Environment plays a major role in the success of a new business venture but it does not determine the success of the business. The ultimate determiner is the entrepreneur’s determination to succeed.
That is the view of a businessman, Babalola Babatunde Taoreed, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of First Laurel Investment Ltd.
Bbatunde, who, at the weekend, was on CEOAfrica’s online TV programme, “Meet your African CEO”, stated that there was market “everywhere” as long as the entrepreneur sets out to solve a particular problem or meet a need in the community he finds himself.
He explained that that is the philosophy guiding his business ventures located in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The ancient city, Ibadan, is gradually opening up to business, a development driven by the vast infrastructural development currently being undertaken by the government in place. But certain policies of the government are presenting themselves as impediments rather than incentives.
According to Babatunde who runs a chain of ventures including a hotel, Ibadan is not fully conducive for the hospitality business because of the taxation policy of the government. He stressed that the multiple taxes in the state was impeding the growth of the hospitality sector.
His words: “The government has done well in the area of infrastructural development because it has opened up the state and more people are coming to invest in Ibadan. But there is a policy of the government that is killing the same businesses it is attracting. And that is multiple taxation.
“The government seems to have allowed its quest to raise IGR through taxes to undermine the growth of businesses, especially the hospitality business. They tax you for so many things and at the end of the day, you pay more than you are making. That is coupled with the fact that the businesses are only trying to survive.
“The government has to consolidate the taxes and make it easier for people to pay. It doesnt make sense to pay huge multiple taxes when you still provide your own power, water, security and still pay staff”.
Babatunde, an accomplished sales person and marketer with several years of experience in Nigerian Breweries and Globacom, also advised the government to take advantage of the many hospitality businesses in the state to create employment and help young people add value to their lives.
He said that “instead of just employing people and putting them in civil service where there’s little, the government can partner with private businesses. They can draw up a list of unemployed youths as well as another list of businesses. And like what the National Directorate for Employment (NDE) used to do in the past, match unemployed people with these businesses and be in charge of their token and allowances. That way, they’ll engage the youths, see them learn business skills and aim to start up their own sometime later”.
Babatunde’s company, First Laurel Investment Ltd is a growing organisation with investments in night clubs, hotels, eateries, supermarkets, carwash, salon and oil and gas.