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Tolu Adelowo Chief Growth Officer of Cousant Connect

Very few Nigerians will leave the United Kingdom where they are comfortably paid for their jobs to and come to Nigeria to start a company in Nigeria. Tolu Adelowo is one of the few Nigerians in this category. Tolu is the Founder & Chief Growth Officer at Cousant Connect. InterviewStories had a session with Tolu Adelowo where he talked about how he started the journey and what he hopes to achieve with Cousant in the future.

Who is Tolu Adelowo?

Hmm… This is a difficult question to answer. I guess at any point in time, I feel both successful and also feel like a failure. I am probably intelligent and also probably very stupid. I am both confident and insecure. Essentially, I am constantly evolving as I learn about the world around me. I believe evolution is key to being successful in life.

One thing that’s constant though, is that there is this internal restlessness within me. This pushes me to keep achieving and keep asking what’s next. It is also a trait that worries me though because it means I am never satisfied or content. There will always be something more I can try to achieve.

Your professional journey.

Soon after graduating from university, I started with Accenture in the UK as a business and technology consultant. This was my first job out of university, and I really hated it. Maybe it was just me or maybe it was the nature of the projects I found myself, on but I never got the sense my work was contributing to a bigger goal or objective.

Tolu Adelowo a software developer
Tolu Adelowo a software developer

After I left consulting, I worked as a software engineer at a financial investment company in the UK which I enjoyed a lot. The nature of software development is that writing code and seeing it work gives you that sense of achievement that I crave in any job. I enjoyed my time as a software developer, and I knew my future would revolve around technology from then on.

After a few years as a software developer, I got restless again but this time around I wanted to try my hands on something bigger. This led me into entrepreneurship and was the trigger to me starting Cousant.

Is Cousant a startup or a company?

Every startup is a company so I guess we are both. But I would say we are still more of a startup than an established firm. If we keep thinking of ourselves as a startup, then it will keep us hungry and never get us to that place where we become complacent.

What is Cousant Connect about?

Cousant Connect is a specialized recruitment and outsourcing platform that connects employers to great technology staff. Cousant Connect is actually a product of evolution. Cousant started off as a software development agency building software for banking and financial institutions. However, finding and retaining technology professionals was always and still remains a challenge.

It always made sense to me that if there was a dedicated platform for finding technology professionals, then the job of finding good technology staff would be easier.

We never came across such a platform and so we decided to do it for ourselves. Given the early success of the recruitment business, we decided to slowly diversify away from our software development agency business and concentrate on technology recruitment.

Why should people join Cousant Academy?

In any game of football, it is safe to assume that the most successful players are those that know how to time their movement to where the ball would be. If we use football as an analogy for the IT Jobs Market, then the most successful IT job seekers would be those that can learn the right technical skills just in time for when employers need those skills.

However, without the right information, how would students/graduates know what skill sets to learn or which skillsets employers need? With Cousant Academy, our promise is that we will only train on those skill sets that are in high demand by employers. We use data from our recruitment business to create relevant and timely courses that helps participants learn those skills that will land them jobs.

What problems do you face in the daily running of Cousant?

A major problem we face as a business is late/non-payment of invoices by clients. It affects cash flow and hinders how fast we can move as a company. Invoice recovery is now, unfortunately, a core activity for our business and it is puzzling to me why this has to be.

Another problem we face is how to properly sense new opportunities in the marketplace. Our clients will always have problems that need to be solved but how do we properly structure the company to ensure we are hearing about these opportunities to solve client problems. Without being able to sense new opportunities, our business is not likely to last very long.

How would you describe the software industry in Nigeria, owing to your experience?

I believe the software industry in Nigeria is still in its infancy and there are still loads of opportunities. However, the opportunities are not in the obvious segments people think. For example, I don’t believe there are many sustainable opportunities for software practitioners to develop software from scratch to meet client needs. There are too many foreign alternatives that already meet these needs and we just don’t have the infrastructure and expertise to compete internationally.

However, there are huge opportunities for customization and localization of foreign software to the local market. Because of the huge infrastructure gap in Nigeria, many companies do not have standardized operations and as such standardized software from western markets will not fully meet their needs. This is a big opportunity for software practitioners.

Aside from running Cousant, do you work anywhere else?

No, I don’t work anywhere else. I believe focus is a fundamental ingredient for success

As an entrepreneur, what criteria do you look out for when selecting your team or staff members?

Attitude and resourcefulness. With those 2 traits, you can take over the world.

Having been on both sides, which would you say is better: Been employed or running your own business?

Statistically, you are more likely to live a more fulfilled and happier life as an employee. Statistically, you are more likely to fail and end up in debt or depression as an entrepreneur. It seems to me that being employed is a sure path to a happier life.

However, because Nigeria is fundamentally a poor country with an extremely high population, there is just not enough money to go around and so employees will always be underpaid until we become a rich country. However, an entrepreneur does stand a better chance of being wildly successful in monetary terms.

So my advice is simple. If you are single, run a side business alongside your job (as long as it does not take focus away from your job). If you are married, one person should be in full employment and the other in entrepreneurship. It is the best way to even the odds.

How did you raise funds to establish the company?

Cousant has been bootstrapped from day one. It is certainly the more difficult path to take but if investors don’t show up, you find a way to keep moving.

Are social connections important to the growth of a business?

Social connections are everything to a business. Every business operates in a particular market. A market can be defined as the network of relationships between buyers, governments, sellers, competitors, regulators, media, institutions, associations etc.

The businesses that are able to build strong connections within such a complex network of relationships are more likely to be successful. In fact, I dare say it is more important than the product itself sometimes.

In your option, how friendly are the Nigerian investment community to startups and small businesses?

It is a known fact that Nigerian investors are extremely wary of startups and small businesses. Small business in Nigeria faces many external threats that are powerful enough to sink any company in its infancy.

Having experienced these threats firsthand, I really do understand why Nigerian investors need to be wary. It is far more normal for small businesses to fail than to succeed. So investors have to do their very best to protect themselves and that may mean passing up on many opportunities to invest in startups.

However Nigerian investors do get it wrong a lot of times and therefore, their approval or rejection should never be seen as an indicator of the viability of your business. Everyone is just trying to make the right choices with limited information and limited resources.

Your advice to upcoming entrepreneurs.

I once took part in a game with a group of people where we were split into teams and each team was given a deck of A4 paper to use to build the tallest standing tower possible. Some teams were also given paper clips while some other teams also got staplers to help with their construction. Some other teams only received the deck of paper.

Interestingly, one of the winning teams that built the tallest standing tower was the team that only received the deck of paper without any accompanying materials.

The moral of the story – It is not about the resources you have but how you use your resources to build a successful business…

RealtorBaruwa

Numerous individuals are frightened of wandering into Real Estate business in Nigeria. This might be a result of the way that it is capital serious, the learning and data required to wander into it is a very much guided mystery to those in the Real Estate business. Loss of lives and properties while participating in the business is something that is areal hazard in the business in Nigeria. Likewise, numerous individuals are terrified of being cheated or as it is known being misled by the Omo Onile’s. We met a Realtor who happens to profit in this industry authentically. Baruwa Ibrahim happens to be somebody who knows a considerable amount about the business and he educates us concerning how he came to be known as Realtor Baruwa. His adoration for land caused him to procure this name. The Interview we at InterviewStories had with him goes beneath.

Who is Baruwa Ibrahim?

Baruwa Ibrahim is a goal driven person who is passionate about success and also impacting into the world. I am a property investment consultant, I help millennials, the working class and also high net worth individuals acquire genuine properties with high capital appreciation in appreciable locations.

Baruwa \ibrahimam also the CEO of Right Properties Nigeria. I consult for Novarick Homes and Properties, the developers of the first Solar powered estate in Lagos(Earls Court), Landwey, Veritasi Homes and Properties, Christal Homes e.t.c I also do digital and content marketing for startups and established entrepreneurs.

How and when did you start your venture as a real estate consultant?

A neighbour (Mrs Chioma) introduced me to a real estate marketing group (Billionaire Realtors Group) in 2015, they partner with several reputable real estate companies in Nigeria to help them sell their properties to potential investors. I made my research on the industry and later fell in love with it not because of the commission but because I will be involved in the process of making people’s dreams come true and also using my expertise to make the property acquisition process hassle-free.

When did you start being Realtor Baruwa?

The name realtor Baruwa came when I found my love and passion for real estate. During the course of my research, I discovered that a realtor is a person who simplifies the process of buying properties for the buyer which is my value proposition. And also since been popularly known as Baruwa, I decided to coin the name for myself Realtor Baruwa.

How does one get involved in the real estate business in Nigeria?

There are various ways one can venture into the real estate business.
You can be a developer i.e companies/individuals that develop real estate or a real estate consultant like me, helping interested buyers acquire genuine properties.

Another way is being an investor, whereby you purchase a property either for passive income or capital growth. Advanced ways like REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) also exists. I have a lot of articles addressing this topic on my website realtorbaruwa.com.ng.

Is it not expensive to venture into real estate consultancy?

I won’t say it is expensive, basically, as a real estate consultant, you need to invest time and money in gaining knowledge about the industry and also basic marketing skills.

A lot of seminars are being organized to train people to be a good real estate consultant. Some paid, some free. You can start small with less capital intensive marketing campaigns and attending free seminars. Then as your revenue increases, you can opt in for both paid seminars and adopt large reach campaigns.

Which do your customers do more, either own the property you sell to them or resell it as a means of passive income?

Due to the large housing deficit in Nigeria, customers are subscribing to own a home than buying rental properties for passive income. People now prefer to own their home than to rent even if it is within a rural community.

How do we know that your business is not fake?

Realtor Baruwa partners with reputable companies in Nigeria which are registered with the government. Eliminating the fears of buying properties with bad titles, litigations and other encumbrances. Right Properties is a consulting agency that connects the potential investors with these companies and financial transactions are between these two parties.

