If you’re a #MotherlandMogul and a mom, you know the struggle of finding the right kind of daycare facility for your young kids while you hustle. For Oby Igodan, what disturbed her was that the facilities she came across did not feel like home. Running a daycare can be a profitable business but as a mom, your child’s development is of utmost importance.
Looking to start a crèche and daycare that’s a home away from home, Oby launched Home Also Crèche & Daycare. She runs this while also working as a Managing Partner at VIL Consulting. As the children in her crèche grow, she is looking at expanding into a preschool to cater to our older kids who love it at the crèche.
Oby spoke to us on the challenges, joys, and satisfaction of providing children with a secure and stimulating experience in a comfortable and relaxed setting.
Why start a crèche?
While raising my own children as a career woman, I realized something interesting. The facilities I took them to in their early years didn’t really provide the feel of a home environment or afford them the gradual transitioning into the academic arena.
A lot of those outfits were run purely for business with little or no consideration for the unique developmental needs of each child. I set up Home Also to identify every child’s uniqueness and help foster proper development.
What challenges did you face starting your business and how have you overcome them?
Majorly, it took some convincing to get my family to surrender the living room space. In fact, I wanted the entire ground floor of our home to run the crèche. It sounded ludicrous.
With persuasion and the knowledge that this was my dream upon retirement, they agreed to let me use the space. Secondly, finding the right staff that has been difficult. My staff has to be well-trained to offer young children —from 12 weeks to 3 years— a fun and educational experience.
And of course, there was raising the required capital to start paying staff without having a single child enrolled. Then, paying for staff training while anticipating that it would translate to enrollment.
I will say that God has been gracious to me and I give Him all the credit for helping me overcome these challenges.
Has it been any difficult working with other people’s children?
Actually, it’s been really rewarding and thrilling to have these little angels kept in our care. We feel that their parents trust us and we must guard that trust jealously.
We’re grateful that they trust us enough to leave us their babies at such tender ages. Some are as young as 3 months. It’s a vote of confidence that we uphold.
From your experience, what does one need to have covered to open a crèche in Nigeria?
First, ensure you have the passion and the required aptitude for the business. Then, good, knowledgeable and experienced staff.
A safe, secure and hygienic environment is also very important. Be sure to meet the requirements of regulatory bodies.
And of course, there’s the all-important start-up capital.
What keeps you inspired in hard times?
My life has been dotted with ups and downs. Through it all, God has helped me. The knowledge that I have a father who loves me gives me inner strength to weather storms. His mercy and grace have brought me this far and will see me through the years ahead.
When it looks like there is no way out, the voice inside will read out relevant scriptures to give me confidence and hope. That’s just it.
On occasion, I’m inspired by stories of people I admire. People like Joyce Meyer, Stormie Omartian, and Oprah Winfrey.
If you weren’t running a crèche, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t running a crèche, I would be working full-time running a consulting firm. This is something I am engaged in at the moment, but on a part-time basis.
It’s called VIL Consulting and it’s a homegrown management consulting firm set up by a team of experienced professionals. We have the best from businesses and institutions who help to provide expert advice and assistance to clients. I participate as a managing partner, providing the required strategic direction for my partners.
My daughters always tease me about all the business ideas I constantly go on about. So, if I didn’t have my hands full with two start-ups at the moment, I’d be working on starting another.
You see, I need to prove to them that mummy’s not all talk!
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