Mr. Teneilabe pointed to government efforts to smooth the process of opening a company. He noted that the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission serves as a one-stop shop for foreign companies, helping them obtain regulatory approvals and apply for incentives in certain sectors.
Johnny Brown, a retired U.S. Commercial Service officer who spent a total of five years in Nigeria during two postings, told GlobalAtlanta by phone that the government is making positive strides but added that there's no substitute for good research and connections.
"That'll help, but there's still nothing like the feet on the ground, ... making sure you touch all the bases and getting a partner there that knows the inner workings of Nigeria and how to go about it," said Mr. Brown, who lives in Conyers.
Chamber officials said they can help members make introductions.
Gul Wadwhani, an Atlanta real estate agent and the chamber's vice president for business development, spent 27 years in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city, where he opened a textile mill and many other business ventures.
"When you say Nigeria the red flag comes up ... but Nigeria is a beautiful country, the people are very, very nice and they all help you a lot, so if you want to start any businesses, I'm here," Mr. Gul told the crowd of about 20 people.
Mr. Teneilabe, the consul general, said he would tap partners like the chamber as well as the Nigerian diaspora as he reaches out to the local community. Worldwide, remittances sent home from Nigerians abroad add $18 billion to the Nigerian economy. Atlanta is home to about 2,000 Nigerian doctors, he has learned.
"I'm still learning the ropes, but I've seen the areas that I can leverage. The resources are enormous," he said.
Visit www.anicc.net for more information about the chamber and how to join.