HGCP 2022 Participants: Oluwatomiisin is fighting new-born malnutrition

It’s interesting how what we think we will be when we grow up changes when we are adults. Growing up Oluwatomiisin Olatunji wanted to care for animals as she couldn’t stand the sight of seeing people suffer in excruciating pain. Today she is the founder of Mamalac Foods Nigeria Ltd and one of the High Growth Coaching Program’s finalists.

“My biggest achievement is being able to build a community strong enough that people want to work with us to elevate the brand. I am talking about a community of sisterhood where the members of the community not only look out for each other but see themselves as the brand itself.” – Oluwatomiisin Olatunji

What keeps Oluwatomiisin’s motivated is seeing mom’s share their joy at being able to breastfeed exclusively amidst the challenges due to the support received from the Mamalac community.

Her greatest desire is to help more mom’s commit to giving their children a healthy start to life especially in relation to nutrition because it’s a very vital need for development of both the child and the country/ world at large

Here is what she had to say about her entrepreneurial journey. I hope you get some good advice on how to ensure you build a successful business yourself.

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

It’s been an amazing experience and I have learnt some life skills. I recently raised an issue with my coach and I almost voluntarily left the program but she waded in and helped me view things from another angle. The situation was really a perfect experience for me to learn to always communicate especially with the key players

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

I Learned how to put structures in place so I can run my business with or without my presence.

And also Learnt how to grow the business immensely

How did you get to this point?

I am the first of 3 children. I was born to Mr and Mrs Olakanmi in Ibadan and had most of my schooling in Ibadan.

I trained as a veterinarian but was exposed very early to the non-profit/ development sector and it helped me see things  differently so I grew up wanting to find a solution to problems around me.


What led to you starting your own business? Share your journey.

In 2020, when I birthed my child, I had a difficult pregnancy and birth experience which eventually resulted in low breast milk supply. During one of my antenatal visits early in the pregnancy, one of the matrons marketed a lactation supplement to us which I bought.

When I had difficulty with my breast milk supply, I used the lactation supplement and realized it wasn’t working like I expected. This double frustration of not being able to feed my child and not getting a solution propelled me to dust my notes as a veterinarian and start doing research on how to increase my breast milk supply.

My experiments paid off as it worked amazingly on me as the guinea pig. I had people who paid for samples to test it and I got amazing reviews. This laid the foundation of the business as a standardized the recipes and with time moved forward to have not just one product but at least 7 products at the moment.

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

Mamalac Foods Nigeria Ltd helps to fight malnutrition from birth using sugar, and preservative free plant-based supplements such as seeds, spices and herbs to produce lactation supplements and other dietary supplements that helps to ensure the health and vitality of every member of the family.

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

That I helped reduce malnutrition in children and helped more moms fulfil their primal need to exclusively breastfeed their children.

What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Being able to take decisions and being able to call the shots with my timing skills

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

Building your business online and staying true to your values as a business owner and for the business.

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





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

Sleeping is a great therapy for me so once it seems the world is conspiring against me, I try to take a break and sleep.

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

Building an online presence. It’s more important now than before.

Building structures in place so that even in your absence, work goes on like you’re there.

Invest in sales and marketing because they are the life of the business.

HGCP 2022 Participants: Adedamola helps Africans feel good and confident in their bodies

Furthering your studies and running a successful business is not for the faint hearted. Our High Growth Coaching Program finalist, Adedamola Oni, is making it look like a walk in the park.

Adedamola was raised by an entrepreneurial grandmother who fuelled her love of fashion and drive for life-long learning. Thanks to the women that came before her and taught her what she knows, she is who she is today; the creative director of Mama Eto Alasooke (also called MEALasooke). 

I believe in the ability of the African people to create prosperity for themselves that’s why I am creating one of the fastest-growing fashion manufacturing businesses to achieve this end.” –  Adedamola Oni

She prides herself in having an upscale fashion brand that promotes African ingenuity and fashion.
Adedamola is a leader that’s passionate about bringing significant contributions to humanity, helping Africans feel good and confident in their bodies.

