88mph and Microsoft Ventures partner to support startups in Nigeria

microsoft nigeria

88mph and Microsoft Ventures partner to support startups in Nigeria

NIGERIA, 12 December 2014 – Microsoft, in partnership with 88mph, today announced the expansion of the Microsoft Ventures program into Nigeria. As part of the 4Afrika Initiative, the collaboration will help improve startups’ productivity by offering tools, resources, expertise and routes to market around the world. This expansion builds on the success of the first  partnership in Kenya, announced in October 2013.

“There is a great opportunity to further develop the startup ecosystem in Nigeria and drive innovation,” says Amrote Abdella, Director of Startup Engagement and Partnerships, Microsoft Africa Initiatives. “By expanding Microsoft Ventures into Nigeria, we hope to reinvent productivity for startups. This means equipping them with the technology that puts their businesses first, by providing affordable devices, cloud-based software and pay-as-you-go models, that enable anytime-anywhere access.”

Startups for the program will be selected based on globally established criteria. These include having a full-time founding team, a bold vision for tackling a real problem, technology-driven solutions and less than $1 million raised.

“While working with Microsoft in Kenya, we found we were very aligned on finding businesses that deliver value to consumers, helping bring them to profitability, and hopefully getting more investors interested in web/mobile businesses,” says Kresten Buch of 88mph.

88mph and a reputable Nigerian seed fund, L5Lab, created a Joint Venture called 440.ng, to invest in startups in Nigeria. “It’s still early days here and not a lot of players in this space, so we are thrilled that Microsoft wants to support our efforts here as well,” Buch concluded.

Microsoft Ventures was first launched in June 2013 as a coordinated global effort to help startups get off the ground. Microsoft Ventures accelerators currently operate in Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris, Seattle and Tel Aviv with partnerships with 3rd party accelerators in Moscow, São Paulo, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Bulgaria, Kenya among other cities and now Nigeria.


“88mph is a leader in a region where entrepreneurism is thriving and a great source of economic good. The Microsoft Ventures team is proud to be partnering with them in Nigeria and we hope to contribute to the success of 88mph, the startups they support, and the country as a whole,” says Cliff Reeves, Senior Director, Microsoft Ventures.

One Nigerian startup who has already benefitted from the partnership with 88mph is Abiola Olaniran, founder of mobile games company Gamsole. To date, Gamsole has over 9 million game downloads, making Abiola Nigeria’s highest paid Windows game developer.



5 Tips to make big sales this season for sellers

Christmas is around the corner. It’s the time most people will be shopping for different items to celebrate the season. Here are 5 tips you can use to big sales as a seller.

Get Ready

Having the right products photos on your storefront is necessary for growing sales. Get high resolution images of your products and services; having images of the product from different angles is also a huge plus. It is important to describe your products and services in detail; information is key and can influence your customers’ purchasing decision.

Categorizing your products properly makes them easy to find. The easier it is to find your products, the faster it is to convert to a sale.

Use Discounts

Having sales and promotions is a good way to increase transactions on your storefront. Take advantage of the season and give your products and services the visibility they deserve by offering irresistible discounts. Another way is to create bundles, seasonal pre-packaged hampers, goodie bags and service deals at discounts.

Give Something Back

This season, offer your customers something extra; offer gift wrapping services and even throw in a free seasonal greeting card.

Keep Records

Keeping track of various purchases during the festive season can be very difficult. Try to separate personal from business expenses by prioritizing your necessary expenditures and checking off your list when you go shopping.

Show You Care

Communicating quickly and efficiently with customers develops trust in your brand/business. Monitor your inbox closely and keep your lines open for orders, alerts and enquiries.

dstv now

DSTV Launches ‘DSTV NOW’ App

Sport, movies, series and so much more is now available anytime, anywhere, thanks to DStv Now, a new App across Africa that allows subscribers to watch Live TV, enjoy DStv Catch Up and view the TV Guide from their mobile phones and tablets.

The mobile app is currently on offer to DStv Premium subscribers with a PVR or Explora decoder, on both iOS and Android tablets and mobile phones through 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi internet connections.

Simply visit your mobile App store to download the free App. After logging in with your DStv Connect ID, link your Premium Smartcard to your DStv Connect Account by going to www.dstv.com for iOS users, while Android users will be given the option to register and link smartcards on the App. Thereafter, you will be able to stream or download your favourite Catch Up titles and view a host of other live TV channels, including SuperSport, , plus M-Net movie channels including Comedy, Actions Plus, Drama & Romance and Premiere. The relevant data costs will apply when streaming content.

