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Asaba Group Holdings

Asaba Group Holdings began in 2004 with its first acquisition and evolved from the Asaba Group, Inc. which was established in 1999 as a management consulting firm focused on strategy and business improvement. Asaba Group Holdings' interests include automotive part manufacturing companies that provide metal processing services and produce electrical assemblies and solenoid/actuator systems. In addition, Asaba Group Holdings has a private equity advisory and management services firm.

Our Competitive Edge

Asaba Group Holdings Holding’s competitive edge is its ability to leverage the methodologies used to achieve past success, while eliminating risks and enhancing the value of future transactions. Business principles that are fundamentally the same regardless of the industry, an understanding for the growth and profit drivers, strategic clarity on growth initiatives, combined with deep sector-specific expertise, are the foundation of our processes. What worked yesterday, in tandem with the lessons learned from past experiences will prove successful in the present and generate growth and value in the future.

Our Principals and Managers

Through the skills, knowledge, and experience of our professionals, Asaba Group Holdings is uniquely positioned to deliver excellence on behalf of stakeholders, clients and customers. Our principals are experienced in successfully executing transactions in a broad range of disciplines including acquisition financing, product planning and business strategy. Every company is led by an experienced management team with deep industry experience and knowledge. The knowledge and experience of the principals and management teams, as well as, lessons learned are shared across Asaba Group Holdings Holdings enterprise.

Our Companies

Each company is based on an identified competitive "white space" that exists within a niche market segment that has historically been underserved and strategic clarity on its growth drivers. Each company is provided with capital and strategic support for sales and management. A deep understanding of growth drivers, combined with, great management and sector-specific expertise help build exceptional businesses.

Asaba Group Holdings: Contact Us

To learn more about** Asaba Group Holdings** or our portfolio companies, please call us. Alternatively, please visit any portfolio company website. Visit our Portfolio Companies page for links to each company's website.

Asaba Group Holdings
220 North Main Street
Suite 102
Natick, MA 01760

+1 (508) 655-8100 Telephone
+1 (508) 655-1955 Fax

Asaba Group Holdings: LaserCoil receives order for laser coil cutter

New Boston, MI - LaserCoil Technologies has received an order for a LaserCoil coil-fed blanking system from SET Enterprises, a processor of flat-rolled metal primarily for the automotive industry. The 2100mm-wide dual-head system, featuring two 6kW lasers, is being installed at the company's New Boston facility, where SET processes blanks for the automotive industry.

"LaserCoil’s solutions give *SET *the ability to provide their customers with superior blank quality in all grades of advanced engineered materials," says Victor Edozien, chairman and CEO of SET. "This capability is critical in an increasingly dynamic automotive industry that is transitioning to support advanced high-strength steels and aluminum alloys. The capability and flexibility of LaserCoil's system, in combination with SET's operating experience, gives us the manufacturing agility and responsiveness to rapidly meet our customers' most complex metal processing needs.

"In addition to the advanced processing capabilities provided by the LaserCoil hardware, their control system and laser blanking operating system software allow us to maximize our blanking efficiency. Our lines will deliver solutions to our customers in a fraction of the time required by traditional blanking."

An additional benefit of the software programming capabilities is the ability to maximize raw material usage and reduce scrap. As automotive OEMs increase the use of aluminum and advanced high-strength steels, optimizing metal processing yields and reducing scrap is a critical consideration.

For more information on this approach to laser cutting of coil strip, the equipment, or processing of components at the LaserCoil facility, please visit www.lasercoil.com.

Asaba Group Holdings: Wharton Fellows Uncover the Next Big Thing

CEOs and other senior executives know better than perhaps anyone in their organizations the need to stay current and prevent the kind of inertia that can hold their companies back. The problem is finding the time for a rigorous learning experience when day-to-day demands require their constant presence.

“This is the challenge Wharton Fellows: Master Classes and Networking for Senior Executives was designed to meet,” says Jerry Wind, Wharton marketing professor and faculty director of the innovative program. “In three-day Master Classes, we visit and learn from some of the world’s most innovative companies, meeting with the leaders who are at the center of the action.”

