“At the age of 12, I was already selling.” Meet Feligold Food and Spice owner, Felicia Ogumah

Felicia Ogumah is the brains and strength behind Feligold Food and Spices, a food company based in Warri, Delta State that began in October 2019. They package and sell food items like dry fish, crayfish, prawns, melons and local spices. Felicia’s business skill is something that has been cultivated since childhood. She says, “I grew up selling. At the age of 12, I was already selling. I think it is something that is a part of me. My friends tell me ” Feli there is nothing you can not sell. Even if they package stick and give you, you will sell.”

This article covers Felicia’s experiences running Feligold food and spice and valuable lessons you can take away from it.

Warning: Checking Felicia’s Facebook and Instagram page, will make you buy something.

What is the inspiration behind Feligold Food and Spice?

It, first of all, came as an insight, an inspiration from God. When I first started, it was something I really just wanted to do with everything that I have and am. God was stirring it in my heart to do it and so far it has been very profitable. God has been involved in the sourcing to get my products. I had no level of experience, I had no one putting me through, I did not go for any offline or even online training on Food and Spice. Divine connection came in. God was strategically connecting me to people. In fact, I am amazed!

If it is just crayfish you want to sell, put all your effort into selling that crayfish. Don't jump into doing everything at once. Pick one thing and try to get the best out of it before moving to something else. Click To Tweet

How do you manage Feligold Food and Spice?

For now, we ship to Benin, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Anambra. We have even shipped to a customer in Europe. That particular customer contacted me through Instagram. In fact, I get most of my customers online. The lockdown affected us because most of my clients are outside Delta State.  When the roads were eventually opened, the cost of the way-bill was high. Doing business right now is not the way it was before the virus. I pray everything goes back to normal”

If you choose to do something, let it be something people identify you with because you are passionate about what you are doing. Click To Tweet

From her business experience with Feligold Food and Spice, Felicia has three major business tips.

  1. Have a good reason for starting your business. Don’t go into the food business only because you think it is something that must sell. Everybody is into food business now. You have to have a passion for it and know why you started. It is important to know your why!
  2. Be focused. If it is just crayfish you want to sell, put all your effort into selling that crayfish. Don’t jump into doing everything at once. Pick one thing and try to get the best out of it before moving to something else.
  3. Be known for something. Let people know you for something. If you choose to do something, let it be something people identify you with because you are passionate about what you are doing.

Continue reading ““At the age of 12, I was already selling.” Meet Feligold Food and Spice owner, Felicia Ogumah”

“You Don’t Have All The Answers!” Meet Catyna Designs Founder, Celestina Utoro,

What do you do after losing everything in a fire? How do you start to put your life together again? Celestina Utoro had to think about this after she experienced a fire outbreak in March 2019. “I was watching all my property burn and I could not do a thing about it. Everything we had got lost in that fire,” Celestina says. Still, perseverance and gratitude are rich in her voice, “I am grateful I am alive today. If I hadn’t woken up when I did, the story may have been different.”

At this point in Celestina’s life, her major concern is rebuilding and putting necessary structures in place so that her business can blossom, “There are so many things to be done, but first I have to create structure. I have to set a steady foundation. I can’t just sit down and fold my arms. I have to get up and try again.”

Catyna Designs is committed to bringing life into a space with Afrocentric decor items. They are major retailers of original adire window blinds and throw pillows. This article covers Celestina’s business story and valuable lessons from her experience with Catyna Designs.

What is at the heart of Catyna Designs?

I love African culture and heritage, and I feel like it is a signature that we should not let die. A lot goes into local art-making from the grassroots in terms of how they are made, the creativity and the time that is dedicated to it. I noticed that even though their productions are of world-class value, most of the creatives in that line are not equipped with what it takes to promote their work on a global scale. So because of my love for these forms of art, I decided to become an instrument- a vehicle for these artworks. The whole concept of Catyna really is to be a vehicle for these artistic innovations.

Being structured also helps you to identify the weak points in your business. If you do not have a structure in place, you will not really be able to track your progress as you go. Click To Tweet

“I find joy when I am working with a community to produce the adire window blinds. I also see the joy of creation on the faces of the workers. Their joy and hard work motivate me to push for our items to be globally accessible. African cultural pieces deserve that kind of exposure.”

Collaboration is key! Click To Tweet

What you can learn from Celestina’s experience

Collaboration is key! I work a lot with people at the grassroots. Most of them just want to create, they really don’t want to be out there promoting their work. As a result, they are not generating the kind of funds that they need to take care of themselves and their families. So I said to myself, “Why don’t I add value by collaborating with them? Why don’t I create a space where they bring their skill and I bring my expertise?” That way, we can join our gifted hands together to create wealth and success.

Do not underestimate structure: You have to be structured. You can’t do everything at the same time. You can’t be everywhere at once. Being structured also helps you to identify the weak points in your business. If you do not have a structure in place, you will not really be able to track your progress as you go.