There are also selected Live TV channels to watch on your mobile device and tablet plus an eight-day TV Guide showing Live programming on all DStv channels is available to DStv Subscribers.

Download the app today and you’ll never miss your favourite TV shows this festive season.


A genius film that is ascetically pleasing while pushing the imagination coming soon

New York City – December 9, 2014 – Shareef Snuggs, writer, producer, and director is collaborating with an incredible group of people to create a new film called “Heavenly Mushroom,” currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo: http://igg.me/at/welovethemushroom. The film, aims to explore what happens after the death of a sixteen year old girl’s mother. Grace must leave her village and enter the dangerous wilderness of this dystopic future – where plants are scarce and mythic creatures roam. Her faithful companion and spiritual guide, Nature – a robotic sheep – joins Grace on her journey to find the High Priestess.

To show their dedication, the team of actors, professionals, and creative members has created a zero budget, uber impressive step-by-step plan to give the fans a taste of what they have in mind. The impressive part is the plan is what this group of talented individuals can do without a budget. Which leads people to believe the full-length film could be fantastic if this Indiegogo campaign is funded.

There are a few components that uniquely classify this film for success.
One being this film’s motives to send positive messages to children and secondly the film has all the key software to create a really magnificent piece. The other key indicator of success is the manpower behind this project.

• Carole Dean, Fiscal Sponsor
• Adolf El Assal, Line Producer
• Jordan T. Parrott, Cinematographer, to name a few

Not only are the individuals listed above and the rest of the team talented but also they share the vision of this film and the passion for the message.

Currently, the film project is running a “flexible funding” campaign on Indiegogo to raise money for the films production. Sharing the Indiegogo link on social networks is also a great contribution, and all donations to the Indiegogo campaign are tax-deductible. The campaign will run for 2 months to reach the minimum budget goal.

The film’s release date goal is for October 2015, with the aim to subsequently get picked up for iTunes and other online distribution. For more information follow the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/heavenlymushroom

Crowdfunding enables people with a great business idea to ask the general public for the funding they need to set up or expand. The business sets a target for the money it wants to raise and explains how it will use the cash. People can then make pledges for small amounts of money in return for a reward if the target is reached.

Contact: Legal Counselor, Priscilya M. Hawkes, Hawkes Law Group
Phone: (212) 671-1973
Fax: (917) 460-7128
Email: phawkes@hawkeslawgroup.com


Choosing the perfect marketing agency – it is not just about the money

Most businesses, if everything is going as planned and if they are being smart about further development, will need to hire a marketing agency of some kind to do at least some marketing for them. Without good marketing, the business can grow only so much and for new clients and customers, you will need to employ it.

Choosing the perfect marketing agency is not only about the money you will spend on it; it is not even about how many marketing gigs and campaigns they have done in the past. It is also about them understanding what you want and what you need and about them finding out ways to approach your needs in a way that will produce results. So, how do you find such a marketing agency?

Asking around

The first step in finding the perfect marketing agency for your needs should always be asking around. If you know other business owners who have had success with their marketing campaigns and other experiences, ask them if they have someone they would recommend. Check what you can find online; see who got the awards in the last year or so. Ask around, dig around, check online and offline.

Preliminary cuts

Not every marketing agency you hear about during your asking around phase is going to be as good as they claim to be. You need to start digging deeper and finding out more about the agencies that have caught your eye. Be careful about any red flags that may rise up during your investigations. For instance, if they are charging way less than others, this may be a sign that they are not that great. Or that they are brand fresh which does not have to be a bad thing. If they are charging too much; well you are no one’s fool.

Make the initial contact

The initial contact is extremely important. From the first moment you need to know that these are people who are taking every job seriously and who are dedicated to what they do. If you find that they are blowing you off for big clients or that they are letting someone who knows nothing about their job talk to you. You will also find out a lot about them from the questions that they ask you about your wants and goals.

Sit down and talk with them

This meeting is going to make or break your relationship with the marketing agency. This is where you will find out whether they understand what your business is about and what you are hoping to achieve with your new marketing undertaking. You need to feel that connection that will allow them to do their job the right way and that will ultimately lead to results that will benefit your business. Truly great marketing consultants will ask questions about your business and the industry; they will come up with ideas straight away.

Keep in touch

For truly best results, it is essential that you remain in contact with your marketing agency, that you follow their work and evaluate the results. If you come up with an idea that might help them do their job better, talk to them, see what they think about the idea. Be available to them at all times and if they need some help from you, be sure to give it to them.



