A large number of student entrepreneurs on Nigerian campuses go bankrupt every year due to the inability to get their products and services to the extensive customer base of students on campus.
This is essentially more difficult for them because the traditional word of mouth and wall posters are no longer very effective due to the emergence of the golden age of e-commerce.
However, creating a website to showcase and sell their products to the broader online audience is too expensive for most student entrepreneurs. This is why the Vasiti platform could be very important to the survival of many student businesses.
The platform provides an online market primarily for student entrepreneurs to showcase their goods and services to the increasing number of Vasiti users across Nigerian universities. It also provides quick access to goods and services students need around campus.
Vasiti targets major Nigerian campuses, with the focus of onboarding most of the student entrepreneurs onto its platform. During a chat, Vasiti CEO, Ugonna Brian Ginigeme explained that the company wants to make life easier for students.
“The aim is to make students’ lives easier on campus by giving them on-demand access to their needs including goods, services and relevant information,” the CEO told Technext.
He added that the e-commerce startup currently has over 2,000 student entrepreneurs from 3 Nigerian campuses onboarded on the platform.
What Vasiti offers student entrepreneurs
About 80% of Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) crash within their first five years. The figure might be gloomier for student-owned businesses because the focus of their owners are usually very divided between business and studies.
However, the emergence of an e-commerce platform like Vasiti tailored to suit student businesses at a time when e-commerce is growing on the continent could improve the chances of these student businesses.
Vasiti provides a free platform for student business to advertise. It also provides access to mentorship, training, funds and increased brand awareness that supports the growth of businesses.
Growing customer base
Currently, entrepreneurs on Vasiti have access to thousands of users and customers on the platform. According to Ugonna, shopping on the platform is not limited to just students alone and as such could also expose student businesses to regular people and other professionals.
He further added that the startup was currently onboarding trusted wholesalers to enable student entrepreneurs purchase bulk goods at discounted prices.
“We are also currently onboarding trusted wholesalers to our wholesale platform which would be launched in March 2020. The wholesale platform would enable student entrepreneurs purchase goods in bulk and at great discounts from trusted and vetted wholesalers.”Ugonna Brian Ginigeme, Co-founder and CEO of Vasiti
Vasiti has trained campus representatives who help promote the startups brand on campus as well as interact with its users in all the campuses they operate.
Vasiti is currently operating in the University of Ibadan where it was founded in 2015. However, it has also expanded into University of Lagos and Covenant University.
According to Ugonna, the startup is making plans to expand into 12 more universities this year including Yaba College of Technology, Lagos State University, Obafemi Awolowo University, Babcock and Bells
Making better graduates
Apart from being a market place for students, Vasiti also wants to help make better graduates by empowering students to make them job creators.
Research shows that about 25 million Nigerian graduates are unemployed and Ugonna explained that the startup was committed to making graduates better.
Vasiti has a career empowerment program called “Vasiti Career Fest” an initiative used to prepare students for life after graduation.
Successful Student Business is important to the economy
The importance of SMEs in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized as about 90% of businesses in Nigeria are SMEs making them essential for the acceleration of economic growth in Nigeria.
80% of the employed in Nigeria are employed in SME’s and these include student entrepreneurs.
Many successful entrepreneurs today started their business from tertiary institutions. But that population is considerably smaller than the total number of entrepreneurs on campuses. Vasiti could play an important role in improving the numbers.
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