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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.

Olaleye Nafisat Morenikeji, CEO of Nazmafoods

Olaleye Nafisat Morenikeji is a student of the University of Ibadan, Oyo state. She is an entrepreneur whose entrepreneurship is in the food industry. Nazmafoods is the brand she has built in the food industry. She had an interview with us at InterviewStories. We present the interview we had with the foodpreneur Olaleye Nafisat Morenikeji.

Can we know you?

My name is Olaleye Nafisat Morenikeji. I am a home cook, content creator and entrepreneur. I am from Ogun state raised in Lagos and a student of University of Ibadan in Oyo state.

What type of content do you create?

Food content, I take food pictures , write recipes and make food videos.

What is entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is about passion and taking risks on that passion, entrepreneurship requires creativity, innovation. An entrepreneur has to be creative and open minded.

What do you do as an entrepreneur?

I cook, I cook to bring happiness to people, to make money and also teach other people how to cook.

Does that make you a caterer?

No, I’m not a caterer. A caterer provides food and drinks to a gathering or event. I’m a home cook/amateur chef which means I have passion for cooking, but I’m less skilled than a professional chef. Sometimes I do the work of a caterer,but I’m not a caterer.

Do you see yourself as a chef?

An amateur chef, because I haven’t acquired the skills and certificate to be a professional chef. But I’m working on becoming a professional after I graduate. I have to go to a culinary school to become a professional.

What skills do you need to be a chef?

To be a chef requires a lot of skills which includes knife skills, plating skills, methods of cooking different foods, knowledge of ingredients, learning taste of ingredients, mastering how to manipulate the ingredients, mastering recipes .

Do you work with a chef?

No, I work on my own

How did you acquire your skills?

I learnt most of what I know on social media, especially YouTube. I learnt a lot of continental and local dishes by watching YouTube videos, I learnt how to plate food on Facebook food groups.

Then, during the student union strike in my school in 2017, I did an amateur diploma course on continental dishes which improved my skills.

What then makes you unique?

I’m very creative and make unique foods that always stands out. I provide quality and healthy home cooked food to people and it makes them happy.

Recently I developed a pizza recipe that makes pizza affordable to everyone. It is pizza in a very mini size and still taste like pizza!

Nazmafoods Pizza
Nazmafoods Pizza

Where do you get your customers/clients from?

For now I only sell to students of university of Ibadan and few outsiders. I post adverts on social media especially WhatsApp, advertise in classes to reach out to them.

Do you have a brand name?

Yes I do. My brand name is Nazmafoods.

What other products do you make apart from pizza?

I make beef burger, chicken sandwich and fish sandwich.

Can anybody eat these foods and what nutritional value do they offer to the body?

Yes, these foods are comfort foods that most people consider unhealthy, but Nazmafoods makes sure the foods are balanced by adding vegetables, and using the best ingredients .

Burger, sandwich, and pizza are good sources of Iron, Carbohydrates, and Protein.

Nazmafoods Beef Burger
Nazmafoods Beef Burger

Some people can’t eat cheese which is part of the recipe for burger and pizza. They can’t eat it because they are milk intolerant, so I modify the recipe for them.

Is this business profitable for you?

Of course it is, there’s no business without profit, and loss! Though it was challenging to make profit because I had to balance the quality of food with the price and make it affordable for students.

How long does it take you to make these products?

It doesn’t take me less than 12 hours. Because I’m still in school, I don’t have lots of tools, so I have to make preparations ahead. I use about 7 hours to prepare, about 5 hours to assemble the foods.

Nazmafoods Chicken Sandwich
Nazmafoods Chicken Sandwich

Why does it take that long to prepare?

Like I said before, I have limited access to space and tools, because I’m still a student staying in a hostel. And the ingredients I use for my foods are scarce here in Ibadan, so I have to prepare ahead. But I’m working on getting more tools and space.

What challenges do you face as an entrepreneur?

My major challenge is balancing price and quality. Also, making my products affordable to students. Other challenges include not having access to ingredients like cheese; I only find it in two stores, and also balancing my education with my business. But I’m handling them pretty well.

Is funding not a problem?

It is, in fact it is another major challenge

How have you been able to make sure these problems do not limit your business?

I prepare ahead, that solves a lot of future potential problems. And to balance business with education, I only sell on weekends.

Tell us your first experience?

My first experience was making chicken and fish club-sandwich for sale within my department, and it was well received, and that was how it started. I made just fifteen sandwiches that day. I sold all before the mid of that day.