AUTHOR: James Burbank has years of extensive experience in offline and online marketing alike. He is currently blogging on all matters business and marketing and he is always open to new findings. You can find him on Twitter too – @JBurbank2019


konga yakata

Black Friday Sales: Konga Reportedly Made N50 million Per Hour (Over N600 million)

Konga.com cemented its position as Nigeria’s largest online mall as it successfully delivered Nigeria’s biggest online shopping day with its version of the Global Black Friday sales tagged ‘Yakata’. Konga’s Yakata sales started on Thursday and ended by midnight on Black Friday giving shoppers more time to shop.

Konga’s Yakata sales pioneered and localized the concept of Black Friday in the Nigerian ecommerce industry. The first edition held in 2013 and was a big success. However, the 2014 sales delivered even more outstanding results. On Friday, Konga.com saw a record breaking 1440% year on year increase in online revenue. The CEO and founder of Konga.com, Mr. Sim Shagaya disclosed that at its peak, Konga was processing N50 million worth of orders every hour and that Konga sold 500% more items in the two days of Yakata than it did in all of 2012.
Unlike its closest online retailer competitor, the Konga.com website experienced no down-time during the Yakata sales, despite the incredible number of concurrent visits to the site during that period. According to the infographics below, the 2014 sales was record breaking for Konga across different metrics.

konga yakata sales


MMBF Trust wants to help aspiring Pilots fly

Are you an aspiring pilot or aviation enthusiast who like many in your position are struggling with being able to pay for your flying lessons or pilot licensing course ?

Well look no further as UK based international charity MMBF Trust is handing out sponsorships and grants to aspiring pilots and aviation students worldwide to cover costs of pilots medical, flight training courses and pilot equipment & books.
The MMBF Trust (Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund) was founded by Matthew C. Martino a lifetime aviation enthusiast and the 22year old is also the author of pilots manual Lets Fly. Martino told Eye Witness Reporter ‘I understand exactly what each and every aspiring pilot is going through and especially at a young age, it can be tough to think where you will get money for funding’

MMBF Trust’s aviation and pilot grants will be handed out in partnership with Lets Fly Academy. Lets Fly Academy is an online resource academy which was built to provide information and resources to aspiring pilots and aviations enthusiast. LFA has up to date information regarding flight training , flight training scholarships , information on flight schools and also the basics that an aspiring pilot would need to know.
Let your career take-off today and apply for funding from the Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund (MMBF Trust) www.mmbf.co.uk

Black friday rush

What you dont know about Black Friday

Black friday rush

Black friday rush

Black Friday means many things to different people. If you are a resident in US or you are used to shopping online, you would have been heard of Black Friday, Thanksgiving Thursday and even Cyber Monday. Basically, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving Thursday are annual events in United States and most government employees in some states in US have public holidays to celebrate this.

Black Friday is an annual event on the Friday after Thanksgiving Thursday. Basically, it is the day for ‘shopping frenzy’. Yes! All stores and even online shopping sites reduce the prices on their goods to woo customers. There has been record of people standing in line and rushing for products before the stores are opened. Simply put, Black Friday is the period when most stores and retailers record the highest number of sales. These sales could translate to profit to some and loss to others, depending on the products sold and the discount on them.

Black Friday sales and ads are always announced before the day to prepare the customers for the shopping frenzy. But some stores, due to the limited number of products, only announce their Black Friday deals on the day. If you are a retailer, Black Friday might be a good opportunity to record the highest sales and profits if done perfectly. Thanks to the internet, most people outside US are taking advantage of websites offering Black Friday deals by getting their credit card ready as soon as the discounts go live. As an online retailer, you need to know what people are really searching for during Black Friday and you can position yourself even as an affiliate to give it to them.


Black friday rush

Black friday rush

Most people decide what they want to buy on Black Friday while others only buy what is advertise to them on that day and they are hooked up into buying because of the low sales. As online shopping is gaining ground all over the world and also in Nigeria, most ecommerce sites are leveraging on Black Friday to attract customers to make more sales. For some products, profit is determined by the number of sales made on low margin (which is usually on Black Friday or any other shopping holidays) while other products, profits are determined by the high cost of each product sold. Whatever you sell, you can make lots of money and yeah, profits, on Black Fridays and other shopping holidays that attracts thousands of customers into buying both the products they want and the products they dont need.


New Changes on US Visa Application in Nigeria – Read This Before Applying!

If you are planning to travel to the United States of America, then this information is for you. The official at the US embassy in Nigeria has announced the new changes for Nigerians who wish to travel to the United States of America. Stacie R. Hankins, the Consular Chief at the American Embassy said a new passport collection centre has opened in Port Harcourt, while addressing the press.