Ibrahim Baruwa is a Nigerian Realtor
Meet Realtor Baruwa

What tips do you have to first-time property buyers?

They should be on the lookout for two vital things. Which are location and the genuineness of the property they intend to purchase? Proper property search should be done to ascertain whether the property is owned by the seller and also if the title documents are not fake. In the case of investment property, they should investigate if the property has the potentials of value appreciation in a short time.

How much is the least one can have to buy a property?

It depends on the location. My farm area are all metropolitan areas ie areas with projected growth. Lands sell for as low as four hundred and fifty thousand naira(₦450, 000) in Sterling Courts located in Agboowa, Ikorodu, Lagos. In Ogun, Silverton Gardens Simawa sells for seven hundred thousand naira (₦700, 000).

Do you sell land in different states of Nigeria or you have some selected states?

My farm areas are Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ibadan, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Calabar. I also sell for some real estate companies in Dubai. The likes of Azizi, Damac and Vincintoire. A farm area is where/ the location a realtor operates.

What do you stand to gain from being a real estate dealer?

Real estate is a very lucrative business in Nigeria. Everybody in the chain of distribution gets their own share of this wonderful investment vehicle. From the developers to the investors and also we the middlemen are not left out.

Apart from the area of revenues, incentives and emoluments, you also get to build your confidence. Honesty and Integrity are two important traits you must have as a real estate consultant, it will really make you thrive in the industry.

What are the risks that you take as a real estate dealer?

The risk associated with being a real estate dealer includes selling a property with encumbrance to an investor and this can be avoided by doing due diligence on that property which means ascertaining that the seller has the right to sell ie a rightful owner and also that the property has good title documents.

Realtor Baruwa at an event
Ibrahim Baruwa at an event

How do more than one person collaborate to buy a property?

This alternative way of asset financing is also referred to as joint venture or Syndication. A real estate joint venture(JV) is a deal between multiple parties to work together and compile resources to develop a real estate project. The key aspects that must be addressed before a JV agreement includes; the distribution of profits among the parties, capital contribution, management and control and also exit mechanism.

Why should people patronize Realtor Baruwa?

Realtor Baruwa delivers a world-class service in securing legitimate properties to potential investors and other interested individuals. I prioritize customer satisfaction and value delivery in all transactions.

Do you buy the land from Omo Onile?

Most of the properties I do market are owned by reputable real estate companies in Nigeria and not Omo Onile.

What problems have you encountered as a real estate dealer/consultant?

The major problem is potential investors, not having trust in you as a realtor. I won’t say it is their fault, probably they have been swindled before or heard stories of how people have been defrauded by unscrupulous real estate agents.

Thanks to the Nigerian government for promulgating laws that deals with any fraudulent land transactions and they are now stringent penalties for defaulters. That’s the main reason I market properties owned by real estate companies and if I want to sell for individuals, I would have done my due diligence.

Real estate education also is very low among potential investors as they disregard the investment opportunities in developing areas with the notions that these areas are not developed yet, waterlogged and have no prospects of development. I wrote an article on Land banking which has been an investment strategy most real estate billionaires around the world have been using.

How can students be involved in Real Estate?

Everybody wants something good, everybody wants real estate.
The main limiting factor is finance and it is more prominent among student as they don’t have a stable source of income that can finance a real estate investment.

Although, there are alternative options to finance the investment. The first one is syndication and it is an effective way for investors to pool their financial and intellectual resources to invest in properties than they could afford or manage on their own.

Real estate Wholesaling is another alternative option of financing. This is done by helping real estate companies market their properties to thier networks in exchange for a commission. The proceeds gotten from this will then be channelled into buying an investment property. A sales commission can either enable you the means to pay in instalments or outrightly depending on the volume of sales and property type.

What are the services you provide for prospective buyers that other realtors do not provide?

What sets me aside from other real estate consultants is that I take my time to align my client’s interest to an investment property. For example, a client might be interested in passive income over capital growth. I will advise this client to purchase a rental residential or commercial property rather than buying landed properties. I also provide and recommend educational materials to my clients to see them through a successful investment sojourn.

Do you accept cash or bank transfer for your transactions?

The financial transaction is done between the real estate company and the investor. And these companies have their banks accounts interested buyers pay into after filling the subscription form.

Have you committed any error that was hard to rectify since you started being a real estate dealer?

I will say no because as a professional you have to make smart decisions.
Not that I haven’t committed any error before, but not the ones that are hard to rectify.

What advice do you have to people with trust issues about real estate in Nigeria?

It is good to have trust issues with a venture you do not know much about.
That’s why I always advocate for real estate education. I do that a lot on my social media handles and website. It is hard to fall victim to fraudsters and other bad outcomes of real estate investment if one is well informed. Working with tested and trusted professionals can also mitigate the risk of loss of investment.

What should all prospective buyers consider before thinking of buying a property?

The first factor they should consider is the location. Location is very essential to every real estate investment because it is the factor that will determine whether your intended investment strategy will thrive or not. Let’s say you are planning to reside in a property with your family, you have to consider if the location has a good school district, recreational places, supermarkets and also of it is accessible.


Another factor to consider is the budget. Can they afford the investment property, if not do they have access to mortgage or other alternative financing options?

Have you ever had to deal with legal issues before?

No, I haven’t. Once you are doing your due diligence as a real estate consultant, there won’t be any legal issues. Even if it erupts, the verdict will be in your favour.

What advice do you have for finalist in tertiary institutions?

As final year students, they should all be thinking of their future and working towards being a 21st-century graduate. They should take an interest in developing vital soft skills, time management and interpersonal skills and also network with industry leaders.

What advice do you have for other students?

I started real estate consulting when I was in 300 level and I can say the skills and networks I have acquired have been helpful. They can also start very early so that by the time they graduate, they are valuable to the labour market. They can invest in Real Estate. If they don’t have access to personal financing, they can access the alternative financing option I talked about earlier. Syndication and real estate wholesaling.

What skills do you have that made it easy for you to manage your business effectively?

Content Marketing and Digital Marketing skills. These are vital skills every entrepreneur of the modern age most have. The world is online, your target market is online. How do you intend to reach them if you aren’t? Other skills I have include sales and prospecting skills.

What skills are you thinking of acquiring to improve your skills?

Basic financial skills like bookkeeping and also managerial skills.

Do you think every successful person needs to participate in politics?

No, we have people that are not in politics that are impacting the world with their philanthropic and innovative activities. So many foundations, academy and NGOs are coming up every day.

How can people acquire funds for their startup?

There are different methods to fund startups. If you can’t bootstrap, approach venture capitalist and angel investors. There are also many grants and funding opportunities online. Prepare your pitch deck and business plan and access those channels

What do you think is the greatest problem that entrepreneurs have?

I will say enabling environment. The business environment in Nigeria is not conducive for entrepreneurs. I will advise the government to pass bills that will create an enabling and conducive environment for entrepreneurs to thrive in.

Do you think every business must have a strong online presence?

Yes. The world is online and almost everybody has a smartphone.
You can reach your target market online either via organic reach or promoted campaigns.

What do you think the government needs to do to encourage more entrepreneurs in society?

Helping entrepreneurs start and thrive is a win-win situation for the government. Local businesses help support the tax base through businesses taxes and through the wages provided to employees. The possibility of workforce expansion and economic growth increases with more entrepreneurs in the country.

How can we contact you?

People can contact via phone /WhatsApp +2347087389600 and also via email – info@realtobaruwa.com.ng, rightpropertiesng@gmail.com

Website is
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Woleth Enterprise CEO

Ihieri Michael Uchenna, the CEO and founder of Woleth Enterprise is on a mission to motivate startups in Nigeria. He believes that budding entrepreneurs need to observe the successful entrepreneurs in other to survive and thrive. His startup Woleth Magazine which is said to debut in June 2019, is a magazine meant for inspiring and motivating youths to indulge in entreprenuership by revealing the pros and cons of it. InterviewStories was able to get across to this change maker and he talks about his entrepreneurship journey, how he started and what made him to stand out to create Woleth Consulting.

Can we know you?

I am Ihieri Michael Uchenna. CEO and founder of Woleth Enterprise. I am from Imo state. I am from a family of five.

Were you an entrepreneur during your school days?

Yes… Its always been something I love doing. I started a campus magazine in my second year at school and in my final year at the University of Lagos, I started a campus cinema.

Can you tell us more about those ventures?

The campus magazine was known as Stoosh magazine, it didn’t really get much acceptance and crashed really early due to the cost of printing a magazine that was given off freely. Spade cinemas, however, created much buzz, I had partnered up with a marketing brand in school and we really put a lot of work into it. But I received a call from the school dean of student affairs prompting that the movie shows should stop. That was how those ventures died.

Ihieri Michael Uchenna, a graduate of Psychology
Ihieri Michael Uchenna started Spade Cinema in his Final Years At University of Lagos

Were those ventures profitable?

No, I made huge losses on every venture. But I was doing what i loved and that was enough to keep me going.

Does that not mean that you should stop venturing into business?

Being an entrepreneur means you are tasked with both taking risks and running a business. One can always learn how to run a business from experience or from others. I believe I’ve learned a lot from experience.

What mistakes did you make that made those ventures to be unprofitable?

I paid for things I should have gotten for free. Experience teaches you a lot. There are so many things I paid money for which I would have gotten freely. Although making profits wasn’t the apex of why I ventured into the business in the first place, losing money was no way to sustain the business.

Did you start Woleth Enterprise after school?

Yes, I did. A few months after graduating, I decided to start working on Woleth. It was difficult but interesting all the way.

Ihieri Michael
Michael started Woleth Enterprise after his graduation from Univversity of Lagos

What do you do at Woleth Enterprise?

