Meet Basheer Tosin Ashafa,Nigerian investor and social entrepreneur.

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Trequity Capital, LLC is a finance and asset growth company with key investment focus on technology companies, capital markets, real estate and alternative investments such as film production and international commodity trading.

The company’s strategic international operations cut across major world commerce hubs such as Dubai, Lagos, London and New York. Trequity Capital (Nigeria) is currently headquartered in Ikoyi, Lagos.

 

For those who don’t know you, tell us in few words about yourself and your business?

I am an investor and social entrepreneur. I am currently a Managing Partner at Trequity Capital, an international finance and asset growth company with a global portfolio comprising investments in Capital Markets, Real Estate, Commodity Trading and Film Production. I am also deeply invested in philanthropy and grassroots social activism which is demonstrated by my endowment of the BTA Education Fund through which school children are financially enabled to achieve their pursuit of education. I also deliberately seek to create opportunities and expand the capacity of young people to take an early interest in politics and leadership roles in their communities.

What problem are you solving in Africa, in your country or your community?

One of the major pillars of our agribusiness portfolio is the issue of financial inclusion for underserved community people largely dependent on agriculture in Nigeria. In the course of exporting beeswax to Burkina Faso, we decided to reinvent our operations by making the agricultural sector more attractive to local and international markets. We have now ventured into local production of beeswax with a view to exporting locally produced beeswax to other African countries and the EU. We have empowered the host community through the setting up of an agricultural co-operative which will ensure that beeswax produced by those we have empowered with hives will be bought off in an offtake arrangement.

Do you think this is the right time for your start-up to solve the problem?

A Chinese proverb says “the best time to build a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now.” I don’t think the subject of timing is an issue when it comes to solving problems. For us, the timing is right because the agricultural sector in Nigeria can do with a lot more innovation supported by favourable policies.

Does your solution fit in the market? (Do people want it)?

Let’s look at the cooperative society we formed. This group of farmers are peasant farmers who will be fully paid for tending to hives given to them at no cost. All they have to do is tend. When we started this scheme, it made us realise that apart from the exportation of beeswax which is core, we are also giving these farmers hope every day when they combine beeswax production with their other agricultural activities. That in itself tells us we’re onto something.

Trequity Capital holdings are Investments in equity holdings heavily focused around Tech companies involved in Mobility , Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality/ Augmented Reality , Cloud Computing, IO T , etc. As part of the company’ s growing alternative investment portfolio, we are also involved in movie production and commodity trading for export.

Tell us more about your team, why are you the best to solve this problem?

My co-managing partner, Tolu Ajayi, has accummulated 15 progressive years in financial & accounting roles across varying Fortune 500 industries such as banking, automotives, media and telecommunications. Tolu leads portfolio management, risk management, research & investments allocation activities for the company. Our agribusiness lead, Femi Awoyemi, is an experienced agribusiness professional with competencies in commodity sourcing, exportation and agribusiness consulting. His success in the commodity sourcing and transportation business is built upon in-depth knowledge of the agribusiness sector and cultivating strategic partnerships. With the combination of skills and industry know-how between us (cutting across different fields), we have a team poised to solve the problem of financial inclusion through agriculture.

What makes you different in the market?

Our approach does the magic for us. We have local knowledge of segmented farm clusters and this informs our choices of partners and vendors in our business.

What is the social impact of your start-up?

Through the cooperative (which is an offshoot of the Trequity Capital), we pool financial and material resources, develop new market opportunities, expand existing markets and empower agricultural entrepreneurs to improve their position in the marketplace. Amongst other things, we will also be:
– making short-term credit facilities available to our members in order to help them improve their agricultural businesses and other trades;

– engaging in marketing-related activities in order to help our members and farmers get the proper pricing for their produce either through repetitive sales or off-take arrangements;
– providing timely market information to our members regarding pricing conditions, demand and supply trends and the quality expectations of various buyers;

– helping our members to increase their standard of living by providing various types of facilities such as health management education and recreation.

How are you scaling up the start-up?

We started off by buying beeswax from established farm clusters in order to supply our partners outside Nigeria. We have now decided to scale operations by buying farmlands to install our hives and harvest beeswax in a bid to generate employment, build a community through our cooperative and unlock the opportunities inherent in local production for export.

What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs and new start-ups?

My advice to entrepreneurs is that “Whatever you do, don’t forgo your passion. That idea of yours could the solution to a daunting global challenge”.

Top 3 inspiring entrepreneurs in your country?

Aliko Dangote

Femi Otedola

Tony Elumelu

Basheer Tosin Ashafa can be reached via his website: www.tosinashafa.com

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