“The US Mission is pleased to announce that as of 8 November, our document collection and distribution partners with DHL expanded to include a new location in Port Harcourt,” Hankins said.

As it is the case with DHL locations in Lagos and Abuja, visa applicants with approved applications can now collect their passports with their visas from the DHL collection centre in Port Harcourt.

“Applicants will have the option of selecting any one of the three sites as their pickup location when they complete their online application,” Hankins said.

Similarly, she said, applicants who qualify for the drop box renewal programme can submit their passports and applications to the Port Harcourt DHL collection centre.

However, processing time for the collection centre in Port Harcourt will take an additional day.

Passports are generally available for pick up from the Abuja ‎collection centre in two days. In Port Harcourt, it will take three days, she said.

Non-immigrant visa applicants were also reminded that ‎when making an interview appointment, they must include the correct confirmation number from their DS-160 online application form as part of the required information.

“Beginning‎ December 1, those applicants who fail to comply with these instructions will not be allowed to interviews. We believe this change will make application processing faster and more efficient,” said Hankins who has been serving as the Consular Chief in Abuja since August this year.

She said the embassy approved majority of visa applications made by Nigerians in the last two years.

Hankins also stated that 65 per cent of non-immigrant visa applications received last year were approved.

“Between ‎October 1, 2012, and September 30, 2013, the embassy in Abuja and Consulate in Lagos received more than 182,000 non-immigrant visa apolications, the majority of which were approved . Between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014, we received more than 220,000 applications. Again, the majority of those applications were approved,” she said.

An official at the US Consulate in Lagos disclosed at the briefing that last year 15500 immigrant applications were received and 14900 were approved.

Hankins dismissed long held insinuations that the American Government uses a quota system to grant or deny visas to Nigerians, saying simply that there is nothing like quota.

She said visas are granted or denied based on Section 214B Immigration and Nationality Act.

For non-immigrant visas, she said, applicants must prove that they have enough funding to support themselves in the United States and would voluntarily return at the end of their stay.

In the event of a visa refusal, it is advised an applicant re-applies 90 days after except there have been substantial changes in their circumstances, she said.

“We hope that Nigerians’desire to visit our beautiful country will continue to grow, and we look forward to working its our partners to allow qualified tourists and business travellers to do so,” Hankins said.

Please share this information with your friends and anyone you know that is planning on travelling to the United States.

creative entrepreneur expo

British Council Creative Expo Date Announced

The 4th edition of the British Council Creative Industries Expo, will hold this year on December 8th and 9th at Westown Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.  The 2014 British Council Creative Expo will focus on the pertinent theme of Collaboration. “The Nigerian Creative Economy among other factors is held back by lack of knowledge and information sharing and collaborative working within and across creative industry sub sectors,” says Ojoma Ochai, Assistant Director of the British Council. This year’s Expo will create opportunity for networking and information and knowledge exchange within the creative industries; showcase the benefits of the hub model and the benefits of collaboration on the creative economy.

As always, the British Council Creative Expo promises two days of really insightful and stimulating discussion, debate and knowledge sharing from a very distinguished international roster of speakers and a high-level audience” says Nkiru Asika, CEO of Enterprise Creative, producers of the 2014 Expo.

Speakers this year come from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and the UK. They include: Kathleen Stokes, National Endowment for Science Technology & the Arts, UK; Paul Nwulu, Ford Foundation; Oliver Marlow, Studio TILT, UK; Chike Maduegbuna, CEO Afrinolly;  Leslie Donna Williams, Founder of Impact Hub, South Africa; Femi Longe, Co-Founder, CCHub; Marc-Andre Schmactel, Director, Goethe Institut; Seyi Taylor, Tech Cabal; Nkiru Asika, CEO, Enterprise Creative; Judy Ogana,Go Down Arts Centre, Kenya; Andrea Burns, ROCO UK.

In addition, for the first time this year, the Expo will feature a Pitching Contest in which selected creative and digital entrepreneurs will pitch their business ideas in front of the audience to panel of hub owners and creative entrepreneurs, for a chance to win logistic and business development support from various hubs. The panel of Judges will include Olufunbi Falayi, CEO Passion Incubator, Tola Akerele, creative entrepreneur behind Bogobiri Hotel in Ikoyi and Judy Ogana of the Go Down Arts Centre, Kenya. 

The British Council Creative Expo is free to attend, however registration is required on Eventbrite for DAY 1 and DAY 2. Spaces will be allocated on a first come basis.