You don’t have all the answers: At some point, you have to come to terms with this. You have to accept that you do not have all the answers. When I got to this revelation, it led me to find spaces that can help me grow. You need that support. You need a community that is interested in your growth. 

Continue reading ““You Don’t Have All The Answers!” Meet Catyna Designs Founder, Celestina Utoro,”

“I Learnt Perseverance After My Fire Accident” Meet Eco-friendly Entrepreneur, Chidiebere Nnorom

If there’s one thing Chidiebere Nnorom wants us to know, it is that she’s a typical Igbo girl with a never die attitude, never ever wanting to give up! Even after going through a rough patch, she refused to succumb and found her way back up.

Chidiebere Nnorom is the Co-founder of Paperbag by Ebees. She has a strong passion for the environment, social impact and business.  

Watch this space as Chidiebere is determined to change norms and make waves as an entrepreneur, environmentalist and a young global leader. Scroll down to read more of her story.


What’s your background story?

Before my business grew to the stage it is at now, I went through a lot! I was involved in a fire accident which kept me indoors for a while. I had to stop business operations and lay off staff. It was unbelievable. Imagine being at a point in life where you are clueless about what to do next. Well, that was me then.

It took me almost a year to heal. I couldn’t work or do anything. My savings had been zapped and I kept wondering how I’d scale through. There was a personal instinct to do something, I knew it wasn’t the time to give up but to breakthrough! I needed to turn the light on in my heart and that I did. 

To cut the long story short, the accident was a validation to move on. Months later, I picked up my business and started building up gradually. Next thing I knew, business calls were coming in! People said they saw the paper bag and wanted to order. Some of the paper bags they saw were made way before the accident. The referral rate was massive! I was so elated and grateful I didn’t give up back then.

What ignited the spark to start Paperbag by Ebees?

In 2016, we started off as a food delivery business but one of the problems we faced was the packaging, we just couldn’t find the right packaging. With a background in geography and my love for the environment, we decided to start creating eco-friendly packages.

There were a lot of “buts!” That was the year the foreign exchange was high, fuel scarcity and other things kept creeping in. We had to take a step back to think of how we could make it. My team and I carried out some research, tried out different products, monitored what was moving and what wasn’t. Everything was coming up gradually.

Before I knew it, we made it official!

 

What business challenges have you faced and how have those challenges shaped your mindset?

At the early stages, our major challenge was accessing raw materials in Nigeria. It meant having to buy in large quantities and also importing from China. We had other expenses to run the business and couldn’t afford it.

This caused a setback. We had to think of how to make it ourselves. We carried out some research and found alternative ways to come up with the resources. That was when we started the business for real!

Business development was our second challenge, it took us a while to see that the market was ready. We had to try out different products to see if the market will accept us. It was quite hard, to be honest. After a series of experiments and market research, we were able to count a milestone. Finally! We achieved growth.

These experiences really shaped our mindset as a company. To every business owner out there, celebrate your little wins! We count every little effort we make as a win and an opportunity to do better. I’m learning to take joy in the little things, every small success is a validation. I say to myself, “Chidiebere well done!” It tells me that every step I took at the time was worth it.

 

How do you come up with the designs on your paper bags?

I won’t take all the credit, I have a really good team. My own inspiration came from purpose. The point is, if we chase our real purpose there are things we won’t struggle to do. I found my passion, and everything fell into place.

Finding the right people who know what they are doing is key. I also took some time to learn product design. It’s a combination of all these things.

 

What have you learned so far from running this business?

I was in paid employment and transitioning was quite drastic.

Take your time and plan! If you’re transitioning from paid employment to business, have enough money to cover up for your expenses. Make sure that the business can take care of your bills. There is no need to go through stress because you’re an entrepreneur, life can be easy!

Here’s why you should attend the She Means Business 2020 Training

She Means Business is back for the third year in a row and we are here for it. Want to know why? We are all about helping you get all the resources you need to be one hundred percent that Motherland Mogul.

Quick warning: This article might make you sign up for the She Means Business training.

So what is She Means Business? 

She Means Business offers digital training sessions for entrepreneurs to come together to learn how to effectively grow their business online and share strategies for success. 

In partnership with Facebook, we are providing entrepreneurs and creatives with the tools and resources needed to thrive during COVID-19 so you can tackle new business challenges and survive this period. We know times are still tough and we have your back.

Do you know the best part? It is completely free and happening online so there is absolutely nothing blocking your success this time.

And now the benefits

Well now that you know what She Means Business is, here’s a look at the benefits you will be getting from the program this year:

  • Informative and hands-on training from our seasoned trainers to teach you how to use online tools to grow your business and reach new customers. 
  • Insightful weekly Facebook Live sessions, with experienced entrepreneurs sharing their journeys about running a digital business, and the tools they have used to help them grow their businesses.
  • Weekly Instagram Live sessions where you can connect with other entrepreneurs in your industry, share business issues, and get advice live on the spot.
  • Tools, tips, and online features, to help your business survive during the COVID-19 period.
  • Certification of attendance to be distributed post-training and so much more!

