HGCP 2022 Participants: Kosi creates content that amplifies businesses’ marketing effort

Looking back now, I am extremely grateful for my orientation & past experiences because it has groomed me to be resilient, to always bet on myself, to do my best & leave the rest to God. “- Kosi

Hey, Motherland Moguls!!! It is time for another HGCP feature!!! Today we have Kosi Ofodile of K21 Media, a boutique creative agency that takes an iterative approach to our media production to ensure that our videos amplify our clients’ voices and appeal to their respective target audiences. 

We had a chat with Kosi and we promise you mogul, there is so much to learn!

Tell us a bit about your background – how did you get to this point?

 I was born and raised in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. The first out of 4 siblings, alongside my twin brother. Growing up, I had a beautiful childhood. Loved playing Sims, lots of dancing and spelling B competitions, was such a girly girl, but still lied in a timid girl next door. Thankfully, with the help of my mother who was/is constantly encouraging me to remember where I come from & with the help of my lesson teacher, Mr. Kehinde, the journey to confident Kosi began. Looking back now, I am extremely grateful for my orientation & past experiences because it has groomed me to be resilient, to always bet on myself, to do my best & leave the rest to God. This has been my mantra since I turned 16 & I have my mum to thank for this. Both my parents have entrepreneurial backgrounds and have been of great influence, so I’m not too surprised I took on this path.

 

What was your dream job or career path when growing up?

To be an accountant (even if my math was bad lol)

 

Tell us a bit about your family and the relationship you have with them? (Mention the people you live with, family or kids)

I am so generously blessed to have a close-knit relationship and family who truly support my passions and every move. I come from a family of 4, we are all so creative & individualistic in nature. My dad is fearless, no other words to describe him. He fears no one, absolutely no one! My mum is my first friend and there is absolutely nothing I cannot talk to her about. I believe I can weather any storm with her by my side literally. My twin brother is constantly thinking out of the box and is not easily impressed by a lot of things, which challenges me to always be innovative & forward-thinking. He is also introverted and has a very high level of self-awareness which is truly refreshing. My younger siblings (sister & brother) are like my babies, they make us laugh a lot and are equally as independent. They are a vibe!

 

What you would to be remembered for? What impact would you want to make in this world?

I want to be remembered for showing love to others and being a solution provider in creative and thrilling ways. I want to be remembered for empowering brands and people with story-telling and positioning them to shoot for the skies

 

What is your ‘why’ i.e. bottom line, and how do you stay motivated?

Knowing that I have an appointment to keep by God and that I must fulfill is all the motivation I need.

 

Tell us more about your entrepreneurial journey.

When I moved back to Nigeria in 2016, I started working at one of the top broadcasting agencies in Nigeria, which exposed me to production. In 2017, I got an opportunity to work with a client who wanted to start a YouTube channel to share her lifestyle experiences in video content. After this project, I soon realized that many SMEs and personal brands did not have the purchasing power to outsource video production to heavy hitter agencies and big media houses/production companies. I observed this pain point and birthed K21 in 2018 to fill this gap. The rest is history

What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

No two days are the same and seeing the satisfaction first-hand on my client’s face once a problem has been solved

Introduce your company the way you would to a potential customer?

We are a boutique creative agency that take an iterative approach to our media production to ensure that our videos amplify our clients’ voices and appeal to their respective target audiences. We are very modern in the way that we project the product offerings of our clients, which is why we focus on brand storytelling (i.e., we don’t do videos for weddings, bridal showers, or event videos unless it has to do with the product of the brand or the service that the brand is offering). So that is how we’ve been able to set ourselves apart from the rest. For us, video storytelling is our way of positioning brands to shoot for the skies, and our core goal at K21 is to share brand stories in innovative and thrilling ways.

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Resilience, Grit & Discipline

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our community?

You have to know what sparks the light in you, so that you in your own way can illuminate the world.

How do you handle or manage stresses of being an entrepreneur? 

Prayer & mini breaks across intervals during the day.

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

At a point when Covid hit and things felt like they were going downhill, our resilience and ability to pivot our offerings and make even larger income than we did pre-covid is a defining moment for me. Amidst the hurdles and challenges faced, we pulled through!

What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?

Market research & Innovation- it is so important to carefully understand what the market is saying globally. What trends can be adaptable to your start-up? How are you capturing the attention of your audience and can it be better optimized? Are there alternatives in getting to your goal/target at minimum costs? These are questions that can be answered when thorough market research is being carried out.

 

We would like to know what you think about HGCP and your experience so far?

What has your experience been like as one of the finalists to the program?

To put it simply, the high growth coaching program has been intense and rewarding. Intense doesn’t always mean bad because sometimes, change comes with drastic measures to hold us accountable and that is exactly how I have journeyed through the program thus far. It has challenged me to set systems & structures in place to enable my business scale exponentially and the coaches as well as the SLA team have been of great help

By the end of the 12 weeks, what would you like to have learned from the trainers and coaches? 

Business Modeling & Operations

 

HGCP 2022 Participants: Pamela brings ethically farmed food produce to the market

We are so excited to introduce our motherland moguls to Pamela Orbih, a Petroleum Engineer, an entrepreneur, a mum, a wife, and a 2022 HGCP participant.