Did you make loss that day?

No, but I didn’t make profit either, I made exactly the amount I invested

What lesson did you learn from that experience?

It was my first ever actual business experience, and it was really exciting. I learnt that one just need to start something, if you have an idea, passion, starting something even without enough resources will open you to more opportunities. I also learnt people really love good food and that food is the key to every creatures heart. It makes them happy and makes me happy too.

Namzafoods Products
Namzafoods Products

Tell us your most disappointing event you had since you started Nazmafoods?

My most disappointing event in the food production was a department excursion which I invested a lot of energy, time into and then I was able to sell just four out of fifteen sandwiches.

My most disappointing event for my content creation was losing an SD card containing lots of food pictures and videos. This events were painful and I felt like quitting then, but I didn’t because I’ve learnt that failure is part of growth, it makes me better.

After those events, I worked more on my food prices, and I invested more in storage and backup for my contents.

What keeps you going on?

My passion for cooking! and the smile I see on people’s faces after eating my food. I feel cooking is my way of communicating and sharing love and happiness to the world. Also, my determination to have a long-lasting brand that will leave an impact.

Olaleye Nafisat Morenikeji, CEO of Nazmafoods
Olaleye Nafisat Morenikeji of Nazmafoods

Do you work alone?

Yes, but recently I’ve been making large quantities of food , about hundred, which was really challenging. So I’ve just employed someone who would work with me next semester. And I’m also working on employing a delivery man.

Will you be paying them?

Yes, of course.

What future plans do you have for Nazmafoods?

Nazmafoods is already on its path to the future. It is going to be based on what it is already, it is only going to expand more.

Do you have investors?

No, I don’t…… I’m already in alliance with some individuals, but it is not official yet.

How long have your business existed?

It’s been a year and a month now.

Describe your experience and journey?

It was very exciting and I learnt a lot.

How did you raise funds to start your business?

I used personal savings. I then invested the capital with the profit to produce more .

How much did you start with?

I started with five thousand naira.

Do you think you could have raised more to start the business?

I am a student and I was not working, it was just enough to start! Though I had to borrow machines for the production.

What did you use the five thousand naira to purchase?

I used it to buy ingredients to make fifteen sandwiches

Which industry do you work in and what advise do you have for entrepreneurs that want to join the industry?

Food industry. My advice for entrepreneurs that wants to join the food industry, whether food production, food content production on social media is to START! Its really challenging to start because you might feel you do not have enough capital, resources…. but in the real sense, you might not need much to start something. And practice, consistency is also really important in the food industry.

Does every entrepreneur needs mentor or mentorship?

If mentor here means someone you look up to and learn from, then yes, there’s always someone we look up to.

Do you have a mentor?

I have four mentors.

How can young entrepreneurs raise funds?

I raised my funds from personal savings, so I’ll advice them to save from their allowance from their parents, or from their salary, if they are working. And they can also get sponsors and investors.

How can one know the kind of entrepreneurship industry one can venture into?

Your passion determines the industry you can venture into.

What are the risks associated with entrepreneurship that you have experienced?

Losing money, not making profit, running out of ideas.

How can people contact you?

Odewole Faith Ayanfeoluwa of sofac_photography

Odewole Faith Ayanfeoluwa is a student photogrpaher. He owns the brand sofac_photography where they make people smile. We interviewed Odewole Faith about how his journey began and where his passion for photography has taken him to. Read the Interview with him only at InterviewStories

Can we know you?

My name is Odewole Faith Ayanfeoluwa, a student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology , Anatomy Department. I am a photographer based in Ogbomosho, Oyo state.

How did you venture into photography?

Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) embarked on a strike action for some months and it was so tiring and frustrating…I then went home and looked for what will make me happy and at the same time, I will be doing something creative so I browsed and made a list of things I could do,I marked photography out at first honestly(I didn’t really like it)…But have always had an eye for amazing pictures. That was how sofac_photography came into existence.

Did you learn photography or you just picked the skill naturally?

I had to learn for a few months in Ibadan… I kept on working on myself through online tutorials too, that’s what hastened my growth actually

Did anyone put you through the profession?

I had to pay to learn from an already established photographer in Ibadan

Which equipment do you use in photography?

We have a lot….Basically the camera is the most important, we also have speed lights,soft box,tripod stand,reflectors, diffusers,trigger less I forget u need a computer system too just to mention few.

How were you able to get equipment?

