A lot of organizations are contributing to the society. One of those that are giving value to people in the society is Rotaract Club of Felele headed by Connect President Adebowale Oluwaferanmi Shakirulahi, a student of Mathematics, University of Ibadan. InterviewStories met with him and he talks about the club, why he joined the club and what he he has achieved with the club. He talked about his interest in Agriculture and also why he is studying Mathematics in the University.
Can we know you?
I am Adebowale Oluwaferanmi Shakirulahi, the President of Rotaract Club of Felele, Rotary International District 9125. I am also a student of Mathematics, University of Ibadan, a Red Crosser and an Agroprenuer (an entrepreneur that focus on Agriculture).
What is Rotaract about?
Rotaract is an International youth humanitarian Service Organization. It has now been elevated to Rotary Partner in service. It consists of Professionally minded individuals of age 18-30 years. Leaders who are ready to develop individuals around them, their community and the world at large.
The purpose of Rotaract is to provide the opportunity for young men and women to enhance the knowledge and skills that will assist them in their personal development, to address the physical and social needs of their communities and to promote better relations amongst people worldwide through a framework of friendship.
The Goals Of Rotaract are to:
Develop professional and leadership skills
Emphasize respect in the right of others and to promote ethical standards and the dignifying of all useful occupations
Provide opportunities for young people to address the needs and concerns of their communities and our world
Promote for working in cooperation with sponsoring clubs Rotary Clubs
Motivate young people for eventual membership in Rotary.
How did you know about Rotaract and what prompted you to join the organization?
It was through Rtn. Engr. &Mrs Famade. During the establishment of Rotary Club of Ibadan-Felele. Then, I was sponsored for a program in Abuja, RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award). During the Rotary Youth Leadership Award) program, I was introduced to what Rotaract and Rotary do at large.
There are something’s that the club does that attracted me to the club. I was looking forward to joining ENACTUS in my University earlier but since I have been introduced to something more similar, I decided to be part of it.
What inspired you to be the president of Rotaract Club of Felele D9125 and what are your achievements so far?
Being the President was not my decision. It was the call to Service. Reason being been that, I thought I was not well equipped to be the President not until I was nominated and voted in as the Connect President. Every Rotary Year has its theme. The Theme for this year is: Rotary Connect the World. That’s what makes me a Connect President.
The New Rotary Year started July 1st. To God be the glory, it is a wonderful call. And I’m ready to put all my possible best. I have been able to execute a project with my sponsoring club (Rotary Club of Ibadan-Felele) where the District Governor was present. We are planning for more project. Two of them will be coming up in August this year. The recent one held on August 10, 2019 where the club taught members and non members some online businesses, training of Sharwarma preparations and marketing .
What are the benefits of being a Rotaract member?
The benefits of Rotaract is beyond quantification, but I would give the nearest benefits.
Rotaract allows youth to develop themselves Professionally, In terms of Leadership, Morally, Socially.
It allows members to make friends wherever they find themselves.
Importantly, it opens the door of meeting influential people that you can’t meet on a normal day. Once you can develop yourself and present yourself well to the extent that people find what they want in you, you are good to go.
Rotaract can serve as an avenue to market your skills.
How many districts do Rotaract have in Nigeria? What are the contributions the club have made to society?
There are 4 Districts in Nigeria.
9125 (Southwest and North)
9110 (Lagos and Ogun)
9141 (Edo, Bayelsea, Rivers, Delta)
9142 (Cross River, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Imo)
Many clubs function towards the areas of focus of Rotary International, which are Peace and Conflicts prevention resolution, Disease prevention, Water Treatment, Sanitation Basic Education, Literacy Economic, Community Development, Maternal and Child Health. Every Rotary and Rotaract Club are expected to work under this area of focus.
Why study Mathematics?
It amazed me when people ask why mathematics after hearing my line of action. I will say part of my source of energy came from Mathematics. Even when I did not know I will be studying Mathematics at the University at High School. Mathematics entails more than just the arithmetic seen by people. Mathematics model your thinking. And I believe through mathematics, I can study whatever I want to study again and become who I want to be. It’s just the beginning.
Why focus on Agriculture as an Entrepreneur?
It was something I am always eager to do when I was young and even now. With the help of my mentor Mr. U.K Gbadamosi, I have been able to deal well in Turkey Farming.
Tell us your experience as an entrepreneur?
