While insects are interesting animals, some are nuisances and are dangerous to the health of humans. Examples of such insects are bedbugs, cockroaches and mosquitoes etc which tends to irritate the body, suck human blood and are vectors to diseases or infections. Shofu Babalola saw this problem in his immediate environment and monetized is solution in his society. InterviewStories met him and asked him about his plans and how he was able to achieve this.
Can we meet you?
My name is Shofu Babalola Theophilus. A student of Chemistry department, University of Ibadan. I am an entrepreneur, volunteer and producer of S.B SUPER INSECTICIDE.
I am also the project coordinator for Chem-Intellect Society of the Chemistry department, University of Ibadan.
How does being a Chemistry student help in the production of S.B SUPER INSECTICIDE?
I am currently in 100level, been an industrial chemist only set me apart from other producers. Insecticides are natural or synthetic chemicals used to kill insects pests. Research work is still going on to improve my product.
What do you think an entrepreneur does?
An entrepreneur refers to a person who has an innovative business idea, who is willing to take the risk of implementing the idea, and who also takes on the role as leader of the company or organization – assuming full responsibility for its execution, success, or failure. I see myself as an entrepreneur.
What problem are you solving?
Bedbug infestation on campus and at homes with the spread of malaria and all other diseases caused by insects,even cockroaches in our homes are majorly the problems that my product help provide solution to . Most students suffer from bedbug infestation. People living in rural areas also die from malaria which is caused by mosquitoes.
Also those living in urban areas especially those that live in water logged areas suffer mosquito infestation a lot. My product has been designed to fight against all this at an affordable price. I also make money from the products.
How old is your business?
I started production January 15th 2019 when ASUU went on strike. But research started since November, 2018.
What are your product names?
S.B SUPER INSECTICIDE is currently the only available product for sale.While our other products like TMSOAPS and antiseptics have not yet been produced.
Why should I use S.B Super Insecticide instead of other insecticides?
It’s effectiveness speaks for it, it has been tested on insects like wasp,butterfly,bedbugs,cockroaches and many other insects. Tips on how to reduce it infestation is currently on my blog chem-intellect.blogspot.com. An insecticides goes for ₦300.
You can watch the effect of S.B Super Insecticide video on youtube. The insecticide is environmental friendly as it does not deplete the ozone layer. Also the branding of S.B Super Insecticide is well designed and presentable. The product is also affordable.
Have people ever criticize your product?
Yes people have criticized my product and their criticism have made me to improve on the product.
Will the insects not develop resistance against the chemical over time?
No, S.B Super Insecticide, like other organophosphate insecticides, acts on acetylcholinesterase. It acts as contact and stomach poison on insects, it damages insects DNA.
What motivated you to be an entrepreneur?
I follow my passion, I love applications/practicals also I love solving problems all this started when I got back home when ASUU went on three months strike. My parent started spending money daily to buy insecticide to reduce mosquitoes in the room then I thought of how I can make cheaper and more effective insecticide to combat the insects. That was our S.B Super Insecticide came into existence.
How were you able to source for fund to start S.B Super Insecticide?
I talked to a neighbour of mine about me able to get her an effective insecticide to eradicate bedbug in her room. It was her money I initially used to produce the first S.B Super Insecticides. Later on, I had to source for fund from my parents who saw it as a means of investment to produce more. I had to reinvest the profit I made from selling the first set of S.B Super Insecticide to make more of the product.
How are you able to combine school with business?
I sell majorly to student in my school for now . I make use of social media platforms to communicate to my customers and potential buyers at free hours.
Do you have any advise for upcoming student entrepreneurs?
Student entrepreneurs should be passionate about whatever they like doing. Follow their goals and never give up.
Will you continue S.B Super Insecticide after you leave school?
Definitely, I will continue after school. I also hope to employ people to help establish the business. I also hope to work with health organizations to combat these insects by using my product.
Adeshina Adewumi is a serial entrepreneur who sees opportunity in every problem and has a strong passion to help businesses grow.Adeshina commitment is to inspire, build and coach young entrepreneurs to build profitable sustainable ventures. He is a highly sought after leader, author, speaker and business consultant. He is the author of “Giving Back”; a book that emphasis the need to have a balanced social, business and academic life while in the university.
Adeshina Adewumi is a first class graduate of Accounting from Bowen University,Osun State. He is a Fellow Royal Society of Arts (UK) and member; Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Information System Audit and Control Association (ISACA), Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI Network). He is a strong promoter of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
Adeshina Adewumi is an entrepreneur who reflects the virtues of every African entrepreneur willing to make an impact within their community. An entrepreneur and management consultant with over 7 years experience working with multinational companies and also building solutions for Africa and global communities.
“I love to call myself the business doctor who is always ready to help identify solutions to makes ideas and businesses scale.”
