HGCP 2021 Participants: Oghenetega Gbadagri, the wellbeing entrepreneur who founded Nigeria’s foremost on-demand spa: The Mobile Spa

I sat down with Oghenetega Gbadagri, the founder The Mobile Spa to get to know her and her journey as a wellbeing entrepreneur managing one of Nigeria’s most on-demand spa.

Tell us a little about yourself and your business.

I’m Tega, I am a wellbeing entrepreneur and the founder of Nigeria’s foremost on-demand Spa: The Mobile Spa. I am certified by the International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC UK). I am also trained and hold certificates in various therapies including – Massage, Facials, Collagen Induction, Electrocautery and Advanced Dermapeeling.

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

I am committed to helping people improve their skincare and wellbeing by making spa services easily accessible to them in their personal space.  

I stay motivated by surrounding myself with positive and supportive people, practicing gratitude, regularly reviewing my goals and progress, celebrating my wins no matter how little, and investing in my self-care & well-being.

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

Growing The Mobile Spa brand to include other team members is my biggest achievement. The Mobile Spa travels to our client’s location to deliver spa  & wellbeing services.  In the past, the cost of transportation from our primary location to different parts of Lagos was a huge challenge. Some areas were farther and the cost of travel sometimes matched the cost of the service which left us unprofitable. 

 In 2019, I was able to decentralize our take off points and set a flat rate for transportation, exclusive of the service charge which covers for the cost of travel to and fro the client’s location.  

Currently, most of our therapists are equipped to fulfil appointments taking off directly from their residence across 12 different parts of Lagos Mainland and Island respectively. We make use of the Uber & Bolt Car Hire system.  This has helped us reduce cost and have a predictable transportation cost per location. Thus scaling up and increasing profit.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

I enjoy watching romantic movies and spending time with my family

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

 Creating solutions that improve people’s wellbeing!!

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

The Mobile Spa delivers massages, face and body treatments to clients in the comfort and privacy of their space – home, office or event.

We believe that customers should not encounter the stress of commuting to and fro different locations in order to get rejuvenated with spa treatments, so we make high quality spa services accessible & convenient.

We transform their spaces into a spa in a way that is minimally reversible without clogging their spaces or getting in their way. 

The Mobile Spa was launched in 2014, for some years, I was the sole therapist delivering these on demand services. The Mobile Spa now has over 15 wellbeing therapists serving various clients across Lagos.

Where can people find out more about your business?

You can find us on our website at https://themobilespa.com.ng/. You can follow us on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/themobilespalagos/.

You can also reach out to me directly on Whatsapp at +2349029542951, send me a DM on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/tegagbadagri/ or connect with me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/oghenetega-itec-uk-24a166b1/. You’re also welcome to send me an email on tega@themobilespa.com.ng.

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

We offer a wide range of treatment options cutting across massages, face & body treatments as offered at the day spa. Our clients enjoy the same benefits of a spa treatment in the comfort of their space.  We create memorable spa experiences wherever people want it by transforming their space evoking the physical and psychological effect of getting rejuvenated.

We have set up spa in the most unusual places – at the beach, parties, offices, conferences, fairs,  rooftops, resorts and we have also been to movie sets.  We are the go-to for on demand spa services.

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

I would use the money to build an aggregator app available in major Nigerian cities that connects individuals and corporations to therapists that are available to offer on demand spa and wellbeing services within 60 minutes of booking. The money would be invested in app development, recruitment, training & development, marketing and spa supplies.

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

Planning; delegation and the setting SMART goals

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

 The best advice I’ve received is that as an entrepreneurs I should build a business that can thrive without me by setting up relevant systems and processes.

What business-related books have inspired you the most? 

 There’s actually quite a few, but my current favorites are 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey; Traction by Gino Wickman and Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You by John Warrillow.

What advice will you give young entrepreneurs who are just starting out?’

Focus on the things that you’re good at and outsource your weaknesses – If booking keeping, graphic design etc. are not your strength, don’t get stuck on doing everything yourself. Find experts that offer these services for a small fee, it will help you focus on your core business and improve efficiency.

Oghenetega is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program working to grow and scale The Mobile Spa.

HGCP 2021 Participants: Stella Arukwe chats about running an innovative e-commerce platform that does not just sell products but delivers experience.

I sat down with Stella Arukwe, the co-founder of Latalata and Kishers Limited; an innovative retail and e-commerce platform in Nigeria.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Stella Arukwe, the co-founder of Latalata and Kishers Limited.

My work experience, skillsets and interests span different sectors and industries. Over the years, I have established my track record as a marketing expert, brand builder, strategist, wordsmith, inimitable communicator and now l am gradually establishing my footprint into the field of entrepreneurship while creating social and economic impact through my businesses.

I am a graduate of English Language and Communication Arts from the University of Lagos in Nigeria, and Brand Communication from Vega Brand School in South Africa. I am a mentor, and an advocate for youth and women empowerment.

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

My entrepreneurial journey started way back when I was a kid. I dreamt of being the boss of my own businesses, and building business empires. However, after I graduated from the university, I started my career in marketing and communication where I grew through the ranks. I have now accumulated over 10 years working experience in brand management, market penetration and conversion; of which 8 years have been in managerial positions where I led teams, managed successful brand initiatives with proven revenue increases. It was during this time that I also established a consulting firm.

