The problems involved with starting a business have been a stumbling block, killing innovative solutions, especially in places like Nigeria. After would-be entrepreneurs conclude the process of compartmentalising what their business will be, who they will serve, and their SWOT analysis, they have to contend with the rigours of regulatory systems in less digitalised cities in emerging markets.
This is where Sidebrief comes in. Founded by Eunice Olopade, Abdulwaheed Yusuf and Usman Sotunde, the startup, which was part of the inaugural ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Program that held its demo day just last week, “simplifies starting and scaling a business across borders with its one-stop registration, banking and regulatory compliance solution,” according to to the information material from Techstars.
The goal for the company is to help entrepreneurs not just launch but also scale their businesses across different emerging markets, one of the co-founders, Eunice Olopade, told Technext in a recent interview.
But why should customers come to Sidebrief, hosted on a digital platform, when they can walk to one of the many physical spaces, interact and negotiate with agents and launch their business?
“Current alternatives are expensive. It’s a lot of paperwork involved, several regulatory authorities. And when it comes to these cross border transactions, all of these problems layer on,” Olopade said.
“Ours is a one-stop solution for banking, for business registration and for ongoing tax regulatory compliance,” she added.
She said that another unique selling point for Sidebrief is the speed with which customers get their companies on the ground, typically within three days.
“We are seven times faster than the alternatives. We are 25 per cent more affordable. And there’s actually no paperwork involved,” she said.
“We understand our users. We know that they are not just looking to launch their businesses. But to scale it across borders. And what we’ve done, whereas our competition offers one-off high fees, we offer a subcrip[tion based model so these entrepreneurs can pay for what they need,” she added.
In the age of tech bros, where young people, sometimes as young as eighteen, are starting businesses, Sidebrief has a unique opportunity for national and global expansion if it can play its card right. Across the continent, the bureaucracy of starting a company remains a huge stumbling block for innovators, there in lies Sidebrief’s mandate.
“This has been a general problem on the African continent and one that I experienced myself. Whilst in the US and other developed worlds, starting a business is pretty easy, right, on the African continent, statistics show that it’s a heckling task for entrepreneurs to formalise the process of registering their business.”
There is a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy involved. And that is the problem we are solving. We take away all these archaic processes and allow you to launch your business in like three days on our platform.” Olopade said.
But like many other startups, Olopade said that she has had to face difficulty finding the right talent for the job, which can slow down the growth of a young business like Sidebrief.
“Hiring and talent has really been one of our biggest challenges, getting the right culture fit the right fit in terms of skills has really been a challenge for us,” she said.
But in the meantime, she is focused on the company’s goals. “We want to be that company that entrepreneurs across emerging markets in the world will use to launch their businesses. And not just launch their business but will use to grow their business,” she said.
“Even though currently we are in Africa, the vision is to empower entrepreneurs across emerging markets, not just to start but to manage and to scale their business from anywhere,” she added.
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