Want to get access to the training and resources you need to grow your online business? Then sign up for the She Means Business training.

Click here to start learning

Motherland Mogul Feature: Siyamthanda Makhwabe

According to a World Bank article published in November 2018 on women entrepreneurs and the future of Africa, enterprises owned by male entrepreneurs have more capital than women-owned enterprises.

This month, we shine the spotlight on a fierce lady who has bootstrapped her way into starting not just one – but two – businesses while holding down a full-time job.

Siyamthanda Makhwabe is a professional town planner, a wife and mother, owner of Kuhle Bags and Accessories and a town planning consulting business.

Fellow Motherland Mogul, Zimkhitha met with Siyamthanda to talk about juggling work, business, a kid, and a briefcase.


Siyamthanda at an on-site inspection

The Many Hustles of Siyamthanda Makhwabe

Determined to gain financial freedom, Makhwabe took the leap in 2019 to start two businesses while keeping her job as a town planner.

Leveraging her background in Town Planning and Housing, Makhwabe started a consulting business catering to SMEs and startups. Using the power of her network as a launchpad, she has run this venture in the past year purely by word-of-mouth and industry referrals.

In October 2019, Makhwabe diversified her business portfolio to include a fashion business named after her daughter, Kuhle. Here she offers affordable bags and accessories to South Africans online via social media.

She coverts a lot of customers via WhatsApp and uses Instagram to advertise what’s in stock, which markets she will be visiting and pop up stalls.

Showcasing merchandise at a weekend popup market

Entrepreneurship: A seat at the table

As a STEM woman working in a male-dominated space, Siyamthanda has not always found it welcoming. She explains that this dismissal boils down to the most basic things. For instance, in meetings, men are more readily acknowledged and engaged than women.

“When you sit at that table, it can be very easy to feel invisible and like a fraud, hence many women rather take the back seat”, she says, talking about the dreaded imposter syndrome that creeps in even when you know you have both the qualification(s) and relevant experience to be seated at the proverbial table.

With her ventures, Makhwabe has found autonomy and confidence in being a decision-maker and leader. This remains a key motivator for her in moving her business forward.

Siyamthanda’s Top Tips for every Hustler

Here are Siyamthanda’s top tips for female entrepreneurs on the building – not only a sustainable – but profitable business, from the ground up:

1. Before you throw money at it – innovate

There is a temptation to think that money will solve your problems. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to learn how to be scrappy. Think on your feet, look at the competition and see how you can offer more value to your customer base.

2. Stay learning and find mentors

As you grow your business, you will find out there is a lot you don’t know. It is necessary to stay curious, take short courses and prioritize soft skills. A mentor also gives you an edge in the game. Having someone who’s been there in your corner is invaluable. It’ll save you money, time and headache.

3. Never stop networking

You don’t know what you don’t know until you know.

Reach out to those in your market and those outside to get inspiration and to see what is out there. This will help expand your mind into untapped segments.


Zimkhitha‘s Notes:

My interview with Siyamthanda was eye-opening. I think it is important to emphasize how necessary it is for female entrepreneurs to be more transparent about their experiences. The hustle does not always look glamorous and that’s okay. To all you Motherland Moguls out there, keep on SLAying and exuding your #BlackGirlMagic!


Ready to take your business to the next level? Join the Motherland Mogul Insider program.

SHEAMOISTURE SPOTLIGHT ON THE ADIRE FASHIONPRENEUR: CYNTHIA ASIJE – CEO ADIRE LOUNGE

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skin care innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

About Cynthia Asije

Cynthia Asije is the CEO and founder of Adire Lounge and holds a bachelors degree in Business Administration. She is a multi-award winning textile designer at Adire lounge, a hand-dyed textile company that trains women in rural communities and creates job opportunities for them.

She has a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Enterprise Development Centre Lagos, and a Non-Profit Leadership certificate from Lagos Business School. Cynthia was on the Ynaija Power list 2018 for Fashion and Style and 100 Africa’s Next Startup by IFC-World Bank Group 2018.

Cynthia founded Adire Lounge because she is passionate about eradicating extreme poverty using capacity development and entrepreneurship by infusing old cultural practices and technology.

One woman at a time, Cynthia is working to eradicate poverty in her community with her brand.

To learn more about Cynthia’s business Adire Lounge, you can connect with her on Instagram, Twitter and on her website.

How did you start Adire Lounge?

I started Adire Lounge as a hand-dyed textile company that creates unique designs on non-conventional fabrics like chiffon, T-shirts, scarves and silk. I also train rural women, widows and out of school youths in adire making.

