maize, rice, etc and enormous numbers of cattle are raised in planted pastures. A lot of the success of the Brazilian Agriculture is linked to the Cerrado. However, I was pleasantly surprised when a senior Brazilian colleague of mine informed me that the Cerrado was not the making of the government but people moving into the region to practice agriculture on a large scale after many years of treating the acidity in the region with lime.

Bringing this closer home, the government of Tanzania wanted to replicate this feat but this time, with the support of the government. The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) was initiated at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa Summit 2010. SAGCOT, is a multi-stakeholder partnership to rapidly develop the region’s agricultural potential. The goal is to create a public-private partnership that will develop commercial agriculture along the southern corridor of Tanzania by identifying new and existing project opportunities in the infrastructure and agriculture sectors. Think about it, if you have excellent road/transportation networks around and through the corridor, communities start evolving with the support of private investment who have the right incentive to farm around the corridor. Coordinating this with the appropriate financial programs, market access and commodity pricing transparency, I see few chances of failure.

It is with the same spirit that the LAKAJI(Lagos – Kano – Jibiya) Agricultural Growth corridor was developed by the Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport (NEXTT) project to stimulate investment in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, linking the largest consumer market in West Africa (WA) with some of the highest potential agricultural zones in Nigeria. In partnership with USAID, an initial assessment was completed to identify investment opportunities related to infrastructures, logistics, along the corridor (if interested, I can forward the findings to you although its available on the internet) and the findings are quite insightful and at the least worth reading.

Can this be a real catalyst for agricultural development in Nigeria if implemented properly?I would like to review some of the projects proposed from the assessment conducted on the corridor over the next few weeks and hopefully make people aware of potential investment opportunities in the region.