Fast-forward to now, I have co-founded an innovative start-up, Latalata and Kishers Limited and will definitely be founding moe businesses in due time. My philosophy of solving problems, and creating value guides and propels me in my pursuits and achievements as an entrepreneur, which is the foundation on which my business ideas and ventures are founded.

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

My ‘why’ is tethered in ‘solving problems, creating value as well as helping people work better and  live happier lives. I believe in building an idea from the scratch and nurturing it to grow with a combination of the right mindset, skillset and team members. So long as there are people in the world, they will have needs and problems that need to be solved. This pushes me to create ideas and solutions that will metamorphose into businesses. In building these businesses, I want to leave legacies. I want people to read my success story and be motivated by them.

      What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

      In the course of my career both as an employee and an intrapreneur, I achieved track records and milestones. I have worked with large corporations where I launched notable products and brands in Nigeria and other African countries. Some of the brands include Flour Mills of Nigeria, Golden Penny Pasta, Toyota Nigeria and its subsidiaries, Unity bank formerly FinBank, IHMS HMO, NIC, Uganda, Global Trust Bank a then subsidiary of NIC to mention but a few.

      On the flip side today as a full-fledged entrepreneur, I lead a team in one of the most thriving, mid-sized marketing consulting firm in Lagos Nigeria as the founder and head of Client Services.

      However, one of my greatest achievements so far is co-founding a blossoming innovative e-commerce business in Nigeria from scratch to the point where it is showing reasonable growth potential. I believe that the future is bright and promising for Latalata and Kishers.

      Another one of my  heart-warming achievement is the courage to author my first book, and finally, being awarded the opportunity to be in the High Growth Coaching Program 2021.

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

        Addressing issues of the mind would be my major focus as I strongly believe that everything that hinders an individual from attaining his or her summit stems from the mind. As a matter of fact, I just finished writing a book centred around FEAR which is currently being published as we speak.

        What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

        The journey and experience of being an entrepreneur is mixed with ups and downs. Being an entrepreneur has availed me the opportunity to curate ideas, create values, and co-ordinate people and processes. It is interesting to see how a societal problem and seemingly simple idea, when worked on by a team, becomes something that can be ascribed as a “business”. It is difficult, tasking, and attention-demanding but it is indeed fulfilling.

        What was the inspiration behind Latalata & Kishers?

        Latalata and Kishers is a business created out of the typical problems consumers go through.

        The first motivation to go into e-commerce was when my husband bought a Samsung LED Television in 2015. For him to hang the TV to the wall, he needed four pieces of a particular bolt called “M3”, we both became so frustrated as he frantically searched through endless online and physical stores without success.

        Secondly, we have identified that people worry about what to gift to loved ones or even their boss and colleagues. This was a constant debate in the office whenever my colleagues’ birthday approached. We deliberated what to buy, whether it was unique enough, obviously the budget, how useful the item is and many other concerns.

        In 2016, we came up with the idea for Latalata and Kishers and later fully launched in October, 2020 when the “go-to” e-commerce platform for essential products in Nigeria was born. Through our value proposition of being innovative, we are creating value and trust for our customers.

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

          Are you looking for value that helps you live and work better?  Do you want a great shopping experience with ease and fun, less stress, less time, and more saves? What about giving that perfect gift within your budget with the assurance that the receiver will appreciate and use it? You have a better choice at www.latalata.ng. We are your ‘go-to’ innovative e-commerce platform in Nigeria and beyond. At latalata.ng, we don’t just sell products. We deliver value, quality, and convenience at the best prices. It’s all here. Own It.

          We are an online business, so we are available 24 hours, every day of the week on our website at https://latalata.ng/. You can also call us or chat on WhatsApp at +234-702 500 3511. You can also direct your queries to our email at hello@latalata.ng

          We are also on social media, we are on Facebook at https://facebook.com/latalataNG; on Instagram at https://instagram.com/latalataNG; on Twitter at https://twitter.com/latalataNG and on LinkedIn at https://linkedin.com/c/latalataNG.

          You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/latalataNG

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

          Trust and Innovation. This is what we want to be known for.

          We do not debate our integrity. We are willing to take a temporary loss of income in order to maintain our integrity. We know that trust is a major element in e-commerce which is  lacking in the industry at the moment, and integrity is the currency to earn it. We want customers in the next 2 years to say, “if it is Latalata, no stress. But for other online stores, no way!” 

          We do not want to be seen as “that online store”. We do not just sell products. We deliver experience. To make this happen, innovation is key. The Gifting platform is one of such innovations to deliver this promise. There are other innovative e-commerce solutions we will roll out in the next few years.

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

          Technology, merchant recruitment, merchant inventory, hiring, funding, and logistics and delivery issues have plagued us in the recent past. We had challenges getting Latalata website run the way we had envisioned. Getting the right persons to work on the software we needed, at our lean funds, was a tall order. 

          Hiring the right persons with the right skillset at our funding capacity was also a challenge. We also had, and still have, challenges with the deliverable of various third-party logistics companies. Finally, being a female I’ve also observed that most merchants do not take me seriously when engaging with them for the business.

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

          We are working to position Latalata as the first choice for every online shopper in Nigeria. In 5 years, we envision to have grown significantly including having our brands, “GiftPass”, “Kishers-Mini”, and “Hampers” be operational and also having established our “Criss-Cross” business model.

          What would you say has been pivotal to your growth and success so far? 

