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“I don’t see finance as a major snag, rather lack of innovation and business functionality as a bigger problem.” Interview with Emeka Odibeli, Founder of StartRight Development Services.

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Emeka Odibeli is a business development specialist and the Founder of StartRight Development Services Ltd. With his extensive knowledge in business development, he vigorously helps individuals and businesses turn their potential, skills, and ideas into profits through consulting, training, and coaching programs.

Please tell us more about yourself.

My name is Emeka Odibeli, and I am a business development specialist. I work and live in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria. A graduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University. Due to the state of the Nation as regards unemployment, I ventured into Entrepreneurship and focused on Business development. I got certified in Entrepreneurship development from Southeast EDC, became a certified Management Consultant, and various other certifications and awards. I became a trainer with Google and got a certification to help people with digital transformation for SMEs and everything in the entire ecosystem for SMEs and startups.

I launched StartRight Development Services to help people with training, coaching, mentorships, and advisory services to help businesses reach their goals, maximize their profits, and improve policy formulations for SMEs.

As an active business development specialist, I have served on various platforms. I worked with CBN in the southeast and Delta state government with the Ministry of Youth Development as a special assistant to the commissioner. I have worked as a faculty advisor at FirstFounders and a Mentor at Fate Foundation.

What inspired you to be a business development specialist?

Since the beginning of commerce, businesses have been trying to reach new markets, especially SMEs, to increase sales and improve existing products and scalability. While platforms have advanced over time, the purpose has always been the same.

I noticed that I was good at helping people with their businesses, and that was before I entered the field. I gave them strategies on how they can manage competition, break even, and improve profit. I found out that many businesses have succeeded with my advice and have become established. I decided to take this up more professionally and reach many more businesses.

When I got the opportunity to learn structurally from professionals, I took advantage of the opportunity and volunteered to be part of their conferences and projects. As my knowledge increased, I went to the field to practice, and it became a blueprint that I now have to carry on to bigger platforms. Launching StartRight Development Services was to continuously stay on this path to fulfill a life-long dream.

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What are some of the impacts you have made towards SDG through SMEs and startups?

One of the impacts we have been able to make was to bring sustainable learning and capacity-building programs for SMEs. For the grassroots people who cannot access the internet, we brought learning to them because the goal was to reach people at the grassroots from community to community to get access to funding, training, and business tools to launch their businesses and initiatives.

My team and I worked in Ebonyi State, Enugu State, Imo State and Delta State in Nigeria. We have gone into these communities with Media aids for standardized learning, worked with different SME clusters, from village market associations to village artisan groups, to Community youth groups. With that, we were able to ensure that they had access to basic business articles that could prepare them for funding from platforms like CBN, Bank of Industry, Nirsal and so on.

We also created room for people with no options who needed an empowerment platform to give them choices. In some of the programs, we partnered with the Ministry of Youth Development and were able to reach out to almost three thousand (3,000) people in the space of three years.

What is StartRight Development Services, and how do you plan to use it to help SMEs?

StartRight Development Services was founded in 2018. We offer ideation services for Angel investors and Venture capitalists, trainings, business development advisory services , professional business writings for proposals, grant sourcing, business plans and more. StartRight Development Services was launched with one main goal, which is to help people close gaps in their businesses.

Many people we have encountered have made huge errors and we have effectively worked with them to create standing profitable businesses. StartRight development Services has a track record of helping every business we have worked with upscale, boost profit and outlive their competitors. StartRight Development Services has a plan where we groom entrepreneurs from a young age and mentor them to get things right from the start. We have the three-fold system that we operate with.

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The first includes the outreach to kids in secondary schools with life skills development programs, which will evolve into entrepreneurship as they grow and prepare them for employability and job readiness.

The second is the continuous learning curve for SMEs. It is a structured approach, a blueprint we plan to evolve into an app and make available on the web, with a basic template for business plan development, company financing, auditing, and bookkeeping.

The third is fragmented into two;

  • Engagement with Government Agencies to create intervention programs for different strata of individuals and businesses. Creating platforms to learn, Start, upskill and position them to for funding opportunities.
  • The second fragment is directed at helping those in the grassroots community with access to Business growth tools. We have partnered with Investors, funding agencies, political office holders, and community leaders to run various business enterprise development and digital transformation training programs to help establish these businesses.

What are some of the challenges you have faced in the SME space?

The first challenge would be knowledge deficit. I have noticed that many business owners do not have adequate business knowhow. The school system doesn’t teach you what is required in today’s market, and the majority try to learn from the street, and because it is not structurally set to help them, we often see a lot of businesses die at inception or constantly struggle to stay in business. Many programs in this country are still not giving out the functional knowledge that most SMEs need to grow.

The second is that many people talk about finance as a challenge. I don’t see finance as a major snag, rather lack of innovation and business functionality as a bigger problem. A lot of businesses have weak unique selling points (USP) for example “You will see a cluster of the same business on the same street, and you cannot differentiate one from the other because people are too lazy to put ingenuity into what they do”.

When you work with people like that, you struggle to take them from where they are to where they should be to get results. These above challenges make me do what I do, and until they are set right, we will keep having so many investments with little output.

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Are there any upcoming developments or prospects we can expect from StartRight Development Services?

Currently, we have our learning hub in Asaba Delta State where we run walk-in programs for SMEs, we have our online Business development curriculum for online learners and we are rounding up work for our training App.

Also we are working on partnering with more states and Agencies to spread SME development trainings.

Do you have any available opportunities for career, investors, and partnerships at StartRight Development Services?

For careers at StartRight Development Services, we are expanding our workforce from January 2024, and a call for interest will come out this December.

For partnerships we are open to partnerships with local and international organizations as well as Government Agencies.

For investors we are currently not looking for any but we are open to this in the future.

In Nigeria, there is vast potential and opportunities for growth with massive innovation. We must refine knowledge and expose people to opportunities to help them get it right. In the long run, we have enough for local consumption and extra for exportation. We need more opportunities, a more enabling environment, and open their minds to do better with the little they have and inject the right innovation so we can see growth in our SME space and Startright Development Services is here to position rightly every business or individual that chooses to work with us.

For partnerships for StartRight Development Services, interested parties can reach the Founder Emeka Odibeli via email to discuss the best next steps.

Find out more about Emeka Odibeli and StartRight Development Services on LinkedIn and startrightglobal.