Woleth is an investment company. We engage in various startup projects and invest in other startup establishments. It is presently 1 year old. We have developed Woleth consulting and are working towards our next engagement which is Woleth magazine. However we have not made any significant investment in another start-up, we would begin doing that soon

What type of investment does Woleth Enterprise do?

Permit me to keep details of that to myself for now. We would start the external investments next year. There are still a lot of work to be done internally, we want to strengthen those areas first

Tell us about Woleth Consulting?

Woleth consulting provides customer feedback on the client’s marketing content and strategy. We also advise clients on the best strategy to fix lapses in their campaign. Woleth enterprise is a registered company operating two startups. Woleth consulting and Woleth magazine.

Is Woleth Consulting is profitable?

So far, we are doing well.

How are you able to get customer’s feedback on the client’s marketing content and strategy?

We conduct detailed research getting our respondents from the potential customer population

What makes Woleth consulting standout?

To us, it is all about our client. Their success is what we value the most and we show this to them each time. We also, support the smaller brands that join our community for free

Do you have partnerships with other big companies?

No. Our brand’s mission is to support startups with the marketing support they need to grow and that is what we are doing.

Do you plan to partner with these big companies in the future?

Woleth consulting has no plans for that.

What future plans does Woleth Consulting have?

There are great plans to broaden the reach of Woleth consulting. I can however not reveal the details for now. We plan on doing an event to expose the future plans of the venture

Tell us about the other startup at Woleth Enterprise?

The latest is Woleth magazine set to launch this June. The aim of Woleth magazine is to inspire and motivate youths to indulge in entrepreneurship by revealing the fun, luxury, challenges, successes and recognition associated with entrepreneurship.

Does that mean Woleth magazine is a means of promoting your clients in Woleth consulting?

No. It’s not just about showcasing startups for Woleth magazine. It is about motivating startups, And for that budding entrepreneurs need to observe the successful entrepreneurs

What made you start Woleth magazine?

There’s so much publicity for entertainment. Very little for entrepreneurship. As I work towards being an agent for positive change in Nigeria, it is clear that an avenue to publicize startups is needed. So I had to embark on the project.

Ihieri Michael
Innovative Michael

What should we be expecting from Woleth magazine?

Expect interesting stories, interviews from successful entrepreneurs, several analysis and so much more. It will be available in print and Pdf. The print version will be available for order on our website and newsstands Nationwide while the Pdf will be available for free downloads on our website.

Any major distributors to get the magazine from?

We are still working on those areas. The print magazine will be available in all states of Nigeria for now. You can also order a copy on our website. We are also making arrangements with a popular supermarket to have our magazine on their newsstand nationwide. I would refrain from mentioning names until we have come to an agreement. We plan to cover everywhere

What makes Michael unique as an entrepreneur?

I like to think I am innovative. Creating new ventures is a hobby.

Where should we expect to see Woleth Enterprise in the next two years?

We aim to be the foremost startup support company in Nigeria by then.

Chika Nwaogu

Not many people can be serial entrepreneurs in Nigeria. While many music artists are only good at music, very few do things that are also hot like programming. We met Chika Nwaogu twin brother of Chidi Nwaogu, a gospel artist who is also Guinness World Record holder for “the longest officially released song” and also a change maker. InterviewStories had an interview with Chika Nwaogu and he talked about Playfre, Africa’s first real answer to Spotify that can bring over 45 million songs to Africans at no charge.

Can we meet you?

I am Chika Nwaogu and I am an internet entrepreneur, computer programmer, gospel singer, record producer, Guinness World Record holder for “the longest officially released song”, Keynote speaker at the IT leaders West African summit, Wazobia gospel artiste of the week, and a Top Naija music awards nominee.

You are well known as a programmer, what else do you do?

Actually I will say that isn’t entirely true. A good number of people don’t even know I am a geek, they only know me as that gospel singer that broke the Guinness world record last year. To answer your question, apart from being a computer programmer, I am a singer, a songwriter and a record producer.

Playfre CEO Chika Nwaogu
Chika Nwaogu A Gospel Singer

How long have you been an entrepreneur?

Since the age of 16, so I will say 13 years ago. I began building internet companies at 16 with the creation of my now-defunct video game company; 9ja Boi Interactive, which I co-founded with my twin brother.

Can you tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey.

It first began with developing video games. The first video game I developed was with my twin, and it was titled “Save the Admiral”. It was a 2D space shooter adventure game. After that we develop a couple of more game under the outfit 9ja Boi interactive; this was before our days at the University of Lagos.

Chika Nwaogu
Meet Chika Nwaogu CEO of Playfre

Getting to Unilag, our interest changed; it was here we created. LAGbook — a social network initially created for students of the University of Lagos. It grew faster than we expected and in no time, we expanded to include the youth demographics in Africa. LAGbook gre to a million registered users in 3 years and we subsequently sold it to a Canadian tech company in 2013. Since then, my twin and I have successfully created, grown and sold two successful internet companies.

You just launched a new project, “Playfre”, what was the motivation behind the project?

Spotify and many other big music streaming platforms have not yet opened their doors to most African countries because of the weak intellectual property laws in these parts of the world, thus making these awesome apps unavailable to the African demographic. Those who have opened their doors to us, still charge monthly to stream unlimited music. Because of this, I embarked on developing what will become Africa’s first real answer to Spotify, that will bring the over 45 million songs on Spotify to Africans at no charge, with the same Spotify experience.

Chika Nwaogu
Chika Nwaogu a graduate of University of Lagos

Is this your first public project?

No this isn’t. But it will be my first public project alone.

Tell us a little about your previous projects.

Like I have already mentioned before, it all started with game development (9ja Boi Interactive), then to social networking (LAGbook), music and book publishing (Publiseer), and now music streaming (Playfre).

What are some challenges that you faced while working on your previous projects?

Electricity was a major setback in our first project, because we were 16 and had no money to get power on whenever we wanted. So we basically waited for electricity to work on our games. It was a really difficult time, but then it also taught so time management. While running LAGbook we knew little or nothing about business, so it was difficult turning our traffic into real money; this at some point forced us to sell. Eventually we had to learn the business side of a tech company, because at first all we knew was the technical know-how and nothing about the business aspect. So it taught us a lot of what we know about running a successful tech business today.

This project seems to be done by only you. Was there no input from your twin-brother unlike the previous ones?

Yeah this is my sole project, though Chidi have been very supportive in my journey so far with Playfre. In 2017, I took time off Publiseer in its early stages to work on my music. I am a music person and it was only naturally I created Playfre for music lovers such as myself. That same year I got the idea to create Playfre and I nurtured that idea ever since. When my music felt like it was beginning to pay off, I felt it was time to launch Playfre.

What challenges did you face working on Playfre?

They weren’t much challenges as I have already been involved with a lot of internet companies and already know my stuff very well. So unlike other internet companies in the past, Playfre was more like a walk in the park. It was fun all the way.

What are your projections for Playfre in a year?

We are already the Largest music streaming service in Africa in terms of music catalogue. Though I project it having over 100,000 registered users, and at least 10,000,000 streams; that is 100 streams per user. I project it being the one stop destination for any music lover in Africa.

Chika Nwaogu of Playfre
CEO of Playfre Chika Nwaogu

You broke a world record for the longest released track. Tell us about it.

That was in 2018, around May. My gospel music career was less than a year old then and I wanted to do something extraordinary that will distinguish me from the other gospel artist who were up and coming. I wanted to attempt the impossible and I eventually did. It was one of the most exciting things I have ever done in my life. I had to write over 60 verses and record a song that was 4hr plus long; a feat that seemed impossible at first. All my hard work paid off and I was the talk of the media; both print and television. That was how I got my little break in the gospel music scene.

Having been involved in a number of successful projects, what are the peculiar problems facing businesses (especially tech businesses) in Nigeria?

The biggest problem tech entrepreneurs face today is the lack of passion for what they are doing. Many of them venture into a certain niche because it is the niche that currently receives a bulk of the investments. For example I remember back then when ecommerce was the thing, everyone was doing it until it no longer became the thing—and then fintech and agro-tech became the new ecommerce and everyone wanted to be part of this booming niche.

Many of them weren’t passionate about their startup, they were only interested in the money they can get from investors. Eventually when this money isn’t coming as fast as they wanted, they make their exit. This is one of the major causes of failed internet startups in Nigeria today. The idea was right, but the passion was wrong.

In your own opinion which is more important to a young entrepreneur: Mentorship or Funding?

I will say mentorship. A good mentorship can bring about funding, I mean a person can be mentored on how to create a great business that attracts investors. Funding is just money and anyone can give you money, but not anyone can mentor you. You need the right kind of mentorship for the right kind of business. Someone who is a well established banker cannot mentor a budding internet entrepreneur. Not anyone can mentor you, but anyone with money can fund you. So mentorship over funding.

So what should we expect next from Chika Nwaogu?

For now it is Playfre. How to make Playfre better and a leader in the music streaming industry in Africa. I want to change the way Africans listen and consume music and I am going to do it!

Any advice for young entrepreneurs?

Stay focused, energetic, and motivated. Energy rightly applied can accomplish anything!

Adeshina Benjamin CEO of Jaminluxury

Many of us do not know the importance of wrist watches. We believe since we have our gadgets, we can always use our device clock to check the time which is not supposed to be. Adeshina Benjamin talks with us at InterviewStories about watches and how his love for jewelries made him to start Jaminluxury.

Can we know you?

My name is Adeshina Benjamin, a student of the University of Ibadan. Linguistic and African Language Department.

What do you do?

I deal with classy and luxury wristwatches, bracelets and rings for both male and female. I am basically a business person.

Jaminluxury Wrist Watch
Jaminluxury Wrist Watch

Why do you deal with accessories?

I love jewelries. I really admire it on people. Your dressing is not complete without any accessories. It helps to spice it up. For the love of jewelries that why I deal with classy wristwatch.