Most recently, the Fellows’ three days were spent in New York, where they learned about open innovation from one of the Museum of Modern Art’s chief curators and the president of the ground-breaking advertising agency Victors & Spoils. During a visit to the headquarters of Bloomberg, the former mayor and founder of the company Mike Bloomberg spoke to the group, explaining who the company’s competition is today, and who they’re watching for the future.

“It’s not easy to find programs like this that not only make you think, but change the way you think.”

John MacDonald, President and CEO of Canada’s EnerCare Inc.

Many of the Wharton Fellows who met in New York also attended Master Classes in Silicon Valley in 2013, where they visited with senior leaders at Facebook, Samsung, Google, Andreessen and Horwitz, Genentech, HP, and Cisco. This year, additional programs will be held, first in Seattle in May, where interactive sessions are scheduled at Boeing, Microsoft, Costco, the Seattle Sounders soccer team, Amazon, a number of startups, and famous glass innovator Dale Chihuly; and then in Tel Aviv in August, with sessions planned with various start-ups, the R&D operations of leading multinational firms, and unique innovative Israeli organizations. Victor Edozien, CEO and president of SET Enterprises Inc. (an Asaba Group Holdings Affiliate Company) and managing partner of Asaba Group Holdings, notes, “I clear out my calendar for the Fellows Master Classes. They’re like a shot of adrenalin, of new knowledge and enthusiasm. They help me stay on the right course.”

Although the sites are international and the companies visited are diverse, Master Classes all focus on the future, recognizing that today’s most successful organizations must push the boundaries of their industries to stay on top. In commercial real estate, that means in part a rethinking of space and talent management.

“The right space helps to attract and retain talent,” said John Santora, president of Cushman and Wakefield’s Corporate Occupier & Investor Services. “But open space isn’t just about talent retention. It fosters creativity and collaboration, and it reduces the overall cost of occupancy. Today, real estate and business are working together in new ways.”

For advertising agency Victors & Spoils, open innovation means reaching beyond in-house creative teams to foster collaboration with creative people everywhere. The industry-disrupting agency is built on opensourcing principles, reaching out to a wide network for campaign ideas. “We embrace the fact that we don’t have all the answers,” says president Jonathan Balck. Victor Edozien notes that the variety of industries makes it clear that challenges facing today’s organizations are very similar. “The Master Classes trigger a lot of ideas, making me think about how we do business in my sector. In my company and in my industry, how do we challenge what we are doing and change our mindset? To do that you need to have access to knowledge and see how different companies have very similar challenges, and how they look into the future and come up with solutions. This is a significant competitive value add to me as I grow the companies in our holdings.”

One of the final sessions in New York included an executive vice president of an investment company. As he addressed the group, he described the current challenges faced by his organization. They were formidable, but it was the kind of frank talk the Fellows expect. When he was finished, he turned the tables on them.

“Here is where we are, here is where we think we’re going. What do you think we should do?” The exchange that followed brought insights from pharma and retail, banking and technology. It was a typical Fellows dialogue, where learning comes from presenters and from other participants.

“Fellows shows you what the textbooks don’t,” says John MacDonald, president and CEO of Canada’s EnerCare Inc. “It’s here and now. You get in front of people who are at the edge of innovation, and have a dialogue with them. It’s not easy to find programs like this that not only make you think, but change the way you think.”

Nigeria-American businessman, Victor Edozien, has quietly built a $400m portfolio in the American automotive manufacturing industry. He towers elegantly as Nigeria’s image builder in the global community.

MANUFACTURING plants across the United States of America have faced steady close-downs as businessmen move their operations to Asia and Latin America to reduce cost and optimize profits. This has led to high unemployment and dislocation, leaving industrial centres such Detroit in ruins. If the situation is to be resolved however, it will be due to brave souls such as Nigerian American investor and business personality, Mr. Victor Edozien, whose string of plants are keeping thousands of people in jobs and last year returned a healthy $400million turnover. Edozien’s Asaba Holdings operates manufacturing, consulting and lifestyle businesses and has operations in five states in the US. Its portfolio companies include the AG Manufacturing Inc, which is an Electrical and electronics sub-assembly manufacturer for the automotive, marine and military defense industries; the SET Enterprises, which is a major provider of steel processing services to the automotive industry and the Asaba Group which offers strategy consultancy to the automotive industry and the US Air Force. The companies operate manufacturing plants in Michigan, Illinois, Alabama and Indiana. ‘We have a portfolio turnover of $400m last year and our goal is to reach $1billion by the end of the decade,’ Edozien told The Guardian at his office located on the 66th floor of the iconic Empire State building in New York. ‘The basics are there. We have over 700 highly motivated employees and our businesses are well run.’