          Our growth so far can be attributed to keying into a market spaces that has a lot of potential.as well as the ability to see opportunities in existing problem areas. W e also focus on creating consumer-focused, market fit products using technology to address the customer pain points.

          Furthermore, working with a vibrant team that understands the vision of the business has propelled us to push the boundaries in order to achieve the results we have recorded. Our strategy to start with electronic appliances also paid off as electronic appliances are very profitable and sellable products. With this, we were able to make sales in excess of N13.6million ($27,000) in six months.

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

          Leadership, critical thinking and strategic problem-solving and planning skills. These skills are necessary for an entrepreneur to stand out and also be able to stand the test of time in the business environment and become successful.

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

          I apply my LCD formula (Leverage, Collaborate, Delegate). 

          I leverage technology, software tools, and strategies that have been tested over time. This relieves me of stress and helps me towards efficiency and productivity. I look out for opportunities and avenues for collaboration with other like-minded entrepreneurs and businesses that have creative ideas and innovations that will convey value to my business. I also delegate and outsource some tasks to capable hands. These guides me to stay focused on my core area; part of which includes driving the overall success of the business.

          Stella is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program scaling up Latalata & Kishers to get to a place where they are described as the most innovative e-commerce business in Nigeria.

          SHE LEADS AFRICA AND DARLING COLLABORATE TO INSPIRE CONFIDENCE IN YOUNG AFRICAN WOMEN

          She Leads Africa in collaboration with Darling (Godrej Africa) champion young African women across Africa through the year-long “Confidence in Action” campaign starting in August 2021.

          The campaign includes exciting initiatives like “Pass Me The Mic”- a dedicated video course series, the “Confidence In Action” virtual summits and “The Moment I” podcast featuring prominent African women and a pilot program to support entrepreneurs.

          More information is available at www.confidentdarling.com

          She Leads Africa is renowned for providing young African women with the tools and resources for success in their personal and professional lives. The campaign takes the vision a step further with Darling, a brand that is equally passionate about the success of African women. Darling helps African women present as their best selves physically and mentally and has committed to supporting partners who share that vision through its products and campaigns.

          Ibironke Ugbaja, Regional Head of Marketing at Darling Africa says,

          “We are really excited to work with She Leads Africa on the Confidence-In-Action campaign. Darling loves to see African women exude confidence and support them in going for their dreams and winning wherever they find themselves. We will encourage them through this project, and let them know they have it in them to go for it! That’s the goal, to help you ‘Find Your Beautiful.’”

          The “Confidence in Action” collaboration aims to inspire young African women to take brave steps in their careers, businesses and personal lives. Through the campaign, young African women get to see themselves and their struggles with self-confidence reflected by African women from different walks of life and get insight on how to overcome these issues.

          Another important goal of the campaign is to highlight that status or achievement does not prevent women from experiences issues with confidence. Thus, “The Moment I” video and audio podcast series features notable African women from countries like Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa as they speak about their journey of building self-confidence. Features include veteran Nigerian actress Nse-Ikpe Etim, South African media powerhouse Nomndeni Nonhle Mdakhi and more.

          As Kofo Adebiyi, VP Content at She Leads Africa says,

          “Young African women are incredibly ambitious, skilled and have a great deal to offer the world. Despite how awesome we are, we all struggle with moments of self-doubt. “Confidence in Action” is a unique year-long project to support women through these moments. We’re honoured to have a committed partner like Darling with us through the process. For me, Confidence in Action has been about making bold asks and constantly challenging what I think the limits are. I hope that through this project, women across Africa learn what Confidence in Action looks like for them and make bold moves at work, school and wherever they find themselves across the world.”

          From August 2021, information about the campaign courses, podcast episodes and the summits will be shared via the She Leads Africa website, Instagram page and newsletter.

          To learn more about the She Leads Africa x Darling campaign, please visit www.confidentdarling.com.

          More about Darling

          Darling is a global hair brand dedicated to providing African women with the trendiest styles and highest quality of hair at the best possible price. Darling is a subsidiary of Godrej Consumer Products.

          More about She Leads Africa

          She Leads African is a global media company that connects smart African women to resources, tools and advice to help them live their best personal and professional lives.SLA reaches more than 800,000 women across 35+ countries and 5 continents and has been featured in the Financial Times, Forbes, BBC, CNN, CNBC Africa, Black Enterprise and Huffington Post.

          For more information about She Leads Africa, join the online community at https://sheleadsafrica.org/community/ and follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

          HGCP 2021 Participants: Anita Dafeta talks about how her love for the different stories that emanate from ancient folklore inspired Origho Lagos

          I sat down with Anita Dafeta, the founder and creative director of Origho Lagos to get to know her and how how her love for the different stories that emanate from ancient folklore inspired her to create  homeware rooted in African heritage.

          Tell us a little about yourself.

          I am the founder and Creative Director of ÓRÌGHÒ Lagos, a brand that aims to connect Africa to the world through contemporary homeware rooted in African heritage.

          After completing my secondary schooling at Loyola Jesuit College Abuja, I obtained an International Diploma in Business from Oxbridge Tutorial College and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Sheffield UK. After my time at University, I worked briefly in London as an Accounting and Finance intern for a media company and later returned to Nigeria in 2015.

