Many Nigerians in South Africa and at home are seriously seeking enabling environments to relocate and do business.
Words on the street of South Africa is that many Nigerian business men now think of relocating to Canada. To them, South Africa is becoming more hostile to them and other African foreigners.
When one door shuts, another one opens. While South Africa is tightening her immigration laws – primarily against against African migrants – Canada is opening her doors and scouting for Nigerian young business men, among others.
Recently, sizeable number of enterprising young Nigerians may be on their way to Brampton City in Canada soon, not just to catch fun but explore the business opportunities in one of the fastest growing business communities in that country.
This open invitation was extended to them last week by the Mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown, during an interactive session with 300 young Nigerian entrepreneurs in Lagos.
A Nigerian firm, Pertinence Group, facilitated the visit of the mayor to Nigeria with the first black female councillor in Canadian city, Mrs Charmaine Williams.
It was the business part of their tour, having earlier paid a courtesy call on the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and homage to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
The mayor acknowledged the determination of many young Nigerian entrepreneurs to remain in business despite the harsh economic situation in the country.
He said Nigeria had a lot of self-motivated businessmen and women and urged them to tap into several business openings in Brampton, adding that with determination, the youths could turn things around for their country.
“Brampton wants to be part of the Nigeria’s success story. We hope to do business with Nigerians, as there are opportunities for Nigeria to be greater than imagined,” he stated.
Brown also said, “This is my second coming to the country; first time was during the commonwealth meeting and I was part of the Canadian delegation. I remember saying that this is a beautiful country. You can’t come to Nigeria once and not want to come back.”
His interest is the large population of the enterprising youths, which he noted as similar to those in Brampton.
He said, “In Canada, Brampton is the fastest growing city and the youths are responsible for the growth just like Nigeria. We see ourselves as the same. We respect each other, our neighbours. When one community in Brampton is attacked, we see that all communities in the country are attacked.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re born, the colour of your skin, once you have the determination to succeed, Canada will give you the opportunity. Brampton provides everyone an equal opportunity to succeed; no discrimination of any form.”
Brown urged young Nigerians in business looking to see Brampton as a city ever willing to accommodate them.
“If you’re in Lagos looking for how to get opportunities to scale up your business, Brampton is a place to go. I believe in those who say the next frontier for entrepreneurial success is Africa,” said the mayor.
Although the Mayor of Brampton’s invitation may look open to young business people, start-ups in manufacturing, technology especially cybersecurity as well as food and beverages are likely to get preferential treatment.
Brown gave the hints about this when he said, “In Brampton, we are focusing on the idea of jobs for tomorrow and that is where technology comes in. Many young Nigerian start-ups operate here. We just welcomed 15 tech start-ups from India recognising the technological growth from the start-ups from that country.
“The Canadian prime minister just announced that Brampton will be the centre of cybersecurity. Our city is investing heavily in cybersecurity. This is a sector worth $600bn. We focus on tech start-ups. These are businesses of tomorrow.”
In her presentation, Williams urged women to strive to excel in whatever disciplines they had chosen.
She advised her audience never to allow anybody to discourage them from actualising their dreams, adding that once they had a vision or dream, they should follow it with passion.
A co-founder of the Pertinence Group, Sunday Olorunsheyi, described Nigeria as a land of opportunities but noted that to maximise the opportunities, young entrepreneurs needed some help.
This, he said, was why the group invited the Brampton team led by the mayor, whom he described as a youth advocate, having been appointed a leader of many political and socio-cultural youth organisations at various times.
He said, “He therefore understands you; he appreciates the challenges which the youths face. He understands what you go through, your frustrations, your aspirations, your yearnings and your dreams and this is why he is here today to enlighten you about opportunities you can access in the City of Brampton, Canada.
“Just a month ago, I was in Canada and had meetings with his team, where we explored the various opportunities which the City of Brampton can facilitate for Nigerian youths and entrepreneurs, and I can tell you, they are many.’’