Why classy wristwatches and not the regular ones?

Though my first wristwatches were regular watches that you could get from all these Aboki’s. I needed something different and unique. Wristwatches that are not that common. That is why I moved to classy wristwatch. I wanted to be different.

Wrist watch sold In Nigeria
Wrist watch sold by Jaminluxury.

Does everyone need to have these accessories?

Yes, mostly wristwatches. You can’t be in a business event and you bring out your phone to check the time, it is wrong. Not only business events, but also, you can’t be in a cinema and bring out your phone to check the time, that is also very wrong . You need a wristwatch in all event, you might not go for the expensive ones, but it is necessary you have a watch on your wrist.

Does everyone need to check time using wristwatch?

Time is essential… You need to check the time. Some situation will warrant you to not use your phone. For example, a student in an exam hall, he really needs a watch to time himself.

Wrist watch sold in Nigeria
Wrist watch sold at Jaminluxury in Nigeria

Are wristwatches not always expensive?

No, wristwatches are not expensive. It all depends on the type of wristwatch you can afford.

What qualities make a wristwatch good?

Four signs or qualities are used to recognize a good wristwatch.

1. Weight. 2. Swiss branding 3. The movement. 4. Accuracy

What sign or quality is the most important?

The Movement & swiss branding.

What is swiss branding?

A registered company that produces quality wristwatch. It has a label that is used to indicate that a watch was made in Switzerland. It’s a registered company that accept people who are horologist and sell their swiss branding too. To show the originality of the watch …

Must my wristwatch be from Switzerland before it shows originality?

No. We have some Nigerians who are horologist but am not sure if they get their swiss brand … I really can’t say more about this.

How do you then have access to these Swiss Wristwatches?

Travel to Swiss to get their product registered. I import them… And I also get from people who travel to get in bulk.

Do you encourage people to get those made by Nigerian horologists?

Yes, let us promote our people.

Do you have a brand for this business?

Yes… Still in the process… I have my business registered. The brand name is Jaminluxury.

Jaminluxury logo
Jaminluxury Store

Why Jaminluxury?

I wanted something different and unique, Also, I wanted a name that will be easily pronounced in various languages.

Tell us about Jaminluxury?

Jaminluxury is a brand that deals with luxury wristwatches, bracelets and rings. This brand was established on the 21st of November 2017. The brand had been registered under Cooperate affairs commission (CAC). With the RC: 2837147.

Did you start selling these accessories before November 2017?

No… I started selling these accessories in November.

Did anyone put you through the business?

No sir.

How did you now venture into the business without any support?

I do tell people when God ride with you, everything becomes easy… It really amazes me when I see how far Jaminluxury has gone… And the brand it just a year. This was how the idea came into being, my roommate does get wristwatches from Aliexpress, so I start importing from Aliexpress with very small capital.

How much did you start with?

I started my watch business with ₦15, 000… And I literally starved for the rest of the month.

Product sold at Jaminluxury.
One of the accessories sold at Jaminluxury.

What are the risks involved in your business?

The risk here is that you don’t know or see people that you’re dealing with. People that will help you ship in your package to Nigeria… You have to be sure if the watch won’t fade, so your customers won’t be angry with you. You also need to build trust in this business.

How profitable would you say this business is?

Very profitable if you’re smart.

Tell us your first experience when you started Jaminluxury?

My first experience was awesome…I made a lot of mistakes, losses, and also I did not publicize the brand, I just came out like that… So it was really hard looking for customers and most people were not turning up because the wristwatches were very common. My roommates especially Saw insulted me by saying “if you can’t get enough goods then stop”.The interesting part was that I learnt a lot from my mistakes and am improving. I will also be launching the brand very soon.

Adeshina Benjamin CEO of Jaminluxury
Adeshina Benjamin of Jaminluxury.

Tell us about your upcoming luncheon?

I am still working toward the launching. The first thing is to publicize the brand very well… I will need to get like 2 influencer person to help me with that. I need a photographer and a model. I want to show people how to wear their wristwatch. Watch etiquette .. I have so much to do during this luncheon because I want this to come out big … So wait for the bomb.

Have people criticised you before?

Yes … Very well… But I pay no attention to that. In building a solid business, you need to build a good reputation… That is the key to a successful business.

Why don’t pay attention? It may be a positive criticism?

If it is positive I give attention, and if it demands an apology, I apologize immediately and I learn from it.

Do you have a mentor or a brand you look up to?

Yes… I have a mentor and a brand that I look up too from afar …

What qualities make you look up to them?

These people are fathers in this business … They’re not newbies. Though the newfound brand am looking up to, he established his business 2017, but he’s a horologist…

Where do you sell your products majorly?

I don’t have a specific place, for now, I sell them in banks, campus. During holidays I make sales at Lagos.

Do you sell using social media?

Yes, I do. Lack of publicity. Low followers on Instagram which in-turn yields low sales are problems I face at Jaminluxury. I really need to build Jaminluxury Instagram account.

What keeps you going at Jaminluxury?

The passion keeps me going at Jaminluxury.

Any advice for people who wants to go into the kind of business?

My advice for people is that, you can start the business of your choice with low capital, you don’t have to wait to have huge capital before you can venture into business. Be consistency .. Have a motive. Don’t go into business because everybody is into it, study yourself very well. Pray well. When God rides with you, your business becomes a passion. Everything comes with ease…

Do you think it is important to have a mentor as an entrepreneur?

Yes… It is very essential… For a good business, you need a mentor. That the key to a successful business.

Adeshina Benjamin of Jaminluxury Store
Adeshina Benjamin of Jaminluxury

What’s your advice to upcoming entrepreneurs?

Be consistent. Believe in yourself. Have a solid motive, don’t do it because people are doing it, Do it because you found pleasure in it. Consistency build up a solid business.

What else do you want to say?

I want to thank Mr Oseni so much. I can be reached on Instagram: , facebook: and email at jaminlunxury@gmail.com

Otaiku CEO

InterviewStories was able to get across to Otaiku Yetunde Oluwabukola a natural beauty expert who happens to be the CEO of otaiku_naturals. She is a friend of Olaleye Nafisat Morenikeji of Namzafoods whose interview we have conducted at InterviewStories. She talks about taking good care of the skin and her journey into the beauty industry.

Can we know you?

I am Otaiku Yetunde Oluwabukola, CEO of otaiku_naturals. A student in the Department of Botany, University of Ibadan.

Which industry do you work in?

Skin and hair care industry or better still the beauty industry.

Tell us your journey into the beauty industry?

Well, my journey to organic products wasn’t predicted, I didn’t plan it, it just happened. It started when my friends begin to compliment my skin and hair and started asking what I was using.

What were you using?

Organics that I formulated myself, then it was just Facial cleanser then Black-soap.

Why did you formulate these organics yourself instead of using the regular ones?

I’m the type that loves looking good, I love been natural, I didn’t what to use any synthetic product that has adverse effects on skin, I wanted to make use of what was around me, and with the help of my parents and internet, of course, I came up with something that really works and with no side effects which were organic in nature.

Were you not scared of damaging your skin?

I wasn’t because I know my ingredients, they are natural and skin friendly.

How were you able to get those ingredients you used for the first time?

My mother and my boyfriend helped.

Why did you not keep using the product for yourself only?

Firstly it was because others wanted it too, they started requesting. Also, roughen face and skin is a common issue among most youths I could vividly recall how uncomfortable I felt whenever my face is rough, how in-confident I felt, others have these feelings too, so I decided to share my little discovery and make people feel comfortable and confident in their natural skin without bleaching or use what so ever harsh products.

How did you now venture into being CEO of otaiku_naturals?

Thank you, I noticed people were lazy about doing a homemade cleanser and soap not everyone could go through the stress so I decided to start making it for others and I will be paid in exchange.

Otaiku CEO
Bukola Otaiku, CEO of otaiku_naturals

So I picked up an existing brand name of my family (my parents are CEO of Otaiku Herbal Medicine for alternative therapy) which happens to be my surname. That was how I started.

Tell us your first experience selling the product?

Wow, it was accepted despite no label and proper packaging. I even got paid before I made the products. I used my first earned money to invest properly in it.

O.T.K 4 product of otaiku_naturals
Product Made By Bukola Otaiku

It was encouraging and as well as condemning. But then I decided to focus more on the encouraging path, just like the common saying ‘life is a phrase’ everything has stages.

What is the difference between selling as an individual and selling as a brand?

Selling as a brand is more official and formal, it will expand your business in a short while and give it respect. It also earns your business more recognition and trust from your customers. While selling as an individual will not earn much respect, sales are always fewer and mostly from family and friends.

Otaiku_Naturals Black Soap
Otaiku_Naturals Black Soap

In addition to this, selling your own brand is the best, it your future investment and sure it has more gain. It is a long-lasting sale. It could also be inherited.

How did you establish your brand otaiku_naturals?

Just as have said earlier, I came from a herbal home, not traditionalist, my parents are into herbal medicine, and I have been much exposed to naturals right from time, if just like a stepping stone for me. So I decided to grow on the family business and widen its course. That how otaiku_naturals was established.

How much did you start with?

I actually started with ₦300.

Was that not too small?

Yh u will think it is, I started with ingredients common around me, ingredients common and very effective but inferior to us all. My first package was in a perfume bottle. That was it; I actually didn’t have much capital when I started.

How old is otaiku_naturals?

It will be a year in May 2019.

Do you work alone?

Yes I do.

Why do you work alone?

I am still a student and still learning.

How many people regularly purchase your products?

I can’t count, God has been so good An estimate of 5 people in a week.

Tell us products at otaiku_naturals have?

We have

  1. Facial cleanser
  2. Natural black soap
  3. Glow body lotion
  4. Organic body butter
  5. Glow oil
  6. Face cream
  7. Sunscreen
  8. Moisturizing hair cream
  9. Black soap shampoo
  10. Natural leave-in conditioner
  11. Hair growth serum
  12. And Natural oil e.g carrot oil, lemon oil, orange peel oil, papaya oil, olive oil etc

Tell us about your products and who can use them?