          I have worked with renowned brands in various disciplines such as Tiffany Amber Nigeria, Capital Club Lagos and Ermenegildo Zegna. After returning to Nigeria from the UK I realised that there was a huge gap in the creative artisan sector in Nigeria and began liaising with artisans in areas such as woodwork, weaving, pottery and beading; thus the foundation for what has become ÓRÌGHÒ Lagos was forged.

          I am a resilient and dedicated founder who is committed to immortalising our African heritage. I currently live in Lagos, Nigeria with my family.

          What do you do for fun/relaxation?

          I love art and music so generally I visit galleries, art exhibitions and listen to music from artists like H.E.R, Snoh Aalegra and Brent Fayaz. I’m a lover of 90’s music as well and I believe that great food is also a great time. 

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

          It would be a heartfelt, emotional but sometimes hilarious biography of my life thus far. Like how I got my fortune told at the Cirque Le Soir in London on Ganton Street…, still waiting for that to manifest by the way. But it will also have real, raw moments of hard work, tears and everything in between. 

          What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

          I think my greatest achievement is starting a business and sticking with it through thick and thin, especially in this part of the world.

          What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

          Turning my radical ideas into reality. 

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

          We produce artisan made interior décor and home goods products that are rooted in African folklore, design and craftsmanship with the aim of connecting the world to our continent and immortalising our heritage in the home.

          You can follow our Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/origholagos/ to keep up to date with our product launches and brand events.

          What was the inspiration behind Origho Lagos?

          The business is inspired by our African heritage and craftsmanship. I have always loved the different stories that emanate from ancient folklore and I thought it would be wonderful to integrate that in an authentic but new way through homeware.

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

          The name ÓRÌGHÒ Lagos is derived from my Itsekiri name Orighomisan which means “My head is good” in the native dialect.

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

          I believe there are individuals who want to own unique pieces of interior décor from Africa. Our craftsmanship is very well sought after all over the world. However, I believe we are still in the trial phase where we really need to get our brand out there and see what works. 

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

          True motivation is generally hard to come by these days especially because we live in a hyper visible era with most people posting about their ‘apparent’ successes but not showing the true hard work that goes on behind the scenes. To keep myself motivated I try to ignore the vanity metrics and re-enforce my personal ideology that great things take time to build. I understand that I have a purpose bigger than just me and it has to be fulfilled.

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

          I think the virtual art/NFT (Non-Fungible Token) space is a new but interesting sector to invest in.

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

          I don’t have a lot of tricks up my sleeve (wink) but I believe in listening to your body and recharging when you need to. I also think you should always reflect on the end goal to remind yourself ‘why’.

          Anita is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program scaling up Origho Lagos to keep on immortalising African heritage in people’s homes.

          HGCP 2021 Participants: Founder of Closer Adenike Bamigbade is all about the impact and value their products delivers to Nigerian women and girls

          I sat down with Adenike Bamigbade, the founder of Closer to get to know her and how she’s empowering women to take charge of their menstrual health.

          Tell us a little about yourself.

          I’m Adenike and I work in the social development space; so I guess you can call me a social worker. I work on ideas and solutions that solve critical issues that affect young people and women. I am working on three things at the moment; raising young anti-corruption champions, improving access to employment for youth and building a sustainable way to end period-poverty in Nigeria. 

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

          There are myriads of problems around us and this keeps my brain active. I am always asking; how do we solve these problems? Being an avid reader, I have read about how ordinary people create ideas that change the world, so this inspires me to keep creating, iterating and not give up trying to solve a problem I care about. 

          Period poverty is a real issue in our world, though the main problem is poverty. However, menstrual health should not be dependent on how rich a girl is, because she is only obeying nature’s call and it’s not her fault. I have seen lots of campaigns around period-poverty, but I feel most have short-impacts, we need to create a more sustainable solution to solve this big problem. This is purely what Closer is here to address, ensuring women and girls have access to good menstrual health. 

          What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

          Closer is a new business and I am overwhelmed by the acceptance everywhere I had the opportunity to talk about the idea. Working on the idea and seeing the idea come to life is my biggest achievement so far. We took our time to work on the product, identify the best suppliers and ensure the experience is great. For us at Closer, every subscriber is a real woman, and she matters to us dearly. For every profit on each Box of Closer, 10% is used to help a girl from disadvantaged home to be out of period poverty. The smile and excitement on the girl is one I can’t buy. Also, each girl writes a ‘thank you’ letter to each subscriber that donated towards her period box. 

          What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

          I enjoy the fact that I am adding value to people’s lives. Closer is all about our women and our girls. We are all about the impact and how valuable our products are to people’s lives, not the profit at all. As a business, we make profits, but the experience of our women and girls is fulfilling for me as the founder. 

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

          As a woman, you ought to be in charge of your menstrual health. Closer conveniently gives women access to the best-selected products specific to their menstrual needs through a subscription-based platform.

          A woman’s lifecycle is largely controlled by her reproductive health starting from puberty to menopause. She is an egg-bag and her dreams can be tied to how well she is able to manage her reproductive health. With Closer, we are providing access to organic sanitary pads, organic panty liners and very important products women need each month to be in control of their menstrual health. Closer wants more women and girls to show up whether the red-visitor is around or her belly is pumped with a baby or she is in her grey-old-days enjoying menopause. We deliver the appropriate intimate care kits women in each category need without any worry. 

          Where can people find out more about your business?