It was so refreshing speaking to Pamela, her energy for life and her passion for her business Yummly by Nature were inspiring. Yummly Nature sells the best quality ethically-farmed food produce like Sweetcorn, Potatoes, and Bell Peppers, to be delivered directly to your doorstep within 24 hours of harvest.

I am sure you are wondering just like we did before we had this interview with Pamela “Why would a Petroleum Engineer in Nigeria choose entrepreneurship over “oil money”?  

Please sit back and relax and get yourself a drink or a cup of coffee (depending on the time you are reading this)

“I do what I do because of the burning passion I have to bridge the gap between the local farmers and the customers. The fulfillment is derived when I know my business is slowly building a healthy populace due to the ethically farmed food products we provide to our customers. I stay motivated by constantly reminding myself that I am making an impact in the life and general well-being of someone out there, by them just purchasing their food products from us.”- Pamela Orbih

A bit about her background:

Pamela was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria by very intentional parents.  Her parents played a huge role in her life and Pamela describes them as intentional. 

“My love for Mathematics and problem solving influenced my decision to study Petroleum Engineering at the University. Upon graduation, I was opportune to work in a company where I slowly transitioned from Petroleum Engineering to HR Recruitment. Worked in HR for about 4 years”

With your background, how did you end up founding a thriving business? 

“I have never been entrepreneurial. I had thought I’d be a 9 to 5er as I started corporate work quite early. The 2020 pandemic lockdown gave me an opportunity to become an entrepreneur. This ushered me into my new path in the Agribusiness industry where I founded my business, Yummly Nature. I’ll say my core values of honesty, transparency, and putting in the work, have helped me persevere in building my business from scratch to the level it has attained at this point.”

Wow! The irony! 2020 was a dark time globally but it also birthed Yummly by Nature. So what would you want to be remembered for?

“I want to be remembered for the woman who disrupted her industry and innovated various sustainable solutions in the Agribusiness industry. I want to be remembered as a woman who mentored and helped young ladies step out of their comfort zone and reach their full potential.”

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our community?

Run your business like a proper business. Know your numbers like the back of your hands and create standard operating procedures for activities within your business.

What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs invest their time in?

Attending pitching events to boost their confidence in talking about their business, also, Networking with other entrepreneurs

What has your experience been like as one of the finalists to the program?

It’s been amazing. I love my buddy, Bolanle, and my Coach, Ifeoma. The facilitators have been super amazing. I’m loving it in our community

By the end of the 12 weeks, what would you like to have learned from the trainers and coaches? 

I would love to have learned proper business structuring.

HGCP 2022 Participants: Esther is dedicated to nurturing young minds

“I will like to be remembered for the impact I made in the lives of children from underserved communities and how through the skills set they acquire from the Community Innovation Hub, they were able to rewrite their poverty story/history of their families”

For Esther growing up in Akoko, Ondo State was no excuse to dream small instead it challenged her to push beyond her limitations and at the same time create opportunities for underprivileged children to excel.

Read our inspiring interview with Esther Ajayi, co-founder of Community Innovation Hub, a Hub that equips children with 21st Century Skills.

Who is Esther, where do you come from how did you get to this point?

I was born in Akoko in the Northwest area of Ondo state, Nigeria. I grew up in Ondo State. I had no mentor(s) who believed in me or could point me in the right direction. When I moved to Lagos, I found out I was ignorant about so many things and had so much to learn. There was a lot of work to do personally and so I had to buckle down to build my capacity to catch up with some years I felt were wasted. 

This is the inspiration behind what I do. I set myself on a course to give children from underserved communities the privilege I never had by equipping them through the Community Innovation Hub. 

 

What advice or tips would you give your younger self? 

Thank you for this question, I am a mum of two now and sometimes I reflect on what advice I will give my children as they get older, so to my 15-year-old self, I will say this:

“Hey little Esther,

You can learn anything you set your mind to learn. Have a possibility and growth mindset. Find a mentor and find opportunities to volunteer because in volunteering you find who you truly are and those who you are called to help.”

 

How do you stay motivated and inspired?

I do not want other children to go through what I went through while growing up, that is my why, and I stay motivated by reading the success stories of those that have passed through my incubation

 

So, tell us more about the Community Innovation Hub?

The Community Innovation Hub solves the problem of educational gaps. With CIH, my team and I equip young people with 21st-century skills. Our unique selling point, aside from teaching the skills is that we provide children with mentorship and guidance on how to write scholarship applications and they also get registered for local and international competitions in the area of their skills. 

 

What’s been the most significant thing you’ve done to grow your business?

The most significant thing I have done to grow my business is to tell my business story, rightly.

What skills would you say are required in becoming a successful entrepreneur? 

  1.  Marketing- You must be able to sell your business anywhere and anytime.
  2.  Emotional intelligence- to relate with people, your network is your net worth.
  1. Critical thinking skills- it is a jungle out there, especially for entrepreneurs in Nigeria and so you need critical thinking skills to solve unique problems that arise. 

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

My biggest achievement is seeing children from the Innovation Hub winning scholarships abroad and winning local competitions.

What has your experience been like as one of the finalists to the program?

The feeling is something I am still basking in. I am excited to be among the finalists and most importantly, the learnings in the program are going to help me take my business to another level. It really feels great to be part of the 2022 Cohort.

What is your favourite quote or saying? 

“We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it” Barrack Obama

HGCP 2022 Participants: Bolanle is tailoring African Fashion with love and pride

Sometimes the most extraordinary things are birthed from tragedy. On this edition we feature a doctor who is taking the love and pride of Africa fashion to the world.

