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

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

Tell us a little about yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

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

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

Introduce your company the way you would to a potential customer

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

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

We provide free accommodation, mentorship, and internship opportunities.

Where can people find out more about your business?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It would be on THE GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT THROUGH HANDWORK.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HGCP 2021 Participants: Executive Director of the Centre for Population Health Initiatives (CPHI), Elizabeth Shoyemi discusses how CPHI serves marginalized and underserved communities by providing for their sexual and reproductive health needs

I sat down with the Executive Director of the Centre for Population Health Initiatives (CPHI), Elizabeth Shoyemi to get to know her and the inspiration behind CPHI.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Elizabeth Shoyemi. I am the Executive Director of the Centre for Population Health Initiatives (CPHI), a non-governmental, non-profit organization that caters to the sexual and reproductive health needs of Nigeria’s underserved and marginalized populations. 

I am a Public Health Professional; I obtained my Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology from the University of Calabar, Nigeria, Master’s of Science in Public health from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and currently studying at Nexford University for a Master’s in Business Administration. 

I have over ten years of experience in the non-profit sector. I worked with the Population Council, DeltaWomen NGO, and the Nigeria Youth Aid Programme. I have also volunteered with the Society for Family Health and Youth Empowerment Foundation. At CPHI, I lead a diverse team of health care professionals creating positive impacts in the health sector.

I am from Akwa Ibom state, and I live in Lagos State, Nigeria. I am a mother of two children.  I am committed to saving living lives and ensuring that a healthy society is achieved. 

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

My biggest achievement is the birth of CPHI, and being part of the growth process.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

In my spare time,  enjoy watching movies, particularly drama and travelling to new places. 

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

My favorite part of being an entrepreneur is creating innovative solutions that enable me to feed my passion of saving people’s lives. 

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

The Centre for Population Health Initiatives is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that uses multi-dimensional approaches to meet underserved communities’ sexual and reproductive health needs. It was established in 2020 and has reached over 30,000 with sexual and reproductive health interventions.

CPHI provides clinical and community-based services ranging from prevention, screening, and treatment for various sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. In addition, we provide vaccination for Hepatitis B, mental health support, cervical cancer screening and treatment, family planning services, and general wellbeing.

Our clinics are located in Lagos and Rivers states. These clinics also serve as hubs for research, safe spaces for social activities, and capacity-building activities. All our services are provided at no cost to the client; we operate weekend and after-hours services. We also have a web application for appointments.

Where can people find out more about CPHI?

You can learn more about us on our website at https://cphinigeria.org. If you’d like to book an appointment for our services, you can do so through our web application at https://posha24.com/

You can also connect with us on social media. We are on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/cphi_24/, on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/cphi.lagos and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/centre-for-population-health-initiatives/mycompany/?viewAsMember=true.

You can also reach out to me (Elizabeth) directly on WhatsApp at +2348062952246, or connect with me on  LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabeth-shoyemi-17508a40/, on Facebook at https://web.facebook.com/elizabeth.asuquo and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/elizabethshoyemi/.

You can also get hold of me on email at eshoyemi@cphinigeria.org 

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

CPHI is known to reach the underserved communities, including sex workers, LGBTQI, people who use drugs, adolescents, hard-to-reach young girls, and women. These populations face daily stigma and discrimination in various forms, and they are usually left out during program design interventions. CPHI acknowledges the sexual and reproductive health issues they face, which poses a public health challenge, hence the need to address them through innovative solutions. Our services are specialized, client-centered, zero cost, and hitch-free. 

What has been a make or break moment in your entrepreneurial journey?

Being in the non-profit sector where I solely depend on funding and grants, my make moments are moments I receive a “Yes” to a submitted grant application, and my break moments are the periods I receive a rejection mail. The make moments reassure me of the future, while my break moments remind me to keep pushing and be a better version next time. 

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

I have expanded the scope of services through partnerships and secured funding to sustain the service provision and the organization for at least two years. 

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

As an entrepreneur, you must have good communication skills, negotiation skills, and Problem-solving skills.

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

Be open-minded, make learning part of your lifestyle, and focus on how to grow your business, not your competitors. Rather than focusing on your competitors, conduct research and focus on creating your own unique selling point. 

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

I have discovered that networking is essential. It’s not enough to gather contacts but to ensure that you have active connections with the contacts. Setting short-term and long-term goals ranging from personal, family, and business to work towards it through daily tasks and to-dos is key for success. The management of the business can be overwhelming; creating time for self-care and learning is vital. 

What business-related book has inspired you the most? 

Silences in NGO Discourse: The role and future of NGOs in Africa by Issa Shivji and The Third sector: Community organizations, NGOs, and non-profit by Meghan Kallman.

Elizabeth is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program to grow herself and prepare CPHI to grow to new heights

HGCP 2021 Participants: Founder of Disney Foods NG Omolara Olayinka Lawrence talk about her passion to help people live healthier lives, and to help women and youths become better versions of themselves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

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

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

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

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

What was the inspiration behind DISNEY FOODS NG?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What business-related book has inspired you the most? 

The Enemy Called Average by John Mason

 

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

Disney Foods Nigeria

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: 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

          FACEBOOK LIVE WITH JUDITH OWIGAR: HOW I BUILT MY BUSINESS TO DRIVE SOCIAL CHANGE (AUG 22)

          What impact does your business have in your community?

          It’s no news that companies take Corporate Social Responsibility very seriously. It’s like a magic door that opens up more opportunities and this is why. The world is ever-changing and businesses are looking for more ways to connect with their customers.

          As a BOSS Lady, beyond making the $$$, you need to look at the bigger picture on how you can create a positive change in your community.

          Listen To Me Hello GIF by Swing Left

          Firstly, when your business is seen making an impact, it shows that you have an interest in social issues which will help raise your company profile, attract new customers and/or identify new opportunities.

          Ain’t that the goal?

          Get your business to impact your community and make a difference with these tips from @owigarj, founder of JuaKali Workforce on August 22nd at 12PM WAT! Click here for more: bit.ly/judithowigar Click To Tweet

          Remember, being socially responsible is good for the bottom line.

          If you want to learn how to create, craft and manage social change strategies, join us on Thursday, August 22nd, for a Facebook Live with Judith Owigar, founder of JuaKali Workforce, who’ll be dishing out tips to help your business aim for change.

          Some of the topics we’ll cover:

          • How to discover what social issues are most relevant to you and your community.
          • 5 different ways your business can create a positive social change while you make profit.
          • Finding purpose and grit in social projects.
          • Impact vs Sustainability.

          Facebook LIVE details:

          Date: Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

          Time: 12PM Lagos // 1PM Joburg// 2PM Nairobi

          Watch Facebook Live with Judith:

          Facebook Live with Judith Owigar – How I built my business to drive social change

          She Leads Africa Facebook Live with Judith Owigar, founder of @JukailaWorkforce, shares her experience on how she built a business that is impacting communities in Kenya. Join the She Leads Africa community by visiting bit.ly/WelcomeToSLA

          Posted by She Leads Africa on Thursday, August 22, 2019

          About Judith

          Judith Owigar is passionate about initiatives involving youth, women and all things technology. With a Masters in Applied Computing from the University of Nairobi, she’s the founder JuaKali Workforce, an online micro-jobs platform that connects young people to short term jobs in Kenya’s informal sector.

          In 2015, Judith shared a panel with President Barack Obama of the U. S. and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. She is a 2015 East African Acumen Fellow and a 2014 international Focus fellow.

          She has been named as one of the Top 40 under 40 women by the Business Daily newspaper in Kenya and has been recognized with the Anita Borg Change Agent Award by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.