Our products are 100% organic plant-based formula. They can be used by all; newborn babies, toddlers, youths and adults. Since they are made with natural ingredients bestowed to us by God for our use.

How can one take care of the human body?

Firstly, you need to cleanse yourself from microbes present in our environment. It is always advisable to bath twice a day in the morning and at night. At night, always ensure to use a mild facial cleanser before bed. And in the morning, ensure to use a sunscreen on your body before heading out, this is to prevent your skin from damage from the exposure to the sun. Ensure to eat healthy and balanced food and get at least 8hours sleep each day. Drink a lot of water to detoxify your skin.

Otaiku_Naturals Lightening Black Soap
Otaiku_Naturals Lightening Black Soap

Any beauty tip or advice for us?

Never pop a pimple, never go to made bed without cleansing your body and face, never be careless about yourself and also never leave your pillowcase unwashed.

Otaiku_Naturals Body Lotion
Otaiku_Naturals Body Lotion

Always use the right products, ensure good personal hygiene, be consistent with your beauty routine and allow your skin to breathe once a while( i.e not always apply heavy make up).

What problem do you face at otaiku_naturals?

Customers are not patient enough. Some people are always in haste to have their face all smoother in seconds which do not work that way. Everything takes time, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I face challenges in explaining this to some of my customers. They tend to forget that this is organics and not magic. Some clients find issues inconsistency, which I always pinpoint. Also, some organic materials are rare and not found here in Ibadan. Getting original essential oils and not diluted ones is another problem, that why I extract some of the essential oils myself so that the quality would be maintained.

Otaiku_Naturals Facial Cleanser Picture
Otaiku_Naturals Facial Cleanser

We are also faced with the problem of Implements and tools used in making production easier, faster and more productive. Most implements are expensive and not common for example the stick blender which is mostly shipped in.

How can these problems be solved?

Supports, sponsorship, investors and partnerships. Yes, if we are financially buoyant, we could maintain quality raw Materials, ship in implements, improve our customers’ service and educating them more effectively.

How do you plan to get all these solutions to workout?

These are part of the means I plan to do. I plan to write proposals to some certain influential people and join a cooperative society. I also plan to save more and of course, I will surely Pray to God for helpers.

What advice do you have for new startups?

Never give up, keep trying new things, keep the standard no matter what, keep learning more, always read more about your ingredients, life is a phase don’t get beat down, you will get there and pass there, keep growing. Thank you.

Do you have any role model in this business?

Oh yeah 3 of them. They are: Anike_naturals, organicsbymide and Afropelo Haircare.

Why do you see them as a role model?

Have seen some couples of naturalists in Instagram have them different and unique among others

CEO of Anike_natural is just 23years old yet her products are so classy and well packaged, I like the way their adverts and brands when you see her products you sure think they are imported, she’s formal, young and a graduate.

Organics by mide: Her products are captivating, she’s so creative with are things and she’s very jovial even in relating with her customers

And lastly, Afropelo haircare: She’s a fresh graduate of the University of Ibadan, she has been very helpful to me, her products to are of high extreme, she’s smart and very creative

Does every entrepreneur need a mentor and why?

Of course, we need mentors. So that we can be better, and have whom to look up to, having a mentor makes you want to improve fast so u can meet them and probably pass them.

What is most important for you as an entrepreneur?

Putting a smile on my client’s face, for them to look at me and say thank God I met otaiku_naturals. Customer’s satisfaction.

One of otaiku_naturals products
One of otaiku_naturals products

Do you plan to continue with otaiku_naturals in the future?

Of course yes.

How can people get otaiku_natural products?

You can order online via any of my social network media handles.
Reach on IG
Reach on Facebook
WhatsApp or Call Otaiku on

Do you have other anything to say?

otaiku_naturals is just starting, just stay with us. thanks to everyone that contributed to this growing brand. I would also like to specially appreciate my host, the person of Ifeoluwa Oseni (InterviewStories) thank you for having me.

Olla Boluwatife, CEO of Ownasite.com.ng

Olla Boluwatife owns a creative agency that provides web solutions for businesses. He talks about services they render at Ownasite, how he got his first job as a web developer and a lot more. We have his interview at InterviewStories. Olla says Ownasite will be a leading web design agency in Nigeria in the next five years and he is working towards it.

Can we know you?

My name is Olla Boluwatife Joseph. I’m an entrepreneur, a web developer, a software developer, a Search Engine Optimization(SEO) expert and internet marketer. I currently run a creative agency (@ownasite) where we provide web solutions for businesses.

Tell us about your agency?

Ownasite is an internet company. We bridge the gap between businesses and technology. Our website address is ownasite.com.ng.

What web solutions for business do you provide in your company?

Businesses have evolved from the brick and mortar structures into the world wide web (internet). We believe that at this century if your business is not online then you’d soon be out of business. Our services are not but limited to the following:

  • Web design & development
  • Internet marketing
  • Software development
  • Branding
  • E-commerce

How did you start Ownasite?

I just graduated high school when I delved fully into web development. I launched in the year 2015 under a different name (Jose webs) but later re-branded and started operations fully in 2016.

Olla Boluwatife, CEO of Ownasite web agency
CEO of Ownasite

What were the challenges you faced when you started?

The major challenge I faced was trying to set up the business structure. Also was struggling to enhance my skills as well as convince prospective clients that I was capable of providing the services I said I would. The truth of the matter was that I was learning on the job. We all know that no-one is an island but there are certain skills required to start up a business. I didn’t know that then. I didn’t have enough skills but I had the passion and that kept me through.

Is your business registered?

Yes.

How easy was registering your business?

Quite easy. I have someone who does it and the process was quite smooth.

How did you get your first job?

It was through my brother. He referred to one of his friends who needed my service at that time. Although I was inexperienced. I believed I could pull it off and it ended up really nice.

What were the challenges you had when you took your first job?

I was in school then (The Polytechnic, Ibadan). Firstly, trying to balance work with lectures. Secondly, power supply & the internet. It was of short supply.

Are you proud of the service you rendered then?

Yes, I am. I always strive to give my best to my clients.

What makes your customers like the service you render?

I put my customers’ interest at heart, I also communicate and relate well with my customers, and try to provide the best quality service I can.

How much do you charge per service?

I have pricing plans based on the kind of services I offer. My basic-est plan for web design service starts from N80k.

What about other services?

They aren’t fixed. The price depends on the customers’ needs. Let’s take for example software development. We have different kinds of software. It could be an inventory software, accounting software or hotel software. Each software has different features. Those features determine how much I’d charge. A customer might want something simple and basic, another might want advanced features.

Olla Boluwatife an entrepreneur

What problems do you face regarding your business?

As of now. It’s power. The amount of money I spend on power supply every month is really high compared to the number of customers I get. I also do not have a huge customer base as of now.

What motivates you to do more?

I’m passionate about creating solutions for people. Even if I don’t get paid for it. I feel very happy doing these things. I believe sooner or later. I’d breakthrough!

Has anyone invested in your business?

No

Does your business need investors?

I don’t think so

Does every business need to be online?

Yes

How can one establish an online presence?

The first step which is easy and free to do is to be on social media. Then if you need to add a bit of professionalism then you opt in for a website. But it’s not just about having a website. It’s about communication.

What is the difference between a blog and a website?

Blogs are dynamic. The contents are updated frequently. Websites are static in nature, the contents are organized in pages. A website is where you’d get every needed information about a particular business. A blog is a medium of communication between existing business and it’s customers. Or prospects. However, blogs sometimes are parts of a website.

What makes a business successful?

Customer relations, having agood product or quality service with a strong marketing strategy. You can’t afford not to have those qualities.

Where do you see Ownasite in the next five years?

A leading web design agency in Nigeria.

Do you have a mentor?

I have mentors. I watch their videos. I’ve taken some of their courses, I’ve interacted with some of them and they’ve been really helpful. With a mentor, you can never totally go wrong.

How can startups get funds?

Angel investors, crowdfunding, venture capitalist, loans.

Can you talk about each of them?

A venture capitalist invests in the early stages of your company in exchange for an equity share. You can also visit your bank or reach out friends & family to get loans for your business. Angel investors differ from Venture Capitalists although people confuse the two together.

While angel investors can take an equity share of your startup in exchange for their investment, their funding can also be exchanged for convertible debt. These investors are usually entrepreneurs. Although money is their motivation, they are more likely to be genuinely interested in your business. If you find the right angel investor, you may benefit from their expert advice and management skills. You can also take advantage of the resources available to you online by using crowdfunding websites to raise capital.

Olla Boluwatife, CEO of Ownasite.com.ng
Olla Boluwatife, CEO of Ownasite.com.ng

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?

Keep doing what you do. Be persistent, be consistent. Forget about the money, it’ll come eventually. Get the needed skills and I’d see you at the top🔝. You can contact me on

CEO of Da Elementalz Business Enterprise.

Adegoke Umar-Al-Faruq Idowu is a student of University of Ibadan. He is a tutor and the founder of DA ELEMENTALZ BUSINESS ENTERPRISE, a company that is into importation and exportation. Adegoke loves what he does and advises young entrepreneurs to look before leaping into the harsh business environment of Nigeria. We at InterviewStories recently talked about some of the things he does and he gave his responses. Below is the interview with Adegoke Umar-Al-Faruq Idowu popularly known as Umerium.

Can we know you?

I am ADEGOKE UMAR-AL-FARUQ IDOWU by appellation, a medical undergraduate student of University of Ibadan, from the department of Environmental Health Sciences, faculty of Public Health, college of medicine, UI.

What do you do?