The vision behind Adire Lounge is to preserve our rich cultural heritage and traditions, while also closing the unemployment gap and creating job opportunities for women and youth in my community.

I truly believe that Adire lounge is making a difference in my community and country as a whole.

What was your motivation?

I wanted to build a brand that not only made profit, but helped my immediate community. Starting Adire Lounge was a way for me to preserve our beautiful culture while helping young people like me, earn a sustainable income and help their families too.

Most of the women in my community are of low social and economic status so they live below the poverty line and it can be quite difficult for them to provide basic necessities for their families. With my brand, I have been able to keep some of them on a salary which has helped them provide food, education and health care for their families.

What makes your brand stand out?

We have been able to build a premium textile brand that creates unique hand-dyed prints on non-conventional fabrics like chiffon, silk, T-shirts and scarves etc. We have also made custom prints for fashion designers and corporate organizations.

Our pieces have been used by other brands to make products like footwear, pillows and other products. We also collaborate with different brands to make new products.

Also, our approach to business which follows a community commerce model has helped us stand out as a brand that makes a significant contribution to our community.

Can you tell us 1 to 3 things you struggled with as a business owner and how you overcame them?

One of the things I struggled with was having access to enough finance when I started out. To combat this, I used the bootstrap method to finance my business.

Another issue I had was access to the market. It was a relatively new idea, so we needed to do a lot of marketing to increase our brand awareness. To combat the problem, we utilized social media marketing and influencer marketing to target our clients.

How have you managed to stay above the noise in this industry?

It can be quite distracting working in an industry that has a lot of competition such as the fashion industry but I have stayed above the noise in the industry by focusing on my “why.”

Focusing on why I stared Adire Lounge keeps me grounded and focused.


What impact have you made on your community since starting this business?

Most of the women in my community are of low social and economic status and they can’t afford to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families. So since starting my business, I have been able to help them gain economic independence by providing them with jobs. With the income they earn from these jobs, they are able to provide good food, health care and education for their families.

I believe this will cause a ripple effect and a larger impact in society as they will be able to achieve financial freedom for them and their families, thereby reducing poverty.

What is your major goal for 2019, and what have you done so far to achieve it?

Our goal for 2019 was to have an empowerment centre. So far, we have gotten the space from a community in Lagos, and construction work has started on the space we got.

Can you share 3 interesting facts about yourself?

I am creative, amazing and very resilient.

What is your fave skin, hair or self-care routine?

My favorite self-care routine is to meditate and I have a dedicated spa date.

How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand with SLA sponsored by SheaMoisture.

I am so excited about this opportunity to showcase my brand on the SLA platforms, sponsored by SheaMoisture because Adire Lounge will be able to leverage the network and meet more of our target audience.

Mention one word that should come to people’s minds when they think about your product/ services?

When people think of my brand, I want them to think of it as a premium hand-dyed textile fabrics company, made in Nigeria.

You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


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This woman-led startup bets it can help African businesses grow faster

As Sub-saharan Africa lags behind in the World Bank’s 2020 ease of doing business report, one woman-led startup thinks it can help entrepreneurs grow their companies in this tough environment.

After years of mentoring startups and running businesses in Ghana and Nigeria, Munachim Chukwuma started IB Consulting in February 2019 to help founders overcome operating challenges she also had to face as a young entrepreneur.

Munachim and her team believe they’ve found the recipe to help African business grow quickly with their innovative and affordable service model.


"Never have a business with NO business structure" #RedFlag – @consultingibobo Click To Tweet

Why Nigerian startups are struggling to grow.

According to experts from Harvard University, startups that want to stand the test of time must learn new ways of operating and behaving. This is difficult for a lot of entrepreneurs because these new ways tend to be completely different from their start-up roots.

Most startups struggle to grow and scale either because they do not know how or lack the proper structure and strategy. This is where we come in.

Munachim Chukwuma – Founder, Ibobo Consulting

IB Consulting believes that African entrepreneurs struggling to grow their businesses must realize they are in a different phase of their business life cycle, and therefore must change.

IB Consulting’s growth recipe for startups.

To help entrepreneurs struggling to scale, Munachim and her partners created a service model that combines strategy consultation, negotiation, and content creation.

IB Consulting bets its 3 service tentpoles are what entrepreneurs need to grow faster despite the difficulty of doing business in Africa.

We decided to focus on strategy consultation, negotiations and content creation as a company because we realized most of the challenges most businesses face in today’s society are tied to those three areas in one way or another.

Munachim Chukwuma – Founder, Ibobo Consulting

In addition to its unique service model, IB Consulting promises clients efficiency, personalization, and great service.

Why you should watch out for IB Consulting.

In less than a year, IB Consulting is proving it is not just all talk. The company reports that since February, it has helped over 10 business owners rebuild their structures and execute action growth plans.

It’s also not just about the money for this company this woman-led company. They have done some pro bono work for new entrepreneurs who could not afford to pay for some of our services.