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Asaba Group Holdings: Victor Edozien In NASDAQ Closing Bell Event on Behalf of Successful United States Middle Market...

NEW YORK, NY-- - Victor Edozien, CEO of SET Enterprises Inc, a portfolio company of Asaba Group Holdings, rang the NASDAQ closing bell today, a rare honor for and first for any of the Asaba Group Holding companies.

Kenneth Beck, the Chief Executive Officer of CEO Connection had requested Edozien and few other Mid-Market CEOs, who are all members of CEO Connection, to participate in this honorable event to highlight the importance of mid-market companies like SET Enterprises to the U.S. economy with respect to innovation, employment growth and wealth creation. SET Enterprises has been innovative and growing and is a significant value added manufacturer in the automotive industry. CEO Connection is highlighting the importance of the middle market and its role as a major contributor to economic growth. Middle markets are companies with $100 million to $3 billion in revenue and they invited Edozien to showcase the growth of the Asaba Group Holdings’ steady expansion in the last few years and its target to be at $1 billion in revenue within the decade.

*About Victor Edozien
*

Victor Edozien is the Founder and Managing Partner of The Asaba Group, Inc. - a strategy consulting/private equity holding company. A veteran of the US Army, Edozien has over 15 years of experience in strategy development & planning, revenue growth, acquisitions and business improvement.

In addition, he has been in principal investing since 2004 primarily in manufacturing and consumer goods sectors. He currently leads two portfolio automotive businesses: AG Manufacturing (www.agmanufacturing.com) and SET Enterprises, Inc. (www.setenterprises.com) which has manufacturing locations in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Alabama. He is an Executive Director at Cintron World Inc. (www.cintronworld.com) a premium branded beverage manufacturer. His three portfolio companies have combined annual revenues of approximately $500 million annually. Edozien’s holds a BS in Electrical Engineering, BA Geology with Mathematics, MS in Engineering, and a MBA in Finance & Operations Management. He is currently a Wharton Fellow at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), and CEO Connection.

*About CEO Connection *

Designed to facilitate peer relationships, CEO Connection is the only membership organization in the world focused exclusively on mid-market CEOs. It connects thousands of mid-market CEOs with each other and to people, information and resources to which they would otherwise not have access. Members are C-level executives with responsibility for all or significant portions of their respective company. It represents a wide variety of businesses across a broad geographic spectrum. The average size of the companies members run is $1.8 billion in annual revenue and 7,600 employees. Inspired by C-level Wharton executives, CEO Connection began in 2005 and has evolved into a dynamic community with wide-ranging benefits uniquely designed to help the mid-market CEO and champion the mid-market perspective. It is all about CEOs helping CEOs

*About NASDAQ OMX Group *

NASDAW OMZ is a leading provider of trading, exchange technology, information and public company services across six continents. Through its diverse portfolio of solutions, NASDAQ OMX enables customers to plan, optimize and execute their business vision with confidence, using proven technologies that provide transparency and insight for navigating today’s global capital markets. As the creator of the world’s first electronic stock market, its technology powers more than 70 marketplaces in 50 countries, and 1 in 10 of the world’s securities transactions. NASDAQ OMX is home to more than 3,300 listed companies with a market value of over $8 trillion.

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CHICAGO — Steel processor SET Enterprises Inc. has named Victor Edozien president and chief executive officer.

Edozien, who has acquired a "significant" equity position in SET, will assist SET as it continues to execute its growth initiatives, the company said.

The Warren, Mich.-based company, which also provides duct manufacturing and construction services, operates facilities in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Prompted by the needs of such key customers as Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and ThyssenKrupp Steel USA LLC, it opened a 70,000-square-foot plant in Jackson, Ala., in March.

"With our recent expansions into Alabama, our entry into the heating, ventilation and air conditioning, duct and construction industries, (and) our growth in our core businesses, including automotive, we recognized the need to expand our organizational resources,"chairman Sid E. Taylor said in a statement.