I have been able to use the little knowledge and resources I have gathered to build myself. I do my farming every time I am around. Most time when I’m not around, my younger brother takes care of it and my mother.
How were you able to raise capital for the business?
I started very small with little capital. But at subsequent time, my mother helps me with funds when needed. But I use my spare money most time.
Do you have a mentor and why?
Very well, I do. Mentorship gives guidelines. It channels your experience. It saves the time of wandering around in acquiring knowledge and experience.
Your first experience selling your products as an entrepreneur?
I had already set a price for my sales. But because of the conditions of the market and customers, I had to bring down my price. It was funny.
I am moving on in serving humanity. In this service, I render my leadership skill. I hope to continue in that even at my faculty level, University of Ibadan. I hope I’m given the chance to execute what I have to deliver. But for the future, may Almighty God lead my way.
How can people get across to you?
I am very approachable. People can contact me on Whatsapp 08074549841 Facebook: Adebowale Oluwalovemi Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am Busari Mobolaji Toheeb, a final year Physics Education student at the University of Lagos. I’m from Oyo State Ibadan to be precise, from a family of five with two brothers and two sisters, am a cobbler as well and a stylist with a styling brand ‘B-$TAR’.
Seven years back immediately I finished my secondary school from Global School of Science in Ibadan. I started immediately after my May/June WAEC examinations in 2011, I took the decision after staying at home alone after my WAEC. My dad told me to enrol for JAMB coaching but during the training, there was a particular building beside my coaching center which was a vocational training school for people regardless of your status, so I enrolled in cobbling together with a friend Paul. After my JAMB examination in 2012, I got admitted into the Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta to Study Physics/Chemistry.
While working on the admission process in November 2012, I couldn’t furthermore in the training due to stress and also my course didn’t permit me so I wasn’t given a certificate but I spent just 9 months on the training. I had learnt things like sandal making, leather slippers making and was about to proceed to shoemaking when I was hooked with stress in school so I couldn’t manage the two together and had to drop cobbling for school in the process.
Describe your barbing experience?
I enrolled for barbing training in 2016. My barbing experience since 2016 has been fantastic.
Is B-$tar your cobbling company?
No, I haven’t set up the cobbling company yet, because it requires time and money in getting some equipment, moreover, am in school but am planning towards that after school.
The B in the name stands for my surname and my own name and for the star you know the stars are bigger and brighter than the Sun so that’s how I want my brand to be by God grace.
What makes B-$TAR stand out in a crowd of competitors is that I do provide a Legendary Customer Service and treat my customers like royalty, even when there’s no need to. The belief that customer service only matters in the service industry is a myth. Another thing is that I do admit my mistakes and also fix out the problems, I don’t argue with my customers and these really help me to build a stronger relationship with them.
Why did you establish B-$tar
I established B-$TAR After my training to be self-dependent. I also wanted to train young people as well that are interested in barbing. Another thing is that the barbering industry is continuing to grow, with more and more barbershops popping up and it is definitely an exciting industry to be involved in! There is a saying that many people are familiar with and it goes something a little like this if you love your job, you’ll never have to work another day in your life. We know that many barbers would agree with this statement and be able to list many reasons why they love their job and how it doesn’t feel like work. Choosing a barbing career presents many opportunities and perks that one may not have even considered. I know there can be doubts, concerns and worries when transitioning into a new career or even deciding what career path to take after finishing school. The main factors that normally arise when deciding on a career are the training options available, employability prospects and the challenges of the job. But to me, I can probably say there are many opportunities in choosing this career which includes:
YOU WILL BE YOUR OWN BOSS: Bottom line, being a barber is a good life. The job offers flexible hours and rewarding work in a creative industry. Few trades offer as many opportunities to open your own successful business. There is a range of options in how you can be your own boss with a barber career. Some people opt to rent a chair in a salon and build up their client base, chose to work as a mobile barber or open up their own barbershop, where they can really bring in their passions and personality into their barbershop.
BE A PEOPLE PERSON: Not many jobs offer the opportunity to meet and interact with people from all walks of life. Barbers meet clients who have interesting stories to tell and you get to chat with people daily, which is perfect if you love people. Plus, you play a big part in making people look their best. You have the power and skills to give confidence to men by giving them a haircut that suits them and makes them feel great. Many barbers make good friends and contacts from their clients; your confidence and popularity will grow if you are a good barber.