We had a chill and chatted with her to pokeHGCP 2022 Participants: Adedamola helps Africans feel good and confident in their bodies her brains. Through telling her story, she shares tips and insights to help aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the rocky terrain of business.

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

I am the first child out of 3 children of my parents whom I lived with until the age of 2, before going to stay with my grandmother in Somolu Lagos.

My relationship with my family has been a very educational one, my grandmother has always prioritized personal and self-directed learning which has become a habit of mine till this day. I am currently completing my Masters program with the determination to become better, all this because of lessons from my family.

My parents are still alive, and together, their union has helped me build self-confidence about the future and what it holds.

Have you always been entrepreneurial from a young age?

I had always wanted to be a lawyer or an educator like my grandmother, until she introduced me to fabric manufacturing, since then I have always dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur creating a business that produces lots and loads of fabrics


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

I will be remembered as one of the most inspiring women entrepreneurs of my time, as someone who has as significantly contributed to the human race and has helped elevate the status of African fabrics as exotic on the world change.

I will be remembered for bringing prosperity to local artisans in African space

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

My biggest reason is Africa. I want to see it become a global giant, to see its people live in prosperity, and I believe a business that employs in the fashion space can help. I am motivated knowing that I can harness technology to create change for the world and ensure the sustainability of African culture

What led to you starting your own business?  

I fell in love with the making of Asooke, when my grandmother introduced me to the space. In 1999, she had an idea to start making her own asooke with young people as her primary focus.

I was introduced to her community of co-artisans, we went shopping, did accounting together and loved the smell of newly woven fabric.

However, her business failed because she was unable to access a consistent market for her products, hence unable to mass produce.

I observed that this was the case for other artisans within the space, whom in addition were growing old. 


When she passed away during the Covid-19 pandemic, I caught a vision of what world I could create with the skills she had thought me and with a knowledge of modern business and marketing. I decided to revive and start an African fabric company that makes use of technology and digital tools to promote local fabrics 

Today, we have served more than 150 customers in more than four (4) continents of the world.

What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

I love making the money…but then I love the “Thank you’s” and feedback I receive from customers and also our artisans. We have worked with more than 80 artisans in the last 2 years.

I also love the marketing process of my business, and the co-creation with customers. I also love to create strategy and content for business

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

A potential customer in this case will be an About-to-be-wedded couple.


I am Adedamola from MEALAsooke, and I will make you feel so confident and special for your big day. I am sure you would want to know why.


We understand that your wedding day is the celebration of your love journey together and the beginning of a happy ever after, and on this day you would want to have all your loved ones come celebrate you in style. We will make you look so sweet and special by co-creating and recommending the best designs that will paint a story of your journey together.

10 years from now, you’d look at your wedding photos and beam with pride!

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

  1. The skill of Leadership to lead the organisation to its goal 
  2. The skill of Never-ending Personal Development
  3. The skill of Discipline to do what must be done to succeed

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

The best advice is the one I received from my mentor during the HGCP program, to never give up and consistently refine my products for the final customer

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

I always try to invest in relationship and when I am stressed I find it relieving when I talk to my spouse, close friends and my mentor about what I am facing and how I can be helped. I also do some creative writing during such times…

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

I don’t have any biggest achievements, I believe the best of me is yet to come. But I can point to a few feats that have inspired me. 

And this is when I realize that we have been able to impact the lives of more than 80 artisans in less than 16 months and have been able to manufacture thousands of bundles and sets of Asooke annually.

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

I recommend that entrepreneurs invest in

  1. Learning
  2. Actively thinking about opportunities
  3. Executing high value tasks like team building, vision casting and selling.


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

My experience in the program has been an insightful and interesting one. I have enjoyed invaluable coaching sessions from my mentor Abiola Adeniran; I have also gained so much knowledge capable of transforming my business and boned with other exceptional founders.

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

How to further scale our business, how to seek and get global funds and how to rightly diversify the business or utilize technology.

HGCP 2022 Participants: Oluwafunmilola gives us the lowdown on growing a business

Our weekly “High Growth Coaching Program Participants” Feature is our way of introducing our amazing SLA audience to the personalities behind this year’s cohort of the High Growth Coaching program, bringing to the forefront what they are doing and helping others who want to follow in their footsteps.