Victor Edozien: Asaba Group Holdings Information

Asaba Group Holdings (http://asabagroupholdings.com/) a holding entity which leverages its Principal’s strategy consulting background and insights to create value for all stakeholders. A core ethos of its investment philosophy is seeking situations whereby it can disrupt and reinvent business models in existing industries to provide growth and economic returns to all its stakeholders.

Asaba Group Holdings’ portfolio companies are focused on providing customers with innovative solutions that help them maintain and increase market share. We generate long-term, superior returns for our shareholders/investors by investing in companies with unique market advantages or that occupy a competitive "white space" within an industry. We provide them with strong focused management teams and strategic guidance which leverages our strategy and management consulting heritage.. Its holdings are manufacturing businesses focused on serving the automotive, aerospace, defense, and consumer industries. 2013 Portfolio revenues at $500 Million with an Enterprise Value of $50 Million with 650 employees and 10 locations in the USA.

Portfolio Companies:

–AG Manufacturing Inc (www.agmanufacturing.com) An electrical and solenoid sub-assembly manufacturer for the automotive, marine, and military defense industries. Products include wire harnesses, electronic control actuators, electromechanical, pneumatic, and hydraulic components for automotive, truck, and military applications. AG has plants in Michigan, Illinois, and Alabama

–SET Enterprises, Inc (www.setenterprises.com) A leading provider of steel and aluminum processing services to the automotive industry. Customers include OEMs and direct/Tier 1 suppliers. SET has locations in Michigan, Alabama, Indiana, and Illinois.

–Cintron World Inc. (www.cintronworld.com) A premium lifestyle brand beverage company focused on building brands and functional beverages that target aspirational lifestyle consumer segments with fast growing disposable incomes. Its brands include are Cintron – Premium Energy Drink, Cintron Polo Club, VikMix Revitalizer, and ENVO. Cintron World head office is located in New York City.

Profile – Managing Partner

Victor Edozien is the Founder/Managing Partner of Asaba Group (AG), Inc. - a strategy consulting/private equity holding company (www.asabagroupholdings.com) and is a veteran of the US Army Infantry.

He has been in the private equity business for over 10 years and is the CEO and President of both AG Manufacturing, Inc and SET Enterprises, Inc. Victor has over 15 years of experience in strategic planning, revenue growth strategy, acquisition strategies and business turnarounds/improvement.

He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering, BA Geology with Mathematics, MS in Engineering, and a MBA in Finance & Operations Management. He is currently a Wharton Fellow at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is a recent graduate of the prestigious Global CEO Program of The Wharton School (USA), IESE Business School (Spain) and CEBIS (China).
Victor is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), and CEO Connection. He is a board member of Real Life 101 Scholarship and Mentoring Program (www.reallife101.org); a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to improving the higher education opportunities to inner-city African American males.

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Huron County Press News on AG Mfg $1.2M Award

Congresswoman Candice Miller visits Harbor Beach

Congresswoman Candice Miller stopped in Harbor Beach last week at the AG Manufacturing plant to give comments and tour the facility.

For more updates from Asaba Group Holdings , visit our facebook page and follow us on twitter @asabagrpholding.

Cintron World, an international beverage company with a line of flavored energy drinks Cintron Premium Energy, is proud to announce that they are the headline sponsors of the prestigious Pink Polo event in South Africa, naming it “Cintron Pink Polo.” Cintron World is pleased to have established this strategic relationship with the luxurious Val de Vie Estate, where the polo event is taking place, as there is much synergy between the lifestyle of these brands. Val de Vie is the perfect place outside of Cape Town, South Africa to experience polo in a fun, exciting and fashionable manner. Cintron World will also contribute to the Pink Polo event with its tantalizing flavors, premium energy, delicious cocktails and fabulous style.

The vision of Cintron World is to be a premier luxury lifestyle brand that encourages people to aspire to look good and feel great by living a fashionable, productive healthily lifestyle. Cintron World’s mission to its customers is to excite with flavor and taste, stimulate with healthy and natural ingredients as well as inspire with style and sophistication. Cintron Premium Energy drinks have great taste and come in three flavors: Original, Cranberry and Pineapple. The premium quality is due to the fact that Cintron Premium Energy is crafted from natural ingredients, real fruit juice, natural mineral water, contains no artificial coloring or chemical preservatives and is Halal Certified. Cintron’s premium ingredient of Glucoronolactone delivers nice long-lasting energy to get its consumers through busy days and fun nights.

