How Entrepreneurs Build a Successful Startup Team

Entrepreneur Kashim Bukar Shettima founded Barbedos Ventures Ltd. in 1988 as Barbedos Group of Companies Ltd. Today, Kashim Bukar Shettima oversees companies in fields as diverse as oil and aviation.

The success of a business venture depends heavily on the team assembled to back the company in its early stages. Entrepreneurs must understand how to recruit motivated, talented individuals who believe in the organization’s vision. When building a team, entrepreneurs must first look at themselves critically and honestly. By evaluating the skills they possess and, more importantly, the ones they lack, they can identify the team’s potential flaws and recruit professionals to fill those voids.

If an entrepreneur has a great talent for marketing, he or she should not focus energy on finding other marketing professionals. The individuals that an entrepreneur recruits should always perform better than the entrepreneur in that role. If the founder can do the job better, then he or she should do it. The key to good management is hiring people more talented than oneself.

Also, entrepreneurs should clearly outline the values and culture that drive the business and look for professionals with similar values and mentalities. If recruits do not fit in culturally, this conflict will become apparent and ultimately harm the company.


Negative Foreign Oil Investment Means Positive Domestic Opportunities

As the chief executive of the Barbedos Group, humanitarian and businessman Kashim Bukar Shettima leads Barbedos Oil and Gas Services Limited. A 100% Nigerian-owned subsidiary of Kashim Bukar Shettima’s conglomerate, the company is involved in the trade and export of Nigerian oil and gas resources.

In 2006, the percentage of Nigerian oil pumped by foreign companies dropped to 90%, down from 97%, a figure that had been consistent for over five decades previously. If this trend of foreign divestment continues, that figure could drop to around 60% by 2018, according to a London-based analyst for Ecobank Research.

These dramatic declines are happening even though Nigeria, with 36 billion barrels of crude, possesses the second largest oil reserve in Africa. Despite this incredibly rich resource, foreign companies are pulling out of Nigeria primarily as a result of violence and thefts in the Niger River delta, where the bulk of the nation’s exploitable energy lies.

Is there a silver lining to the retreat of foreign interests from Nigerian oil fields? For Nigerian energy companies, the answer is likely “yes.” By virtue of their familiarity with their communities, local companies may be better equipped to handle the security problems that plague foreign companies. If these companies can overcome these difficulties while sustaining safe and efficient operations, they are poised to fill the vacuum created by other companies leaving the region.

The potential economic boost is enormous: a greater share of Nigeria’s oil wealth would be retained in Nigeria, to the benefit of the entire country.

The Potential of Mobile Technologies in Nigerian Agriculture

An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Kashim Bukar Shettima founded the Barbedos Group in 2002. As the chairman and chief executive officer of the conglomerate, Kashim Bukar Shettima leads Barbedos Ventures Limited, one of the leading fertilizer and agricultural product importers and distributors in Nigeria.

In an interview in early September, the external relations officer of IBM West Africa Ltd., Charles Moyela, recommended that Nigerian farmers take advantage of information and communications technologies to increase yields and improve agriculture in the country. He pointed out that mobile phones in particular have significant value in helping farmers obtain crop insurance and reasonable prices for crops.

In 2012, the Nigerian federal government introduced what now serves as an example of mobile communications in the realm of agriculture. The Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) is intended to improve fertilizer and seed distribution channels throughout the country. With the implementation of the GES electronic wallet system, the federal government has effectively tracked and delivered fertilizer subsidies for 3.4 million farmers, a number that is expected to increase to 5 million by the end of the dry season. Due to the success of this program, several companies are working to implement similar direct-supply systems.

As mobile technology enables programs like GES, fairer pricing, and easier access to crop insurance, agriculture in Nigeria will become more efficient and farmers will become less vulnerable to corruption and natural hazards.