In 2020, the company plans to expand aggressively to reach, help and educate help businesses across Africa.

We intend to grow over the next year of business and reach more people across the continent, as we also reinvent our business and launch more products that can meet the needs of our prospective clients.

Munachim Chukwuma – Founder, Ibobo Consulting

Visit https://iboboconsulting.com/ for more information on how IB Consulting can help your business.


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The Millionaire Housewife’s rules for every side hustler

Whether you are looking to make some extra income or start a business while working, side hustling is no small feat. You must learn to balance your commitments, stay consistent and grow while you’re at it.

Temi Ajibewa, founder of The Millionaire Housewife Academy – an online platform that has helped over 5,000 women start their online businesses, shares her golden rules for side hustle success.


Rule 1: Discover Your Passion

Your passion could be an issue you feel strongly about or something you do effortlessly.

Side hustles based on passion tend to be more sustainable because you are self-motivated to go on even when things get tough.

If you are not sure what your passion is, here are 3 ways to get started:

  1. Look out for things you do well without incentives and recognition.
  2. Ask people who know you what they think you are passionate about.
  3. Consider problems people often ask you to solve because you find them easy to solve.

Rule 2: Turn Your Passion into Profit

Doing what you are passionate about is one thing. Knowing how to make money from your passion is a whole different ball game.

Here are 5 basic steps I teach my clients to monetize their passion.

1. Find the problem your passion solves

Your passion cannot bring you money unless it solves a specific human problem.

People may not pay you to get into heaven, but they will pay you to get out of hell – @temi_ajibewa Click To Tweet

For you to monetize your passion, you have to discover the hell your passion can get people out of. If you cannot find a hell, you might not have a monetizable passion. It is best as a hobby.

2. Find your money tribe

The next step to monetizing your passion is finding people who are willing and able to spend money on solutions to their problems. These people are your money tribe.

If you are not sure how to identify your money tribe, ask yourself this question – If I throw a concert, who will be first in line for tickets?

3. Turn your passion into a skill

To have a passion valued by other people, you must be able to do it competitively well. When this happens, your passion becomes a skill.

You can prune your passion by volunteering, learning through a mentor or taking online classes.

4. Create a product from your passion

Your passion must become a product or service for you to make money from it.

A great way to turn your passion into a product is by teaching people what you know for a fee. When I started to monetize The Millionaire Housewife Academy, I created e-books, DVDs and online classes to teach people what I knew about starting and growing an online business.

I always recommend starting off with digital products because they are easier to maintain and become lifelong assets people all over the world can buy.

People pay for products and services, not passions.

5. Promote your hustle

You must shamelessly promote your passion if you want to make money from it. 

You can’t afford to be shy if you want your passion to be more than a hobby. If you are nervous, start off by promoting your hustle to people in your network.


Price is only an issue where value is in dispute. Once people realize the value they’re getting from you, paying you becomes non-negotiable. It all starts with finding and monetizing your passion.

Learn more about how to start a successful online side hustle at The Millionaire Housewife Academy.

Meet The 2019 She Leads Africa ACCELERATOR Participants

Its been 3 months since She Leads Africa launched the 2019 Accelerator program in Nigeria and this year’s boot camp is about to come to a close.

The SLA Accelerator program is designed to identify, support and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest female entrepreneurs.

This year, the program went digital and out of about 300 applications, 16 women with innovative businesses were chosen to be a part of this 3-month program.

The top 5 finalists will pitch their businesses on Demo Day (November 2 from 11 am – 1 pm) in front of Judges and a virtual audience all across the globe, where the winner will be selected.

The winner of the Accelerator program will receive a 2 million Naira funding grant from SLA.

Find out all you need to know about the participants and their businesses below.


Mariam Ofeh-Sule

Business: TheBookDealerNG

Mariam is a writer and the founder of TheBookDealer.

Her prose has appeared in the Guardian Ng, Brittle Paper, Arts and Africa, ITCH Creative Journal and Litro Magazine UK.

She writes monthly articles for ArtxJuJu, a brand committed to challenging the demonization of African culture, which Mariam also co-founded

In 2016, Mariam had a major depressive episode that caused her to fold inward and spend a lot of time alone, and avoid people. Books were her only companion.

In each book, there was a new story with new characters whose lives were different from hers. She had the liberty to travel far and wide within a book. For Mariam, reading a book was a form of therapy.

In a bid to share that warmth with people, Mariam realized that the average Nigerian is faced with inaccessibility to books.

TheBookDealerNG is an online bookstore that provides access to African Literature. African literature because the only thing better than the warmth of a good book is a book that sees and validates your existence. 

Dr. Rebecca Achokpe Andeshi

 Business: Awe Farms and Consult

Dr. Andeshi is the founder of Awe Farms and Consult.  A cloud-based digital platform that provides farmers in rural areas in Nigeria with instant financing solutions and veterinary services with the use of a drone for efficient disease diagnosis and delivery of veterinary supplies in remote livestock farming communities.