Chelsea Brehm, Director of Business Development & Marketing for Cintron World commented, “With our beverage line, Cintron Premium Energy, we are focused on expanding distribution throughout South Africa and creating brand awareness through polo events. Cintron Pink Polo at Val de Vie is a great opportunity to support the amazing athleticism of polo and take part in the fabulous lifestyle of polo all while raising funds for breast cancer. Therefore, everyone wins!” Vale de Vie Estate, situated in the Paarl-Franschhoek Valley, will celebrate the beginning of summer and the polo season on October 25th 2014 with the Cintron Pink Polo powered by Africa’s strongest cellphone network, Vodacom with the private Swedish bank, Julius Bar as Pink Polo’s official banking partner and Gaggenau as Pink Polo’s sub sponsor for the third year.

Simone de Wet, Managing Director of Val de Vie Events commented, “The last 4 years of celebrating miracles have truly been amazing, with Cintron Pink Polo around the corner we invite you to join in on this very glamorous, festive celebration in the most breathtaking outdoor location in the world. With the event partnership between Val de Vie and Cintron, expect nothing less than the exceptional.”

This annual event, in its 5th year, raises funds for The Cancer Association of South Africa, in awareness for breast cancer. Funds raised by the Cintron Pink Polo will be used to assist women throughout South Africa with their practical and medical needs in their fight and recovery from this disease. The event is a unique blend of glamour, fashion and polo action. Cintron Pink Polo has become a highlight on the Cape Town and South African social calendar. Guests are hosted in style and treated to a VIP experience as they enjoy a day of polo and fashion while sipping Cintron Cocktails, Pongracz MCC and enjoying the decadent high tea treats. Guests can expect a day full of spoils and treats by all the wonderful sponsors involved, including Elle magazine, Sisley, GHD and many more.

The two polo team sponsors, Cintron and Gaggenau, will put on a world-class polo match featuring some of South Africa’s best players. The teams will even feature female players whom will all be in a bid to win the coveted Cintron Pink Polo trophy.

Cintron is more than just a premium energy drink; it’s a lifestyle. The Cintron brand is an embodiment of Sophistication, Premium Taste, Luxury and Energy. Cintron host events in the most fabulous locations, inthe most premium venues and with the most beautiful people around the world. This is why Cintron is very pleased and excited to be the title sponsor of “Cintron Pink Polo” at the Val de Vie Estate. There is synergy between these brands, as Cintron and Val de Vie both value premier events that are fun andexciting in a fashionable manner. Therefore, Cintron Pink Polo is the perfect event for all the prestigiousguests to enjoy polo and drink Cintron. #CintronPinkPolo
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Asaba Group Holdings, Victor Edozien: Federal Judge Formally Dismisses Two-Year Effort

Federal Judge Formally Dismisses Two-Year Effort By Philadelphia Company To Unlawfully Damage Vedozi Inc’s Business; Gives Victor Edozien Clear Victory.

After two years of vigorously defending against meritless multiple lawsuits brought by Philadelphia-based Cintron Beverage Group or “CBG”, through its principal owner Wes Wyatt, Vedozi, Inc. and its principal, Victor Edozien, are pleased to announce that they have won.

The dismissal confirms Edozien’s long-held resolve that CBG’s case was without foundation and not entitled to a ruling that sought monetary compensation and a cessation of lawful and legitimate business activities outside of the United States where Vedozi Inc.’s business partners have established a global brand known as Cintron Premium Energy Drink.

Wes Wyatt’s CBG erroneously claimed that Vedozi Inc. and Victor Edozien were infringing U.S. trademarks (which had not even been registered and are being contested in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office),based primarily on nonsensical allegations relating to lawful and legitimate business activities engaged inby Vedozi’s business partners outside the United States.

“There was never a doubt in my mind that all of the claims against Vedozi and Mr. Edozien lacked meritand it was only a matter of time before they would be dismissed. I am gratified that my clients were fully exonerated from the baseless allegations made against them,” said Vedozi’s counsel, Kevin B. Hirsch ofMichigan-based Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, P.C.

