Unlocking growth during Nigeria’s Covid-19 lockdowns

A Nigerian entrepreneur finds the courage to step out and grow her business

Vivien Torbunde has over 10 years of business experience. Having founded Me2U Enterprises back in 2010, she describes these past years as a great learning curve. During this time she’s learned new things, made mistakes and tested ideas to see what works and what doesn’t.

Vivien recently completed AMI’s Survive to Thrive business resilience and growth programme which she says was very timely. It helped her strengthen her business amidst Nigeria’s Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns.

“When the pandemic hit Benue State in Nigeria, food businesses were allowed to continue operating, but we were forced to shut down for around three months. This affected our sales and made it hard for us to maintain staff salaries among other business obligations.”

It was during this time that Vivien joined the Survive to Thrive business growth programme, which aims to equip business leaders with the tools to immediately address challenges and seize opportunities during difficult times. She says the programme gave her confidence to push herself and lead during the crisis. Together with her team, they enrolled and began developing a plan to reopen.

“Through this programme, I was able to restructure and reopen. Having closed shop, our sales had dropped but after reopening, things started to pick up. What we made in six months, four of which we were actively part of the programme, is what we would make on average in a year. It was beyond our imagination.”

Being part of the programme pushed Vivien out of her comfort zone, which led to her landing a big contract, something that she says had never happened before.

“The way I know myself, if I was not part of the programme, I would not have closed that big contract. I simply wouldn’t have gained that much courage to put myself out there in the middle of a pandemic to find business. The timing for the programme was just perfect.”

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