Leveraging technology to optimise MSMEs, empower women
The Team Lead, Excellence Advisory Limited, a technology business support services provider, Excellence Anurika Joshua, is leveraging technology to help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) build structure and run their businesses with ease. She is also the founder, Techy Train, her company’s training arm, which offers technology-based vocational skills primarily to women and youths. It has trained over 3000 women and youths from across Nigeria, Ghana, United States and United Kingdom so far. She shares the inspiring story of her rise to firm and fortune, her initial challenges and plans with Assistant Editor CHIKODI OKEREOCHA.
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Her fighting spirit is extraordinary. While women faced with the same or similar challenges as hers, when she started her entrepreneurial journey in 2019 would have probably capitulated, the Team Lead, Excellence Advisory Limited, a technology business support services provider, Excellence Anurika Joshua, stayed on, refusing to give up the fight to survive in the face of a turbulent marriage, which, by her admission, became toxic shortly after wedding in 2015.
Narrating her ordeal, Excellence told The Nation that she got married in February 2015 while a student at the University of Ibadan (UI). But, unfortunately, the marriage packed up later after what she described as “Three years of severe emotional and physical abuse, a failed suicide attempt and no job.” “I was broke and I had a two-year-old son. I was desperate to survive, pay my bills and feed my son, but the more I looked for help, the more I was exposed to harassment and abuse,” she added.
But, Excellence refused to allow the situation to break her. With remarkable grit, tenacity and instinct for survival, she succeeded in weathering the storm and founded Techy Train, which provides access to technology-based vocational skills primarily to women and youths across Nigeria, Africa and the world. In fact, she was able to keep hope alive until, as she put it, “I found technology, harnessed its power and leveraged it to earn big from my bed, working virtually for individuals and corporates.”
By dint of hard work and perseverance, the 2018 graduate of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences from the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, has carved a niche for herself in the provision of technology business support services solutions to MSMEs. She said her vision is to pioneer a paradigm shift in entrepreneurship in Africa by helping African born businesses and MSMEs build structures that are sustainable, profitable and thrive globally.
Backed by experienced partners, an Advisory Board as well as highly motivated staff, Excellence Advisory Limited is located in Abuja. However, 90 per cent of its clients, according to the Team Lead, are outside Abuja. The company, however, takes clients globally, having been duly registered in the United States, too. But, Excellence said there were plans to expand the company’s services outside the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), even beyond Nigeria’s shores.
According to her, Excellence Advisory has a bouquet of services that have already positioned it as the destination of choice for MSMEs seeking for consultant to help them handle everything tech so they can focus on what matters most: their real businesses.
Some of the business support services that have endeared the company to MSMEs and non-profit organisations include Business Advisory Support Services (business plan development, finance model design, profit maximisation etc.); Management Consultancy Support Services (marketing template design, product design, services design, corporate communications etc.); Learning and Development Support Services (business training, customised trainings etc.)
Others are Business Operations (customer relations, cash management etc.); Process Re-engineering Support Services (creating internal structures, finance and audit processes, procurement, and supply chain design etc.); Strategic Branding Support Services (digital marketing, social media campaigns, brand statement design etc.); Info-tech Support Services (software development, APP development, website development, bulk SMS).
A key aspect of Excellence Advisory’s soaring brand, according to the Team Lead, is its subsidiary Techy Train. Registered as a business in July 2019 and formerly called Animations with Excellence, Techy Train is the training arm of Excellence Advisory Limited. The platform provides access to technology based vocational skills mostly to women and the youth. And it does this by using “accelerated learning” techniques that allow trainees to learn faster and remember more of what they learn.
As the Abuja-based budding entrepreneur explained: “The key is “involvement.” Our approach follows from the old saying: “What you hear, you forget; what you see, you remember; what you do, you understand.” Our lessons are simplified and practically tailored, which gives you an option to actually see what you’re learning beyond learning using our engaging audio + visual demonstration technique that helps you apply faster and immediately.
“Furthermore, you have an option of joining our robust internship where you get to do and grow and then earn. So, when women sign up with us, they learn, work and earn. We have trained over 3000 individuals from across Nigeria, Ghana, United States and United Kingdom. Over 20 per cent of them have gone up to get good employment in the online media space, while over 50 per cent have used the lessons they learnt to grow their business/enterprise and some have gone on to up-skill further in tech.”
The Biomedical Scientist-turned entrepreneur emphasised: “Technology provides a level- playing ground for women across the world to work and earn good from their convenience and on flexible terms.” While pointing out, for instance, that there are thousands of women who are in the unemployed state she used to be, broke and desperate but handicapped, she said she founded Techy Train to help such women earn more money from the comfort of their homes leveraging technology-based vocational skills.
Excellence, who stated that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria is high, said women are the worst hit. She, however, added that the COVID-19 pandemic made the situation worse for them. While pointing out that the situation of women unemployment in Nigeria was more of an issue of underemployment, she said: “Women are rather exposed to vocational skills like soap making, hair making without going further to the skills for the future: technology skills.”
The Digital Skills Trainer explained that through Techy Train’s online academy, the company offers women skills like web design, effective social media management, virtual assistance, design thinking, graphic design and more.
“Our lessons are highly simplified and pre-recorded screen practical for them to access at their pace and convenience.
“The uniqueness we provide beyond simplifying their learning process is our skill bank where participants of our training who have scored 80 per cent and above in cumulative assessment and discipline are inducted into and offered opportunities to work and their skills further improved.
“We also provide technology services like digital marketing, content creation, video editing and more that aim at helping women build sustainable businesses leveraging technology to build structure and running their business with ease. We do this by teaching them how to do it themselves, doing it for them or doing it with them,” Excellence said.
But how did Excellence Advisory Limited and its subsidiary, Animations with Excellence, registered in August 2020 and July 2019, respectively, become hot items in Nigeria’s MSME space and women empowerment in such a remarkably short time to the extent that she could look back and say with so much pride and confidence that “I am beyond amazed at the rapid growth, the lives touched, level of impact reached as well as the profit made?”