GOOD INCOMES: Most barbers make a decent amount of money; not only do you get your salary at the end of the week, you get your tips too. If you master your barbering trade to a top-notch standard and can create sharp and modern barber haircuts, along with providing an outstanding service for your client, you will see your tips increase. The potential of earning a good barber salary is high due to the different areas of barbering that is available to work in, whether that is running your own barbershop, being a mobile barber, working for a high-end barbershop or even a renowned barber brand. There is also the option to work as a freelance barber to work on photo shoots for fashion brands, music bands or any type of brand that requires a professional and talented barber. Once you establish yourself and build a credible reputation in the barbering industry, you can earn a lot of money.
BARBERING CAREER TAKE THE JOB WITH YOU: Barbers can get good work anywhere in the world, as getting a haircut is a basic need and not a luxury one, so there is always a demand for barbers worldwide. If you want to travel and widen your horizons, barbering is a great choice of trade as job prospects are good all over the world. Obtaining the barbering qualification will also help you qualify as a skilled worker and increase chances of getting a work visa to enable you to work in your desired destination I think especially a country like Canada.
EACH DAY IS DIFFERENT: It will be hard to find two days alike in barbering; each day is different and most importantly, each day is enjoyable. You’ll find most barbering jobs are so varied. You will have a range of clients asking for different hairstyles, which makes the job less repetitive and each day exciting.
YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE A JOB: The lifespan of a profession is going to cross your mind when you’re considering a new career. There is no lifespan of a barber, once you work hard and continue to master your craft, you can work as long you want. Regardless of the economic situation, men will always need to get their hair cut, so there will always be a need for barbers.
Where are you located? Can you travel to other states to provide VIP service?
For the location, I’m working on a particular place in Oshogbo Osun state in which after my school I’m going to open it. Yes, my services aare open for all.
Services rendered at B-$tar?
We barb the hairstyles
AFRO + FADE
LOW CUT + FADE
WAVE + FADE
Home Services (Plus Extra charges) e.t.c
We also sell or can get you
Bumps/ Rashes Creams
Sporting wave /Pomade,Shampoos e.t.c
Has B-$tar affected your academics negatively?
No, as I said earlier you have to be dedicated and determined though it is not easy in life nothing good comes easy. You have to manage your time wisely anytime you are planning.
Tell us your experience so far in 3years
I can probably say I’ve learned a lot. Firstly, you have to humanize your business in the sense that while working with your customers. They tell you their struggles in life or lend you their ears on understanding your story. He not only listens but also records your stories. No matter how bad the day is going, the barber should smile, greet and thank customers when they are leaving in a way he creates a lasting impression. What better way to retain an existing client than to know their story and connect with them. The more you know about your customers, the better the connection. This not only leads to a long-term business relationship but also more referral or word-of-mouth opportunities.
You have to build a system to deliver experience and not just service because I’ve learnt that people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but will never forget how you made them feel most especially the adult customers. This is because the way you treats them will determine whether they will patronize you again or not, you deliver beyond a simple haircut, you’ve to make it livelier by discussing trends in the society or playing of music or movies.
You also have to be patient with this job in particular because sometimes u might be busy throughout and sometimes, you might find it difficult to see a single customer… Just pray about it and trust me your journey believe me.
How were you able to raise capital to start B-$tar?
I started raising money with the help of an App called Cowrywise for like a year and also my parent supported me as well. The capital was not enough to start the business. I just had to make use of what I had then to set up the business. You know you’ve to start from somewhere.
What are the milestones you have have achieved at B-$tar
For the milestone I’ve had in my company to start with, for a business to grow, I had to set up an effective business model. A business model represents the methods you use to make a profit. Parts of a business model include operating procedures, marketing strategies, and cost structures. In addition to this, another milestone is how to like Gain repeat customers because we’ll know that customers are key to keeping your business operating. To set customer milestones, I’ve to like to pay attention to both prospective and existing customers. This kind of customers helps my business to thrive as well.
What advice do you have for people who want to start their entrepreneurship journey?
My advice for people who wants to start their entrepreneurship is that they should Seek out a mentor, they shouldn’t be discouraged by slow growth, and also they should have a plan. In addition, they should pray often and work with a mentor. Surrounding themselves with others who can support them on their journey to entrepreneurship. Get clear about how to manage their money when they are not getting a weekly paycheck.