We are shining our spotlight on Oluwafunmilola Afolabi, co-founder of Yetar Virtual. 


We sat down with her and she was gracious enough to share her journey, from how her love for numbers has influenced most of her major life decisions and how she manages to raise her family and grow a business.


“While working as an intern at a bank, I saw women/mothers complain about trying to keep the home front and work balanced. I could feel the pain in their voices, hence on completion of my internship, the auditor asked if I would like to come work in the bank in the future and I said “This is not the place for me.” 


Oluwafunmilola knew she wanted to be present in the lives of her children and working within the four walls of a bank was not going to help her achieve this. In order to still keep up with her standard of living after her resignation, she began to sew baby dresses. However, this business venture was short-lived as playing with and interpreting numbers beats all, hence Yetar Virtual CFOs Limited.


Oluwafunmilola is happily married with 4 biological children and 1 adopted daughter. She describes herself as a funky mother who invests in both her children’s formal and informal education. 

“The things of God are made a priority in my home and my lovely husband has made it a family culture. Some important value ingrained in my home includes Integrity, Humility, Excellence, and Honesty.”


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

“When I think about my journey so far, I am amazed at the full circle God has brought me especially entrepreneurially. As a first-born daughter, the expectation to be a role model to my 3 siblings made me step into leadership quickly. It influenced my approach to life. Additionally, my parents were intentional in supporting my inquisitive nature such that at age 11, I started my first business selling ice cream to our neighbors. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and have lived here all my life. 


Interestingly, I wanted to be an accountant like my father, but I was admitted to study Finance at the University of Lagos. That didn’t deter me as I am an energetic, passionate and self-motivated person. I enrolled with the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAN) and qualified as a certified accountant in 2010, the same year I graduated from the university with a 4.16 CGPA. This launched my accounting career, and I have worked both in Accounting Practices and the Industry since 2010. 


It was no surprise that in 2020 when a friend reached out to me asking for support on another of her friend’s start-ups that I excitedly offered to help. He needed help framing his pricing and profit model such that his business was tax efficient. Together, we consulted for him. That experience gave us the idea that there are a lot of businesses starting up that are not aware of the accounting and tax implications of owning a business. My friend and I decided that we could serve such enterprises and grow with them on their entrepreneurial journey by providing support in this area at a fraction of the cost of having an in-house financial controller.


That was the birth of Yetar!”

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

What do you know about Chief Financial Officers? Most start-ups and women-owned businesses do not have financial control as a dedicated role in their enterprises. Traditional Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) play a crucial role in managing a company’s financial health which encompasses financial planning, financial reporting, record keeping and compliance, and management of financial risks. Most companies only hire a CFO when they reach a certain size. However, our company’s founding belief is that the role of a CFO is not limited to large organizations. Small businesses can benefit tremendously from having a CFO. 


This is where Yetar comes in. At Yetar Virtual CFOs, you can hire a virtual (part-time, online) CFO at a fraction of the cost of a traditional CFO. We measure, analyze, and evaluate the financial performance of our clients, essentially to identify trends in the company’s business model with the primary purpose to provide recommendations on processes to optimize performance and profitability. Our flexibility helps us apply a client-specific as well as an industry-specific approach to each client, optimizing the efficiency of their accounting, finances, and tax obligations according to the nature of their business.


Her love for numbers and her passion for interpreting numbers in simple terms for business owners and leaders at large keeps her motivated in this entrepreneurial journey. The most exciting thing about being an entrepreneur to her is having the opportunity to take an idea and inspire other people around me to contribute to that idea.


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

I have invested in more training to the extent of interning at an audit firm even though I had advanced in the industry. I knew humbling myself would help me learn from the grass root.


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

Talking to my business mentor. Reconsider my priorities. Save time with better tools and software.


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

Find a Mentor!


On her journey so far in the High Growth Coaching Program

“It’s been educative, sometimes stressful however the end results encourage me to do more.

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

Succeeding in my business to become a trainer myself.


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

I`ll love to be remembered as a life transformational coach who has helped many people achieve their goals and dreams. And to be mentioned each time people share their life journey stories.