I’ve been a tutor, who tutors in different tutorials for both A-level (Cambridge, JUPEB and IJMB) and O’level (JAMB and WAEC) for the past 5 years and still ongoing. Also, I’m a computer operator and engineer who deals with software.

Recently, I became a legitimate importer and exporter to Nigeria and different countries. I am also the founder of my organization: DA ELEMENTALZ BUSINESS ENTERPRISE which deals with the importation and exportation of goods across the globe.

Tell us a little about your tutoring days

I started tutoring at a very tender age. I was in SS2 when I started teaching a JAMB class. It was as if it were my gift or talent because I’m naturally endowed on how to teach. At first, it was very challenging because of my stature, but the tutorials of nowadays no longer consider all those. What they need is how knowledgeable you are and if you can deliver, which I have pretty much did. The students were also challenging, posting konk questions to me; but I always maneuvered my ways, and they always respect me. By the time I finished secondary school, I had already gained the experience, so O’level classes were no longer challenging. I was introduced to A-level but was scared at first.

I had to reject it first, then went to buy all the A-level textbooks: Biology and Chemistry, read them thoroughly, internalized them, and practised with my junior ones and friends before I later contacted them.

I started with an A-level center named Classic Advance Level Centre. I performed very well there so I was invited to Krystal Edge Perversity to take advance classes also. So from there, I moved to other centers like EAC, WINNERS Advance Centre, DISTINCTION PERVERSITY etc.

What lessons did you learn from tutoring?

Hmmm… What can I say??? There are many lessons I learnt. But in summary, teaching in general makes you know more and make you do many researches. It gets you accolades and connects you to many places. I’ve travelled to two (2) different states due to tutoring.

Adegoke Umar-Al-Faruq
Adegoke Umar-Al-Faruq Tutoring Days

Then I learnt you should hold and be confident enough in the things you know. Don’t let people know your weaknesses. I was introduced to winners advance centre two years ago. My friend told me that I should be prepared that the students are very good. He was trying to instill the fear in me but I was like, “Is it not to teach? Since it is not teaching lions, I won’t be scared …” I got there and met the coordinator … so we discussed and everything. It got to the point where he asked me what aspect of chemistry and biology I took.

Actually we had four aspects for both, and I could only take two very well. But my guy had hyped me a lot in front of the man. I didn’t want to fuck up. So I told him, “Any aspect, I’m OK with it.” Knowing fully well that if he’d picked the aspect I didn’t know, I’d have flopped. But I was so full of myself, and showing the boldness and confidence. The man was surprised. He said that all the teachers he had there always chose the aspect they could teach. Very fortunately for me, he chose the aspect I knew most. I was hyper-actively happy. I went to the class and delivered an outstanding lecture. The man and the students still respect me today.

Were you paid when you were tutoring?

Sure … I collect my money per hour.

Tell us your experience about importation and exportation business

We had a strike in school. When it was getting to two weeks and I noticed that it was really going to take longer, I decided to learn something new to my handiwork. So a friend introduced me to the importation business. I was really amazed and interested. Because to market and broadcast was something I could do very well. But what discouraged me first was the bill to learn the business. I ran. Like, I asked him where I was to get 60k to learn just the basics. I went home to make research on it and found out that the training is even 100k+. I had to go back to him. But I told him that I will be paying in installments.

So that was how I started the business … I borrowed money, was in debts … seriously, during my training days. The training went so smoothly, because I had a sharp memory and knew how to adapt to things easily. So I easily grappled with it and passed all the tests.

I finished the basics of the training and started with advertisements. I started the business with zero capital. Yes … because I couldn’t afford to owe again. So … it was really hard for me, because people and customers wanted to see the goods before buying. And I didn’t have the capital to bring down the goods. Plus, I was in the school environment; I couldn’t really sell expensive stuffs, because all products I got were directly from the manufacturing companies.

I transacted with the CEOs. So getting just one of their products was even more expensive … because they sold in wholesales. But I kinda had a convincing power. So I was always able to get one. But there are some companies that can’t sell just one. They have their respective MOQs (Minimum order quantity). So I continued with my adverts, paid for some. Alas! Some of my friends decided to try me out. And they paid before I made their orders. At the end of the day, the profit on my first order was able to cover all my debts which was close to 100k.

They also referred me to some people who had boutiques. That was actually what made me blow. The two boutiques ordered for bulky goods that were really profitable. The profit I had I used to learn the premium stage of the importation training. Because I really wanted to have a verse knowledge about it. That sapped out another huge money.

What made your first attempt to be such a huge success in the business?

Actually, I was just following the instructions I learnt from the training and improving on it.

Are you saying people need to be guided before they venture into a business?

Smiles. We all know business is a risk. Knowing that fully well, you now want to venture into it without having a full knowledge about it? Then you are working towards spoiling it and will be in huge debts. Only if you are just lucky and God just decides to help you out. To cut the long story short, I furthered my training. I became an agent of many logistics companies, got my own store in China. I now deal with other countries like the USA and Russia for some wears like suits, then Malaysia for some materials, and UAE (Dubai) for jewelries.

What is the most important thing when starting a business?

Hmmm … the first thing is to have a full knowledge about it; the right source to learn it; people that know about it, that can guide you and correct you … and then your own personal interest in the business.

Do the people that used to patronise you when you started still do?

Very well, sir. You know people like quality things, no matter how expensive they are. Yours is just to give them the quality material so that you will not destroy the trust and your reputation.

Is importation and exportation what you do at DA ELEMENTALZ BUSINESS ENTERPRISE?

Yes … of different categories of goods, speaking of fashion as a whole … telecommunications as a whole … then gadgets and appliances and a whole.

Which categories of goods do you deal with?

Speaking of fashion, we have wears, shoes, jewelries, cosmetics and others. For telecommunications we have phones, tablets, desktops, latops and other related telecommunication devices … speakers, home theatres, bluetooth devices, electrical appliances, string appliances like guitars, musical instruments in general and many other things.

How do you deal with bad stocks that were shipped to you?

Smiles… well, I give thanks to God Almighty. None of my products has been fake. That’s why I said earlier, that you should know the right source to do your business. For me to use that huge amount of money to learn a business, it’s not something small.

What if the products got damaged?

Well, you asked “what if”. None of them has been damaged before. So I can’t really answer that question. I’ve not experienced any hazard so far in this business.

Who are your major customers?

The entire populace. We deal with wholesales and retails, globally. Presently, we are working on some goods which have to be exported to Ghana.

Do you have a physical shop?

Well, we are still working on that. But presently we have a destination where customers can meet me.

Where I keep the goods, that I see as my office, is at 26, Oke Oriowo, Off Alhaji Taiwo Street, Kajola Agbowo, Ibadan. The second destination is not permanent, because I can leave there anytime. And that is Sultan Bello Hall, University of Ibadan. Ibadan.

Did you leave your tutoring job?

Nope. I’m still doing it. I do not think I can leave it. I love affecting people’s lives positively. I do it for the pleasure I derive from it, not because of the money. The money is nothing. That’s why I decided to learn something and add to it.

Do you have people who work with you at Da Elementalz Business?

Yes. Presently I have three. But all my friends are my marketers; they receive discounts on every customer they bring.

Are they family members or paid staff?

Paid staff.

How are you able to manage all these together with your academics?

Smiles… Well, it’s a very good question. Firstly, tutoring is never a challenge, because it’s academics. So it is even helping me the more. But in the case of the business, I exploit the fact that we are on strike to create grounds and a base to make friends and meet customers. But in general, it has not been easy. I was able to cope. That is what makes a man. I was able to manage the two efficiently.

Can you lend people money from your business?

Presently, NO. Coz all the profits I realize in the business I invest. In fact I want to move to the higher level, but the capital is not enough yet. And as a result, I’m running an investment forum to bring in people to invest in my business. That’s where I’m currently at.

How many people are into this business apart from your staff as a result of you?

Sure.. We offer a monthly mini importation training online or physical, depending on the persons interest. And we have done three training successfully of which each is like 20 students and above. So I can say I’ve built over 50 legit importers.

Were they paid event?

Sure.. Definitely.

Do you see someone starting an importation and exportation business as a threat?

Well, it is of two sides. If I see that he/she follows the right source, I will see him/her as a partner and try moving close so that we can reason along. But if the route is the wrong one, then I see them as a threat. Because they always break my market. Although they sell the same product, but of different quality. Like, when I get a product worth ₦12,000 from the company and I decided to sell for ₦15,000. When a customer sees that that same product goes for about ₦8,000 somewhere else. People won’t know the quality stuff until they try them. So the risk is too high.

How can people invest in your investment forum?

The minimum is #100,000. And they will receive a discount of 30% in a duration of 4months max. It will be a team of ten men. Because the budget is #1M on each category of goods. But if I don’t have close to 30 entries.. Then I know how to split the money on different categories of goods.

Jewelries at Da Elementalz Business Enterprise

How do your investors benefit from the investment?

30% of 100k is 30k.. Meaning they are receiving back ₦130,000 in that duration. And that is the minimum.. It can be more if the profit made on the goods are up to 100%. But in business, one just needs to play safe. So that one won’t be in trouble and debts.. And this thing is a lawyer agreement.. So I have to be extra careful.. Considering the hazards in business.. I might think I’m gonna make up to 100% profit and turning out not to be so. Then I’m in debt

What mistakes have you made in this business that you regretted ever making?

Hmm… Let me see. Yes.. There was one.. I got a product for a customer who hasn’t paid. The product was for a Nigerian but the customer is yet to pay, till now. Since then, I stopped payment before delivery. That’s the only thing I can say I consider as a regret.

Do you have an online presence for your company?

Sure… We transact online. IG page: da_ebsenterprise, FB page: DA ELEMENTALZ BUSINESS ENTERPRISE and presently, we are working on our website where customers can place orders and pay online directly which is 55% complete.

What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?

