Founded in 2014, Sarepta Nigeria Ltd prime goal is to design and foster viable investment partnerships in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, by so helping the continent’s largest oil producer and exporter (and its people) reach its full potential. Sarepta recently became one of Afrinection’s advertising partners. Editor Miriam Mannak chatted to CEO and founder Baraka Ekpo about his company’s journey so far, its main achievements, and its future ambitions as well as his views in terms of Africa's potential as a global destination for hungry investors, professionals, and entrepreneurs.
Q. What does your company do, in short?
A. We are a limited company as are our subsidiaries. Our core competency is designing viable partnerships for fostering foreign and domestic investment in Nigeria's key sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, real estate, natural resources, and transport.
Q. Who are your customers and target audience?
A. Our customers include state government bodies, local and international private companies, property developers and potential investors (domestic and foreign).
Q. What are the opportunities of the sector you operate in?
A. The opportunities for the oil and gas sector are limitless, particularly taking into account the many key niche industries, the oil and gas free-trade zones, and value chain sub-sectors like jetty construction, maintenance, and logistics handling for firms already operating in those zones. In some of Nigeria's states, like Akwa Ibom and Ondo, there are opportunities for first-time private sector individuals and firms to buy-over, operate and take over government assets.
Q. What has been Sarepta's biggest achievement thus far?
A. We have had many breakthroughs over the last years. Completing the process of onboarding as a contractor for United Africa Company UAC is one of them. This particular company has one of the largest investment portfolios in Africa.
In addition, we started our own paint manufacturing and production business, which in terms of viability currently tops our list of subsidiaries. This has led to the acquisition of a paint factory in southern Nigeria. We also set up a Special Vehicle Company with Massimo Saviero Construction (Sarepta Massimo Nigeria).
Q. What makes Sarepta better than its competitors?
A. We have a genuine passion and love for Nigeria and Africa, and we are not just seeking monetary gain. At Sarepta, we work tirelessly to forge partnerships with other businesses to promote a sense of unity in Nigeria’s and Africa’s business world. Our unique ties to the USA and our ability in being a credible go-between helps us win the minds of foreign investors who are interested in but reluctant about Africa and Nigeria.
For our subsidiary products and services such as our paint, interior decors, door manufacturing and construction, our key advantage is being able to provide a higher quality of service and product at more competitive rates.
We also have a very accommodating pay structure that puts our employees first.
Q. What makes Africa an interesting business destination?
A. The opportunities in Africa are endless. Instead of reinventing the wheel, this is the place where you can improve existing processes. Secondly, Africa is blessed with natural resources and a hungry and large human capital asset base. What is needed, is the right environment and right leadership to convert these elements into a competitive advantage.
What should also be noted is that our diverse continent offers opportunities in almost every industry, from green technologies and tourism to energy, and agriculture. The cost of labour is relatively low and the potential for growth for industries like oil and gas is high.
Q. Why did you get involved with Afrinection?
A. I got involved with Afrinection because this marketing and networking platform aligns perfectly with our organisation's main goal of re-introducing Africa and Nigeria to the rest of the world as a place for business to thrive. We also like the opportunities it offers to network with like-minded organizations and individuals.
I hope to achieve a portfolio of credible investors willing to invest in Africa and build more viable partnerships to see my country and our continent rise out of an age of third world status to the global force we have all the potential to become.
Q. What is your advice to African entrepreneurs who want to make it?
A. My main advice is to never give up.
- Have a vision and set goals to turn that vision into reality.
- Work harder than your Western counterparts, not because you aren’t good enough but because we in Africa have a lot of catching up to do.
- Do not focus on your failures but on results. Always judge your actions based on what your vision is.
- Your image is everything. Integrity must be at the center of everything you do.
- Set goals that seem unattainable, as they will force you to work harder
- Develop a “we” rather than an “I” mindset as this will make you go faster for longer.
- Finally, you are no different than your Western counterparts in your abilities and proficiencies. If you think you can achieve it, you can and you will.
- Never lose sight of your vision.
Q. Where can we find you online and on social media?