After Bolanle John Emaimo had a bike accident that fractured her left leg and caused her to be bedridden for 4 months, she used this tragic period in her life to immerse herself in art. She began by doing scribblings to crayons to watercolour pencils to digital paintings on Procreate.



“The legacy I would want to leave in this world is that I am the girl who dreamed of it, worked towards it and became all that she wanted to be.” –  Bolanle John Emaimo



She then moved to making beautiful designs which she was then advised to place on T-Shirts and that’s how her fashion brand came to life.

Bolanle is the founder of Africa Arise Clothing Line and one of the 20 female finalists’ part of the High Growth Coaching Program. We had a chat with her, and this is the story of her entrepreneurial journey with tips on how you can be a better businessperson.


Give us a bit of background about yourself, where are you from and how you came to be the person you are today?

Growing up in a Yoruba and Efik home, I remember that I avoided and despised anything traditional cloth that was made or bought for me. I preferred the English clothes because I felt they looked more stylish and creative.

I was someone who always had an eye for fashion since I was young, but I didn’t just believe our African wears were stylish enough maybe due to the colour of fabric chosen then or the combination or the style it was designed into.

My mindset went through a major reset and a good reformation when I went abroad. While abroad (Take Russia for example where there was Racism), being African and proud was more than a necessity, it became my identity.

I identified with our culture more and valued our African textiles. The way I saw how our textiles stood out and told a great story of our identity as colourful, joyful people and also seeing European people take pride in our African clothing made me value it more.

What is your favourite aspect about being a fashion entrepreneur?

Being able to create that which I have been ruminating on my mind, representing Africa using our African textiles and changing the narrative about African Fashion.


Tell us more about your business

Africa Arise Clothing Line is a Pan-African Fashion clothing line with the aim to deliver the most artistic, creative and Afrocentric fashion pieces that will make you strut into any room with Confidence as you take pride in our African clothing.

What’s been the most crucial thing you’ve done to grow your business?

Opened myself to challenges, stepped out of my comfort zone and became part of this year’s HGCP training program.

What has your experience been like as one of the finalists to the program?

It’s been awesome – I live my life daily with a focused purpose. It’s been an intentional moment of growth for me personally and for my business.

 

By the end of the 12 weeks with HGCP, what would you like to have learned from the trainers and coaches? 

How to delegate tasks and how to inspire other people.


How do you stay focused and productive every day?

I always put the end result before my eyes. Whenever I lose focus or want to give up, I remember the end goal which I am driving at and keep pushing

 

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our community?

Stop procrastinating and just start right now.

What are some of the things you think new entrepreneurs should invest in to grow their businesses? 

It’s important to learn new skills. Be willing to always develop, read books about business and marketing. Put yourself out there and network with other entrepreneurs – online and offline.


What is that one thing you would like to be remembered for and what is the legacy you want to leave behind?  

I would like to be remembered as an African woman who represented Africa both locally and globally. One who influenced many other Africans to love Africa and take pride in being African.
I would love to use Fashion as a means to achieve that. 

The legacy I would want to leave in this world is that I am the girl who dreamed of it, worked towards it and became all that she wanted to be.

 


 

HGCP 2022 Participants: Christianah shares her story of rising up through tenacity to build a business

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This year’s edition of the High Growth Coaching Program promises to be very exciting for our founders. The SLA team sifted through over a 1000 applications and after a rigorous application process we selected our top 20 participants. We are so proud of how far they have come. 

On a weekly basis we will introduce you to our participants, their story and their business.

On today’s feature we sat down with Christianah Imole-Ayo Owoeye, co-founder of Trash Monger to share her story on coming from a humble background and rising up through tenacity to build a business that would empower women.

“Always be ready to learn, unlearn and relearn.” – Christianah Imole-Ayo Owoeye

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born in Agege Local Government Area  in Lagos. I am the second child of six and the first female child in my family. My primary education was in Lagos while my Secondary Education and Tertiary Education were in Ogun State. I am a graduate of Business Administration.

Growing up wasn’t fun until I found my Identity in Christ which gave my life a new meaning and purpose.  

Apart from running Trash Monger. I am a soulful gospel minister, artist, and scriptwriter. During my National Youth Service, I participated in several advocacies through the Community Development Service (CDS).  I was an active member of the Federal Road Safety Corp CDS group and often engaged in sensitization projects among women and girls on personal hygiene through the reproductive health CDS group. My work with the Reproductive Health CDS group increased my passion for an impactful life which made me volunteer in a recycling organization where I built my knowledge about the Waste Management sector where I now fully operate and lead.

I would say one of the best gifts received growing up was education.

 

What was your favourite subject at school and why? 

Psychology; I like being able to understand human feelings through what they are saying or not saying.

What was your dream job or career path when growing up? 

Growing up I wanted to be a cosmetologist, but I was not sure if I could study this as a course in a university. I remember that as a secondary student in Nigeria, you had to choose between two or three pathways that determine the subjects you will learn as a senior secondary school student, I decided to choose the “art” pathway because I thought that it would have some connection to cosmetics. I didn’t realize how wrong I was until I was in my second year of high school. I remember crying when I realized my mistake.

However,  it did not turn out all bad, I realized that I had a knack for writing, acting and playing musical instruments.

