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Throughout this year, we have profiled some of Nigeria’s biggest brands. We have also shone our spotlight on emerging businesses, and reviewed startups disrupting the country’s old industrial landscape.

As the year draws to a close, we take another look at some of these brands and recall the peculiar qualities that made us examine them in the first place.

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5. Recyclepoints

Recyclepoints is a social enterprise that’s tackling Nigeria’s solid waste. Unlike regular waste collectors, they offer rewards to people and businesses for collecting their garbage. They then sort the waste into various categories and sell them to recycling plants.

Mazi and Chioma Ukonu were inspired to set up Recyclepoints in 2012. Since then, the startup has gained traction from within and outside of the country and has won awards for its efforts to surmount Nigeria’s 34 million-ton-per-annum waste problem.

4. Cassava Republic

Despite the regularly voiced laments about Nigeria’s poor reading culture, the country still has a vibrant literary sector. Publishing houses are a big part of that set up; there are newer ones rising to meet the needs of up and coming writers, and helping them get recognized across the world.

Cassava Republic is one of the bigger names among this class of publishers. Founded by Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, a former academic and ardent book lover, the outfit has put out titles by famous authors like Nnedi Okorafor, Lola Soneyin, Teju Cole, and Elnathan John, to mention a few.

It has an open-door policy, which means that young, previously unpublished persons stand a chance of striking a publishing deal with it if their work meets its standards. Each year, it accepts manuscript submissions from these aspiring authors and selects the best, most commercially viable entries for publication.

3. HealthPlus

HealthPlus is Nigeria’s first and biggest retail pharmacy chain, with over 30 stores located in Nigeria’s major cities. Founded by Bukky George, Nigeria’s ‘Queen of Retail’, it began as a single modest outlet in Lagos. In two decades, it has gained a firm foothold in Lagos and has set up in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Enugu, and Ibadan.

HelthPlus stores sell medicines, nutritional supplements, and natural remedies.

Casabella, the beauty and personal care products arm of the business, was opened in 2010.

2. Rite Foods

If you’ve ever been rescued from pangs of hunger and thirst by the Bigi Sausage Roll or Bigi Cola drink, you have Rite Foods to thank for that. They began manufacturing the sausage rolls in 2010 and added the drinks between 2016 and 2018. The company’s offerings also include table water and energy drink products.

Thanks to a marketing strategy that consists of offering larger than average product sizes for regular prices, it has captured a significant share of the markets in which it currently plays. And it has managed this in just over ten years (and in the case of the drinks, in a much shorter time frame).

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1. Paga

Paga is one of Nigeria’s most successful fintech companies. They provide a platform for Nigerians to make and receive payments on their digital devices, regardless of where they are in the country. Individuals use their service to settle electricity bills and pay-TV subscriptions; merchants rely on them to collect payments from their goods and services from customers.

A big factor in the victories won by Paga has been its employment of human agents who help people in semi-urban and rural areas make and receive transfers through PoS devices. This means that they function as mobile banks in locations that don’t have a regular bank close by.

Featured image source: Changemakers

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This article was first published on 24th December 2019


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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