Also, they should value themselves more highly. Charge what they know they’re worth. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask for the fair value of their services because no one is ever going to offer them more than what they ask, so they might as well go for it. Lastly, they should surround themselves with people who are going to elevate them to the next level. They should also start programming their mind. Like meditation, affirmations, and watching motivational videos about how to manage their time and business. They should never stop learning, Keep investing in themselves not only that also keep their mind, body and soul in tip-top shape.
Do you think the education system in Nigeria makes a student better prepared for entrepreneurship?
No, because we all know that Entrepreneurship is regarded as the engine room for every country’s economic development because it is a sure way of generating employment opportunities, providing the needed manpower for industrial development, marketing and market factor growth, capacity building on the citizenry and resource distribution which are necessary paraphernalia for sustainable development. The importance of entrepreneurship education in any developing country such as Nigeria needs not to be over-emphasized and this is because Nigeria like other developing countries is faced with a high rate of graduate unemployment or underemployment as a result of poor trade liberalization and graduates inept ability for the global competitive labour market.
How can we contact you?
You can contact me on twitter handle @wilsonbeejay, on Facebook page Busari Mobolaji Wilson For my brand on Facebook B_STAR HAIR CLINIC, ON INSTAGRAM: INVESTOR_BEEJAY_, FOR MY BRAND ON IG: bstar_hairclinic Email: email@example.com
Many people do what they love doing but very few are the best at what they do. InterviewStories met a Stylist who also happens to be a student at University of Port Harcourt. Joshua Achonwa is an A-rated celebrity stylist and the creative director at Jae Wilder Stylings. He talks about how he got to be one of the very best at what he does
Can we meet you?
I am Joshua Achonwa,a final year Chemical engineering student at the University of Port Harcourt. Am from Rivers,Port Harcourt to be precise, from a family of 5 with 4 sisters, am also a designer and A-rated celebrity stylist with a styling brand “Jae Wilder Stylings”. I am an image consultant, event analyst and video stylist.
Image consulting is a professional field that aims to improve the image of the client personally or professionally through appearance, behaviour, and communication. It is the process of evaluating the effect of a person’s appearance on their professional image. Just making you look as you sound, the kind of person they expect to see, not when you sound differently and look differently. In music videos, for example, the outfits in the videos may speak differently from the lyrics, that’s why we are here to make it all right. Someone that analysis event gives you creative ideas and concept on how to go about your event. They offer intellectual ideas. More precisely, they tell you what to put in place to make your event better. A video stylist is someone who makes provisions for all the necessary outfits for a video shoot.
I love food and read a lot, I practically spend most of my free hours researching online. I sometimes do movies on weekends. Music is my drug I vibe to a lot of alte music, I’m a fan of Santi, prettyboydo and a couple of cool acts. My favourite colour is maroon.
Why study Chemical Engineering?
I actually always wanted to be an engineer, first I thought it was mechanical, I wanted to build things, wanted to create things, then I switched to petroleum and then I landed in Chemical Engineering. Here’s the Gist, back in high school I wasn’t so much of a chemistry student, in fact, I barely did good in chemistry grade. After high school I picked up the challenge, I sat and taught myself chemistry for 6months and ended up loving it.
What makes you a good designer?
Actually, my dad was a major contributor to my career he lives very much in me. I learned to love fashion as a growing up kid, I enjoyed watching my dad dress up, I enjoyed every aspect of seeing people look good. I started playing dress up as a young kid. Although through my teenage age the whole designer and stylist thing didn’t come to play that big, it was in my early University days I discovered I could fit things properly, I felt more, loved being behind cameras, I enjoyed the flickering lights, the shades and colours!
I knew that was what I wanted, I fitted in without stress, I match colours properly, I looked good without stress, I could tell when an outfit was bad, it was all coming to me, I felt it and then I embraced it, drew closer to the masters, and learnt the craft. I used to hang with Jason Porshe while he was in Port Harcourt around 2017. My first fashion certificate “A view in fashion” was gotten from a fashion school from Scotland . I study a lot and put so much into this craft. Am getting better daily.
What makes you better than other designers around?
Well, I think it’s the me factor. You can’t take that away, you can take the fabrics, the styling the idea, but the me factor makes everything even magical. Without me, everything wouldn’t be the same.
What makes one a celebrity stylist?