 

Tell us a bit about your family and the relationship you have with them?

I am married to my friend of over 7 years and it’s being over a year of beautiful communion and friendship.

 

Tell us about the legacy you want to leave in this world? What you would to be remembered for?

That I gave hope, that I lived a life that would inspire you to take life as a gift.

 

Have you always been entrepreneurial, what led you to taking that first step and setting up your own business?  

Right from when I was a teenager, I had always loved proffering solutions and rendering services. When I was younger I helped manage my dad’s pepper soup business. I loved seeing the joy on our customer’s faces after serving them. I also sold jewellery and clothes in school to support myself. Ah!  I also had a failed business, it was a recharge card business. 

As a new entry in the waste management sector the ability to impact the local communities mostly women and youths while contributing to achieving a sustainable environment makes being a social entrepreneur interesting and inspiring.

 

What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

The ability to impact the lives of local women and youths while contributing to achieving a sustainable environment makes entrepreneurship a journey worth being a part of.

 

Introduce your company the way you would to a potential customer?

Trash Monger Limited is a waste collection and recycling social enterprise that is into the collection and recycling of waste into sustainable raw material for manufacturing processes. Since we started the business we have been able to create over 300 green job opportunities for internally displaced women and youths from underserved communities. Also, through our initiative we have carried out sensitizations within local communities on the importance of recycling and how to achieve a sustainable environment.

 

What’s been the most significant thing you’ve done to grow your business?

Continually learning through courses, mentorships and growing my network.

 

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

  1. Management [money, time, leadership] skills,
  2. Strategic thinking skills and 
  3. A good communication skills

 

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our community?

Always be ready to learn, unlearn and relearn.

 


  Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

 

HGCP 2021 Participants: Seclot Vet co-founder Olasunbo Atekoja shares how Seclot is providing security through address verification

I sat down with problem solver Seclot VET co-founder Olasunbo Atekoja to discuss how she is building the footprint of Nigeria through address verification.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Olasunbo Atekoja and I am  a co-founder of Seclot VET. I graduated with a degree in business Administration and Management 8 years ago. I have worked as an assistant supervisor with a fast food outlet, cash consultant with a Lagos state hospital and I am currently a country manager at Seclot.

I spend my free time listening to music, going on road trips and spending quality time with my family.

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

My biggest achievement is having overcome the fear of moving from paid employment to self employment, makin the leap to from regular income and structured work t the uncertainties of entrepreneurship such as business regulatory acts and stiff competitions.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

My favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur is having the power to dictate how I spend my time, which allows me time to care for my household as well as the vastly available networking opportunities with other businesses and entrepreneurs.

What challenges have you faced first as a founder and then as a female founder?

The first and major challenge I faced as a founder is managing the team, some of the vetters are older men who find it difficult taking orders from a younger female and thus questioned my credibility as a manager, which is frustrating.

Introduce your company the way you would to a potential customer.

Seclot Vet is building the footprint of Nigerians one step at a time leveraging physical address and identity verification. 

We carry out employee verification, guarantor verification, NIN verification, driver’s license verification, Voters card verification, NUBAN verification and BVN verification. We perform physical address verification to confirm the authenticity of the information you’ve received from people you are working with in a seamless and effective manner. After using technological best practices to keep tabs on people we verify for our clients, we also provide after service support for them.

You can learn more about us by visiting our website at https://vet.seclot.com/, you can also follow our Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/seclotdotcom/. You may also direct enquiries to  vet@seclot.com.

How did you come up with the name for your company?

Considering the state of insecurity in the country, we created a company that could reduce this insecurity by  ensuring there is enough data for security outfits. We needed the name of the company to sound reassuring to our clients,  hence the name Seclot which literally means Security for the Lot.

How have you carved a niche for yourself in your industry?

We have carved a niche for Seclot VET by ensuring we are registered as a security technology company. We do not only verify addresses and identity, we keep a repository of data which can be used to track the footprint of people over a period of time.

Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?

In 5 years time, we have a vision to have built the footprints of over 10 million Nigerians leveraging physical address verification.

What’s been the most significant thing you’ve done to grow your business?

The most significant thing we did in growing our business was to increase our customer base to 1,600 while also applying to accelerator programs to scale up the business.

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

The top 3 skills needed by any entrepreneur are marketing, people management, and bookkeeping. Entrepreneurs should invest their time in these activities (acronym KEN):

Knowledge – research on your industry and best practices;

Exposure – start marketing early and get feedback from potential customers and;

Network – meet with people that are in your field or related field.

What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-toNday busy schedule?

The trick I have discovered is that I have control only over myself and my actions, so I don’t get unnecessarily worked up over other people’s behaviors. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, I go to my place of relaxation.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our community?

The best advice I would love to share is “If you want to go fast, move alone; if you want to go far, move with a crowd”.

 

Olasunbo is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program preparing Seclot VET to build the footprint of Nigeria.

HGCP 2021 Participants: Founder of Bakerlicious Titilope Akinola talks about how her love for cake inspired her confectionary business

I sat down with Titilope Akinola, the founder of Bakerlicious to talk about how her love for cake inspired her to start a confectionary business Bakerlicious, which makes tasty treats for all of life’s important occasions. 

