Whistleblower
Login

Business trip from Denmark via Poland to Nigeria

Read the original text in Danish click here

Translation from Danish chronicle:

While we are still waiting for the government’s Africa plan, I must greet you from Africa and say that Americans and Chinese people have seen the business opportunities in Nigeria, while the majority of Danish companies are conspicuous by their absence. At the end of the last millennium, I was employed as CEO of KK Wind Solutions, which was in the process of integrationalization.  After a thorough analysis, it was clear to me that the arrow pointed towards the northwest Poland – specifically Szczecin.  KK Wind Solutions became the first Danish industrial establishment in Szczecin and has since grown from a turnover of less than 100 million DKK to over 5 billion DKK. Today, Szczecin has become a natural choice for industrial companies all over the world , and after Vestas’ large investments in two major factories, set to be a future hub for Offshore wind industry and global green transition.

Danish industrial companies dominate the region with over 10,000 jobs, which greatly  contributed to King Frederik X choosing to visit Szczecin on his first official trip to abroad.

Together with my partner, we founded Eryk Group in 2004, and we have been here ever since.

The arrow is now pointing towards Nigeria

There is a clear analogy between the development Poland has  gone through in the last 25 years and the development Nigeria is facing. For the past 10 years, my partner and I looked  beyond Europe’s borders to find the right bridgehead for our further development. It has been a long process,  and we have scrapped many plans, once we got the facts about the intended location. In 2017, we began to look at Africa as our future continent. We looked at North Africa and Sub-Sabaran Africa in the east and west. In 2018, we made our first overall feasibility study together with two Danish  Embassy Offices in West Africa.  In 2019, we started employing West Africans in our organization and now we have over 50 West Africans Colleagues.  In 2023, together with the University  of Southern Danmark,  we made a feasibility study regarding establishment in Nigeria, where the majority of our employees come from. In fact, more than half comes from one Nigerian city – namely Lagos, where we have established our own limited company  in the beginning of 2024.

My experiences with Nigeria

It is difficult both to find and retain young european Engenieers and technicians. Whenever we are looking for new european technicians, we often get only a single application. And in 2023,  we  had a dropout of over 25 percent within the first year. Not because the young people are dissatisfied – they just find out that they want something else.

 About Jens-Christian Møller

  • Educated engineer and MBA from Aalborg University.
  • Top Manager at first IBM, then KK Wind Solutions and now Eryk Group, of which he co-founded 2004.
  • In 1988 nominated as Young Entrepreneur of The Year.
  • In 2018, received the Royal Medal of Honor and the Export Council’s diploma.
  • In 2021 granted honorary Citizenship of Poland by The Polish President.
  • In 2023 nominated as Entrepreneur of The Year.

On the other hand, we employ an average one non – Nigerian technical employee per week, and through our collaboration with universities and technical schools in Nigeria, we receive over 100 competent applications every month. In 2023, the dropout rate of young Nigerian employees was 0. Nigerians score significantly higher on technical competence tests than their European colleagues. Our group language is English – Nigerians have english as their mother tongue. The young Europeans we employ do not have the same level  of  english at all. In general, I find our Nigerian employees to be well educated, ambitious and loyal. They adapt easily to our Danish company culture. In many respects, they are far easier to much onboard than Europeeans – They are simply far more ready to move forward than the rest of us.

My African Journey

It has been a long and expensive journey for the Eryk Group. We have ended up in a lot of dead ends because we knew very little when we started.  But as a family-owned business, we have held firm and have made money all the time while ”developing Africa.”  We have acquired some unigue African competences,which we now see as a strength for future sustainable growth. 25 years ago, Poland needed Danish frontrunner Companies that were ready to put something on the line – in the expectation that in the long run they could earn the money back home and gain competitive advantages. Now the time has come for Nigeria.  At Eryk, we are happy to invite you in and share our knowledge. Join us on an exciting journey – the train is running now – hop on! For me, Lagos has become much closer.  I will devote the next 20 years of my working life to ”my African dream”. It is great to be self-financed entrepreneur with the opportunity to go on another ”business trip” . I enjoy being with my young African team.  The goal is for us to grow from 50 African employees we have now, to over 1000, and for us to be the first   mover again, as we were 25 years ago in Szczecin.  Maybe in 20 years I can enjoy my retirement in a rocking chair in Lagos, where I can sit in the sun and look out over the Atlantic Ocean. Even grown men are allowed to dream.

There is a clear analogy between the development Poland has gone through in the last 25 years and the development Nigeria is facing.  For the past 10 years, my partner and I looked beyond Europe’s boarders to find the right bridge for our further develovement.

About Nigeria and Lagos:

  • Africa’s largest and fastest growing Economy
  • Nigeria is in the same time zone as Denmark
  • There are 220 million people
  • More than 1 million IT professionals and engineers are trained annually at undergraduate level
  • 75 percent of the population is under the age of 30
  • The IT sector has an annual turnover of over more than 600 DKK billion Kroner
  • In addition to oil, there are among other things, gold and many rare metals in the country
  • The Chinese own most of the mining industry
  • One of the world’s most fertile countries. If the soil is cultivated properly, you can havest three times a year
  • Most major airports are built by the Chinese
  • Africa’s largest importer of milk powder. Most of this milk powder comes from Denmark
  • A newly graduated engineer/tech specialist receives a monthly salary less than 1000 kroner
  • Since the country (for many reasons) has perhaps the world’s most unstable power supply, which naturally requires lots of electrical repairs and maintenance, a great many competent electricians are trained in the country. A skilled Electrician has a monthly salary less than 750 kroner
  • All types of IT skills are present – also at super high level
  • IT is seen as the way out of poverty for many Nigerians – and an opportunity for cross-border work – without migrating. That is why the young people improve their skills in IT at universities and in “ecosystems”, where the young people form study groups and learn from each other

Nigeria’s biggest challenge:

  • The salaries mentioned above are low, but significantly higher than the average salary, which is less than DKK 400 per month. And the very worst 40 percent of the working population does not have a job.
  • Job creation is Nigeria’s biggest problem. It would be great to see more Danish companies taking responsibility here, and Nigeria has the competences and hands we lack.

Lagos – Nigeria’s largest city:

  • Over 22 million people live there, and the population grows annually by over a million
  • Over 50 percent of Nigeria’s GDP is generated here
  • Microsoft’s largest development hub in Africa is here
  • All the major IT companies – including Oracle, Google, SAP, Salesforce, and Facebook are present
  • Some of the world’s biggest tech startups can be found here
  • The city has the world’s fastest growing music and Film industry
  • It takes approximately five hours by plane to get from the EU to Lagos – and there are daily flights
  • The majority of the population are Christians

 _________________________________________________________________________________________

👉 Need for resources? Let us know!

Eryk logo Eryk logo Contact