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Anti-Counterfeiting Startup Chekkit Raises $500k Pre-Seed Funding

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Chekkit

By Adedapo Adesanya

Chekkit Technologies, a Nigerian-based anti-counterfeiting startup, has announced a $500,000 pre-seed round as it looks to expand its team and technological infrastructure to achieve its goal of consumers’ safety.

According to the company in a statement, it aims to save more lives and further secure the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and pharmaceutical industries.

The round saw Pan African VC, Launch Africa, Japan Strategic Capital, Blockchain Founders Fund and two syndicate groups of angel investors. The company also received a grant from Netherlands’ Orange Corners programme.

Founded in 2018 by Messrs Dare Odumade, Chief Executive Officer and Oluwatosin Adelowo, Chief Marketing Officer, Chekkit offer product verification and anti-counterfeiting solutions using Blockchain.

The company claims to protect manufacturers and consumers against food and drug counterfeits.

Speaking on the latest development, Mr Odumade said, “We are super-pumped about the future as we develop unique technological products to protect the lives of millions and also directly improve the act of doing business for several brands by learning about consumers in the largely informal African markets.”

He also revealed plans to launch “the first consumer intelligence software-as-a-service for consumer brands to create end-to-end loyalty campaigns, aggregate engagement data and distribute rewards in-house and with their marketing agencies for the first time ever, enabling consumers to directly interact with brands through QR and USSD shortcodes printed directly on the product package.”

In 2020, Chekkit announced a pilot in Afghanistan. This move came after the company finished the first runner up in a blockchain pitch competition — sponsored by Fantom, a DAG-based smart contract platform — at the AfricArena Summit in November 2019.

After the event, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Health signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Fantom and Chekkit for a 3-month pilot project to track and verify 80,000 pharmaceutical products sold.

Mrs Biola Alabi, a leader of one of the angel syndicate groups, speaking on why they chose Chekkit as a viable investment said, “I’m excited that the company is building and using blockchain to build out its solution.  Chekkit, with an experienced team, local and global traction, are poised to save more lives, and I’m proud to be an investor and lead a team of other investors to build.”

Mrs Alabi will join Chekkit’s advisory board, bringing with her years of experience in media and communications. She currently serves as a non-executive director at Unilever Nigeria Plc.

As contained in the company’s statement, Chekkit has secured over 7 million pharmaceutical products, protected over 200,000 consumers, and expanded its partnership with the Afghan government to verify and track over 200 million products.

It has worked with pharmaceutical companies like Merck, Royal Star Pharma, and Nabros Pharmaceutical in Afghanistan. Chekkit has also worked with Indomie, Nivea, and Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc.

In 2020, the company deployed its COVID-19 USSD Help & Information Center in partnership with the African Union and the Africa Centre for Disease Control.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Your Beauty Business Deserves The Best Brand Name. Here’s How to Get it

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Beauty Business

The international economy continues to grow even as the COVID pandemic fades. New businesses are sprouting up across the board, and every sector—especially fashion and beauty—is becoming increasingly congested with brands.

An estimate from the Census Bureau showed that 2020, the year of COVID and lockdowns, was also recorded to have birthed 4.4 million startups.

The present issue for entrepreneurs is not just establishing a business but also figuring out how to differentiate it from competitors and grow it until it becomes a force in that sector. And branding is the most potent weapon that any entrepreneur can use to address this situation.

After assisting over 30,000 customers in selecting the appropriate name for their businesses, we know that the most vital phase in branding is selecting the perfect business name. And so, we prepared this article to help you choose the perfect name for your beauty company.

4 Simple Steps to Choosing the Best Business Name

Brand Name

  1. Create a Mental Image of Your Company

Before you start looking for an engaging name, you should have a clear image of where you would like your business to be in the future since this will influence every action you take for your brand.

Also, do your best to understand everything you can about your business, its field of speciality in the beauty market, and the beauty industry in general, as this will help you choose a name that appropriately expresses all aspects of your organization.

While researching your niche, keep an eye out for your competitors’ offerings, branding, and marketing strategies. This will help you determine what will or will not work and what you will have to do to draw the attention of your target demographic.

But beyond helping you find a name for your beauty business, having a clear mental image of your products and their grand purpose would make it easier for you to find compelling beauty product names.

  1. Choose an Appealing Tone

The best way to choose a name that effectively expresses your company’s true identity is to ensure it has the right tone that communicates positively and draws a favourable reaction from your target demographic.

One of the simplest methods to do this is to conduct comprehensive consumer research and uncover what precise characteristics your beauty firm must exhibit if it is to attract its potential customers. This awareness can help you decide whether the appropriate tone for your organization is a:

  • Intriguing
  • Prestigious
  • Fun and playful
  1. Identify Your Brand’s Elements

Most founders focus so heavily on their brand’s tone that they forget to identify and build their secondary elements. These elements are vital because they serve as the core of your brand’s image. They’d brilliantly reflect your company’s distinct identity and personality if executed properly.

So, take out a pen and paper and jot down your thoughts about your company:

  • Big ideas: What big ideas are your company championing?
  • Values: What values does your company support?
  • Benefits: What perks do customers stand to receive from you?
  • Emotions: Which powerful emotion(s) do you want your customers to associate with your company?
  • Value proposition: What distinguishes your beauty business from other competitors?
  1. Develop Concise Naming Requirements and Begin Brainstorming

Everything we’ve stated so far will help you identify your naming needs and build solid naming criteria for your brand. Establishing your naming criteria will offer you a good sense of the best type of name for your beauty brand.