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Titilope Olubukola Akinola, I’m the Lead Baker and Sugar Craft Artist at Bakerlicious, a ProHire & Craft Company. Bakerlicious is a business I run on the side in addition to my full time job at Ventures & Trusts Limited, a Financial Advisory firm where I practice Human Resource Management. At V&T, I’m responsible for Human Resource Management and Administration. I have thirteen years of HR experience as a Generalist.

I am a resourceful, tenacious and passionate person who is crazy about all things craft and beautiful. I enjoy travelling, reading, watching movies, coordinating events, cake baking and decorating, as these are my super powers.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I spend my spare time watching movies, hanging out with my family and friends. I also love travelling and reading.

What is your ‘why’ and how do you stay motivated?
In everything I do, I always embrace opportunities that allow me to fully maximize my God given talents, abilities and deploy my expertise. I am motivated by my utmost desire; which is to build a wealthy legacy that will outlive me and generations to come after me.

What was the inspiration behind your business?
Cake baking and decorating was a childhood fantasy (I also wanted to be a lawyer and an actress). I love to eat cake and all kinds of desserts in any shape or form (lol).

Growing up, apart from birthdays or other occasions that involved eating cake, the only time I could have cake was when my sister agreed to bake for the family, provided that I would volunteer to manually cream the batter to a dropping consistency because we didn’t have a mixer. So my sister would measure the ingredients and leave me in the kitchen to struggle with the ladle and the cake batter; picture a skinny little girl seated on the kitchen stool in one corner of the kitchen with a mixing bowl on her lap turning butter and sugar in one direction with all the energy that she could muster.

As much as I love to eat and enjoy the activities involved in making cake, I never did anything to grow and nurture the passion until I volunteered at Awesome Treasures Foundation (ATF), a faith based NGO where I was inspired and my passion to bake was rekindled. In 2015, two years after my first Cake Baking and Decorating Class, I registered a business in 2015 and started baking for family and friends. This is where I got my first paid order as a home based commercial entity fulfilling orders from the kitchen.

Introduce your company the way you would to a potential customer
Bakerlicious (by ProHire & Craft Limited) is a Baked Confection, Sugar Craft, Food and Beverage Company. Our luscious treats include a wide variety of moist, yummy, fluffy and beautifully decorated cakes with a wow effect. We also offer scrumptious butter cookies and nutylicious fruity granola.

We also produce the best homemade thick, lush and creamy yoghurt drink and Greek yoghurt in plain and sweetened with date fruits (no colors, artificial flavors or preservatives).

All our products are homemade from premium quality ingredients sourced from local and international markets.

Whatever your order, what you get is balanced indulgence and a treat for everyone! You can see our products or make an order on our Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/bakerliciousng/. You can also visit our website at https://bakerlicious.business.site/ or give us a call or a WhatsApp on +234 81 8399 9299 and to view our WhatsApp catalogue. We’re also on TikTok at http://tiktok.com/@bakerliciousng.

How did you come up with the name for your company?
When I was naming my business, I wanted a name that speaks for the business without requiring much explaining, and my research for business name ideas led me to Bakerlicious. The name is a combination of two words describing exactly what the business is about (baked goods) and the customers’ experience when they see and taste our luscious treats (deliciousness).

How have you carved a niche for yourself?

We primarily cater to mothers who would give anything and go the extra mile to celebrate moments, birthdays, milestones, festive seasons, landmark occasions etc.. With our luscious boxed treats specially catered to their needs, and made with them, their children, spouses and loved ones in mind, we have positioned ourselves to be their preferred family baker.

Our promise is to stay with them for lifetimes, offering the best luscious treat options for life’s every occasion.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
My favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is the joy and sense of accomplishment I get when an order is fulfilled, knowing that the customer is satisfied and will return with repeat orders and send us referrals because they are truly happy with our products.

I also appreciate the opportunities that unfold with each step taken towards growing my business. Every opportunity unfolds in layers just like when you peel an onion and I love to experience it.

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Starting my business and staying the course is my biggest achievement. There was absolutely nothing that guaranteed that I could come this far. Although I’m not where I would like to be yet, I am proud of how far I’ve come and excited about the journey ahead.

I am also proud of the product categories and variants we are able to serve our customers. We’ll definitely have more products to offer as we evolve.

I am also grateful for the learning and development programs I have been privileged to benefit from like She Leads Africa’s High Growth Coaching Program, which has helped me to streamline a path and equip me with useful knowledge and information for the next phase of my business growth.

What has been a make or break moment in your entrepreneurial Journey?
It was when my newly acquired self igniting mini industrial oven exploded during its second use. As I turned on the oven to bake, I heard a loud bang, at the same time; balls of fire hit my face. But for the mercy of God, I would have been consumed. I was wearing my pair of glasses which instantly became protective gear for my eyes. My eyelashes, hair and the skin on my face, ears and shoulders cracked from the heat. Only pictures can tell.

For two years I baked with camp gas and pots which was very stressful and time consuming. I considered my options at that time and decided to take the experience as part of my learning curve.

The positive feedback I got on the taste of my cakes encouraged me to carry on. It also helped me to identify how to get the best of a gas oven when I get another one.

I carried on till December 2017 when my mother’s carer helped me to overcome my fear of using an oven, she challenged me in a very interesting way reminding me that I am child of faith and should not allow fear to hinder me.

What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-to-
day busy schedule?
I make use of to productivity tools to plan my schedule. I employ a combination of direct labor and outsourced services, and I make use of ready to use products to cut prep and production time for cake decorating considering I still have my 9 to 5 job. I also shop in bulk which helps to save money.