The two-year long attempt by Wes Wyatt’s CBG to damage Vedozi’s business interest was finallydismissed by Judge Sanchez “with prejudice” which means that they cannot be resurrected. All of CBG’sclaims have been dismissed. The beginning of the end came when the Judge refused CBG’s nefariousattempts to go after Victor Edozien individually. CBG’s misguided efforts to go after other Edozienbusinesses -- including The Asaba Group, Inc. and AG Manufacturing, Inc.-- which had no connection tothe beverage industry or any involvement whatsoever in the activities alleged in the lawsuit, also failedspectacularly.

CBG finally folded once and for all when Wes Wyatt, as the Chairman of CBG, agreed to dismiss all of theremaining claims brought by CBG without receiving any money from Vedozi Inc., Edozien or anyone else.Victor Edozien expanded on this theme: “From the beginning I have always said these lawsuits werebaseless and a brazen attempt by CBG to aggressively assert rights they do not have or own! This case
was also unsuccessful in its attempt to damage the character, reputation, and integrity of myself and mybusiness partners. I was adamant that I would never pay one dime to make these frivolous allegations goaway and I DID NOT! Vedozi Inc. has a bright future and my partners and I are now free to move forwardand aggressively execute our global business plans. This victory serves as a reminder that any similarattempt to misappropriate Vedozi's interest will be contested vigorously anywhere in the world. Let this beclear to potential adversaries: We have the resources, courage, relentless determination, and perseveto say to them– ‘There is a line that cannot be crossed and there is a point beyond which they must never advance’ ”

About Vedozi Inc.

Vedozi Inc. is a merchant trading, sourcing, and distribution company. Since 2007, its business partners have invested and developed the critically acclaimed Cintron Premium Energy drink brand internationally. The brand has grown into a lucrative worldwide business under the aegis of Cintron World (www.cintronworld.com). Global trademarks and intellectual property rights for the Cintron Premium Energy Drink branded products have always been held by Vedozi Inc.’s business partners.

For additional information on related companies, please contact or visit websites below:

CINTRON WORLD – www.cintronworld.com
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 6610 New York, NY 10118 USA
Tel: +1 212 273 3352

THE ASABA GROUP – www.asabagroup.com
220 North Main Street, Suite 102 Natick MA 01760 USA
Tel: +1 508 655 8100

AG MANUFACTURING – www.agmanufacturing.com
319 Industrial Parkway, Harbor Beach MI 48441 USA
Tel: +1 989 479 9590

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Val de Vie Estate, situated in the Paarl-Franschhoek Valley, celebrates the beginning of the polo season with the Cintron Pink Polo powered by Vodacom with Julius Baer, the leading Swiss private banking group, as the official banking partner and Gaggenau as Pink Polo’s sub sponsor for the third year.

We are ecstatic to introduce Cintron, the World’s Premium Energy Drink, as the new headline sponsorof Pink Polo. Cintron is an international beverage brand and is crafted from all natural ingredients withenough energy to get you through any busy day.

This annual event, in its 5th year, raises funds for CANSA, in awareness for breast cancer. Fundsraised by the Cintron Pink Polo will be used to assist women throughout South Africa with their practicaland medical needs in their fight and recovery from this disease.

The event brings a unique blend of glamour, fashion and polo action on the 25th October 2014. PinkPolo has become a highlight on the Cape Town and South African social calendar. Guests are hostedin style and treated to a VIP experience as they enjoy a day of polo and fashion while sipping CintronCocktails or Pongracz MCC and also enjoying the decadent high tea treats.

The two polo team sponsors, Cintron and Gaggenau, will put on a world-class polo match featuringsome of South Africa’s best players including Springbok players Tom de Bruin & Le Roux Hendriks.The teams will even feature female players, Julia Pilbeam and Sally Jellis Taylor, who will be in a bid towin the coveted Cintron Pink Polo trophy.

Guests can expect a day full of spoils and treats by all of the wonderful sponsors involved, including Elle magazine, Sisley, GHD and many more.

Celebrating half a decade of miracles, come join us by visiting Computicket for ticket sales.