She was motivated to start her business because of the inability of smallholder farmers to afford high-quality input.

This has always been a pain point for her as a third-generation farmer. Thus discovering that farmers live on less than $1.25 a day was a rude awakening for her.

Dr. Rebecca now provides digital input financing to smallholder farmers in Nigeria from recycled agricultural waste increasing productivity by 33%. 

Nafisah Oseni Wahab

Business: NUFAESAH

Nafisah is the founder of Nufaesah – a fashion line that provides workwear for the urban Muslim woman.

Her products range between pants, dresses, skirts, jumpsuits, shirts/blouses, jackets/blazers, scarves, and turbans. 

As a working woman, Nafisah has had two major negative experiences in her career.

A judge at the High Court of Lagos State once sent her out of court because of her headscarf.

Secondly, it was so difficult finding workwear that made her look the part for work, that was fashionable while keeping within the Islamic guidelines of dressing.

These episodes made her design her workwear for religious women – both Muslim and Christian.

Cynthia Omokhekpen Asije

Business: The Adirelounge.

Cynthia is a multi-award-winning textile designer passionate about eradicating extreme poverty using capacity development and entrepreneurship, by infusing old cultural practices and technology.

She learned the trade from her mother who used her Tie & Dye making skills to get her family through school.

Cynthia has been recognized as the top textile artist by World Bank & International Finance Corp as one of the Next African 100 startups for building a sustainable textile industry in Africa. 

Cynthia’s desire to sustain and promote Nigeria’s cultural heritage and indigenous method of hand-dyed fabrics, uses this method to empower women and the empowerment is reflecting in these communities by creating a sustainable industry.

She wanted to help others like her mother get more out of life, curb unemployment and preserve the Nigeria cultural textile heritage.

Omoh Alokwe

Business: Street Waste Company

Omoh is the founder of the Street Waste Company – a social enterprise in the environmental and waste management sector.

Their core focus is on waste recycling collection and waste upcycling training.

The company’s business goal is to encourage people to embrace a culture of waste reduction, reuse and recycle to attain a sustainable environment.

Her company also gives advisory services to corporate clients, collect recyclable waste and partner with organizations through their corporate sustainability programs.

Omoh’s motivation for starting the Street Waste Company was borne out of a passion for making an impact and creating a solution to the endemic waste problem around us.

Having studied environmental management at the masters level, she realized the basic solution to this menace is attitudinal. So she Co-founded SWCL where they encourage people to imbibe the culture of waste recycling through our incentive-based scheme. 

Tola Oyinlola

Business: Interg

INTERG brings to children the Fun and Learn Tablet.

This tablet comprises smart games with several stages of learning and engagement, providing an exciting new way to change the learning content as children grow.

In 2018,  Tola volunteered to teach with an NGO to give back to her community. She realized how difficult and boring learning can be for the average Nigerian Child. 

She spent a lot of time trying to find teaching aids online and eventually decided to create an app for mathematics, which was well-received by all her students.

Even though she was unable to create an app for all subjects, she had found a solution that she was determined to monetize. In many ways, INTERG is simply building a product that speaks to a historical problem with learning.

Lilian Chinweotito Uka

Business: EduPoint

EduPoint leverages on Artificial Intelligence.

It is an innovative online platform that connects students with verified local teachers who deliver one-on-one lessons in any subject, skill or exam, to help students or learners meet their learning expectations and also enable passionate tutors to earn extra income.

As a little girl in primary school, Lillian struggled with learning and understanding in a class of over 40 students. Her aunt decided to take her to a personalized class.

This involved a peer to peer learning and within the shortest period of time, she emerged the best in class and since then has been an advocate of peer to peer learning. 

This overwhelming class population density coupled with differences in student’s learning pace has resulted in a significant decline in learning outcomes of students in Nigeria over the past 10 years, reducing exams success rates from 40% to less than 20% in major exams.

Globally, conventional methods of education are transitioning from centralized to distributed, and from standardized to personalized. 

This is why she created EduPoint, which serves as a solution that bridges the gaps between helping learners meet their learning expectations while improving the livelihood by providing employment for these professionals. 

So far, they have delivered over 30,000+ hours of learning to over 100 learners directly and over 1000+ learners indirectly in Nigeria which includes K-12 children, youths and adults and has generated over $30,000 in revenue. 

Andrea Kamara

Business: The Balance Bowl

Andrea is the founder of The Balance Bowl.

She was motivated to start after she realized there was a lack of convenient, healthy, and affordable food for the busy African. 

Balance Bowl is a tech-enabled health and wellness company that offers busy Africans access to delivered meals, licensed dieticians, fitness coaching, as well as other healthy living content from the convenience of the mobile app.

Ifeoma Benjamin

Business: isabiDeliver

isabiDeliver started due to the increase in consumer’s need for on-demand delivery.