I’ve also made a point to form relationships with vendors who are supportive and will bend over to meet certain demands on short notice.

What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?
Product Development, Sales and Marketing.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our community?

You must have the courage of your conviction, and be knowledgeable about the business. You should be hands-on, dedicated and have an unrelenting will to succeed. Your next steps are within your reach so “Just do it”.

What business-related book has inspired you the most?
“Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell

Titi is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program working to grow and scale Bakerlicious to keep on providing sweet baked goods to people.

HGCP 2021 Participants: Founder of KIDSREADART Ogechi Ogbaragu is making Africa better by teaching kids to read

I sat down with Ogechi Ogbaragu, the founder of KIDSREADART to talk about how her passion to help African kids create a better Africa by teaching them to read.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Ogechi Ogbaragu and I’m  the founder of KIDSREADART. I am an Early Years Accelerated Reading Expert, a certified Early Childhood Practitioner, Montessori Directress and Jolly Phonics Specialist. 

Tell us a bit about your background – how did you get to this point?

As a teacher in the early years I found out that a lot of parents were worried about their kids’ reading struggles and would go all out to see their kids be able to read. Most of the time they would enlist me to teach their kids privately. Over time I saw it was a common problem as kids who could speak very well struggled to string two words in a book correctly. I thought of ways through which I could help more kids overcome this challenge in a fun and engaging manner, which gave birth to KIDSREADART.

What is your ‘why’ i.e. bottom line, and how do you stay motivated?

The reason I keep doing what I do is that I want kids to enjoy the thrill of reading a storybook, I don’t want to see any child discouraged from furthering their education because they lack the basic literacy skill of reading. I want to see well-read kids that are inspired and motivated to aspire to greater heights by the stories of those who challenged the status quo, I want the African child to see themselves as the agent of change that Africa and the world need to make our continent better. 

All of these keep me going knowing that I’m making a difference by contributing my own quota to help the African child succeed.

Describe a typical day for you.

A typical day for me starts with my personal time with God, after which I start working on the resources for the program. I check up with my team to ensure that they are on track with their deliverables, call clients and follow up with leads.

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

My biggest achievement is the birth of KIDSREADART especially because it was born out of nothing, from having no idea on how to go about it to overcoming the problems with the developers, designing the lessons and finally seeing it come to life.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

Sometimes I love snacking on a bottle of peanuts while reading supernatural fantasies on Radish or Dreame, other times I watch Netflix or play with my kids.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

My favorite aspects of being an entrepreneur are having time for myself and my family, getting to meet new people all the time, continually learning new stuff  as well as getting paid for doing what I love doing doesn’t seem like work.

Introduce your company the way you would to a potential customer.

KIDSREADART is a reading program designed for African children between the ages of 3-8 years which teaches them how to read and spell difficult word formations through animations and games for a great and fun reading experience.

You can learn more about us and our program by visiting our website at https://kidsreadart.com/or follow us on our Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/kidsreadart/

Have you always been entrepreneurial, what led you to taking that first step and setting up your own business?

I haven’t always been an entrepreneur , I used to work a 7-5 job before the Covid 19 pandemic changed the entire world. It was during the pandemic that I decided to walk down this path and I began by signing up for an accelerator program with The Founders Institute Lagos where I shared my ideas and was guided on how I could bring it to life. We got incorporated in November 2020 and started developing content by January and went live in July with the first 2 modules while we continued working on the last 2 modules in the background. The last 2 modules are still in development and will be released very soon.

How have you carved a niche for yourself in your industry?

I have carved a niche for KidsReadArt by making myself an expert in this field by taking feedback  from the success stories of the parents I’ve worked with. I design and sell literacy resources for teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers that has generated funds and have recently started a Teachers Training Program for schools who wants to use our reading program. We ensure that we help not only the learners but the teachers and parents who use our program.

What challenges have you faced first as a founder and then as a female founder?

First getting the required funds needed to develop the idea was a huge challenge. I also had problems with the software developers and learning about the business side of managing a business.

Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?

In the next 5 years, KIDSREADART will have become the foremost reading program in the country, used by schools as a learning resource and by parents as an after school program in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. 

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Expertise in the chosen business, commitment to see it thrive and passion for your business, without these you can easily get discouraged when you encounter challenges. 

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our community?

First talk to GOD about it because God always has a way of bringing things to life even when you don’t know the next step you should take.

What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?

Know your business. If you don’t know research and learn, join an accelerator program like Founders Institute and a business development program like HGCP to get business guidance and great mentorship deals.

What’s your number 1 tip for anyone struggling to overcome entrepreneurial overwhelm and keep going?

What I do is to log out of social media for a while, switch off my phone and just sleep to clear my head for some days.

What business-related book has inspired you the most? 

No Excuse and Eat that FROG both by Brian Tracy.

Ogechi is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program working to grow and scale KidsReadArt to become the best reading program in the country, used by schools as a learning resource and by parents as an after school program in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. 

HGCP 2021 Participants: Chika Nwajoku is tackling Nigeria’s unemployment challenges through Shoemaking with NCR Design Limited

I sat down with the founder of NCR Design Limited, a company created to foster socio-economic growth and help mitigate Nigeria’s unemployment challenges through Shoemaking. 