          At Closer, we want to take the stress off you every month. Start your subscription on our website at  www.closer.ng. We also want to be with you all month round, so ensure you subscribe to our mailing list where we unfold the little secrets women shy about.

          You can also connect with us on Social Media on Instagram.com/closerng, Facebook.com/closerng

          and Twitter.com/closerng

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

          Quality, quality, quality. At Closer, we work directly with suppliers who are producing quality products. Our sanitary pads are safer for you and the environment. Our bikini shavers are healthier alternatives. We don’t do normal, we go extra to ensure we provide quality products. 

          This has made us distinct. Also, we are in the big e-commerce health industry, but we narrow it down to menstrual health only. This is a niche with low penetration in Nigeria at the moment, the ocean is still blue here and Closer is positioning itself rightly in that niche. 

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

          Human resource in terms of getting the right people to work on the idea. This would have been easier if there was enough capital to pay people, but I am willing to allow the business to grow and pay people at our own capacity. I do not want to take the risk of paying more than the business is making at the moment. 

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

          Closer is a subscription business solving an important problem. It has the capacity to scale. With an investment funding of $1m, we will purchase more assets to aid logistics and distributions and also increase marketing budgets. With this investment, we can reach 1 million women per month and that means at least 100,000 girls will be out of period poverty every month. 

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

          Just start. I can be a perfectionist, so I always want everything to be perfect before I start. Launching Closer in March 2021 was not my ideal way of doing things but I obliged to the advice I got and I started. I noticed that I have learned so much from my customers than from the market research and survey I did in the past. So, I got real feedback which helped me tweak the products better. So, here is my advice to you as well, just start, it will get perfect along the way. 

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

          As entrepreneurs, we often create an idea that solves our own problem or someone we know. We then believe that other people are experiencing that same problem. When we are building a business brand, we make the mistake of creating a brand we love, not a brand that will appeal to our ideal customers. 

          So, I will recommend two things; research and feedback. First, research to understand if this problem is a common thing indeed and how people are already solving it. Also, research on who experience this problem, it is likely that those who experience it are not the ones that will pay for the solution. Also, ensure you get people to help you interpret the responses you get. Get your friends, people with different perspectives and get their insights. 

          Secondly, while you build, ask for feedback. Make feedback your food. Ask your customers to rate you, to share their experience and how they are using your product. Pay attention to the feedback and continue to tweak the products or services based on those feedback. 

          What business-related book has inspired you the most? (or, what is your favorite book) ?

          I love Peter Druker’s books on management. What I have realized having read his books is that ideas are common, but a great manager is rare. As entrepreneurs, we are managing a lot of things at the same time. We are managing our customers, our staff, our finance, our suppliers, our market, etc. Each has its own tactics and ways of dealing with it. Peter Drucker spent most of his life studying management and he has broken it down through his books. 

          Adenike is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program scaling up Closer to keep on changing the landscape of menstrual health for women in Nigeria.

          HGCP 2021 Participants: Titilayo Taiwo on co-founding Africa’s leading one-stop talent marketplace

          I sat down with Titilayo Taiwo, the founder and chief operating officer of Terawork.com to get to know her and how she co-founded Africa’s leading one-stop talent marketplace.

          Tell us a little about yourself.

          I’m Titilayo Taiwo, the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at TERAWORK.COM LIMITED. I oversee TERAWORK’s operations; strategic partnerships and I’m also involved in building exceptional teams and driving revenue.  

          I am a Biochemist turned Operations/Human Resources expert with over 10 years of experience that spans Wellness, Oil & Gas, Software Design & Development. I am also a partner and volunteer in various charity organizations. I’m passionate about youth empowerment and I’m very committed to building tools to help people work better together and more effectively. I also enjoy wining and dining with families and friends for relaxation.

          What is your ‘why’ i.e. bottom line? 

          My ‘why’ is all about the vision and the impact opportunity, I am doing my part by using digital technology to contribute towards solving the long age unemployment problem in Africa. My goal is to see freelancers on our platform earn billions of  dollars while helping millions of businesses of all sizes to grow and achieve their goals. I wake up everyday to ensure that TERAWORK grows into a company that has real impact on the lives of millions of African sellers and buyers. 

          On motivation I regularly review our goals and progress because I find that seeing progress is a great motivator in itself, and also goes a long way in improving my self-esteem.

          How has your entrepreneurship journey been so far?

          As a result of my hands-on experience, I’ve been featured on several entrepreneurship panels and master classes hosted by Enterprise Development Centre(EDC), Webtv, Churches, Schools etc. I was celebrated by Sterling Bank Plc alongside 5 other women nationwide during the International Women’s Day Celebration in February 2020, as a founder and a leader of a company that strives to give equal opportunities to women. I’m also in the 2021 Cohort of  AWS Activate Africa for Africa’s inspiring women start ups founders and leaders.

          What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

          I’ve never wanted to be an entrepreneur, let alone a serial one. But I absolutely love it now and would never trade it for another occupation. I love the freedom of being able to be wherever you want, with whomever you want, doing whatever you want to. It’s truly priceless.

          I love a constant challenge, and the endless opportunities to learn and grow one’s mind. I also love that as my business grows and becomes more successful, it has different challenges and needs that require me to adapt yet again and grow too.

          But for me the best part about being an entrepreneur is being in charge of your own destiny. When we’re born, we’re placed into a custody of our parents. Then our society. Schools. Corporations. Entrepreneurs get to break free and take control of their own lives. It’s exhilarating and rewarding.

