Starting a business isn’t an easy walk in the park, running the business in an unfavorable clime is the worst thing that can ever happen to any entrepreneur irrespective of the size of the business. If you live in Calabar like we do, you must have undoubtedly heard the unending whines of business owners or better still noticed how quickly these businesses pack up.

Why exactly do businesses fail so fast in Calabar?

We opened up conversation with some Calabar based business owners and a few others we believe know a thing or two about running a business in the city, here are a few things we found out against very popular misconceptions.


Many business owners are complaining bitterly about the incessant and fast growing tax regime involved in running a business in Calabar. From Tourism tax, green tax to other uncapped levies. While many can totally relate, here’s an interesting comment from Hope Obeten.

Deductions and taxations are not peculiar to Calabar business environment, the ease of doing business is better in Calabar than most cities, try setting up a business in Abuja then watch FCDA come after you with levies.

Hope Obeten


According to the last known result from the National Population Commission in 2015, Calabar has a population of 466,800 people, constituting 0.256% of Nigeria’s overall population. This rather small but significant size diversified by lifestyle is better assumed to create avenues for well targeted marketing drives but some of the business owners argued that the margins are rather too small. Mr Obeten comments…

I agree with market size but you have a better chance for monopoly. With the deteriorating state of Tourism infrastructures in the state we lack decent places to unwind with loved ones and family especially if you are not into alcohol.

Hope Obeten


We actually have a long list of irregular experiences we’ve had with some local businesses. Sometimes we assume that these business owners don’t set up with long term plans in mind.

Poor Customer experience occurs when you don’t meet your customer’s need or expectation. Businesses have to learn to treat their customers with respect, train their staff appropriately, offer quick resolution to complaints and never leave them unresolved.


Most businesses in Calabar are not leveraging on digital to scale up beyond their immediately environment. Most times you even search for a brand name online just to even get a phone number to call, there is no digital footprint what so ever… 80% of this things are free, the customer behavior has changed over time and businesses need to understand, most times before you have a walk in customers they visit your, website or social media platform(s) first and your consistency tells a lot about your brand… there is so much that technology has contributed to ease businesses that they could leverage on.

Emmanuel Okon Etim

Hope Obeten further commented that

You barely survive in business today without digital marketing, businesses in calabar have refused to come online to put thier businesses in the faces of thier potential customers, I cannot think of any business place in Calabar with an active social media presence besides Queenieez kitchen, Ette Fingerlikin, White House Lounge, Prelizz Perfumery, La Estel Fashion and few more. These people can attest to how much they have made from Calabar to the World using social media because it provides the opportunity to scale globally without thinking of your geographical market size.

Hope Obeten


We’ll like to consider this a tough love relation but we too can’t help but notice how challenging some businesses drop off their standards once they open in Calabar. Some people have argued that these moves are in line with localization but we do not buy into such argument.

Calabar people are urbanly classy and businesses fail because of low standards. Businesses will only survive Calabar if they bring the same energy from Abuja/Lagos.


This is article would be continuously updated to highlight current business situation from both business owners and customers alike. We’ll really value your opinion.

Do you agree with these views?

Are there other common reasons we’ve missed?

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