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Chika Ruth Nwajoku, a women and youth entrepreneurship advocate and the founder of NCR Design Limited, a company created to foster socio-economic growth and help mitigate Nigeria’s unemployment challenges through Shoemaking. 

I am graduate of soil science from the federal university of technology and a professional salesperson who has built her career in a variety of industries.

I am passionate about empowering women and youths in the communities who are denied access to education because of poverty, early marriages, and the patriarchal nature of the society, with the skill to establish a career in small and medium businesses to enable them to be financially independent and contribute to economic development.

I acquired a shoemaking skill during the mandatory National Youth Service Program in 2012 and has since used her work at NCR Design Shoemaking school to improve the lives of women and youths in Nigeria by enabling them to produce and export standard footwear products through training, job matching opportunities, mentoring, and access to quality and affordable raw materials.

Tell us a bit about your background – how did you get to this point?

I wanted to create value with something that I was passionate about.  I have always loved shoes but became increasingly interested in shoes when I joined shoemaking CDS group during my days as a Youth Corp member in 2012. 

I started to dig deep into the art of shoemaking, read about master shoemakers, the business of shoemaking, its rewards, the challenges, and opportunities… just everything about it.  It was fascinating to say the least.  It had never occurred to me that I could make a living out of it because interestingly, I am a graduate of Soil Science so academically, nothing really linked to the career I have now.  But growing up I loved making things.  I loved art.  I loved creating, but somehow had forgotten about it during my years as a student. My joining the shoemaking CDS group made me remember how much I loved crafts.

I further enrolled for advanced shoemaking classes at Pretty and Chic vocational centre, Ikeja. Lagos state, after which I used my allowance from the NYSC program to acquire start-up equipment.

After my parent’s disapproval to follow my passion of setting up a vocational training centre, I secured a job as a Business Development officer in 2013, and after a job loss experience in 2017 and another year without securing a job, I used my personal savings of 150,000 naira, making use of my sitting room to establish the business, in 2018 when NCR Design was incorporated.

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

One of my biggest achievements is establishing this business, securing awards and other recognitions for outstanding contribution to community developments. NCR Design emerged Winner of the top 10 startups of the Year 2021 in the Entrepreneur Africa Award. We’ve also featured in publications and Television stations, locally and internationally.

I would say that we have done tremendously well in ensuring that our work contribute to community development and to the sustainable development goals by empowering Nigerian youths and women with the skill to fight poverty, hunger, and gender inequality through volunteering and collaborations.

Since the business was incorporated, we have been involved in trainings, mentoring, volunteering and collaborations with NGOs and other organizations to empower Nigerian women and youths, especially the vulnerable ones with the skill to pull them out of poverty and start a new lease of life through shoemaking.

Achievement is not just about the happy, shiny things it is also about withstanding tough times and challenging situations, so handling challenges, complexity and change is also one of my biggest achievements.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

It’s the responsibility of building something of meaning & impact. Learning every day and working in a team to help people.

I am deeply invested in and passionate about the service that I offer. Making a difference and having a positive impact on someone else’s life is my favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur.

Introduce your company the way you would to a potential customer

NCR Design is a company created to foster socio-economic growth and help mitigate Nigeria’s unemployment challenges through shoemaking.

NCR Design was incorporated in 2018 in Lagos, Nigeria with the sole objective of offering its students personalized hands-on training on the different aspects of shoemaking from appreciation of equipment and materials, pattern drafting and design, lasting, stamping, threading, dying and quality controls, etc.  Our courses are built on an active, experimental, and practical learning session, known to combine design talent with technical knowledge of Shoes models and delivered by instructors with demonstrable practical experience in the field of footwear production.

We provide free accommodation, mentorship, and internship opportunities.

Where can people find out more about your business?

We will also be launching our official website shortly, in the meantime if you would like to connect with us, please google search NCR Shoemaking school, or do so via our email at ncrdesignlimited@gmail.com, or any of our social media platforms.

 We are on Facebook  at www.facebook.com/ncrdesign, on Instagram at www.instagram.com/ncr.design and on Twitter at  www.twitter.com/NCRCrafts.

How have you carved a niche for yourself in your industry?

By remaining consistent with our brand promise, we have established and positioned ourselves as one of the leading shoemaking schools in Nigeria. We provide mentorship and internship opportunities, free accommodation during training, also our training facility, tools, and equipment is available to students who completed their training for one year.

Focusing on quality customer service and growing my team have been other direct avenues for growth. Giving back to my community and being socially responsible is another great way I grew my brand and showcased my business values. 

What’s been the most significant thing you’ve done to grow your business?

Networking is one of the most significant things I’ve done to grow my business, making the right partnerships, and knowing my business community. I took the time to network and built relationships that could potentially build my business because I knew that having a strong network could lead to new customers, partnerships, employees, and even investors. 

Leveraging social media was another significant step. Diving into social media seemed daunting at first because I thought I had to have experience with it to leverage social platforms, but it appears it’s as simple as opening a business profile and beginning to grow a community of customers and  establishing a consistent schedule my followers and customers could expect.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our community?

You can be anything and everything you set your mind to, with the right amount of ambition, commitment, dedication and of course, hard work you will do it.

First things first, you need to realize what that best version of yourself looks like so that you can figure out how you can take the next step o become that person. It is all about your mindset and reprogramming your mind for success. 

If you had to write a book, what would it be on what and why?