The thing is you can get everything once its gradual…one leads to another. If you have the Money then go for it…but if not you’ll get them from your income. I started with borrowing camera from my school mum,all thanks to God and her. Then I started buying other stuffs

How much did you start with?

Actually my story is funny, like I said you need a camera basically then a system. But i started with around one hundred and twenty thousand naira (₦120, 000).

How were you able to get the money?

My parents were supportive… Through them basically because I had no source of income then.

Tell us your first experience as a photographer?

It was really funny,it was the first time I was nervous and really scared. I was still a novice,but to an extent I could snap reasonable pictures….not until my Abuja experience,I went with two other photographers

That was what helped my advance in my journey of photography.

Tell us your Abuja experience?

I was privileged to go to Abuja last year with a TV crew(ballspedia TV). I was with two other photographers on that trip,the trip gave me more experience and it opened my eyes to a lot of things in photography.

Is photography profitable?

Yes it is.

How much have you made from photography?

Depends on how frequent you get job and when you u are good people will patronize you frequently.

Do you think people should choose photography because of the money?

No. Photography should be chosen based on passion. If its not passion it will soon fade off

What qualities makes a good photographer?

Humility, Patience, Good relationship with customers. I am also a a professional. These are qualities that I have and I have also demonstrated while working as sofac_photography.

Odewole Faith Ayanfeoluwa of sofac_photography
Odewole Faith Ayanfeoluwa of sofac_photography

What problems do you face as a photographer?

Funding and time are some of the problems Odewole Faith Ayanfeoluwa faces at sofac_photography.

Time could be a major problem…you will need to take the pictures and edit and clients will be on your neck. Inadequate fund can frustrate a photographer when trying to get equipment to work with

What do one need to be a better photographer?

You just need all necessary stuffs that’s all….your productivity is not really based on the equipment but on your skills personally(I mean how well you can manage the stuffs you have).

What is your brand name?

Sofac_photography.

How can young entrepreneurs raise funds?

One of the hardest things to do while starting up is raising funds actually but I’ll propose you get people who believe in your dream(investors), they can invest in your business based on agreement

Also,they should know that they its w be always rosy,there are twists and bends to this job and we relate to customers according to their different status…..Be flexible in short.

Do entrepreneurs need to have a mentor?

Sure, you need a source of motivation,it must be someone you admire his works that is also better than you.

Advise for student entrepreneurs?

The normal thing people say is that be hardworking and all that but it doesn’t just work like that…. Basically I feel they should put God first and be creative, humility is key and they should use the people around them gainfully… You can’t be everywhere at all times.

How can people contact sofac_photography?

WhatsApp 08166720499

Instgram @sofac_photography

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

Missing Spoons

March 17, 2019 | Editorial, Uncategorized, World | No Comments

Missing Spoons

Introduction

Most of us use spoons to eat our daily meals except swallows. But do you know the most valuable cutlery is the spoon? While we see it as just a spoon, we most times do not value the spoon that feeds us.

While many people might think that there are other alternatives to spoons when they are missing, the convenience you experience when using a spoon is second to none. Some of us will rather use spoon for most of our meals than other cutlery like Knives or Fork. Asians might not be using spoons as much as they use their chopsticks but collect the chopsticks from them and the discomfort they will experience without their chopsticks when using other cutlery might not be bearable to them.

We need to start valuing what we have no matter how small or insignificant it may be. Small drops of water makes a mighty ocean. Without the small drops of water, there will be no ocean. There are quite a lot of things we do not value or appreciate. This is because we have seen them as part of us. Take these things away and we will start appreciating them.

Why You Need To Value What You Have

Company leadership might see some employees as too expensive and decide to fire them or make them leave the company to get another staff member to replace this so called expensive employee. When this so called expensive employee leaves the organization, the company begins to feel the effect of this employee and perhaps it may be too late for the company.

Students are usually best at a particular course or subject. If the student decide not to read or study this particular subject, it will prove fatal to the academic success of such student. The student will probably record the lowest score he has ever gotten in that course because of such negligence.

Just as we need to value our spoons because without them difficulty will arise when we feed ourselves, we also need to value ourselves by regularly exercising our body. People rarely take care of their health unless they have fallen ill. While we all use our spoons for food, we never wish to fall sick as we do not wish to use our spoons to be fed by others or use our spoons to take drugs. You can also take care of your health by not exposing yourself to insect bite. You can read more about protecting yourself from the insect bite by reading this interview.