Well, when you’ve worked with more than 5 celebrities. Styled them on different occasions, worked with international brands I think at that time you are no longer local because your works go on different platforms and stages. You are international.
What does Jae Wilder Stylings do?
Jae Wilder Stylings is a fashion & image consultancy company and our services cover booking of outfits, styling of weddings, video shoots, pictures, event consultancy, fashion presentations and more. You could get to know when you visit us.
Why the name Jae Wilder Stylings as your company name?
I’m myself Jae of Port Harcourt tells the story of a young Port Harcourt boy that went on to conquer the rest of the world. The brand Jae wilder is a styling brand, very wild brand totally out of the box that’s the creativity level. It isn’t what you can possibly imagine.
Tell us your first time experience styling an A-rated celebrity?
My first A-list was Mayorkun. Funny as it sounds I didn’t believe who was on the other side of the phone. I remember vividly because it was my first breakthrough. The call came around 6:00PM. I was sitting outside, and a call came in “are you Jae Wilder?” I said I was, he said you are speaking to big Sam, Mayorkun’s manager I need you to come style Mayorkun for a show, “he forgot his backpack in Lagos”. He gave me directions and other info needed.
When the call ended I thought it was a scam, I had to call my friend because this was too big, at that time Mayorkun just released “mama” I didn’t know how to believe it. I called Mayorkun’s team in Lagos through the IG page to confirm if they were in my city and it was true they were in Port Harcourt and actually called me. I rushed up with my friend Mcwesley, we did the job. It was really a beautiful experience. When I get the calls now I just go through I don’t have to go through the drama I did the first time. The DMW team was welcoming and made me feel very much at home. I didn’t feel any nervous instead I felt great.
Which artist did you enjoy styling the most and why?
That has to be Broda Shaggi, he was really welcoming and funny. After the session, we sat with his manager Pastor Pharoa and had a very long conversation.
Must one be rich or wealthy to be able to afford or provide any of these services?
To do what I do will cost you time, resources, and sleep, but you don’t need to be wealthy. To afford my services you don’t need to be wealthy also, price ranges from students to high prolific individuals. It’s about finding your class and fitting into it.
How has what you studied in school help you in establishing yourself as an A-rated stylist?
Yes, in someways. School these days don’t give you the necessary skills needed to survive in the common world. It does not teach you how to pay your bills. But if you look deeply you would get to see that everything you need in life is taught to you from the sides of the classroom. For example I learned more on how to run my businesses from my entrepreneurship classes. We call it General studies(GES). I learnet a lot of business skills. Also there were times the lecturers cut classes short to talk to us about life. I did side jobs with designers to rise capitals. I even had a team I worked with while building a brand. They helped me raise capital from shoots and little events.
How easy is managing Jae Wilder Stylings?
Well currently I’m in my final year , it’s easier now. I have less school work you know. My personal assistant Miss Jenny handles any tedious work I have to do, my road manager Yemi handles my travels and movements. It has gotten easier with my team, but when I started it was more difficult.
Tell us about your worst day as a stylist?
My worst day actually turned to be one of my favourites. It was my day with Pryse and the electricity supply was constant at the studio we were to use, we got fuel just in case. The funny part was the power went out that day and the generator refused to come on. We struggled for 4hours but the generator just won’t come on. Finally, the power came back on but we were all already tired. We almost cancelled the shoot but I still insisted that it must go on. We started shooting around 9pm and ended around 11pm. The shoot turned out to be successful.
Have you ever worked and was not fully paid? What did you do after it happened?
Yes, the Chairman still owes me. I dust it off and moved past it. Recently they called me for a job and I declined. I knew full well I was the only one that could handle it and that’s why I declined. They were really hurt. They promised payment before I start working and all of that but once you play me, I consider you insincere and I don’t work with people who are not sincere.
What resources do you value most?
Time. You never have it back.
What values do you think are most important in the line of work you do?
Like I said sincerity. Don’t broker a deal you can’t pull off.
What motivates you?
My dad, I pray the angels keep him well till I see him again. My mum, she really wants to see me win. Of course for my sisters to be proud of me, my awesome friends and to everyone rooting for me genuinely. They are my true motivation.
How are you able to combine multiple jobs together?
Well I have an efficient team. I styled Perruzi and Broda Shaggi in one day but of course at different times. There isn’t anything I can’t do as long as I pray before leaving for the day.