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

          TERAWORK is a freelance marketplace that is helping small business owners by giving them the support and access to any competent talent they need to succeed. We provide businesses with on-demand affordable and quality freelancing services in legal, accounting, social media management, software development and 54 other service categories to grow. From the comfort of their homes and within a few hours, they can hire vetted on demand professionals which enables them to focus on building their businesses and save operational costs by 40%. Our Escrow system ensures that they don’t have to pay for substandard jobs any more. With TERAWORK value is guaranteed or you get your money back.

          You can learn more and sign up by visiting our website at https://www.terawork.com/.

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

          We did so by focusing on just one pain point – the hassle of hiring cost effective quality  talent. Our offering of on-demand quality and proven talent with an escrow system that  guarantees value or money back is unique.

          What would you say has been pivotal to your growth and success so far? 

          My growth mindset; my belief that skills are built, and that new abilities can be developed through practice and effort. I strongly believe in my capacity to learn and grow, and that my intelligence can be developed. I tend to persist in the face of setbacks, take on board and even invite feedback and find inspiration those around me. I see life as an endless opportunity to figure out new things and appreciate that failure is part and parcel of learning and progressing – it’s necessary and therefore not something to shy away from. I also understand that mastery of a skill takes persistence, practice and time.

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

          It’s actually a quote by Steve Jobs, ”Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you; the aircraft, vessels, etc. And you can change it, you can influence it…, once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again” 

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

          Learn to do less; the first step to dealing with this is to accept that you’ll never get it all done. I know that’s hard to accept and say, but it’s a reality. Once we acknowledge that, we feel less stressed because we have less resistance to trying to do it to all.

          Remind yourself every day that it’s not about getting more done. It’s about getting results that matter. “Do three things well, not ten things badly.” Then outsource, that is why we created TERAWORK!

          Titilayo is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program hard at work to grow TERAWORK into a global talent marketplace where value is always guaranteed.

          HGCP 2021 Participants: Bethel Bekee, the founder of Whip-Smart Service Providers Limited on working everyday to improve families.

          I sat down with Bethel Bekee, the founder of Whip-Smart Service Providers Limited to get to know her and find out more about her business.

          Tell us a little about yourself.

          I was born in River State and then I relocated to Lagos about 3 years ago. I am the last born of 5 siblings. I am very passionate about family because family is the basic unit of life and I have great affection for children. I love to travel, I love studying and enjoy cooking. I am the kind of person that jumps into every available opportunity and sometimes I create my own when I need to.

          I worked with international organizations for over 5 years before  I started my company Whip-smart Service Providers Limited.

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

          I’ve always been resilient and persistent, a go-getter. As soon as I graduated, I made sure that I became independent. I started working at a hospital where I would get referrals from consultants. I have had the privilege of working in one of the best pediatric hospitals in Abuja. It was such an amazing experience because my love for kids is just enormous. It was while I was working there that I got another referral to enter into the NGO space. It took about 2 years for me to finally take the bold step of resigning my good paying job where I was close to getting promoted to start my business. It was a tough decision but I am glad that I made it. 

          What is your ‘why’ i.e. bottom line?

          The fact that I’m helping families is so fulfilling, I am driven by the knowledge that I am helping young women to better themselves and families to thrive and groom their children into adults that will one day contribute positively to society. In my line of business, everyday you get to see a different version of yourself, and seeing a better version of myself everyday is one thing that motivates and drives me to go out there each day to conquer.

          Describe a typical day for you?

          I start my day by praying as soon as I wake up, then I’m ready to go. At the office I start by reviewing work from the previous day to ensure that tasks are completed as they should be. Once that’s done I look through my to-do-schedule made the previous night and ensure I carry on those activities diligently. 

          I show up every day motivated, and I reward myself for jobs completed. I like to surf the internet every day to learn something new. My work involves a lot of creative problem solving and leadership skills.

          After work, I go home where I take a little nap to rest before I begin planning for the next day. In the evenings I either read a book, watch tv, or take an online course before I sleep. 

          What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

          In 2017, I got two certifications from University of Washington, which was a big deal for me. I now also have certifications in sales and marketing.

          Starting up my company in 2018 was one of the bravest steps I ever took and one of my greatest achievements. In the last 3 years, we have served over 400 families and we’ve mentored over 400 staff and helped build their professional skills.

          I am also proud of the fact that I’ve built a strong team responsible for following up, staff management and supervision. We have developed better strategies to meet our weekly and monthly targets, and it’s been tremendously encouraging to meet those numbers. We’ve advocated for a number of domestic staff and have pretty much done everything possible to dignify the profession.

          What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

          My dad, he is an engineer whose job is dedicated to solving problems and improving lives on a daily basis. He has a great work ethic which I admire very much.  

          What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

          The best part of my job is client satisfaction, just seeing the gratitude and knowing that I did something that will change someone’s life for the best.

          My least favorite part are the endless activities that form part of the journey to client satisfaction. There are so many things that have  to be put in place for a customer to be satisfied. It is a tough task especially if you’re like me and you’re always striving to be the best at what you do. 

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

          Whip-Smart Service Providers Limited is a domestic staffing recruitment company. We help families and homes recruit skilled, experienced domestic staff and caregivers. We carry out  background checks and medical checks. We train, supervise and monitor our staff, then outsource them to clients in need. We offer our services for the least amount of money, and we do this by offering different packages for different clients. Our mission is to help our clients get the right help for their family.