Once you’ve determined the best type of name for your brand, it’s time to let your creative energy flow and begin searching dictionaries and thesauruses for words that match your company’s naming needs.

While searching, create a list of short, unique, engaging, memorable, and even symbolic words that will help your company stand out in the beauty sector. The goal should be to generate a detailed list of prospective brand names.

And if brainstorming proves too time-consuming and challenging, you can always use a powerful brand name generator to pick the best name that matches your business’s needs.

Make a Great Impression With a Quality Name

As you brainstorm, keep in mind that customers are drawn to companies with exciting brand names. Why? Because companies with distinct and interesting names, such as Oriflame, Avon, REN, and Urban Decay, are very memorable, and customers can quickly remember and suggest them to friends and family.

Grant Polachek is the head of branding for Squadhelp.com, 3X Inc 5000 startup and disruptive naming agency. Squadhelp has reviewed more than 1 million names and curated a collection of the best available names on the web today. We are also the world’s leading crowdsource naming platform, supporting clients such as Nestle, Dell, Nuskin, and AutoNation.

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Nigeria Eyes $2bn Revenue from Advertising Sector After Reform

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advertising sector

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has said that Nigeria will earn $2 billion in advertising within three years of the conclusion of the ongoing reform in the creative industry and advertising sector.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, in Abuja at a technical session of the Task Team on Audience Measurement inaugurated by the government.

Mr Mohammed said the N400 million the country was currently earning from advertising was unacceptable and reiterated the position of the task team to increase it to the targeted level.

He said with the conclusion of the reform process, the entire creative industry would never be the same again, commending the team’s efforts in ushering in a time of great prosperity for the entire creative sector.

“The metrics and data you will be putting together, the Standards of Practice on receipts and payments, and the media monitoring service powered by technology for real-time performance evaluation will create transparency and an enabling environment for all to thrive and be prosperous.

“What most, if not all have always asked for is a level playing field in our great country of more than 200 million people, over 500 radio and television channels, with at least 24 million TV households with the largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Africa.

“I hear you are also working on a sustainable content development plan to ensure a win-win for Content Creators, Production companies and TV and radio broadcasters.

“This is music to my ears and is exactly what Mr President promised when we came into government – reforms that will touch and improve the lives of the common Nigerian man,” he said.

The Minister said that the reform process would also unlock the one million job opportunities in the potential of the creative industry.

He assured that the government would assist with required regulations and open the doors for funding donors to make the reform a success.

According to Mr Mohammed, the government will create a conducive business environment for all the international advertisers and agencies to rush to do business in the country.

The Chairman of the Task Team, Mr Tolu Ogunkoya, in his remarks, thanked the Minister for his vision and passion for the industry and for his presence at the technical session.

He assured that the committee would work hard to meet the November target for the completion of the exercise, noting that the practitioners, including members of the task team, would be the ultimate beneficiaries of the reform process.

Mr Ogunkoya said upon successful completion of the project with its multiplier effects on the industry, the name of Mr Mohammed would be written in gold.

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Helen Eyo’s Elen Homes to Change Face of Shortlets Market

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Helen Eyo Elen Homes

By Adedapo Adesanya

For Helen Eyo, hospitality has been entrenched in her from a young age. For the last child in a family of six, taking care of others came naturally just as her acumen for business.

It was this that laid a foundation for her to establish Elen Homes, a shortlets company in Lagos with a vision to provide affordable housing to meet the surging demand.

Raised by hardworking parents with her father, a logistic consultant and a mother who is a fashion designer, Helen was taught to never limit herself to what existed in the periphery and she should always aim for better.

She was drawn to the shortlets business after proper research and intuition, the double trigger a smart business-oriented person needs. It was in her search for knowledge she realised that there was a dearth in the details in catering to customers in the hospitality business.

“I saw a need to paint my views on what hospitality should be like in Nigeria, many at times the hotels get in the wrong and the few persons into shortlets business as at when I got into the business were not making strides I was hoping for. I decided to take the leap of faith, turn a desire for change into a means of revenue,” the entrepreneur said.

And the results have always motivated her, she said, “the smiles and thank you I get from every one of my clients when they have to say goodbye from any of my apartments.”

“It gladdens my heart knowing I made someone feel special at their stay at any of my apartments by giving them the best of hospitality service,” she added.

However, even as the successes are a thing of delight, the businesswoman has faced a number of hurdles in the business, which she believes have a high risk as well as a high reward.

“So far, every challenge has been a rewarding lesson for me, so I’d like to say just like every other business, there are good days and there are bad days.

“When it is good, I like to make the most of it. When it isn’t good, I remember the good days and improve my strategy to ensure I return to good times,” she quipped.

She also believes that the sky is big enough for many people, especially those with the will to succeed to fly.

“Make a move. You will not know if you’d make it or not if you don’t make that first move.”

While data centres, healthcare developments, and logistic parks are the outliers in terms of driving Africa’s real estate growth in the short to medium term, Elen Homes is seeking to change the narrative around the shortlets sector through collaboration and inclusiveness.

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