Macauley Chidinma Atasie is an unconventional entrepreneur, a strategic business leader, a sort-after specialist in business strategy and an experienced professional in financial services, payments, ventures, general management and public-sector governance.

Fondly called Mac, he is the Managing Director/CEO of Nextzon Business Services Limited, a Management Consulting business which started operations in March 2005 and has grown to be a recognised and reputable business under his capable leadership.

Some of his notable works include; the development of high-level strategic plans for and to support commercial banks, insurance companies, SMEs and regulatory bodies including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); particularly the project management for the development of Nigeria’s Financial Systems Strategy for the year 2020 (FSS2020) blueprint in 2006/2008, working with over ten top-rated management consultancy firms operating in Nigeria, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as well as Technology and Payments companies to mention a few.

What strategies have you adopted over the years that has helped in expanding your portfolio at Nextzon Business Services?

As an unconventional entrepreneur, I have always believed that ones way of thinking will ultimately give you answers that will enable you to achieve your objectives, solve your problems, and become more successful in what you want to do; and usually, the answer is not to copy another persons answer, but to be innovative, imaginative and to challenge the status quo. Thinking outside the box has always been a mantra for me, which I have continued to apply at Nextzon Business Services. In our 16 years in existence, we have been able to create an environment where innovation and enterprise are a culture, leading to new businesses, opportunities and ideas that solve human, business and public-sector problems.

How has Nextzon Business Services impacted both public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy?

We have served well over 400 clients covering several industries such as FMCG, financial, health, regulators, and government. Our aim has always been To build, transform and support organizations for phenomenal success and that has served as a phenomenal drive to impact both public and private enterprises positively. Over time our key projects have included the launch of the first for-profit business incubation platform in Nigeria with funding support from the World Bank which led to the support and establishment of about 25 companies in 10 years. We have developed high-level strategic plans for and to support commercial banks (i.e. for corporate and international expansion), insurance companies, SMEs and regulatory agencies such as CBN, NAICOM, SEC, etc. We also developed the framework design for the revalidation and issuance of vehicle license plates for the Federal Road Safety Corps(FRSC) and the conceptualization of the first education portal in Nigeria which was deployed at the University of Benin.

Nextzon is a Lead Advisor & Strategic Architect for the E-Government project in Nigeria, promoted under a Public-Private Sector Partnership. We have designed and implemented the automation of the Lands Registries for the Ministry of Lands and Survey in some states in South-East Nigeria. This project involved the automation of the deeds registry processes, digitization of the survey plans and records, training of relevant staff of the ministry, optimization of operating processes and recertification of all registered title deeds. Nextzon is responsible for Finconnekt, a technology solution company supporting Microfinance banks (MFBs) in Nigeria. We also developed automated Next-generation services to enhance and ensure a smooth collection of IGR, leveraging technology and simultaneously making the lives of citizens convenient while paying fees, levies or remitting taxes.

Furthermore, in the private sector, we helped in restructuring the then-HEIRS/STB Group, thereby fostering enhanced integration amongst its members and upgrading strategies of the various member companies for enhanced competitiveness. We influenced the introduction of the first POS network and agency banking systems in Nigeria.

Given your experience in management, what solutions would you proffer towards reviving the Nigerian economy?

Exportation as well as local consumption of these export goods to reduce imports. Being able to produce something of value from our country, in such a way as to attract foreign investors, while giving to the world what it needs is key to Nigerias economic growth and sustainability. We should diversify our approach, exploit all mineral resources and industries in such a way as to leverage ourselves into the international market, providing quality, quantity and timely products as well as by-products to neighbouring and developed countries. The starting point is to address the key challenges confronting the average business in Nigeria which borders around infrastructure deficit and the attendant high cost of production that makes them uncompetitive. If infrastructure issues were sorted and standards introduced across the entire value chain of production, it will upscale the SMEs and other sectors of the Economy.

The truth is that we cannot address the infrastructure and other institutional issues across the nation all at once. So, quarantining (via clustering) some locations to provide excellent infrastructure seems like the ideal strategy to enable us to focus our energies to successfully serve the export market. The concept of clustering will address two key issues bedevilling the success of Nigerian businesses namely, poor economy and poor-quality products that have led to the aversion for made in Nigeria goods. China had similar issues decades ago. It however became the second largest economy it is today by positioning itself as the worlds factory and leveraging its cheap labour. China also established several clusters where they could cost-effectively and excellently produce world-class goods in chosen areas and for chosen markets.

Every state in Nigeria is abundantly blessed with natural resources and agricultural produce. The onus is to identify a few agricultural produce that Nigeria has a global comparative advantage in and engage her primary asset – cheap labour.
Once these are in place, the key infrastructure bottlenecks can be addressed in the identified areas and best practice rules put in place to set up clusters or industrial zones that cater for the requirements in the entire value chain production processes. The increased scale of production from these clusters will provide access to foreign markets in the desired quantities and enable our SMEs to earn the much-desired foreign exchange. So, we must begin to make commodities, reduce the need to keep importing even raw materials for production, export what nations value and then become a major competitor to nations like China.

What would you describe as the biggest motivation that has brought you this far in your career?

My mission as an entrepreneur is to create an environment where innovation and enterprise are a culture, leading to businesses and ideas that solve human, business and public-sector problems innovatively while advancing the comfort of humans. My career goal is to continuously build my knowledge, network, health and financial base to enable me to help people and corporates to deliver innovative solutions successfully. As a little boy in primary school, to solving family problems in bigger families, I was stepping in to say this family doesnt talk to that family, we need to resolve it. Into the corporate world where I moved from being a microbiologist scientist to a strategic business leader in the management consulting / finance world, solely because I felt naturally drawn to solving problems. I believe that the best thing that can happen to anybody is to live his or her mission. At my current level, I assist chief executives to achieve their objectives. One of the biggest chief executives in banking says jokingly that I decrypt him, so he has his dreams and I break it down and define appropriate steps to achieving the dream I call it problem-solving. I want new things to thrive and that is the capacity to create something new and so far, I have been involved in creating global organizations.

Where do you see Nextzon Business Services in the next five years?

Over the next 5 years, we plan to cover more states in Nigeria and Africa with our unique public-sector reform and automation offerings. Following my vision for economic growth in Nigeria leveraging export, we plan to be big in facilitating exports for businesses to the international market. We are renowned management consultants and we plan to retain our position in the strategy and general consulting space. Automation has become mainstream in practically every aspect of our lives, as such Nextzon plans to become a big and respectable brand in automation, to solve problems and launch new ways of work, life and play.


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