Do you plan to continue with Jae Wilder Stylings after school or the future prospects of chemical engineering?
Lol, Jae wilder Stylings would be here for a long time. It’s an award-winning brand you know, currently the next rated designer in Nigeria according to the South-South Achievers that held this year in Calabar.
How do you make use of technology to help your business?
Instagram has been helpful. A lot of my works are online. People bump into my works and want to work with me. Also, I’ve been featured on a lot of platforms.
How can people contact you?
@jae_of_portharcourt or contact me JoshAchonwa@yahoo.com or call 08160489765.
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.
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…
While many student entrepreneurs usually focus on ideas that are related to what they study in school, some take the extra effort to solve problems they have passion for. Lucky is one of these student entrepreneurs. Eluwa Lucky started STUHOSA with his team and have provided accommodation to many students in the University of Ibadan. InterviewStories met Lucky who talked about things he does and how he is contributing positively to the society.
Can we know you?
I am Eluwa Lucky, a native of Amafor Isingwu in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State am also currently a student in the Department of Music, Faculty of Art, University of Ibadan.
Am a songwriter, performer, jingle artiste and guitarist. I also profer housing solutions to students’ needs by working directly with landlords so as to give students who are in need of good accommodations within the University environs the best of service at an affordable rate.
The housing solutions for students was borne out of my passion to always provide solutions to problems wherever I find myself. Before deciding to start the Students Housing Solutions Agency (STUHOSA), I had seen how some students had been duped by some agents who collected so much money and ended up not even providing them with houses and this triggered the solutions proffering part of me. I started this agency to work directly with House owners on how best to offer students accommodation that would match their needs and still be affordable.
e. I started this agency to work directly with House owners on how best to offer students accommodation that would match their needs and still be affordable.
To the glory of God, I am also the Director of Creazitiv Jingles- a Radio/TV jingle company that creates both radio and TV jingles for corporate organizations, institutions, religious bodies and individuals for the purpose of advertisements, marketing and other needs. One major client of ours out of our numerous clientele is First City Monument Bank. Our jingles are created based on the client’s theme. After its creation, our clients have the legal rights to promote them on any platform. Our job is to create the jingles which are creative, simple and informative.
Why did you choose to study music at the University?
Right from my childhood days, I discovered not just my love for music but my ability to compose different kind of songs. This made me decide to come to school to develop what I already have because personally, I see the university as a place where one goes to develop his or her potentials and not just a place where you go to study any kind of course just for the sake of study.
Tell us about the housing solutions you provide for students.
Students Housing Solutions Agency (STUHOSA) is still at its early stage. I started it with some students of the University of Ibadan who I shared the idea of providing solutions to problems faced by students in securing good accommodation with. They saw the passion and today we are proffering solutions together. It started in November 2018. We are not up to a year. Interested students who are passionate about proffering solutions to housing problems and have some experience on it are chosen irrespective of age, class, department amongst others.
For now, we cover the University of Ibadan. We are working to spread our tentacles to other schools before the year ends. We have provided accommodation for over 20 students at the University of Ibadan.
Once a prospective client contacts us and gives us a description of the kind of house that he or she wants, we match their preference with what is available. If it matches we take them to the house for evaluation. After that, payment is made and the tenancy agreement is signed. Students are our primary concern other clients are secondary.
We just don’t visit every house we see, the houses we visit are houses that must be students friendly and provide the conducive environment for students to live in and also to study. Our prices range from ₦45, 000- ₦160, 000. Pricing is dependent on the nature of the house, location and the features of the house.
What can make a student to forfeit his accommodation or partnership with your organization?
Just like Wizkid said in one of his songs “…bad energy go far away”. A student who begins to show attitudes that are against the law and laid down regulations would have to dissociate from us.
What problems do you face at Students Housing Solutions Agency?
One of the problems faced is the unavailability of many student-friendly houses. A lot of houses in Ibadan were built without having students in mind. If more student-friendly houses are built, it will solve that problem.
Do you also help students to get the equipment needed to live comfortably?
Yes, we do but that is secondary. Our primary motive is getting them good accommodations.
What are the reasons why students like to stay outside of school?
Based on our discovery, students like to stay outside school because of the privacy they get as living in hostels do not fully offer one the kind of privacy they need.
