Why Marigan Space Leads Investments, SME Loans, Savings Schemes – CEO, Saheed Abodunrin
By Eric Elezuo
The microfinancing business is gaining grounds in Nigeria, in a bid to assist petty traders and SMEs to find their foot in the ever competitive entrepreneurial environment. Among the firms which has taken it upon themselves to see that thriving businesses grow in the country is Marigan Space. In this interview, the Chief Executive Officer, Saheed Abodunrin speaks on the features that set the firm apart from the rest.
Could you give a brief background of your person, taking into cognizance your birth, education, career progress among other things
My name is Saheed Abodunrin. I was born on January 2, 1991 in Oyan town, Osun State to parents I am ever so proud of because of their efforts in going the extra mile for me and my siblings. At the age six, I began my academic sojourn, and consistently laboured through the nursery, elementary, secondary and tertiary institutions to come out fully baked, and equipped to give back my quota to the socio-economic development of the world beginning with my country, Nigeria.
Consequently, I had my nursery, primary and secondary school education in Idiroko, a border town in Ogun State, after which I attended the prestigious University of Lagos with a Diploma Certificate in Physics, and subsequently a Bachelors of Science degree in Geography and Planning in 2010.
I attended SS International Nursery and Primary School and Ojumo Community High School for secondary school before proceeding to the University of Lagos.
Thereafter, there was no looking back, as I immediately ventured into entrepreneurship, running low scale businesses until in 2018 when I finally registered Marigan Space Limited after meeting all requirements to start up a non-bank financial firm.
How did the name Marigan Space come about and what actually prompted your choice of career considering the fact that you studied science related courses?
Marigan Space Limited, with registration identity, RC1481308 is an African leading Investment and non-Bank micro-finance Institution that deals in SME’s Savings and Loans with interest in Agriculture, Real Estate and General Merchandise. Yes, most of the times, we study a particular course, but our passion is domiciled in something. Personally, I have a knack to see people grow and become their own bosses, and the only way I know I could make it come to pass is taking up the mantle of assisting them to grow through loans and other related activities.
Going a little more detailed, the name MARIGAN was coined from the names of my late Mother, Mariam, and my father, Ganiyu, I added Space, hence Marigan Space Limited. I have nursed the vision of starting up a financial firm as far back as my early days in secondary school, at just the age of 12. It must interest you to know that I am from an average family in Idiroko, a border town in Ogun state. My father, Alhaji Ganiyu Raji Abodunrin was a licensed Customs agent while my mother, late Mrs. Mariam Abodunrin was a trader who sells cement, engine oil and stationeries. I was therefore, involved in keeping financial records from both sides. My mother was also involved in different thrifts (esusu), and as a group leader. She was actually the first person to engage me with financial record keeping and disbursement of funds to various members. This, I did passionately. From that earliest experience, which I developed overtime, I automatically became a defacto financial record keeper, albeit diligently in every association, club or society I found myself as the days of growing up progress.
Furthermore, I have been involved in different endeavours including recharge card sales, showbiz, car importation, sales of computer accessories and goods delivery services. I also have a hand in media and PR with Crystals Media Empire, CME.
The year 2016 however, marked a turning point in my life. It was the year I returned to what I know best – finance. I attended few courses, and thereafter registered Marigan Space Limited. With support from family and friends, I was able to raise the initial capital and the rest, as they say, is history.
What are the major objectives of your organization?
Like I mentioned earlier, I was introduced into this business primarily because of my passion to see Nigerians grow in their businesses, become their own bosses and employ others. By so doing, the cycle continues to a stage where the dependency ratio will be greatly minimised. However, it will be pleasure to itemise some of what what we stand for as follows:
-To create value for our shareholders and maintain it over the long-term.
-To meet the needs of customers in simple, flexible and creative ways.
-To provide our investors with sound investment advice, drawing on the strength of our experience and knowledge, while keeping abreast of the latest financial sector developments.
-To be a successful Investment and financial firm through the application of the highest professional standards, drawing on our experience and adhering to our organizational values.
What is your involvement like with organization such as the CBN and other financial regulatory bodies?
Well, in truth, you can’t run a finance institution without a recourse to the Central Bank of Nigeria either directly or otherwise. As a result, our involvement and relationship with CBN and other financial bodies have remained very cordial. They are our regulators and we abide by laid down rules and procedures. We are registered members with Association of Non-Bank Micro Finance Associations in Nigeria (ANMFIN), Certificate of registration with EFCC SCUML and many more. We have all our registrations intact because we know the sanction grid of non-compliance, so we don’t want to fall a victim.
How successful could you say Marigan Space Limited is at the moment?
Honestly, it is not just about the success of Marigan Space, but about the quest to put smiles on the faces of business owners and would-be business owners. Their success determines out fulfilment. So I’d say we have been able to reach out to thousands of low-income customer segment because we understand that in this part of the economy, the market is still largely untapped. Tapping this large unbanked segment is proving to be a tremendous growth driver for Marigan Space. We have also expanded our portfolios by extending our services to real estate, agriculture and FMCG. Over time, Marigan space limited has gained expansion in her business despite the economic recession. It has increased her turnover to over 58.27%, while her customer’s strength has risen to 8,967 people within our area of coverage. So the more our customers are expressing confidence and joy, the more successful I would say we have been.