HGCP 2022 Participants: Rasheedat is changing the way people think about nutritious food

When we talk of a superwoman, we are referring to a woman like Rasheedat Ademola. An entrepreneur, mother and pillar of her community. She is the founder of Remix Food Enterprises, and this year’s High Growth Coaching Program’s finalist.

“I want to be recognized for bringing attention to African native food crops that have benefited moms’ and kids’ health.” – Rasheedat Ademola

Growing up she wanted to be an accountant, but the universe had other plans for her. Rasheedat shares with us her entrepreneurial journey and some tips on how to take your business to the next level.

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


I was born with an entrepreneurial spirit thanks to the women in my life—from my granny to my mother— who were all running their own businesses. My entrepreneurial path began in junior secondary school, where I learnt baking.


 I’ll bake some snacks to offer to our neighbours, and when they ask for more, I’ll start selling to them. During service, I felt confident that my employment was safe, so I seriously pursued my SAED training to sharpen my catering abilities. I took short courses in hospitality management, and that is how I started my first business.

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

Remixx Food is a business that creates affordable food for your family using items from your neighbourhood that you are familiar with. All the nutrients your child needs to grow for the first 1000 days are in this simple-to-make blend. It is quite versatile, and you may prepare a variety of foods for your child using it in different ways.

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

Investing in receiving training. I’m not a nutritionist but owning this company has transformed me into one. I’ve taken classes on new-born nutrition, food product design, food processing, and other topics related to nutrition.

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

Communication, research and networking skills. 


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

Learning to take a break when the going gets tough and overwhelming. 


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

Don’t forget to develop yourself as you run your business. Invest your time, money and energy in yourself development. 

What would you like to be remembered for? 

I want to be recognized for bringing attention to African native food crops that have benefited moms’ and kids’ health.

What is your favourite quote or saying? 

Martin Luther King, Jr. said to keep moving forward. No matter how hard it may be, keep moving.


HGCP 2022 Participants: Labake is a self-made entrepreneur with so much hope for Africa

While many have lost hope, Labake believes in the future of Africa. She believes without a doubt that Africa can be a self-sufficient thriving continent. 

“I am also motivated by my future self. I have a clear picture of who Labake in the future is, and I am working to become her. “


This is exactly what makes Labake an entrepreneur to watch out for. She Leads Africa sat down with the Founder of AR Initiative to learn about her and her business. 


What led you to taking the first step and setting up your own business? 

I had no desire to run a business growing up. I was always passionate about development and thought I would effect change through the traditional corporate route. However, when I moved to Nigeria and was looking for opportunities in responsible business, I found that there was a gap in the market – corporate responsibility was thought of in more philanthropic terms; building a school etc. While that is great and has an impact, I was more concerned about their responsibilities across their valuation and how they think about the environmental and social impact of their business activities. 


This led me to start The AR Initiative, where for the first 2 years I freelanced and worked to understand businesses and their view of corporate responsibility. Over the last year, i pivoted to the start-up ecosystem because I found that transformative change is easier and possibly more effective in growing businesses. Also, that no one is catering to and measuring the ESG impacts of this fast-growing industry. So, The AR Initiative does this – we work with the start-up ecosystem to make as positive an impact as possible on people, profit and planet. 


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

The AR Initiative is a pioneering, data-driven, product consultancy that helps start-ups, venture funds, private equity and impact investors to measure, analyse, and report on their ESG performance metrics. We work with startups to develop sustainability reports and help with investor readiness, and we help investors deploy capital effectively and manage their sustainability compliance.


That is really impressive! Tell us a bit about your background?

I was born and raised in Lagos, where I lived until i graduated secondary school. Over the next 14 years, I studied and worked across Europe and the United States. I earned a double honours degree from the University of Massachusetts, Boston and a masters from The Graduate Institute in Geneva. 


Growing up, I was always inspired by travel. I took every opportunity that would allow me to travel to a new place and meet new people. Having the opportunity to learn from other societies and cultures fed my curiosity and spurred my entrepreneurial journey. I was inspired by the systems and institutions in similar countries and more developed countries and kept asking “why not in my home country?” So, I started The AR Initiative to improve development outcomes for Africans by engaging the private sector. I am deeply interested in the human experience and working to make it as meaningful as possible. 