Some students also prefer to stay outside school so that they could have enough room to run whatever business they want to from their homes as this is always difficult from the hostels
Do you plan to continue with Students Housing Solutions Agency after school?
Yes, I do. By the grace of God, Students Housing Solutions Agency will be in almost all the university in the South West in 5years time.
Which one is more important to you music or Students Housing Solutions Agency?
Asking me to weigh both of them is like asking me to choose between my body and my soul.
Do you have investors currently?
We are in search of investors who will partner with us to build student friendly houses. This will further alleviate the sufferings of students seeking good accommodations.
Is Students Housing Solutions Agency for making profit or is it meant to solve only accommodation problems which is a society problem?
I would say that it is meant to solve accommodation problems and also make profit. This is because every great man today is wealthy for every problem they have solved. We do not place our properties above our clients who are students as their satisfaction is our priority.
How does one contact Students Housing Solutions Agency for accommodation?
Prospective clients can call our lines: 08104229693, 08080212978.
What do you wish to tell students?
Students should ensure that they consider factors like comfort, security, cleanliness among other factors when they search for houses. They should only deal with trusted agents of which Students Housing Solutions Agency is one of them.
What advice do you have for students who wish to venture into entrepreneurship while in school?
They are on the right track. Let’s be sincere with ourselves, Nigeria has nothing for you my fellow youths. Know this and you will avert a lot of disappointment for yourself as you would have made up your mind to start something for yourself. And lastly, just ad the Bible advises “Do not despise the days of little beginnings…”
Different peope do different things. Ogunbowale Emmanuel is a student who makes a living out of entertainment. While many college students in Ibadan will know him by his stage name Eminence RapMachine, we at InterviewStories knows him as an artist that prescribes and cure illness with his form of entertainment, music.
Can we know you?
My name is Ogunbowale Emmanuel Gbolade popularly known by the stage name Eminence RapMachine. I am based in the ancient city of Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria. I am an Artiste, Actor, an Entertainer generally
I always wanted to become a medical doctor back then in secondary school all because I want to save life’s and help cure people with problems but I fell deeply in love with music and I told myself *”Why try to save people with obvious illness? why not save people with depression issues, sadness and all. Things they can’t take to the hospital”. Eminence RapMachine just love making people happy. I’ll say I’m still a doctor but music and entertainment is what I prescribe and cure you with
How did you venture into entertainment?
It all started in
secondary school when I was about to write my WAEC in early 2016. A
friend of mine “Banji” downloaded an application that you
can make beats with and we started playing with it and rapping on the
beats using lyrics of other rappers like Dagrin, Olamide, Lil Wayne
until one day we tried to write our own lyrics and do some freestyles
and it was not that bad so…we continued and turned it into a daily
routine (writing more lyrics, challenging one another)
Until one day my best friend Ay_Lyon said to me,Emmy let’s go to the studio and record a song at first the idea sounded funny and crazy because I never saw my self becoming an artist but we
recorded a song together titled Roll it. and since then I just
couldn’t stop doing music and making people happy because I love the seeing joy on people’s faces whenever I entertain them or encourage them in my way
Tell us your first experience in the studio?
Wow…My first time in studio felt strange (I couldn’t believe I was recording a song). It was my first time in that kind of environment but at the same time, it felt like home in a cool way. I enjoyed every part of the session; from making the beat to recording to the producer complaining about the way we are recording like armatures. Very funny but I knew making good music and making people happy is what I wanted do for the rest of my life.
How did you acquire the name Eminence RapMachine?
Hmm… I actually gave my self the name Eminence. Initially my stage name was Emmyboy Wizzy then EmmyRocky but I sat down one day and remembered the Yoruba adage Oruko maa n ro yan meaning you live up to your name or behave according to your name then I started searching for a name that will at least capture what I want to become in life. That was how I came up with the name Eminence which means someone successful and well.
I went for a show where I performed and after my performance, people were like how come you are never tired on stage with that kind of crazy mind-blowing performance? then a fan answered and said that I was a machine. That was how I got the name RapMachine from my fans
Tell us about your latest work?
I dropped my first official singles this year January 2019 titled Fine Girls and BOTM(Beast on the microphone). Two songs at the same time. Crazy? I know. I just dropped another love jam titled MINE this month.
What inspires you to produce these songs?
BOTM(Beast on the microphone) was basically about how lyrically insane I am on the microphone portraying me as the beast on the microphone. So… It is self-exalting.
