To the poor and middle class, problems are nothing but problems. To the rich and wealthy, opportunities for wealth creation disguise as problems. Or, as someone put it, problems come in work clothes, meaning that if you want to benefit from problems, then you have to get to work. I do not believe that the problems in our communities can be solved by government alone. No government, no matter how rich, has been able to meet all the needs of its people. Don’t get me wrong. Government needs to be responsible because that is why they were voted into power. Nevertheless, my study of wealthy people has shown me that rich or wealthy people exploit certain environmental factors to create the stupendous wealth they own. This is the secret of the rich which they wouldn’t want to tell you.
The rich look out for needs, problems (or challenges), questions and gaps in any social system and try to respond adequately by providing the right products or services that can address such. For instance, there was scarcity of software to run the computer hardware until Bill Gates came. Getting household items like sugar, salt, cement and others were concerns that the Dangote business empire saw and provided products for. Today, when you drink your tea, cook your meals or build your house, you are depending on AlhajiAlikoDangoteto meet those needs. The need to build a strong and well-educated citizenry that can withstand the competition in the global labour market led to the establishment of many private schools to complement existing public schools. Packaged water came to fill the gap that existed in that product segment in Nigeria as more Nigerians took to industrial work, business and trading and needed to rehydrate by taking safe and potable drinking water. Everywhere you go in this world, opportunities for wealth creation may not first appear as opportunities, they first appear as needs, problems, challenges or gaps.
Let’s look at some problems in Nigeria and how the rich would approach solving them. Insecurity
Nigeria is increasingly experiencing security challenges all over the country. In your community, you don’t need to complain if you can provide a security outfit that can provide security for individuals, organisations and your community. There is need for security guards, body guards, executive protection professionals and security gadgets. While government is working hard to improve security on a larger scale, you too can make money by starting a security outfit in your neighbourhood especially if you are a retired police or military officer.
They say Nigeria has close to 11 million out-of-school children. Also, it is evident that the level of education at the public primary and secondary school levels has fallen. Rather than complain, can you provide a good but affordable school for the poor in your community? You could even get grant to run such a school if you are serious about it and are committed.
This is another problem many Nigerian communities have which you can tap into by creating adult schools to meet the needs of many adult Nigerians who can neither read nor write but have the desire and means to get some level of education.
Food, the need for mechanised farming
Like someone observed, Nigeria’sagricultural sector has remained almost the way it was in 1960. This is arguable, though. However, agriculture in Nigeria is predominantly subsistence and small-scale. Through cooperative farming, this can change. Opportunities in this sector include catfish farming, livestock farming such aspoultry farming (including egg production, meat production, hatchery or day-old-chicks production, etc.), cattle farming (with focus on dairy (milk) production, beef), rabbit farming, goat farming, sheep, tilapia fish farming, piggery, grasscutter farming, snail farming, quail farming, plantation farming and food processing (namely, local Tomato puree production, Frozen food production, yogurt production, Vegetable oil production, Garriprocessing, oil palm processing, groundnut processing, Fruit juice production, Rice milling, beans bagging, cereals business, and others).
Rather than complain, you can start a small-scale transport business. Nigeria always has the population even in our communities.
Building good but affordable homes
Young graduates especially architects can start innovative building models that can provide affordable homes to replace the thatch houses that most of our rural areas are known for. Partnering with banks, angel investors or venture capitalists, such investors can revolutionise the housing sector in the country.
There are opportunities for the creation of local fabrics and prints which are in dire need in many cities in the country.
Many communities do not have any means of communicating with its members. Community newspapers will require small capital in starting it but could provide huge income to the owners.
Most markets in Nigeria are still old-fashioned, dirty and very degrading in outlook. Certain local builders can create private markets that are decent and can be rented out to market women who will jump at the idea of having a decent place to sell their wares. In return, the investor gets paid a monthly rent or charges fees for the use of the market according to space.
Many community dwellers do not have potable water. Providing bore holes and charging very small amounts may not make the owner rich but can bring in tidy income to meet one’s needs while saving a lot of lives that would have been exposed to water-borne diseases.
Agricultural inputs such as fertiliser and modern farm implements are some of the reasons our agricultural sector continues to be low yielding, small-scale and subsistence. These can change. Engineering graduates can team up to meet these needs and they will surely make much money doing so.
Absence of chemist shops or pharmacies and equipped primary health care centres
Health is wealth and this is an area that many Nigerians who have the training and the means can exploit to enable greater access to primary healthcare in our communities while charging enough to keep their businesses on and to make some profit.
Power supply through renewable energy
The world is going green. There is need for alternative power generators such as solar energy, wind mills, Inverters, biogas, and other innovative renewable energy sources and products that can support the power needs of our communities.
The long and short of this piece is that the wealthy see opportunities in problems and move in quickly to provide products and services to address such problems. To change the fortunes in our communities, let us think like the rich even for once! Till the next edition, God bless Nigeria.