          You can see more about us on our website at https://whip-smart.org.ng/ or like our Facebook Page.

          What would you say has been pivotal to your growth and success so far? 

          Consistency, remaining consistent makes all the difference. Every entrepreneur must stay consistent in their journey, they must be patient and resilient. Give your best everyday to your business and someday you will see your business grow and all your dreams come true.

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

          a) Critical thinking (b)  Customer service and C) Analytical problem solving skills

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

          You must realize that being a business owner can be a lonely journey. It is all about rocking the boat. You have to consistently and bravely go against the tide and take a risk, which is something a lot of people find very uncomfortable.

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

          UNLEARN, LEARN, RELEARN and KEEP ON LEARNING. That’s it.

          What business-related book has inspired you the most? 

          Any of the books by Richard Templar. He has written great books for entrepreneurs and they’ve changed my life tremendously.

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

          Cheer yourself up, pat yourself on the back and encourage yourself, then keep moving. Accept criticism as that will make you better. As an entrepreneur you must be selfless, don’t be greedy. Finally, appreciate your staff, every day. 

           

          Bethel is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program hard at work to ensure that WhipSmart Service Providers Ltd continues to make a difference in families on an even bigger scale.

          Whip-Smart Service Providers Limited

          “Small Businesses Matter”: Sparkle for Business Launches to Power Nigeria’s SMEs

          Sparkle Business

          Fact checks. Do you know that in Nigeria, SMEs contribute 48% to the National GDP? They also account for 96% of businesses in the country, as well 84% of employment. You would think with these numbers we would have more small businesses thriving, but the reverse (sigh) is the case.

          Apart from lacking access to basic services that will help their businesses grow, Small businesses are also challenged with making strategic decisions due to a lack of data for key insights into important issues that affect their business. Stuff like keeping records of your goods and services, managing your payroll and the people who work for you, making payments, and staying tax compliant are all things we need to stay on top of.

          Now imagine having a platform that helps you store necessary business data, calculate the necessary payments, invoices, taxes, and provides you information and insights at your fingertips? Using technology and data, this is designed so you can make better-informed decisions on how you can create great customer experiences, motivate your team, and manage and optimize your stock of products or services.

          We know these things matter to you, so let us tell you about Sparkle and their recently launched digital business management solution called Sparkle Business. Licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sparkle MFB is a digital bank, a lifestyle and financial ecosystem providing seamless solutions to individuals and SMEs by leveraging on technology and data. Sparkle is founded upon the values of trust, transparency, freedom, inclusivity, simplicity, and personalization. Sparkle is also deliberately focused on female-owned businesses and how Sparkle Business can provide necessary solutions for them to scale.

          Sparkle Business is way more than your regular business account. With small businesses in mind, now you can easily manage tasks like payroll management, tax management, inventory and invoicing, customer management, and much more, all taking place in the Sparkle app.

          So, what does this mean for you as a small business owner? You can know and manage all your customers. Avoid miscounts and stock loss. File tax deductions for your business and staff at the click of a button. Send invoices from the comfort of the Sparkle app, with the freedom to do much more.

          Interested like we are? Click IOS or Android to download the Sparkle app with the Sparkle Business update. Do not forget to share your experience with Sparkle Business with us and other small business owners. When you win, we all win. Keep leading!

           

          The free labour trap: Stop being a “yasss queen”

          Practising social distancing and working from home as a mother of a one-year old has meant I have to be intentional with taking the time to rest and making time to be present with my family.

          It has also allowed me to revisit some of the things which I’ve been meaning to do. You know, those things we hang on the ‘I will get to you when I have time’ shelf? Yup, things which we have been putting off for months now.

          With the increase in online activity filled with Microsoft Teams or Zoom meetings, it came as no surprise when every other day I would have a friend or an acquaintance texting me for feedback on their website or requesting tips for self-care regimens. It was always this or the other odd thing, which they have started taking on with all the free time we seem to have at our disposal.

          There is a super thin line between helping someone out because you’re homies and selling yourself short- Zimkhitha Mathunjwa Click To Tweet

          I don’t mind getting on a call so that you can pick my mind on an idea you would like to try out or give input on a concept you’re testing. I equally have no qualms about connecting or plugging you to a great resource base to make things happen for you.

          Where it gets a tad tricky is when I am asked to work on something and use my resources and expertise, without compensation. There is a super thin line between helping someone out because you’re homies and selling yourself short because of your ride or die ties.

          The issue with being a free labour ‘YAAAAAAS’ queen

          I am sure you’ve had acquaintances and colleagues asking you to proof-read their work and offer feedback on proposals or creative projects. Or friends who have asked you to work on their business plans or hustled you into a last-minute brainstorm sesh on their projects and because this is the sisterhood of the ‘each one help one’ mantra, we show up and shake it up.

          At what cost though, do we continue to tap dance to this thankless tune of free labour? If you’ve been here, you know that once you’re done, some don’t even have the inclination to acknowledge the time, expertise and resources that went into helping them. That is a post for another day entirely.

          This, however, is about how I have decided that my free labour has reached its quota. I am not available to perform these ad-hoc tasks unless I am getting paid for it. Sis, fatigue ain’t cute and I am not open to overextending myself any longer.