It would be on THE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT THROUGH HANDWORK.

The book would encourage women and youths in the communities, especially those who are denied access to education because of poverty, early marriages, and the patriarchal nature of the society, to establish a career in small and medium businesses to enable them to be financially independent and contribute to economic growth through handwork.

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

To be a successful entrepreneur in my industry, one must be Creative, always looks at the big picture. Creativity and vision often lead to the invention and discovery of new things. One facet of creativity is being able to make connections between seemingly unrelated events or situations and one must also be willing to step outside their comfort zone for their ideas to come to fruition.

Another skill is being a strong communicator and a good listener. You simply cannot manage a great team or provide a great customer service if you are not an effective communicator. 

Perseverance is another great skill to be a successful entrepreneur. An entrepreneur must maintain optimism and perseverance. Remember that you only fail when you stop trying. Persistence is the key to success.

What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?

I would recommend entrepreneurs invest their time in finding a Mentor: Despite challenging conditions, there are always experienced people with often decades of experience to impart. Consider their advice and do not be afraid to challenge opinion.

I would also recommend entrepreneurs invest their time in building strong, active networks.  These networks provide referrals, collaborations, and other opportunities. They offer morale support and positive influences.  I am a true believer in the adage, “Your network determines your net worth.”

Another recommendation is that they never ever stop learning.  Those that think they know it all when starting-up are in real trouble.  

Chika is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program to scale NCR Design Ltd to tackle youth unemployment on a large scale in Nigeria.

HGCP 2021 Participants: Founder of Disney Foods NG Omolara Lawrence is helping people live healthier lives and women and youths become better versions of themselves

I sat down with Omolara Olayinka Lawrence, to get to know her and the Yoghurt manufacturing company that she founded, Disney Foods NG.

My name is Omolara Olayinka Lawrence, the Founder and CEO of Disney Foods NG, a Yoghurt manufacturing company duly incorporated in 2019.

I am a graduate of Economics, an alumnus of the Enterprise Development Centre (Growth Enterprise Program) and the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, a prolific author of seven books and a skill acquisition enthusiast with over 15 years experience across roles and industries.

I have trained at least 4,000 women and youths to become productive in their respective fields within the last 2 years through my NGO, The Faith and Business Initiatives. I am a Providus Bank SME Ambassador and a Coca-Cola Foundation Grant Awardee.

You can connect with me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/omolaraolayinkalawrence/.

What is your ‘why’ i.e. bottom line, and how do you stay motivated?

My drive is to help people live healthier lives, and to help women and youths become better versions of themselves.

What motivates me is knowing that I am creating value that keep our customers and clients satisfied.

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

Starting my business from zero naira and seeing it metamorphose to what it is today. All we had then was suppliers’ credit.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

I love playing board games such as scrabble, chess, monopoly and so on, because they bring excitement to my family time, and they help to boost our language skills. I also love visiting Nature Parks; they enhance my creativity

 If you had to write a book, what would it be on what and why?

I am currently writing another book (my eighth) titled “INFLUENCING YOUR MARKETPLACE.”

The title is pretty self explanatory as to why I am writing this book and speaks directly to my WHY; to clearly explain how my readers, women and youths especially, can discover who they really are, how they can maximize their potentials and influence their respective fields of endeavors positively. Simply put, the book intends to expose how one can become a better version of themselves.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

My favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur centres around these two words: Creativity and Co-ordination. 

Creativity speaks to my ability to create products and values that bring satisfaction to my customers; and co-ordination is about my ability to co-ordinate people, procedures and processes in business.

What was the inspiration behind DISNEY FOODS NG?

About 3 years ago, my mum had a craving for a healthy drink, and being diabetic, there weren’t a lot of options available to feed her craving, and the Yoghurt idea was birthed in my mind. I learnt how to make it and began producing it for her and others around me. The positive feedback encouraged me to engage in it as a business solution.

Introduce your company the way you would to a potential customer.

Disney Foods NG, since inception, has been providing healthy treats to our numerous customers, and we propose to surpass your expectation. We have a unique signature recipe using natural sweeteners, flavors and preservative.  

You can browse our product offerings on our website at www.disneyfoodsng.com. You can also connect with us on social media, we’re on Instagram at www.instagram.com/disneyfoodsng/ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/disneyfoodsng/.

We’re also on YouTube, you can subscribe to our channel at www.youtube.com/disneyfoodsng/.

How have you carved a niche for yourself in your industry?

We have a wide range of SKUs (18 different flavors) which give our customers so many options to pick from. Each Cup of our Parfait has as much as five or more ‘different’ flavors. The feedback we get from many of our satisfied customers indicate that it is cost effective for them to have over five different flavors (varieties) for the price of one.

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

  1. Customer Service Skill
  2. Adaptability Skill
  3. Emotional Intelligence Skill

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our community?

We should shun the Crab’s Mentality; we should desist from running others down. Rather, we should focus on helping one another grow; women supporting women should be our watchword!

What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?

Entrepreneurs must invest their time in both personal and business development activities.

If an entrepreneur is not growing personally, they may not be able to drive their business growth strategies. But if the entrepreneur grows as they should, it impacts positively on their business.

What business-related book has inspired you the most? 

The Enemy Called Average by John Mason

 

Omolara is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program to develop herself and her business and position Disney Foods NG for growth.

Disney Foods Nigeria