Ifeoma discovered that there will be a need for a more affordable and available service that meets that need which is what isabiDeliver is doing.

In 2016, Ifeoma decided to turn her hobby (Food blogging) into a business venture called iSabiFood.

iSabiFood is an online food ordering and delivery application where she experienced some inherent limitations of dealing with restaurants as a single vertical.

In 2018, she took the same last-mile delivery principle and applied it to other verticals.

It matched the expectations consumers have of the on-demand economy and smoothed out all of those inefficiencies in the operating model and that’s how isabiDeliver started.

Nyemachi Alexis Wokekoro 

Business: Welima Tea

Welima Tea is about transforming rich African medicinal recipes into teas that would combat different levels of pain ( menstrual cramps), promote well-being, and actualize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)Goal 3.

Nyemachi got the opportunity to do her pre-clinical rotations in The Gambia. 10-15 days every month, pains were the order of the day because of the menstrual cramps she suffered.

For a while, she thought something else was wrong because the pains were unresponsive to any medication prescribed.

This continued till her doctor suggested she research on alternative medicine and analyze it with her knowledge in medicine and that was how Welima Tea began.

Oyindamola Adesina 

Business: Simbi Interactives 

Oyindamola is the founder of Simbi Interactives – an edTech startup that is solving the problem of poor education in Africa by using Simbibot.

Simbibot is an artificial intelligence-powered product- that can give every child access to quality education and equal learning opportunities.

Oyindamola Adesina’s childhood ambition was to study medicine, because as an individual living with sickle-cell, she felt she needed the medical knowledge to help herself and others living with the disease live better lives, and, if possible, eradicate it.

She ended up studying Water Resources, Aquaculture and Fisheries Technology in the university motivated Oyindamola to help every pupil get access to quality education and equal learning opportunities regardless of the conditions that might hinder them.

Oyindamola is using Simbibot to ensure that quality education available, accessible and affordable to all kids.

Omobolanle Esther Oladapo 

Business: Farm Hire 

Esther started Farm Hire to give farmers access to the latest farm equipment, input, and information around them towards fully mechanizing agriculture in Africa and boosting food production.

Esther started farming with her co-founder in 2018 following the clamoring for youth involvement in Agriculture.

She had several challenges which included; where to hire equipment, get modern inputs and hire workers for the farm.

She later observed that millions of local and intending farmers in Nigeria have similar problems, which is why Farm Hire came to life.

Cynthia Keku 

Business: SafeHaus-UKNigeria

Safehaus-UKNigeria is a concierge service which provides working mums with young children thoroughly vetted staff to look after their home.

Cynthia was motivated to start Safehaus-UKNigeria as a result of the inability of her older siblings, their children, expatriates/investors to visit because of the insecurity in the country.

Safehaus-UKNigeria also helps expatriates and Africans living in Diaspora, with a trustworthy and security-conscious logistics service, so they can focus more on their business and less worry about their personal safety and security.

Jennifer Eneanya 

Business: Amaranthine Media 

Amaranthine Media is an indigenous storytelling machine, a content development firm and a production company that produces indigenous live-action and animated content.

They particularly focus on easily-accessible, entertaining and educational content for children and teens.

Jennifer started Amaranthine Media because writing, storytelling and creating content is second nature to her and she had worked in this industry for over a decade.

In addition, as she grew her family, she realized that there is a dearth of indigenous content for children and teenagers.

Jennifer then decided to transmute her life-long passion into a medium that would serve the dual purpose of providing educational and entertaining made-in-Africa content for children and teenagers.

Adaorah Momodu 

Business: Oncopadi 

Oncopadi is Africa’s 1st digital clinic improving access to “medically verified” information and survivorship services via integrated social features.

Oncopadi is a health-centered initiative that leverages data, research, digital technology and impact of scale to reduce the cancer burden in Nigeria.

In Adaorah’s 4th year of medical school, she lost a friend to hepatocellular carcinoma, 6months following diagnosis. 

She remembered feeling helpless, as she watched him become socially withdrawn and its effects on his family.

During her LUTH clinical rotation, even higher numbers of cancer mortality were recorded. It was in this pain Adaorah found the strength and purpose to pursue a career in Oncology.

As a grassroots cancer physician, she has learned that patients have sensitive topics surrounding their diagnosis & care which they preferred discussing with survivors, as many were misinformed and some just needed a less bureaucratic means to access their doctors.

Ifeanyichukwu Obidi-Essien

Business: EduLead Concept

Ifeanyichukwu saw the need for children to learn more effectively and express their innate creativity and that is her driving force.

Her business is solving the problem of unavailability of animation training platforms, with which children could learn more effectively and creatively. 

EduLead Concept is a company that provides Educational Technology Services to children in the nursery, primary and secondary schools.

Their core service is Animation Kids Club, an after-school training activity for primary school children where they are equipped with animation skills with which their creativity can find expression and also improve in learning.