Well… Business is a game of risk. So stop thinking of the possibility, just do it. You won’t know until you do. While you are still busy thinking people already do what you keep thinking about and they are making it. And before anything, put God first and be religious about it. I’m a Muslim. I pray very well and do my things Islamically. I believe if we put religion in everything we do, we will surely succeed. Then they should know what they want to venture into very well before doing so.

CEO of Da Elementalz Business Enterprise.
CEO of Da Elementalz Business Enterprise.

Do you think Nigeria is good for business?

Wow wow!. That is an understatement sir. Nigeria’s economy can never be consumed by businessmen or businesswomen. Just get your marketing strategy right and you are good to go.

What do you want people to remember you for?

My uniqueness.

Do you think people need to hear about stories like yours to be motivated to do stuffs?

Well… I’ve always being a motivational speaker and an orator. So why not ? Like I said – I love impacting lives.

How can people contact you?

If my story can change lives, I will be super happy. My active line is +23470-6822-4976

Paschal Offordum, CEO of BrandGroom

Paschal Offordum is a law graduate from the University of Ibadan. He helped establish TEDxUI while in the University and has contributed to the University society while at school. The selfless services he rendered at school helped him to establish his business Brandgroom. Brandgroom is a digital agency whose services range from social media marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content creation and marketing, graphics, personal branding and other PR services. InterviewStories presents Paschal Offordum’s words with us and how he started his journey.

Who is Paschal Offordum?

Well, I like to think of myself as a passion-driven entrepreneur charged with the mission to help humanity achieve her best by maximizing and managing the resources we have been given by God without consuming negatively affecting others.  I have come to understand that almost all the problems we face on earth revolve around resources whether under-utilization, over-utilization, non-utilization or greediness in the utilization. So I help individuals and businesses on their bid to attain their potentials or mission. Apart from that, I recently signed up with a Fintech firm to learn more about the financial market and the future algo-trading. I hope to share my experiences through my blog and social media posts. You see I have  great interest in tech too. So in a nutshell, you can say I am a blend of media, tech and entrepreneurship

What does your company Brandgroom do?

As the name reads ‘Brand-groom.’ The grooming of brands. Brandgroom is a full-scale digital agency charged with the mission to help other businesses and social enterprises achieve their mission by providing them with the necessary contents and tools to tell compelling stories. So our services for now range from social media marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content creation and marketing, graphics, personal branding and other PR services. You could visit our site to know more.

Tell us your experience setting up this digital media firm?

It was an interesting experience, of course with the challenges that comes with starting a business. Brandgroom started off as a more practical follow up of TEDxUI. After the first TEDxUI we organised, It was discovered that the event inspired a lot people and there were positive feedbacks, one of which was the increase of the students in active citizenship through starting up non-profits to solve problems. However, it was discovered that the non-profit model is not very sustainable in this part of the world if one really has to go far since many of them depended on donations and shut down after months of not getting any. So we came up with the idea to help these early-stage organisations and others, to develop sustainable business models at the best affordable cost while we worked closely with them.

How does what you studied in the University help in the running of Brandgroom?

Having a legal background I think is an advantage as I think differently and analytically before making some crucial decisions. Though one would not expect me to say that studying law actually made me embrace the beauty of knowing of the rules before breaking them.

What problem(s) are you solving at Brandgroom?

At Brandgroom Media, we are bridging the resources gap that exists when starting up a new business especially in Africa. In line with the SDG 17, we help businesses to create and effectively utilize digital resources and contents to increase their revenue

Paschal Offordum, CEO of BrandGroom
Paschal Offordum, CEO of BrandGroom.
Do you consider yourself a leader or a manager at Brandgroom?

I have always seen myself as a leader whose heart resides with the people I serve

Have you made decisions that you regretted making as the CEO of Brandgroom?

Well, I have always made decisions and always made mistakes. At least that’s one of the ways we learn. However, I do not think I have really made a regrettable mistake as I have always seen our mistakes as avenues to learn and iterate where necessary.

Who is Paschal to Brandgroom staff?

Staff? Lol… I do not think we have staff here. I think of our people as a tribe of great minds with a common purpose, one culture and a passion to create solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Using terms like staff and the likes makes business look like a war against your competitors. But that’s not what we are here for. We are here to provide the utmost value by providing the best services to our customers. We are here to make our mark and put a dent on the Universe.

Paschal and other team members
Paschal and other team members
Who is more important to you as the CEO of Brandgroom your staff or your customers?

My team is more important. I see them as part of a whole. It’s just like asking if I will add value to myself before offering value to my customers. Its always a YES as I cannot offer a value I do not have. I believe that If we are able to get things right inwards and they feel great being part of the Brandgroom story and culture, then we will have better value to offer to our customers

What milestone(s) have you achieved at Brandgroom since you started in 2018?

Well, we are still a startup and hope to keep that startup mindset all through. Though we have won a lot of local and international recognition including the Youwin competition by the Federal Government of Nigeria, Next 100 startups of Africa sponsored by the current AU Chairman and President of Egypt; H.E Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Within this period, we have also registered our business with the Corporate Affairs Commission. We are also working on a major product launch but I choose not to mention it.

How did you source for fund to start Brandgroom?

We bootstrapped.

How has pioneering the TEDxUI Club affected your life positively?

Hmmm…TEDxUI. I think it was the first major project I started from the scratch. So it exposed me to the skills of hiring, motivating, creative strategy, firing and a lot of other skills. The most important is that i learnt a lot about working with people. And through hands-on experience i learnt the difference between a leader and a manager. It taught me how to think globally. It was in one of our event that i heard the concept ‘global common’ and a lot of other global issues.

Paschal at TEDxUI
Paschal, Ken Nwadiogwu, Speakers and other Team Members At TEDxApata

What motivated you to establish the TEDxUI Club?

Motivation? I cannot exactly say there was a specific reason but I know I was uncomfortable with how our youths lived a sort of programmed life; school to church and back to hostel. And of course parties and stuffs like which I believed doesn’t draw us close to the pace of technological revolution happening in today’s world. I bowed out of Student Union politics around 300 level for some reasons but then i knew i have to find a way to be useful to the University.  Though I was an executive member of Sigma Club. But then i still felt i could offer more to my community. I just needed more meaning to life which was actually why i left the seminary.

In my thirst to do more, i came across the TED platform. Though i was very doubtful if i will be offered the license but then i got it. It should be mentioned that we borrowed and levied ourselves to hold the first TEDxUI conference. Forward to this day, i am proud that what started with some elements of doubt and lot of challenges, has now turned into a strong institution in her third year of leadership. Having a lady as the current leader is also significant.

Can you tell us difficult decisions you had to make as a student leader while in the University?

I made a lot of difficult decisions which of course i learnt alot from. Being the Sigma Chief then, I must confess i had difficult times screening or sending people out of the Club. You know, its kind of hard when a night before a meeting, you were having great conversation with a Sigmite and then the next morning he commits an act that demands immediate expulsion from the Club. You have to make the decision because its your call If the tradition of the organisation must live.

I also made some tough decisions as the TEDxUI leader where i had send out some people. I think one of the toughest i made was staking my integrity to borrow a huge amount of money for the first TEDxUI event. I remember that very day when one of our staff advisers kept asking me, ‘Chief, are you sure you can afford to pay back this amount.’ Are you sure the sponsors you are expecting, will still show up? I was between staking my integrity and launching this project in UI. Luckily enough, the river didn’t swallow us.

Do you think every entrepreneur or business person needs to participate in politics?

Lol…Yes, indirectly. Because you have to vote competent leaders. But actively, no. People have passion. Let them stick with that. Both worlds are very different but similar. I have seen people who were highly successful in politics but when they entered business, it was catastrophic. Even within the business environment, there are people who will perform well as Vice or assistants but put them at the head of affairs and such organisation will collapse.

What makes an entrepreneur to stand out among others?

Well, personally i think your passion to solve a problem will always make you stand out. Your passion has to be contagious and evident in everything you do. Even when the going gets tough, you can change your route but not your destination.

Do you think everyone needs a mentor?

Mentorship? Well, at some point in life, we are meant to be mentors or mentees to someone whether we like it or not. Be it your son, your colleagues, friends or budding leaders. But these days, i think it has been misused to some extent. By the way, mentorship do not have to be physical. There are types of mentorship; serendipitous, hands-on and so.

Do you have mentees and how have you added positively to their lives?

Hmmm…this is one of the things i run away from. I have never seen myself as a mentor as i believe i am still on the journey just like everyone else. However, I am readily available to offer any help I can, when possible.
I have mentees but as I always tell them: I don’t see myself as a mentor as I have a lot to learn. Infact, the more I learn the more I discover I have a long way to go.

How much do people appreciate their leaders in Nigeria?

Your questions are hard plenty ooh. If you mean political leaders, I think most people do not appreciate their leaders. But, i think people are beginning to appreciate leaders generally especially religious leader. Come to think of it, most people are more likely to believe their pastor who probably has no background in Economics, If he predicts a fall in devaluation of naira/a political happening than they will do, when an economist in government says so

What do you think is the solution to Nigeria woes?

I think most of our problems in Nigeria is a mindset problem. From politics, poverty, education e.t.c  Even most of our leaders have the mindsets of followers. So its just like a blind man leading another blind. You know i read somewhere that the Lion is not the king of the animal kingdom because he is the biggest, or the fastest, or the scariest, or the smartest. But because of his mindset. The Lion wakes up and sees an Antelope, and what comes to his mind is food! The Antelope sees the Lion and thinks ‘the eater!’

Where do you see yourself in twenty years time?

I hope to have helped half a billion people achieve their life’s mission, whether directly or indirectly.

What skills do you think every entrepreneur needs to acquire to successfully build their brand or businesses?