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

I wanted to be Kofi Annan growing up! I still would like to be. I had the honour of meeting him as graduate student in Geneva and he’s every bit as inspiring in person.

Hahaa!!! Kofi Annan is a legend! Quite a big dream for a little girl…love it.

So, if you had the opportunity to go back in time to talk to your 15-year-old self, what advice or tips would you give them? 

I would tell my 15-year-old self to breathe and trust the journey. I always wanted to accelerate the journey – be an ‘adult’. But as I’ve grown, I realised the magic is in the journey so learning to savour the experience – both the good and the bad.


What do you get up to when you are not working? What do you do to have fun, relax and unwind? 

I love to read, spend time in nature -hiking, long walks, and travel!


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

I would love to be remembered for changing the business view in Africa to a triple bottom line – planet, people, profit. Currently, most businesses prioritise profit above all else. I hope to effectively alter the business landscape to prioritise impact on the environment and people as much as making a profit.


Now let’s talk a bit more about the AR Initiative, what is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

There are a few things, but i think owning my time and creating a job that i couldn’t find in the market.


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

Build up your social capital and make it count. Building a strong network and the ability to leverage it is crucial.


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

Limiting distractions. Throughout the workday, I often put my phone on work focus mode, a new feature on the iphone and it limits notifications. Also, listening to classical music and film scores really help me with focus.


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

Networking, learning and more networking.


What is your favourite quote or saying? 

If we stare at our giants too much, the fear of them will overtake us.


Finally, can you share with our community what is your experience been like as one of the finalists to the program?

It’s been an interesting experience so far. I am enjoying meeting and learning from the other finalists and coaches.


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Dr. Gladys Kalema Zikusoka. Social Entreprenuer and National Geographic Explorer

Dr. Gladys Kalema Zikusoka noticed human health was a contributory factor to maintaining the health of the Gorillas she protected. She then founded Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) to support the surrounding community. She also founded Gorilla Conservation Coffee, a social enterprise of CTPH. In addition she has been a National Geographic Explorer.

We had a chill an chat to hear her personal story and here how it went!

  1. You were selected as a National Geographic Explorer. Sounds adventurous! What were you most excited about in anticipation of the experience?

I was excited to become a National Geographic Explorer, an organization founded over 100 year ago with a commitment to supporting discovery, exploration, pioneering research and conservation. I knew being a National Geographic Explorer would greatly help me and my team at Conservation through Public Health (CTPH).We wanted to improve our work with the endangered gorillas and local communities, and increase our impact in Uganda and other countries in Africa where CTPH is working or collaborating with other organizations to achieve shared goals.

  1. How did you get involved with the National Geographic Explorer program?

We submitted a grant to National Geographic to expand our integrated gorilla conservation and human health model at Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) to other parishes around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is home to the endangered mountain gorillas. I was greatly honoured to also be selected as a National Geographic Explorer.

  1. You have worked with many international organisations in different capacities from being featured on BBC documentaries to your position as an Ashoka Fellow. To what extent do you think they have prepared you for this position?

When I was setting up the veterinary department at Uganda Wildlife Authority, we had the first reported disease outbreaks in mountain gorillas traced to people living around the park, with limited access to basic health and other social services. I realised then that you cannot protect the gorillas without improving the health of the people who they share their fragile habitat with and that prompted us to found Conservation Through Public Health in 2003. It is a grassroots NGO and non-profit that promotes biodiversity conservation by enabling people, gorillas and other wildlife to coexist through improving their health and livelihoods in and around protected areas in Africa.

These experiences led to me being featured on BBC, Animal Planet and National Geographic.

In 2006 I was greatly honored to become an Ashoka Fellow for merging Uganda’s wildlife management and rural public health program to create common resources for both people and animals.


  1. What would be your advice to someone who is just starting out in their career who would love to be an Explorer?

I would advise them to follow their dreams and the rest will follow. I was given this advice by Dr. Birute Galdikas, also a National Geographic Explorer, who was the first person to study orang -utans in the wild.

