September.26.17Special Feature
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Money Matters with Nimi
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Remarks by Nimi Akinkugbe
CEO Bestman Games
At the launch of NiBC10
Nigerian Stock Exchange
Tuesday 26 September 2017

Distinguished Ladies & Gentlemen,

Let me start by congratulating Ciuci Consulting for this landmark anniversary and for all that you’ve done to support entrepreneurs and their ventures over the years. I’d also like to thank both Ciuci and the Nigerian Stock Exchange for honoring Bestman Games in this way. We feel truly humbled to be recognized amidst such esteemed company.

I still recall my first meeting with Chukwuka Monye in March 2012 when i was trying to articulate my vision for Bestman Games. During that meeting, I just knew that I had found the right team to translate my vision, to walk with me through the journey, and to bring that dream to reality.

BESTMAN GAMES

Bestman Games is the African distributor of customized editions of Hasbro games including its iconic Monopoly Board Game for 48 African countries. Nearly five years ago in December 2012, The City of Lagos Edition of Monopoly was launched by former Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Babatunde Raji Fashola. It was the first African city edition of Monopoly and we are very proud that the Mega City of Lagos was honored with that special status.

On that occasion, to herald the launch, we were invited to ring the bell at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, so it is particularly special and a huge honor to be here today being recognized as one of the NiBC10, five years on.

Since then we have launched a Nigeria edition, a Cross River Edition, an Accra edition and Corona School became the first African School to have its own edition of Monopoly.

MONOPOLY & PERSONAL FINANCE

Personal financial literacy has been a crucial element in charting our course and for nearly two decades, I have sought to break down money matters into an engaging practical form through various platforms including articles in leading publications, radio and television appearances, speaking engagements, my book the “A – Z of Personal Finance and the Monopoly Board Game.

Monopoly serves as an exceptional educational board game teaching real life skills be it social or professional, and presenting the basic tenets of personal financial in an engaging way. Boardgames create a reason for quality family time, which enhances social cohesion, which we so badly need today. However we also value the importance of technology as a way of life, and will be launching our first digital game later this year.
Sadly, there is still no formal financial education in schools. Children are capable of understanding money concepts from their earliest years. Unfortunately, our national school curriculum does not include any instruction in financial management beyond what basic principles of mathematics might apply such as the concept of compound interest. Most children don’t learn significant money lessons until they are young adults and only as a direct result of their own real life successes and failures. By this time, most have missed out on the incredible advantage of time, when you invest early.

Indeed, many parents are forced to deal with their young adults money management issues when problems are both costly and emotionally charged as parents resent having to constantly bail them out of financial troubles. Far too many young people are failing to meet the expectations of independence well into their 30s and beyond. This predicament can largely be traced to the total neglect of financial responsibility, a critical life skill.

One American study showed that where financial education covering subjects like budgeting and credit were introduced, after just three months, 45% of those who took part increased their savings and investing. Research showed that this would translate to a significant increase in financial stability in that group between the ages of 35 and 49.

We are most gratified by the impact that our games are having through various initiatives including holiday camps, games nights, personal finance school clubs, interschool tournaments in primary, secondary, tertiary institutions, and the National Youth Service Orientation Camp.

We truly believe that if individuals are financially literate and responsible, this will lead to the economic empowerment of the family, which is the smallest unit of society; this in turn has huge implications for Nigeria’s economic growth and development as small businesses begin to thrive.

Let me share some thoughts about Entrepreneurs and Personal Finance.

Arguably one of the most important aspects to becoming a successful business owner is having your personal finances in order. Yet many entrepreneurs are often so focused on their businesses that they totally neglect their personal finances.

1.

For owners of small businesses, personal and business funds are often interconnected. Many entrepreneurs use their own money to fund their enterprises, and also dip into company coffers to fund personal expenses. I say to entrepreneurs; Treat yourself as an employee; Pay yourself a salary every month. The separation gives your business more credibility and a sense of legitimacy.

2. DIVERSIFY

It is the stark reality that most entrepreneurial ventures will not succeed; this makes diversification especially important, as entrepreneurs tend to reinvest their personal capital totally in their business. It is important to set something aside; diversify across asset classes including cash savings, mutual funds, bonds, stocks, property and other business interests. Do not rely on your business as your sole retirement plan.

3. CREDIT

Maintaining a healthy credit record isn’t just about managing debt, it is also about avoiding taking on more debt than you can handle which puts a huge strain on both personal and business finances.

4. PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

What is your plan for your business when you wish to step off the reins, can no longer work, or indeed after your lifetime? It is important for us all to include succession planning in our overall financial plan.

5. CREATE A BUDGET

A budget is a must have for every business owner for both your personal and business finances. Don’t go overboard with your expenses, it is essential to strive to keep expenses below income.

6. YOU are your most valuable asset

Most entrepreneurs face “key man risk”. Your body is your CEO. Don’t neglect your health thinking you will make time for it, when you achieve success. Beyond this, health and life insurance are just two important tools to have in your kit bag. For many, it’s too late, and their health gulps up most of their wealth.

BESTMAN GAMES MILESTONES

Last year the Lagos State Government recognised the Monopoly Board game as an Official Sport joining other great games including Chess, Scrabble and Ayo as Championship sports in the state. It’s almost a year to the day on 30th September 2016 when together with the Lagos State Sports Commission, we hosted the first City of Lagos Under-17 Monopoly Championship, where 1,200 students from 100 schools across Lagos State 6 Education Districts competed at the indoor sports hall in the Teslim Balogun Stadium which is a prominent landmark on the City of Lagos Monopoly Board.

In spite of the inevitable challenges that most businesses face, and we have not been immune, it has been an extraordinary journey thus far and Bestman Games looks forward to an exciting future. The recession hit us very hard, but it also provided us with a huge opportunity, as we suddenly had to go back to the drawing board and look at delivering our first 100% made in Nigeria board game. I was so excited when I saw the prototype. Indeed it looked even better than the imported version. For the plastic tokens we have embraced 3D technology and are very inspired by the talent and skills that we have locally.

THE NSE AND FINANCIAL LITERACY

We are excited by the commitment that the Nigerian Stock Exchange has to the SME sector, which is crucial for Nigeria’s and Africa’s growth.
We have keenly observed some of the wonderful initiatives that The Exchange has introduced to promote financial literacy. From the Essay Competition to the X Academy, to the full participation in Global Money week and so much more. Thank you for your support; we are delighted that the Stock Exchange is featured prominently on the Lagos Monopoly Board. We look forward to working more closely with you to raise the level of financial literacy in Nigeria and beyond.

“As a Global Compact company, Bestman Games is committed to advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the alleviation of poverty: SDG Goal 1, and Quality Education; SDG Goal 4.

To CIUCI, I say thank you for guiding me into formulating my thoughts into a concrete business plan that helped to convince Winning Moves and Hasbro to give us the distribution rights to all their games across Africa. I wish you well; I see an extraordinary future for you, as I know this is just the beginning.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for honouring us with your presence today. It is our prayer that our games, through which we seek to educate, empower and entertain, will also touch and change lives not just in Nigeria, but far beyond our shores.

Thank you all for listening to me.

Nimi Akinkugbe,
CEO Bestman Games
26th September 2017

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Bestman Games Ltd recognised at the Nigerian Stock Exchange along with some outstanding businesses as one of the “Nigeria Business Composite 10.” (NiBC10)

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Chukwuka Monye, CEO of Ciuci Consulting rang the closing bell with representatives of the NiBC 10 in attendance.

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