Exclusive interview with Dr Ola of Flying doctors on the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
- Please, can we meet you? I am Dr Ola, I live in Lagos and am the founder of the Flying Doctors Nigeria . Flying Doctors is a Medical Emergency Service that specializes in air ambulances, medico-logistics services, remote site medical solutions services, medical infrastructural development and medical training services.
- What are achievements/awards are you most proud of?
Being able grow into the type of person that tries her best to make an impact and puts maximal effort into everything I do.
- You grew up in UK, what inspired you to start this business in Nigeria instead of abroad?
I actually wanted to originally start a charity. But for me personally, I believe business has a better chance of lifting people out of poverty than charity. However, I do believe that charities do have an important role.
- What advice do you have for other Nigerians in diaspora hoping to come back to Nigeria to start businesses like you?
That it is very difficult, but not impossible.
- There is a myth that foreign education made the difference for returning Nigerians in diaspora. What role did foreign education play regarding your career and life? What needs to be true for students in Nigeria to be successful?
I don’t think the any education system really supports entrepreneurs. Education systems worldwide are largely designed to produce good employees.
- You are the Founder of Flying doctors. How did you start? How were you able to raise funds? Many entrepreneurs face capital challenges!
Many entrepreneurs that think they face capital challenges are actually facing lifestyle challenges or gratification challenges. If you have good cash flow and a stable reliable business, you should get people to support.
But also I agree to the point that our banks should do more to support entrepreneurs.
- How does a start up attract investors? And what structure should they have with investors with regards equity and profit sharing?
A start up attracts investors by having some sort of cashflow/proof of concept/prototype or minimum viable product. If you don’t have this, investors will be uncomfortable.
With regard to profit sharing/equity, remember it is better to have 10% of 1 million naira than 100% of N1
- We are aware you have a board. Can you educate our readers on the role of a board of directors? And why that model of operation for your company?
You keep your employees in check, the board keeps the founder and CEO in check. Also they offer very good advice as to the company direction and insights on how to grow
- Nigeria ranks 169 out of 189 countries on the world banks ease of doing business ranking. How easy is it doing business in Nigeria? Especially on these key attributes- electricity, land, credit?
I think the rankings measure different things, they give Singapore such a high rating. But how many Nigerians have become billionaires from doing business in Singapore. When asking where it is difficult to do business also ask ‘for who’?
For flying doctors, for electricity we have a generator, Our accommodation is a lease arrangement and we rarely need credit.
- Your business spans across Africa. What obvious synergies do you think African countries can drive?
I think that one huge barrier that African countries face, which prevents us from trading with each other is the visas. It is easier for European passport holders to get around Africa than it is for other Africans. This needs to change.