Same as Fine Girls.I’m a very cute and attractive guy so ladies come after me all the time. That is what Inspired the song. So I called myself husband of all fine girls and made people realize that I don’t chase babes instead they rush me
For MINE … The inspiration behind it is an imaginary babe in my head I’m about to
know. She’s the exact picture of the babe I’ll love to be with forever .So.. I’m basically letting her know I want to make her MINE and MINE alone
Is MINE your biggest hit so far?
Well… MINE is different from my normal kinda songs. It’s very calm and emotional. Plus it just dropped so it is still fresh and I still have a lot of better Sounds I’m yet to unveil. But no doubt MINE issa banger.
Do people appreciate music in Nigeria?
Recently, YES. Nigerians are starting to appreciate music but not as much as foreign countries, for now. That is why you see Nigerians trying to go international and their fans abroad are really crazy about them.
Tell us about your first experience on stage?
It’s really a funny one. It was a live performance with my friend sQ under a group named THUG. I was very very nervous facing hundreds of people mostly females ,I held the microphone like a church choir while I was rapping, I didn’t move that much on stage and the painful part was that I forgot my second verse out of fear for about 30 seconds. Thank God sQ covered up for me before I was able to remember but it was so much fun and experience.
Do you make a lot from music?
Well… I make a whole lot from music. I make a living out of music but if what you mean is cash the answer is NO. You know how the upcoming artiste’s life goes. People see you’re good even better than some Star so they call you to shut down their show and still don’t want to pay the way they know they should.
Lack of investors and Sponsors is really slowing things down but we keep pushing and hoping for the best.
What then makes you continue?
Passion. There are a
lot of people out there that my song will heal their soul. If I stop
now what do I gain. So I just keep going because I know it’s not all
about the money it’s about healing souls and making people happy and
giving then joy
Will you still be doing music for long?
Yes. For a very long time. I have a lot to do and I’ve not done 1% I’m just starting. Not just music alone but Entertainment generally.
Have you ever regretted doing entertainment or been disappointed before?
Hmm… No. Sure we have down times where you’re like God will this hustle pay? but all these things are expected. So whenever somethings happen, I just laugh because it is expected and not strange. I am not the first person it will ever happen to . I just focus on where I’m going and why I’m doing what I’m doing.
What advice do you have for upcoming artists?
Just keep it 100%. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing and focus. Don’t just follow the crowd. Be determined and prepared for anything that comes your way both challenges and opportunities because both will always come your way.
What mistakes should newcomers avoid in the entertainment industry?
Walking in the shadow of another artist and not having your own brand that is really YOU. You have to be unique in your own special way. Also, newcomers should not just take music as an escape route thinking it’s easy that’s why we have a lot of artists singing all sort of empty songs (the producers are the ones doing the job because we dance to their beat). New comers need to be sure Entertainment is what they’re really born for.
What makes your kind of entertainment unique?
Eminence RapMachine fuse different sounds together and I just do it my way and own it. So, if you listen to my songs you can hardly say I’m following one particular artiste or pattern of music. I’m flexible. I don’t do a one-way thing where all my songs sound the same
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
10 years time I see
my self impacting lives with my music and entertaining people
worldwide. Maybe even on a World Tour. Having millions of fans all
over the world. Breaking records and winning awards and becoming a
How can people contact you?
You can connect with me on IG @ Eminence_RapMachine_ , Twitter @ EminenceRM .You can also type my name Eminence RapMachine on Google to download my songs.And also watch my videos on YouTube and subscribe. Information about booking is on my Instagram bio
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.
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.
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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?
am Ihieri Michael Uchenna. CEO and founder of Woleth Enterprise. I am
from Imo state. I am from a family of five.
you an entrepreneur during your school days?
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.
Were those ventures profitable?
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?
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?
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.
What do you do at Woleth Enterprise?
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
What type of investment does Woleth Enterprise do?
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?
conduct detailed research getting our respondents from the potential
What makes Woleth consulting standout?
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?
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?
consulting has no plans for that.
What future plans does Woleth Consulting have?
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?
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?
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.
What should we be expecting from Woleth magazine?
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?
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?
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?
aim to be the foremost startup support company in Nigeria by then.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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
How old is otaiku_naturals?
It will be a year in
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Do you plan to continue with otaiku_naturals in the future?
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.