I think number one skill is perseverance. It has to be part of you to be patient to learn the ropes even when you have failed or are faced with challenges. I like to see entrepreneurship as a mindset and a way of life. So you need to learn from every process. I will be sharing my story at TEDxAjayiCrowther University on the 27th of April, 2019, I will be talking about embracing failure and adopting a growth mindset. I hope your subscribers come around if possible.

Do you think education in school is enough for youths in Nigeria?

I think you know the answer to that. But to add more to that-Education came from the Latin word ‘Educo- to lead out.’’To develop or evolve from a latent or potential state.’ Formal education is just a tool to expose one to the possibilities of what we can do in life just like our first family helps introduce us to the world and teaches us the basics of mingling with human beings while we figure the rest, ourselves.

Were you an entrepreneur in school?

Yes, I was. I had my first business in 200l when i ran a messaging portal; saharasms.com . Its funny how time flies. I used to go round the University to paste adverts of the services i offered,  with Demi; a friend of mine who now runs an online education platform; Pledre.com

How can student entrepreneurs raise capital for their businesses?

Apart from the many funding opportunities available today, I think the best way to start is to bootstrap. It gives you the opportunity to even learn how to manage funds before getting outside investors. You can also get help from family or friends if you have any. Those days of Saharasms, i borrowed laptop from my friend; Demi to offer services to my customers. Even when my laptop was stolen, i had to go back to friends again to keep using their laptops until i bought a new one, months later. One thing i learnt within that period is the value of valuable friends. If you are an entrepreneur and you have loafers as close friends, forget it, you can’t win them.

Paschal After Winning FOPA Selfless Contribution to a Worthy Cause Award In 2017 At University of Ibadan.
Paschal After Winning FOPA Selfless Contribution to a Worthy Cause Award In 2017.

How have you given back to society?

Lol…The whole of my life and activities have always been about giving back. From pioneering the TEDxUI, leading as the Sigma scribe and Sigma Chief at Sigma Club University, Pioneering TEDxApata, Brandgroom and The African Circular Economy Forum. Each of them has been about raising/inspiring leaders that would solve problems or solving a particular problem for society. You know sometime last year, someone called to congratulate me. I was surprised because I was sure I didn’t win any lottery. I am not even a bet person. So  he told me that it wasn’t about money but that the leaders that succeeded me as TEDxUI President and Sigma Chief respectively, were both nominated for the prestigious JCI FOPA award.

How can people get across to you?

Anyone can always reach me on Linkedin, Twitter or personally via contact@paschaloffordum.com or paschal@brandgroom.com

Do you support what we do at InterviewStories?

Yes. I mean I had to check out your site when you reached out to me for the interview and you are not doing bad. I appreciate your efforts towards ensuring that the knowledge and experiences of people are available for others to learn from. Thank you for having me.

Damilola Soladoye CEO of Cycles

Damilola Soladoye is an Accounting graduate from Covenant University in Nigeria. He is an entrepreneur. Damilola is the Chief Executive Officer of Cycles, a smart mobility startup. Damilola uses technology to solve societal problems.

InterviewStories interviewed Damilola Soladoye tells InterviewStories about himself and what Cycles is all about.

Who is Damilola Soladoye?

Damilola Soladoye is the Co-founder and CEO of Cycles, A smart mobility startup, changing the way short to medium commutes are made in communities (such as estates and Universities) across Nigeria through smart shared bicycles.

He is a graduate of accounting from Covenant University, Nigeria, a passionate business developer and entrepreneur using technology to solve societal problems.

What was growing up like?

Growing up was quite interesting, owing to my father’s place of work, my entire family was privileged to live and migrate between 3 different environments both at home and abroad.

This exposed me early enough to foreign cultures, developing technology and people and basically shaped how I see life.

Did you enjoy cycling when you were young?

I had various cycling experiences while I was young but much that I can remember was with my bicycle between the ages of 4 – 6. My parents had just gotten a bicycle for my elder brother and me. Most of my commutes during this stage of my life, especially around my neighbourhood were filled with bicycle fun moments.

Cycles Smart Bike
Cycles Smart Bike

What problem did you see at your university that you wanted to solve?

In the university, the available shuttle services were not efficient enough to cater to the large population and also get individuals to their final destination.

What skills were you able to acquire personally that you got while still at school?

I learnt how to pitch, speak publicly and present by attending Public speaking classes.

Personally, I learnt the basics of design and presentation on powerpoint, Prezi and other presentation and design tools, and

I learnt the fundamentals of leadership and leading people through various leadership opportunities which came my way.

Your startup was nominated for the start-up of the year at Covenant University in 2015, tell us more about the nomination?

The nomination was part of our yearly college ball event and award night.

How does it feel being a young entrepreneur who makes important decisions for your organization?

It is a whole lot of responsibility that comes with discipline. There is always something to do and no one will do it except you and the team.

What leadership experience or lesson did you gain during your volunteering period at Teenpreneurs hub?

I learnt how to give my best in return for nothing, which I believe is the major perk of volunteering.

Do you believe what you studied contributed positively to the buildup of Cycles?

Yes, definitely it contributed positively.

From your accountancy background, which is better to invest in a treasury bill or fixed deposit account?

I will say this is subject to the type of investor and the amount of risk he/she is willing to take on. Though for me both investment options are quite conservative.

Who is a research analyst?

A research analyst is someone who researches into a particular field in order, to gather necessary data, analyze this data and assist organisations in making informed decisions towards a particular goal.

Do you ever wish to get a government job?

Wow!, I have never thought about this. I guess because my father was a civil servant and I looked up to him, there might have been moments when I wished to. But currently, I do not think I wish to, moving forward.

Tell us about Cycles?

Cycles is a smart mobility company redefining the way people commute within communities and cities in Africa.

Damilola Soladoye and other members of Cycles
Damilola Soladoye and other members of Cycles

Using an efficient, fun and healthy means of transport, we’re building better people, communities and greener earth. From one community to another, we’re making Africa a better place to live in.

What problem are you solving at Cycles?

Cycles is solving inefficiencies in last mile mobility across communities in Africa.

Why should a customer or client use Cycles?

Customers should use Cycles because it’s cost effective, convenient, healthy and green. Not to forget, it’s cool.

What makes Cycles attractive to investors?

Cycles is a sustainable and green transport solution, we believe investors are attracted by this.

What problems do you face at Cycles?

At Cycles, we do not see circumstances as problems, we see them as opportunities and tasks which we need to put more effort in to resolve.

Does government policies favour Cycles operations and expansion in Nigeria?

Currently, the policies of the government do not favour Cycles operations and expansion. This is why we are currently working on partnering with governments, governmental agencies and parastatals to collaborate in this area.

Is Cycles an NGO or is it for profit?

Cycles is a for profit company registered with CAC as Cycles Mobility Technologies LTD         RC 1563922

What do you do that makes Cycles more attractive than competitors?

If I spilt the beans it wouldn’t be a secret anymore would it? But basically, we always strive to stay ahead of the competition by being as innovative and creative as possible.

How much tech is involved in Cycles?

The tech involved in Cycles is the Software (Mobile and Web Platform) and the hardware (Smart bike).

What contributions have your mentor had since you started Cycles?

My mentors have contributed to my growth as an entrepreneur immensely, I will like to use this opportunity to appreciate them all.

What positive impart have your mentors had in your life?

In summary, I would say they have been the backbone sustaining me in the tough times as an entrepreneur, I always know I have able and capable hands to run to in these moments.

Damilola Soladoye CEO of Cycles
CEO of Cycles, Damilola Soladoye.

How will you pitch Cycles to a prospective customer?

Whether it’s to work or to class, for fun or for exercise, Cycles gets you there at any time, conveniently, fast, healthy and green. Join a Cycles bike share and get there today.

What do you think make people leave Cycles and how are you addressing this major problem?

In life, I believe we all make decisions and our decisions change with time. I do not see people leaving Cycles as an issue, I believe anyone can be replaced and I do not get offended by people who leave or will decide to leave Cycles. Though to address this I always keep the value and stability of our team as even more important than our idea at all times.

Can you sell Cycles to an investor?

Haha, yes and no.

What milestones did you set for Cycles that you have met already?

We recently set a milestone to build our beta prototype and we are glad to announce that we completed that milestone and we are set to launch soonest

Cycles To The World
Cycles on a phone and Cycles Smart Bike

Where do you see Cycles in five years time?

I see Cycles as a key player in the mobility space in Africa.

Have Cycles been nominated for awards before?

We have been nominated for some awards and we have won one before.

Cycles Mobile App

When was your happiest moment since you have started Cycles?

My happiest moment was when we got accepted into the Fbstart accelerator from Facebook.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs that are just starting?

Keep pushing until something happens. Though push wisely.

What do you think of students being an entrepreneur while in school?

One of the beautiful things about entrepreneurship is the freedom to be an entrepreneur at any age. I strongly believe that entrepreneurship while being a student is a great time to learn, grow and make mistakes where necessary.

The school environment, if properly managed with other academic responsibilities is a wonderful period to combine academics and business/entrepreneurial learning.

How can students get access to funds for their business to expand while still in school?

I will advise students looking for funds for their businesses to look from friends and family members as this comes with little to no risk.

What changes can the government make to improve the education system in Nigeria?

I believe increased investments in this sector will go a long way to improve our educational system.

What mistakes did you make as an entrepreneur that you will advise other entrepreneurs not to make?

Truthfully, though I did make some mistakes, I will like to say that mistakes are what have made and grown me to my current position as an entrepreneur. My advice to entrepreneurs will be, not to be afraid of making mistakes but to learn and act appropriately when you do.

One of my biggest mistakes though is my inability to wait, sometimes patience is all you need and I feel I fell short of this virtue in my early entrepreneurial days.

How can we contact Damilola Soladoye?

I can be followed and contacted on the following platforms.

Twitter – https://twitter.com/sholzd , Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/damilolasoladoye/ ,Email – Dami@cycles.com.ng