          Make ‘No’ your ultimate BFF

          We need to normalise handing out our rate card when asked to offer our expert advice or do work for friends and family. There is nothing wrong with this, we’re all trying to get our coins, Queens. Let’s not abuse each other’s generosity for self-gain, plus, it’s disrespectful.

          Not only will taking a stand on how you spend your time and allocate your resources ensure that you do not overextend yourself, but it will bring you peace of mind.

          A big part of self-care that we often overlook is knowing how to say no. No, is extremely liberating and it also makes sure that people do not take advantage of you.

          .

          I am not saying be selfish and not leverage off of each other’s knowledge and skills. These are the tenets on which sisterhood and community are built. We look out for each other and put one another on. What I am advocating for, is being self-FULL. Stop treating yourself like an afterthought, be intentional about prioritising yourself. Give yourself the respect which is due to you.

          Stop treating yourself like an afterthought, be intentional about prioritising yourself – Zimkhitha Mathunjwa Click To Tweet

          3 things to avoid going forward:

          1. Saying yes to a strategy and brainstorming session which will require research from you and will be resource-intense without compensation.
          2. Do not consult on a project or provide feedback for work that will be remunerated but you receive nothing.
          3. Say no to friends and family requests to do free work that you ordinarily get paid to do.

          Many won’t be happy with the decision I have taken to cut free labour. The beauty of this is that it isn’t about what people say, it is 100% about me. I will be happier for it; my relationships will be healthier as a result and my coins will stay popping. Surely, this is a good look! Remember that the work you do is important, and you are equally important.


          Want access to more resources and articles to get you ahead in your career? Visit SheLeadsAfrica.org!

          ScaleUp Africa Ignites A Global Growth Movement For Black Enterprises

          Press Release

          ScaleUp Africa organised one of the biggest diaspora targeted entrepreneurship events in August 2020 attracting Entrepreneurs, Business Growth Experts, Investors, Creative Artistes and Innovators from North America, The Caribbean, Europe and across Africa. 

          According to Einstein Ntim, the CEO of Global StartUp Ecosystem, main sponsors of ScaleUp Africa’s Festival, ”ScaleUp Africa has truly set the bar for curating an impactful international convening of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. We just witnessed a powerful, well-organised Africa-focused virtual business event and we’re very proud to have been able to sponsor such a historic event.”

          With over 40 Virtual Panels, Workshops, Interviews, Presentations and Artiste Performances featuring seasoned experts from a wide range of fields, the Festival put the spotlight on bottom-up Policy Frameworks, Tech, Agriculture and Creative industry opportunities as well as business insights from African music labels, artistes and professionals from around the world. 

          On The Role of Corporations: 

          African Angel Investment veteran, Tomi Davies of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN) said: ”Corporations must understand that one of the best ways to innovate is to tap into the early stage entrepreneurial ecosystem. This is not to be viewed as old fashioned CSR or Charity. Engaging with and supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem should be viewed as an integral part of Innovation, R&D and overall Strategy.” 

          Joe Mensah, former President of the American Chamber of Commerce, Ghana and Country Director of KOSMOS Energy said,”We must all lend a hand to support this effort and encourage more boards to report on entrepreneurship and innovation programmes as part of their Environmental, Social and Governance metrics.”

          For Amma Gyampo, the Co-Founder ScaleUp Africa, a women-led entrepreneurship advisory and business support firm based in Accra, Ghana and the conveners of this event, the message is simple: “Let’s build up the trust, systems and partnerships required to grow stronger, profitable, job-creating businesses while delivering on social impact.

          “There’s an entire community of entrepreneurial leaders that have built world-class talent, tech and solutions but it’s important to connect them to distribution channel opportunities that governments and corporations hold the keys to. Even investors are innovating to boost the growth and performance prospects of this community. This ecosystem has so much value, data, insights, new business models and potential solutions to offer. We facilitate deeper engagement with corporations, foundations and DFIs to promote the growth of our most cutting edge small businesses.”

          ScaleUp Africa: A New Breed Of Black & African Business Leaders

          The Festival attracted over 3000 registered attendees and streaming viewers including active Investors that shared their insights about their current deals in Africa during the Pandemic. In attendance were a number of leaders and influencers from the African creative sector and Black entrepreneurship ecosystems from countries including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, Nigeria, Mauritius, South Africa, UK, Canada, USA.

          Attendees were encouraged to study macro-trends like digitalisation, self-reliant agriculture, tech and industrialisation as a way to boost their chances of growth and sustainable business success.  There was also an emphasis on building profitable businesses from the start and promoting venture investor community building to improve access to funding for Black founders globally.

          International venture investors that were present at the event included Maya Horgan Famodu, Eric Osiakwan and Rodney Sampson.

          Global brands, affiliates and personalities in attendance were Fuse ODG, Paul C Brunson, Chocolate City, Afropolitan, Ubiquitous Games, RocNation, Afrochella, OHUB, Africa Business Angel Network (ABAN), IFFAC (Roberta Annan), The Adinkra Group, Year of Return, Africa 2.0, The Office of The President of Ghana (Diaspora Affairs), The Tony Elumelu Foundation (Parminder Vir, former CEO) and GUBA (Dentaa Amoateng MBE) among others.

          Support organisations like ScaleUp Africa play an important part in the global, African and Diaspora conversation around bridging the racial wealth gap and the need to provide better, longer term support for Black and African Entrepreneurs. 

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