  1. What are the top three things you focused on as an Explorer?

The top three things I focused on as an Explorer were:-

  • promoting the conservation of gorillas and other wildlife through expanding our work and improving wildlife health, engaging local communities and conducting research on issues that affect conservation and sustainable development
  • sharing my experiences as an Explorer with the general public through giving talks to schools, scientists, practitioners , and having our work featured in documentaries, radio, print media, and online media
  • influencing decision and policy makers from the government, NGO, and private sector, through sharing lessons learned and best practices from our work


  1. You are also the CEO and founder of CTPH, how did you prepare yourself to run an NGO particularly with regards to finding staff that believed in your vision and with giving yourself the skills you felt you may have lacked coming from a traditionally scientific background?

Setting up a veterinary unit from scratch for Uganda Wildlife Authority (formerly Uganda National Park), exposed me to the fundraising aspects I needed for my job. As a Masters student in North Carolina, I had an opportunity to obtain a Duke University certificate in non-profit management, which prepared me well to set up an NGO.  Furthermore, in 2011, I participated in the Social Entrepreneurship Program at INSEAD Business School. I also did an MBA in Global Business and Sustainability – social entrepreneurship track at University of Milan and Tangaza University College in Kenya.


  1. What advice can you give us about being fearless and following your dreams especially in STEM careers where new ideas are not always so easily accepted?


Don’t let anyone discourage you from achieving your dreams! I have been discouraged because the path I took working with animals and wildlife as a veterinarian and conservationist, is not typical for an African woman. I believed in myself and remained focused and was able to achieve what I set out to do.

  1. How important is it for you to mentor younger women?

I was mentored by older women in the fields of veterinary medicine, conservation, public health, social entrepreneurship and ecotourism, and therefore feel that I should also give back to other women to also improve gender equity while striving for a more sustainable and healthy planet.


  1. Do you believe women can have it all? How do you put into practice work/ life balance?

Women can almost have it all when they put their priorities right and choose the right partner. They also need to have supportive family, friends and colleagues to encourage them to achieve their dreams and make a difference.

I have a great role model in my mother, Honourable Rhoda Kalema, known as the Mother of Uganda’s Parliament who made significant strides in Women’s Empowerment as a minister and Member of Parliament.

Despite the heavy workload and having lost my father when I was 2 years old, she has always had enough time to support my siblings and I in what we feel God has called us to do.

My husband, Lawrence is very supportive and also a co- founder of CTPH and our two social enterprises, Gorilla Conservation Camp and Gorilla Conservation Coffee. My sons who are now 14 and 10 years old are very involved as well. They also sit in meetings we host, take photos and have become part of our team at CTPH where they have started to help and give advice on our programs and social enterprises.


  1. Having worked so closely with animals throughout your career what is one lesson they have taught you?

I have learnt a lot from the mountain gorillas, which I have been working with for over 22 years. They have taught me to be a better mother, and have the perfect inter birth interval of four to five years. I have put this into practice, and I am reaping the benefits!

  1. What is the last book you read and what was your greatest take away from it?

The Impenetrable Forest by Thor Hanson, a former Peace Corp Volunteer.  He was habituating the second gorilla group for tourism and building trails at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.  My greatest take away was that people are as important as the species we are saving, his book talked a lot about the Bwindi community and the park staff who he worked with for more than two years, many of whom I know, and how they enabled him to understand and appreciate that gorilla conservation is just as much about the people as the mountain gorillas who they share their fragile habitat with.

  1. What is the one simple thing we can all do today that would help make our planet a better place to live in for everyone?


One simple thing we can do is to spread awareness through social media about the importance of protecting our planet. Most people now have access to mobile phones and with the click of a button can send messages that can save the planet through WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can support causes like Gorilla Conservation Coffee, a social enterprise of CTPH.


Feeling stuck? Invest in your relationships!

Free ways to invest in yourself

“I want to be on the cover of Forbes magazine,
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen”

Raise your hand if this song resonates with you, I’m raising my hands and my legs because this song encapsulates my entire life goals!

I want to become a phenomenal woman, one who would live a mark on the sands of time, and I’m quite certain this is on your bucket list too!

But here’s the catch!