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SHEAMOISTURE SPOTLIGHT ON THE FASHIONPRENEUR: SEKINAT AMOO – CEO OMBRE WOMAN

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skin care innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

About Sekinat Amoo

Sekinat Amoo is the CEO and founder of Ombré Woman.

Despite having an academic background in science and research, Sekinat made a switch and started Ombré Woman to provide classy ready-to-wear pieces for women.

Ombré Woman is a female-led and for women fashion brand that empowers women by helping them look and feel their best without compromising on style and comfort.

After spotting a gap in the fashion industry for ready-to-wear pieces, Sekinat decided to start Ombré Woman to provide stylish and comfortable ready to wear clothes infused with African prints.

Her goal is to make very fashionable pieces to help women become more confident and look their best, without losing their comfort.

You can connect with Sekinat and her business on Instagram


What motivated you to start Ombré Woman?

I started my brand because I had a passion to empower and build confidence in women through their everyday looks.

I also spotted a gap in the fashion market for work and casual wear infused subtly with rich African prints, which really inspired my fashion journey.

My desire to help women look and feel their best also led me to add an extra touch to the clothes I make. I made a decision to infuse the fabrics with rich African prints in order to create unique, trendy pieces that can be worn over and over again.

The clothes are specifically made to flatter the feminine silhouette and be multifunctional so that they can be worn in the workplace or elsewhere.

SheaMoisture

What makes your brand stand out?

There are quite a few things that have helped Ombré Woman stand out, from our unique business type to how easy and accessible we’ve made our clothes for our clients. We are also very committed to giving back to the community and helping other women with our business.

Some of the ways we’ve ensured our brand stands out in the saturated fashion industry are:

  • My brand is built as a “for women and run by women only” business.
  • Our business has a prime, central and accessible location for our clients.
  • We offer customization services for our Ready-To-Wear (RTW) items, which gives our clients control over how they look and feel in our pieces.
  • Also, we ensure that our clients receive their clothes when and how it was promised. Absolutely no disappointments!
  • We empower other women through direct employment and artisans by giving them scrap materials to make their designs with.

What are three things you struggled with when your business kicked off and how did you overcome them?

One major issue we had was getting the right people to build the business. After a few fails, we took a step back and started to recruit our staff through trusted government agencies. On our own part, we provide them with incentives that add value to their lives.

Another thing was getting high-quality materials for making clothes. This was a big issue because not having the materials we needed meant that the clothes won’t get made. So what we do now is use a few local vendors whom we found. We also supplement with international alternatives when we can’t find what we need locally.

When it came to business finance as well, I wasn’t the most knowledgeable person and I didn’t want my business to suffer. To combat this, I did a lot of reading, took courses and sought external input as well where necessary.

SheaMoisture

How have you been able to stay or rise above the noise in this industry?

For me, I have remained very focused on our “why,” which is to ensure that we are helping our clients look and feel beautiful every day.

We also ensure that we are delivering the best quality they can have at an affordable price. Lastly, we are constantly evaluating our business processes and training our staff to ensure that our service is top-notch.

Did you have any personal experience that taught you a business lesson?

When I just began my business, I had a big issue with budgeting and it almost affected my cashflow.

Since I all of a sudden experienced a rise in my personal expenses, it was a bit too much to handle at first and almost became an issue. When I got the situation under control, it taught me how to plan better. I now plan my yearly budgets and funds allocation for the business ahead so that there are no surprises.

SheaMoisture

How have you impacted your community since starting this business?

As I mentioned earlier, my brand is very invested in giving back to the community in general and women in particular.

Some of the ways we have done this is through providing employment via direct and indirect forms of labour. We also offer paid internships for our newly trained staff.

To reduce any form of waste and help with sustainable recycling, we also send our scrap pieces back to local artisans. The artisans are able to use them to make a living by making items like pillows, rugs and carpets.

What is your goal for 2019? And what have you done so far to achieve it?

I had two major goals for 2019 and they were to first launch and promote a ready to wear line and the second is to launch a school uniform line.

For the first goal, we currently have an ongoing campaign to promote our debut collection. For the second goal, we are currently visiting schools with samples for uniform production.

Can you share 3 interesting facts about yourself?

Well to start with, I have a purely science and research background (from secondary school to my Masters Degree). Another is that I love to cook and organize spaces.

Lastly, I love to travel and try new types of food (I’m quite adventurous with food).

SheaMoisture

What’s your favorite skin, hair or self-care routine?

I’m a low maintenance kind of lady, so anything that gets me out the door quickly is my favorite routine.

How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand on SLA, sponsored by SheaMoisture?

Ecstatic! It’s a great opportunity to showcase our brand to so many Motherland Moguls and we are very grateful to SLA and SheaMoisture.

Mention one word that should come to people’s minds when they think about your product/service

Classy

You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


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