Just as the Irish winter begins to bite, my thoughts return to a recent business trip to Lagos Nigeria where their winter is quite a different story altogether. Previous travels in rapidly developing economies had prepared me for the infrastructural challenges I’d find. However, I’ll readily admit that my wardrobe is ill-equipped for attending formal meetings in 35o Centigrade!
Planning such a trip took months of preparation. Fortunately, we were brilliantly assisted in our efforts. The Irish Government led a trade mission to Nigeria and Ghana in early December 2015 provided a fantastic support eco-system to Celtrino in terms of preparation and day-to-day on the ground activities.
It was a real high impact tour de force performance by Minister Coveney (Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine), His Excellency Seán Hoy (our Ambassador To Nigeria) as well as event organisers Julie Sinnamon (CEO of Enterprise Ireland) and Aidan Cotter (CEO of Bord Bia) and their talented teams.
(Photo From left to right: H.E Seán Hoy; Ken Halpin; Minister Simon Coveney; Julie Sinnamon)
During the packed 2 day visit I had great meetings with a diverse set of key players of relevance to Celtrino (including a pitch to 40 leading Nigerian Financial Service Providers). The focus of our meetings was the potential fit for our newest e-Commerce Marketplace services which offer scalable trading systems to the FMCG sector. The meetings went exceptionally well. The senior people I met responded very favourably to our proven track record and the modular nature of the service offerings.
Culturally, I found Nigerians extremely friendly and professional in this ambitious dynamic changing country. In some ways, it helped that there are an estimated 40,000 Nigerians already living in Ireland and that Nigeria is well represented in Celtrino’s multicultural workforce comprising 14 different nationalities.
In servicing the infrastructural trading systems needs of our customers as they grow their businesses, Celtrino plans to play its part in helping to generate €545 million of target Irish export revenues to Nigeria by 2018. Onwards and upwards!