The boss-lady life doesn’t come on a platter. In order to attain success in business, career and even in relationship, something has to give! The good news is; although there’s work to be done, it could be done, totally cost-free!

The journey to becoming a phenomenal woman starts with investing in yourself. Whether you are looking to become a better version of yourself, make a fresh start or do a complete revamp, it is possible, if you equip yourself with the right knowledge and adopt the right strategy. Let’s just say, you can become anything you want to be, if you invest in yourself.

Do you want to start your own business? write a book or become a motivational speaker ?

Yes you can, but There are certain things you need to do in order to make your dreams come true!

The first step begins with; Accepting personal responsibility for your own growth; accept that no one can do it for you.
This means you need to stop letting the relentless drifts of events make your choices for you, instead, set goals and take concrete actions that can help you reach your mark!

Thankfully, there are so many free tools that are readily available and easily accessible to you, courses that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, and skills you can acquire without breaking a sweat! If these free tools are properly utilized, they can accelerate your speed and draw you closer to your destination.

So Let’s dive Right in!

Here are some free ways you can invest in yourself!

Read books: Increase your scope of knowledge by reading! I know reading is a daunting task for most people, but the rewards and benefits are priceless. You can go easy on yourself. start by Reading a minimum of one chapter of a book each day, and a minimum of one book a month, and you would be amazed at how your scope of knowledge would increase.

Take a free course online: Do you want to become a photographer, graphic designer or digital marketer? There are so many free courses available online that you could take advantage of! Don’t forget to Ask questions, listen, then ask more questions. You will learn as well as help others learn.

Get a mentor: Mentors are mostly free, this makes them priceless, the need to have someone who can model the “how” for you, can never be overemphasized. Find a mentor and endeavor to do things with them, they will be supportive of you and you will learn and improve from interacting with them.

Look for new ideas: Challenge yourself to learn something new every day. I became a blogger and I’m loving it! Whoever thought I could, I’m not even tech savvy!! There are so many ways to acquire a skill, and a lot of these skills can be learned for free! If you are looking to become a fashion designer or a makeup artist you certainly can, just look around carefully, I’m sure you would find, free training opportunities, seminars and workshops where training is offered.

Eat Healthy: Health is wealth they say, so invest in yourself by adopting a good eating habit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, The Hustle and Bustle of life makes it hard to live and eat right, but a little effort everyday, goes a long way. Prioritize your health, take it seriously. Eating healthy is one of the best investments you can make, because it determines your overall well-being

Find your tribe: no woman is an island! Community, communication and connection, is the new mantra! There is so much you can learn simply by belonging to a community of like- minds.

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How to Enjoy Valentine’s Day as a Single Pringle

Image of woman enjoying coffee

While having a boo to spoil you silly on valentine’s day is great, we all know that being single on the day of love isn’t a big deal. I know it’s hard not to feel a little sad when you see those “For Him”or “For Her” packages or hear your bestie talk about her Valentine plans with her boo. And that’s totally normal. At the end of the day everyone wants to feel loved and appreciated.

In other words, you too can have the best time of your life on Valentine’s day. You have worked so hard and deserved to be spoiled with or without a boo. There are so many activities you can do. Let’s dive in.


Have a Spa day

Taking a day off to pamper yourself at the spa allows you to relax and manage your stress effectively. It also gives you some fun while getting a good massage. Go ahead and schedule a spa date this Valentine’s day.


Host a singles-only dinner

There is a good chance that you are not the only single person in your clique. Why not call your friends and host them at your place? It’s going to be so much fun.


Binge watch movies

You already have Netflix, you might as well enjoy your subscription and binge watch as many movies as you like. I love to call this the ultimate movie marathon.


Unplug from social media.

Yes, I said it. There is no point stalking your ex on social media to see how they are celebrating with their new found love or getting bombarded with photos of lovey dovey couples. Unplug for the day and read a book or spend time in nature.


Try new recipes

Do you have a bunch of recipes saved or favorites you’ve been meaning to try out? Valentine’s day is the perfect time to grab those ingredients and create magic.


Give someone a gift

Choose someone you care about, this could be your parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or friend and send them a really nice gift. Don’t forget to tell them how much you love and value them.