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13

What Will the Business of the Next Century Look Like? by Victor Edozien Reviews of the Asaba Group, Inc.

What Will the Business of the Next Century Look Like? by Victor Edozien Reviews of the Asaba Group, Inc.

We started this book by asking, “What will the New America look like?”

Now that we have shared information and insights that sheds light on that question, it is time to ask a second one:

“What will new American business look like?”

How will it operate? What will its priorities be? We invited Victor Edozien of The Asaba Group to share his views. Victor, a seasoned strategy consultant, is originally from Nigeria. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering and geology from Syracuse University. Also, he studied business administration and management at University of Pittsburgh and University of California, Berkeley. He started his career as an engineer at United Technologies, where he was awarded a US patent. He then went to business school and joined the Ford Motor Company.

After Ford, he joined a Bain & Company consulting spin-off called The Lucas Group. This was a corporate strategy consulting practice focused on the needs of private equity funds and their portfolio companies. Here, he led numerous growth strategy engagements, which has led to substantial growth in revenue and profits for private equity investors and Fortune 500 clients. Recently Victor helped launched The Asaba Group, a strategy consulting practice focused on developing pragmatic winning growth strategies in the multicultural environment. The goal of The Asaba Group, located in Boston, is to help corporations, private equity investors and middle market companies enter and prosper in this new market.

Find out more about The Asaba Group by visiting www.asabagroup.com.

How should a company find success in America’s growing multicultural markets?

That is a disarmingly simple question. Therefore, I will answer in an equally simple way.

A company should think about entering the new markets in essentially the same way it would think about entering a new market abroad. You begin by asking these strategic questions:

What are the relevant market segments? (Size and defining attributes)

What is your unique value proposition to these segments? How well do your products fit the needs of the target consumers?

What are the optimal channels to fulfil the requirements of the target segments?

Let us say you had decided to sell your products in Vietnam. How should you undertake your marketing efforts?

You would not simply go there with your same products, place advertisements in Vietnamese electronic media and magazines, and expect to succeed. You would most likely begin by asking the key strategic questions mentioned earlier.

Yet, many American businesses approach ethnic markets without asking these same strategic questions. These businesses proceed by spending money and time placing ads. This is indicative of viewing ethnic markets as only a downstream tactical initiative.

Repeatedly, we see mid-level marketing and brand managers who are charged with making decisions about the ethnic markets without clear knowledge on how to approach these markets. These managers have defaulted to hiring ethnic advertising agencies and placing ads in what they have defined as “culturally relevant” media. Creative content is typically an African- American, Asian or Hispanic face in their ad. These, in most instances, maybe the same ads used in the mainstream media. With this done, it assumed that the job is done.

This approach reflects the prevalent attitude that ethnic marketing is really an afterthought - something that comes after your mainstream marketing efforts. The result? A number of non-strategic and uncoordinated efforts that get very little incremental revenues or build lasting customer loyalty. Non-strategic investments with little or no economic returns.

Let us return for a moment, think again, about how you would go into Vietnam, and try to achieve market success there. (The same questions might be asked about China, Eastern Europe or any emerging market.)

If you followed the current practices - hiring an ethnic-oriented agency, placing some ads - you would sell some product, because there is always latent demand in any market for products, which meet the needs of consumers. However, are these sales the true potential of the product? Would these practices get the sales and ROI you should expect from growing markets?

To achieve success you must find answers to the questions mentioned earlier:

What are my relevant market segments?

Remember that not every Vietnamese will buy your product. It is more likely that a target segment, perhaps two million Vietnamese, will potentially buy what you have to sell. They are your relevant market segment.

Then, taking things further, you can divide the potential two million target consumers. You may determine that there is a segment that will buy your premium product and another segment that will buy your value product.

What is your value proposition? How well do your products match the needs of customers in these segments?

What products will these consumers want? Keeping in mind that the desired products may be somewhat different from those you have in your current portfolio.

Back to our example, in Vietnam, you might identify two unique customer segments to target: Upscale consumers and more general, value-oriented consumers.

It is unrealistic to view the Vietnamese population as monolithic. Yet here in American, some corporations market to African-Americans, Asians or Hispanics through a monolithic lens.

