Nazaru – Facilitating trade between Africa and the United States
Nazaru, LLC is a U.S. based company that helps African Importers and Exporters become visible to the global market. In 2015 the founder, Toyin Umesiri, made a trip to Africa for a family emergency and that one trip changed her life. She returned committed to leverage years of experience working for leading global corporations to help support Africa’s quest for sustainable economic growth.
Here is an interview with the founder of Nazaru, Toyin Umesiri, who’s part of the Africans Building Africa community.
1. Tell us about yourself and your business.
Nazaru, LLC is a U.S. based company that facilitates trade between Africa and US companies to drive positive Business to Business (B2B) engagement that leads to mutually beneficial arrangements. We accomplish this by drawing from our intimate understanding of the various economies of Africa and the US. We believe that creating productive dialogue starts by highlighting the strengths that Africa has to offer U.S. & foreign investors looking to partner on the continent. There is currently opportunities yet untapped particularly in the small-medium business communities in Africa as well as the United States. We have created an all-encompassing one-stop shop where SMEs & Large Scale organizations across Africa and the United States can find answers and solutions to trade thereby giving raise to increased trade between the regions.
2. How much did you need to start your business and how were you able to raise that capital?
Nazaru LLC began as a passion project of the CEO, Toyin Umesiri and she continues to run the operations with savings from working in corporate America. Nazaru is fast becoming a global force on increasing actionable dialogue on Africa through the production of the Trade with Africa Business Summit which is executed in partnership with other trade agencies.
3. What are some of the challenges you face in your business and how do you overcome those challenges?
Continuing to increase global awareness is the most critical challenge that we have. We want to highlight the commercial side of Africa that we know is positioned to create economic growth for the continent.
4. Where do you see your business in 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that objective?
In 2000, the United States established the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to support U.S. trade with Africa. Although some level of success has been accomplished, U.S. still engages at less than 2% of total global trade with Sub-Saharan Africa.
On the U.S. side there are several constraints including lack of awareness, supporting business data, and misconception and information gap. On the African side there is lack of information related to available business partnerships and opportunities for African businesses as well as education on ways to secure investments needed to build the level of capacity required to meet U.S. standards. We hope that the U.S. – Africa trade numbers will go up steadily.
5. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs wanting to start a business or invest in Africa?
Do your research and apply patience. Also partner with other like-minded executives.
6. How is your business participating to the development of Africa?
The benefits of the Trade with Africa Business Summit 2018 being held in Bentonville, Arkansas on May 10th & 11th is multi-fold. For Bentonville based business community, it serves to showcase the vast opportunities in Africa, create linkages where they could either export to or source goods under favorable trade policies, and allow for an opportunity to address with high-level officials critical concerns or impediments to doing business.
For African Exporters, business leaders and Governments leaders, it would offer an opportunity to promote their country, help expand the offerings under AGOA, create jobs, and increase investment. For African businesses, it will also get them within proximity to the largest importers, help prepare them to pitch their goods, and open a pipeline that can then be continued through sustainable business partnerships.