And as part of our endeavours, by mid-2021, Marigan Space, which is also in the real estate business, acquired over 603 plots of land duly registered and will be ready for sale to the general public, especially our existing customers in no distance time. Our poultry farm is at 74% completion and hope to start production with at least 5,000 broilers by the beginning of second quarter in 2022. All these are about having the interest of Nigerians at heart.
What or who are the targeted clientele and beneficiaries of your organization and its products?
The concept of Marigan Space Limited is open to Nigerians of all levels. But as time goes on with the increase in awareness and technology of the brand, we start to have customers from the high earned, the high net worth individual as well as few blue chips in the society.
Micro financing or micro lending is all about lending or support to the low income traders in bringing their businesses to a stable level with low interest rate which comes in a single digit. Moreover, the only way Marigan Space can help the government in increasing the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which the petty traders are one of the main contributors is to support them financially. So, our main target and client beneficiaries are mainly the micro, small and medium scale enterprises and entrepreneurs, which include market men/women, taxi drivers, men and women in agriculture and the artisans. The salary earners are not left out because about 25% of our loan investment are always set aside for this class so as to alleviate poverty.
We are also have expertise in forecasting the world economy to suit investors in terms of good Return on Investment (ROI) and this has been making the brand a preferred one over the years. Our investment platform is opened to the general public.
Does Marigan Space have any app or intend to develop any app to reach out to clients easily?
Although we are working towards developing our user friendly mobile Applications for both Android and IOS users in the nearest future but we do have a website www.mariganspace.com with a live customer care ready to assist users with answers to questions about Marigan Space. Our mobile application platform will be able to perform monetary transaction seamlessly.
What problems or challenges have your organization or your services and products helped to solve in the Nigerian economic environment?
Our mission as an Investment and financial company is to help our client (customers) eliminate the gap between their present position financially in business and their target in being in business. Moreover, for Marigan Space Limited to succeed, we work with market men and women, farmers, transporters and investors to establish, improve and implement long term management plan that make it possible for them to attain their financial purpose. Our investment and loan plan is customized for each investor and customer. As an investment and financial institution, we strive hard to give our customers and investors a long term performance despite the economic recession. We assure investors wealth perform in the best way essential to their unique goal while making sure that our customers remain in business with maximum returns.
Furthermore, the MSME space of Marigan Space Limited has helped not less than 5,000 business owners since our establishment in 2018. We make available soft loans to them and pay back accordingly to their income cycles (daily, weekly and monthly etc). Also, we have provided lots of food items in compensation for both businesses and salary earners. We also provide shelter for so many and we make the payment structure easy, just as there is flexible payment plan for sales of land, overtime. Presently, we have over 1,000 plots of lands, accessible to our customers at the beginning of business year in 2022.
Where do you see your organization in the next five years, or rather on its tenth anniversary?
Next Five years?….well, for those that knows the management structure of Marigan Space Limited, they will know that “FOCUS” is our watch-word. We would have been upgraded to a full banking institution by attaining the minimum capital base of a National Microfinance bank as speculated by the CBN and branch offices outside Nigeria. We are still thriving and open to local and foreign Investors in order to achieve this dream; and in the nearest future, we should be trading in the Stock Exchange Markets. As you already know, we have diversified our interest into Agriculture, Real Estate, FMCG and IT.
What does a client stand to gain by doing business with Marigan Space?
Clients gain a lot because we are a very selfless firm. We put our clients first in the scheme of things. We listen to them, understand their needs, understand their cash flow and advise accordingly. They always come back to give a firm thank you hand shake. Clients also get good security on their investment with a high Return on Investment (ROI) of up to 45% in 36 months.
How do you think Nigerian can stop the free-fall of the Naira as a finance expert?
The answer to this question is very wide. It is pertinent to examine and evaluate the cause of a problem and know the right way to solve it. However, to keep this simple, the principle of demand and supply can work in this direction. Re-decimalization can also increase the value.
Again, we can regulate our price control and encourage local production.
Many small businesses are finding it difficult to survive as a result of high interest rates on loan. How does your organization bridge this gap and assist SME’s to thrive?
Well, there is what we call cost of fund, cash reserve ratio and liquidity ratio. Not to go into details, the cost of purchase determines the cost of sale of fund. However, we try to balance it at least to make a little margin. We also collateralize our loans using the formula of 5C’s of lending.
Tell us how you have been able to run your company successfully in the face of the dwindling economy?
The economy has really been dwindling and we have been in the storm and pray that it can only get better. However, like I said earlier, businesses in some sectors are still thriving like FMCG, Health and Agriculture, we position to those sectors and somehow, we have been surviving.
How do you relax as in your favorite food, sports, attire?
I relax by reading books of successful entrepreneurs; the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jack Ma and others. I am not a television freak so I watch less of TV, but I enjoy hanging out with friends. Notwithstanding, I love sports and football is my number one.