By way of example, let us say I am a manufacturer of fine dinnerware and I am going into the Vietnamese marketplace. There may exist a consumer segment, which will desire high-end, premium dinnerware.
Now when you look at your product portfolio and say, “What product do I have in my portfolio that is high-end fine china?”

You might say, “Okay, I have some elegant gold-encrusted patterns which might meet the needs of the consumer.” Alternatively, you might do even better and say, “The patterns that will sell best must be unique and culturally relevant to that population - I can’t position something in my existing lineup as what they want.”

Therefore, you can take the product and make incremental changes so it is relevant to the high- end Vietnamese customer segment. This is all about ensuring optimum fit between your products and the target customer
What is the relevant channel for selling your product?

In other to sell product, you must have it available where the target customer will most likely seek it. In our example, high-end Vietnamese consumer will seek the product in the higher-end channels e.g. department stores etc. While the value product at the mass-market retailers. This same principle applies to ethnic markets.

So the key point for corporations, is a need to understand that multicultural marketing is not simply taking existing products and advertising it to your target consumers through appropriate media, but its determining the appropriate products and placing it in the relevant channels and markets.

Bringing it Back Home

Three Questions to Ask

  • How big is the relevant business opportunity?
  • What are the relative consumers segments?
  • How do those segments overlap with my product portfolio?

Therefore, it is critical to take a strategic approach, and not simply spending money advertising in appropriate media.

This is one reason many marketers find themselves in the unfortunate position of saying, “I’m spending all this money in the ethnic segment, but I have no idea whether I am making any sales.”

When marketers express this concern, it is because fundamental marketplace questions have not been asked and answered - the fundamental questions we have discussed above, which must be asked before going into any market.

In addition, questions that are more logical follow.

Is Your Infrastructure Up to the Job?

What portions of your existing infrastructure can you leverage in going after the new multicultural market opportunity?

If you are going after an ethnic segment within the U.S., there are certain elements of your existing infrastructure that you can leverage and some that you cannot utilize in its present form. You might use the same distribution channel and maybe the same sales force. Nevertheless, you have to ask, is that the right way to proceed? Alternatively, is some new kind of thinking required?

As an example, let us consider a marketing problem that can be quite revealing.

Let us say you are a skin-care company and that you have products with a high potential usage with African-Americans, e.g. a lotion that can be an effective remedy for razor bumps. African- American men have a very high incidence of razor bumps and ingrown hairs on their skin after shaving.

Now, if your company already has a product that addresses this problem, the next question is how well are you reaching African-American consumers? Do they have to go to Macy’s or another department store to purchase it? If so, is that the optimal channel to sell your products? I say no. I say the sales you are getting through such general distribution channels are just general-market sales. If you are going to tap the real potential of the African-American market, you have to repackage your product, so that it becomes culturally relevant to African-American consumers.

This can be an African-American cultural image on the packaging - or some other relevant message on the packaging. (Interesting to note, it can be the same product that is already in your product lineup.)

The next question is; how do you distribute the product? The best way is going to be through barbershops and beauty shops that cater to African-Americans.

Because African-Americans, in general, do not get their hair cut or get shaves at typical mainstream salons and boutiques. They have their own hair care channel, which is unique and different from going to your typical saloon. Therefore, if you are the skin-care company and you have an appropriately packaged product, you now sell it through all those beauty locations that are used by African-Americans.

Then you begin to advertise it through African-American dominated media (print and electronic). Marketing investments are promotional fees for free samples rather than listing fees, coop dollars or floor space investments, which characterizes the department stores channel. In addition, you have a unique SKU that allows tracking of product sales and profit contribution in your targeted market segment. You are no longer in the position of saying, “I’m running some ads, but I don’t know how effective they are or if these ads are generating sales.

Because African-Americans are brand-loyal, you are also building strong customer franchise and loyalty. Once the African-American consumer knows you have a product, which works, and it is sold at the point of need: barbing saloons, then you have achieved lifetime value in that customer. The consumer knows that you have a product he needs and it is conveniently available at the time of need.

With lifetime value, you can extend your “share of wallet”. African-Americans, like all Americans, have a variety of needs for skin-care products: for body cream, deodorants, and astringents. Once you are underway, you can grow your presence and “own” that customer in a particular product/commodity category.