Cook a romantic dinner for your parents

What better way to celebrate love than to spend some quality time with your parents? Cook them an amazing dinner, set the table, light the candle and open a bottle of wine.


Get out in nature

Take a walk, or just stand outside for a few moments and get some fresh air. Connecting with nature in whatever way you can may help you center yourself, and a little exercise never hurts either.

Buy a gift for yourself

Do you have something that you’ve been dying to get, but have been too afraid to buy? Then you should really treat yourself with something you’re always wanted.


Go for Karaoke

Whether you want to sing on the top of your lungs with your friends or want to do it all by yourself, karaoke is always guaranteed to be a fun time.

How would you be spending Valentine’s day?


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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: Co-founder Amanda Etuk is solving problems one delivery at a time with Messenger.ng

I sat down with problem solver extraordinaire Amanda Etuk, to get to know her and learn more about Messenger, the delivery business she co-founded.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Amanda Etuk and I’ve always been inspired to solve problems. I consider myself a full Nigerian, my father is from Akwa Ibom and my mother from Kogi State. I was born in Makurdi, Benue State and grew up in Lagos and Abuja.

I am excited by change and being a part of something great and this makes logistics and supply chain a perfect industry for me. During my spare time, I try to create processes that allow me to have maximum time for relaxation. I typically love to stay in bed, watch series and eat a lot of food.

I am a published author with two books so far; one is on personnel management for the delivery business space and the other is so far left; an erotica under a pen name. 

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

My background is in Pharmacy from the University of Lagos. After working a few years as a Pharmacist, I went on to get a postgraduate in Global Supply Chain and Logistics managementand then worked at a Supply Chain and Logistics company as the General Manager. After this I co-founded a delivery business with my brother where I manage modern trade supply chain for major household brands. I also work on last mile deliveries focusing on expansion plans for Messenger.

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

My bottom line is to be able to create a great life for myself and my loved ones. I want to create products and services that would serve people and still be very profitable.

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

I have a lot of heart warming moments in my life but my biggest achievements are seeing projects that started as ideas come to life.

I am most proud of where Messenger is right now, we are the second largest partner for Jumia Food in Abuja, we have recently ventured into last mile cold chain and have a contract to move COVID samples for Medbury Medicals in Lagos.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

My favorite part of being an entrepreneur is creating work place conditions that I wished for when I was working. It is having the power to make decisions and seeing the immediate outcome on my bottom-line.

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

Welcome to Messenger.ng, you can absolutely trust us with your deliveries.

Messenger.ng is a full-service logistics and dispatch company with key operations cutting across package delivery, cold chain solutions, warehousing and haulage.

We provide end-to-end delivery services and serve a wide array of customers including SMEs, corporate organizations and private individuals. Since 2018, we have ensured that clients enjoy smooth, safe and efficient delivery of packages without stress or worry, no matter the volume or location. We are focused on creating value for money and improving the logistics ecosystem in Nigeria.

We provide efficient logistics services to support your business. You can find out more about us on our website at  www.getmessenger.ng or connect with us on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/messenger.ng/ or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/messenger-ng/.

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

We are doing well in the B2B space for last mile deliveries with dispatch bikes. I would say that we are making a name for ourselves as a reliable 3PL partner.

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

The most significant thing I have done to grow the business was to become unafraid to ask for help, especially when raising funds from angel investors within my network to fund operations and expand to Lagos.

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

As cliché as it sounds; PERSISTENCE. You decide your fate, if you quit, what else is there?

If you were given $1m to invest in Messenger, where would it go?

If I was given $1M to invest in Messenger, I would invest in tech to make it even easier to order deliveries or logistics like you would book a cab and the assets; motorcycles, vehicles etc. Talent would definitely be a part of the budget.

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

Scheduling. I love scheduling all my activities in advance, I am centered through the day and it helps me keep track of my deliverables.

What business-related book has inspired you the most? 

I’m currently reading “Leaving the Tarmac: Buying a Bank in Africa” by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and I am more inspired to take audacious risks.

Amanda is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program preparing Messenger to grow and keep impacting Nigeria’s delivery industry.