DI: Danish Pioneer in Africa: He Aims to Create 1,000 Jobs in Nigeria

Original text in DKlink

The businessman Jens-Christian Møller is aiming high. He is actively expanding his company with employees from Nigeria. He encourages several Danish companies to follow the same path.

The founder of Eryk Group in Poland and Denmark, Jens-Christian Møller, follows the current debate with particular interest on how Europe – especially Denmark – should maintain and strengthen its connections to Africa.

And it’s not without reason. The CEO sees significant potential himself because he successfully hires educated Nigerian electricians and IT specialists for Eryk Group, which operates globally. He believes more Danish companies should be inspired by this.

Twenty-five years ago, Jens-Christian Møller chose to move a significant part of the company’s activities from Herning to the Polish city of Szczecin for the same reason. At that time, he lacked Danish electricians and found the solution in Poland. Now, with Poland experiencing high demand, he plans to replicate the move in Nigeria after extensive preparation.

“In 2017, we began looking at Africa, and the following year, we conducted the first comprehensive feasibility study together with 2 Danish embassy offices in West Africa. In 2019, we hired the first West Africans in our organisation, and now we have over 50 West African colleagues,” he says, adding, “Our Nigerian employees are well-educated, ambitious, and loyal. They easily adapt to our Danish corporate culture. They are very adaptable to change – much more than the rest of us,” says Jens-Christian Møller.

Help Africa and help yourself

Jens-Christian Møller recommends Nigeria for several reasons: It is Africa’s fastest-growing economy with 220 million inhabitants, where over 1 million IT professionals and engineers are educated annually at the bachelor’s level or higher. The salary level for these professionals is less than 1,000 DKK per month, which is considerably higher than the country’s general wages but significantly cheaper than in Europe.

Eryk also employs many electricians, where Nigeria also offers great potential, not least because the country’s unstable power supply requires a considerable number of repairmen.

“All types of IT skills are present in Nigeria – including at a very high level. IT is seen as the way out of poverty. Therefore, young Nigerians specialise in IT, this happens at universities, but also in ‘ecosystems’ where young people form study groups and learn from each other,” says the Eryk director.

Another important point for Jens-Christian Møller is that Denmark can make a difference for Nigeria by employing the young population (75 percent of the population is under 30 years old). The country’s biggest problem is a 40 percent unemployment rate.

“Job creation is Nigeria’s biggest problem. It would make a lot of sense for both Nigeria and Denmark if more Danish companies take responsibility here. Nigeria has the skills we lack,” is the call from Jens-Christian Møller.

The businessman’s call is not alone. Eryk Group has several initiatives underway to train Nigerians. This was emphasised during Denmark’s business promotion in Poland in January, where he signed an agreement with vocational schools at Skive College and Szczecin’s local Maritime University for an English-language education program for electricians.

Business Promotion Campaign: From Denmark to Poland to Africa (text in EN)

Text in DK

Zero Nigerians drop out

The director’s interest in Africa is supported by the challenges of finding and retaining engineers from Europe.

“In 2023, we had a dropout rate of over 25 percent among engineers from Europe within the first year. Not because they are dissatisfied, but because they want something else. In 2023, our dropout rate for young Nigerian employees was 0. When we advertise for 3 new European technicians, we often receive only 1 application. Meanwhile, we typically hire a Nigerian technical employee every week. Through our collaboration with universities and technical schools in Nigeria, we receive over 100 competent applications every month,” he says.

Eryk’s corporate language is English, which aligns with the Nigerians’ native language. However, reaching this point has neither been easy nor free.

“We’ve encountered many dead ends because we knew very little when we started. But as a family-owned company, we’ve persevered because, despite many bumps along the way, things have always moved in the right direction. If we had been owned by a private equity firm or listed on the stock market, some might have hit the brakes, but we’ve persisted and have consistently made money while ‘developing Africa’,” he elaborates.

Read also: Apprentices from Africa ensure growth and labour supply (text in DK)

DI sees great potential in Africa

The Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) is active in strengthening Denmark’s cooperation with Africa. Among other things, it supports the government’s policies in this area, as highlighted in a joint article by DI’s CEO, Lars Sandahl Sørensen, and Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

Danish companies have solutions to several of the problems faced by many African countries. Future growth will largely come from Africa. A more ambitious trade engagement could be the key to stronger ties with African countries.

DI’s Head of Global Development and Sustainability, Marie Gad, also points out that African countries have many available hands and minds.

“Africa is the world’s youngest continent with a median age of 19 years. This means there is a truly vast supply of labour now and in the future. At the same time, there is a great need for education, and therefore DI is working to ensure that the government, with its Africa plan, strengthens its focus on supporting opportunities, especially for technical/vocational education, but also for e-learning at all levels,” she says.

Løkke and Sandahl: We need more cooperation with Africa (text in DK)


I’m happy to spend 20 years in Nigeria.

On a personal level, Nigeria and the capital city of Lagos are becoming closer to 61-year-old Jens-Christian Møller. This summer marks his 20th anniversary as Group CEO of Eryk and his 40th anniversary as an entrepreneur. Therefore, he will hand over the CEO position to the next generation and instead focus on his “African dream.”

“It’s wonderful to be a self-financed entrepreneur and have the luxury of embarking on another ‘business journey.’ I enjoy being with my young African team. The goal is to grow from the 50 African employees we have now to over 1,000 jobs, and once again be a first-mover, as we were 25 years ago in Szczecin. Today, Szczecin is my second home – I hold both Polish and Danish citizenship. Perhaps in 20 years, I can enjoy my retirement in a rocking chair in Nigeria,” he concludes.




Jens-Christian Møller and Eryk Group:

  • Founded BIC Electric in Denmark and Poland in 2004. The company was renamed to Eryk Group in 2020.
  • The company installs production equipment and provides IT services globally.
  • Eryk Group now has subsidiaries in Poland, Denmark, and Nigeria.
  • Employs approximately 350 employees, the majority of whom are engineers, programmers, and electricians.
  • Jens-Christian Møller is an engineer by training, holds an MBA, and received the Royal Honorary Medal and the Export Council’s Diploma in 2018. Awarded honorary citizenship in Poland in 2022 and nominated as Entrepreneur of The Year in 2023.

Source: https://www.danskindustri.dk/di-business/arkiv/nyheder/2024/3/dansk-pioner-i-afrika-han-vil-skabe-1.000-job-i-nigeria/

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