I’m currently the Chief Operating Officer for Proville and have had the privilege to Cofound several businesses among but not limited to Regina La Meilleur Limited, Regalo Kitchen and Confectionery Limited and One Kiosk Africa. Each of these companies have received several local and international recognition, awards and shortlistings among which include but not limited to Top 100 fastest growing SMEs in Nigeria (Award by Business Day Media and Bossman Nigeria), 100 African Startup Initiative (Program by International Finance Corporation- World Bank Group and MICC Egypt), Y Combinator Startup School Batch 2018, Pitch and Win by Sterling Bank and EDC, Lagos Business School (First batch 2019), 6 Top African Startup by Africa Com 2018, Top 30 African Tech Startup by Accenture 2018 and Future of Work Awards (Flexible Working Category by Royal Society of Arts UK).
How has your university degree helped your businesses?
My background as an accountant having studied Accounting during my undergraduate degree has contributed meaningfully to my business. One of the key metrics of measuring business success aside social impact is profitability (revenue, users etc). This has a lot to do with numbers and the survival of every business lies in her ability to make effective decisions with the numbers. Accounting as a first degree has helped a great deal even though I rarely practice now on a commercial scale.
Tell us about Regalo Kitchen and Confectionery Limited that you co-founded?
Regalo Kitchen and Confectionery Limited was birthed in 2015, although it was officially registered in 2018 in Nigeria. Regalo Kitchen started out providing catering services for busy working professionals and corporate organisations. Between 2015 till date, they have been able to service notable companies among which include but not limited to Guaranty Trust Bank, Paystack, Paga, Stanbic IBTC and Ag Leventis Nig.
In 2018, the company decided to include a social enterprise strategy in order to contribute meaningfully towards the Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria and thus help reduce unemployment and underemployment. In 2018 alone, the company was able to train over 150 candidates with various catering soft skills to launch out into entrepreneurship through her Regalo Master Class. Regalo Kitchen and Confectionery Limited emerged top 100 fastest growing SMEs in Nigeria for 2018 (Award by Business Day Media and Bossman Nigeria).
The next milestone for Regalo Kitchen is to introduce the Uber Eat model in Nigeria in a refined way to meet the needs of the market and also expand her training facility to train 100,000 youths and women with various soft skills by year 2023.
How was it starting your first company?
Starting my first company was rough, I was poorly informed and prepared for the journey. Just fresh out of school having tested the waters of buying and selling back in school with great success. The bigger market however was a totally different base to operate. My first company was Regina La Meilleur Limited which I incorporated in 2012 with several products among which included Home Tutors Nigeria, RLM Network among others. We have gone through several stages of iterations and finally got a product market fit while some products scrapped and some up for sale with some investors
Did any experience or position you held at school made it easier to solve some problems that you have encountered since you have started?
Interesting question, I have always taken up several leadership roles where I have been privileged to serve so obviously they have all added up in helping me lead and see through project executions. For example, I could remember heading the Academic Committee in my final year for the accounting department and the impact our work had on the outcome of results produced that year. My opinion is that every opportunity to serve one way or the other adds value to you for higher responsibilities
Did you ever thought of getting a government job after school?
Well, government job never really crossed my mind but I wanted to work within a structured multinational firm in order to give me the basic knowledge and network for my entrepreneurial journey and yes I did get that opportunity with Stanbic IBTC within the short period spent with them.
How easy was the transition from the University into business?
As stated earlier, It was rough initially due to little or no solid foundation (capacity development and funding). Capacity development and funding are key ingredient that makes a difference in the life of every entrepreneur especially in Nigeria with all our uniqueness. The average Nigerian youth or student has got great ideas that got potentials for success, however they lack the capacity and funding to see it through.
Capacity development has to do with basic solid knowledge, requirements to start and make a business succeed. The ability to get a product market fit and talk to the market to know the viability of the idea and then how to secure funding in terms of finance to run for the period of little or no revenue flow
What do you do as COO for Proville?
As the Chief Operating Officer for Proville, I saddled with three (3) tasks; effective day to day administration and operation of the company. Maintaining our brand equity that builds opportunities for investment, collaborations and partnership and lastly drive revenue for the business through effective coordination of all stakeholders of the company. These three tasks contributes majorly to business growth and success.
What service(s) does Proville provide?
Proville from the name stands for Professional hub or Villa. Our flagship product; Proville.net connects professionals with clients who need their services. We act as a bridge to close the demand supply gap that exists within the professional or would you rather say freelance niche in Africa.
So let’s say you need a web developer for a project, all you need to do is go on proville.net and post your project and budget and wait to receive offers from our pool of professionals. The same applies to all professional services and once you are ready, you assign the project to the best fit professional freelancer with assurance that all payments are done through our escrow model (a secure payment option that avails you security and you only part with money when you are satisfied) with the service you have received.
How frequently do people use Proville?
Proville is used on a daily basis with several jobs started and completed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Some jobs or projects however takes long time frame but you can be rested assured that jobs are always ongoing.
Why is Proville better than her competitors?
Our competitors are the likes of Upwork, Freelancer, Findworka, Workdesk, Tera Work, Asuqu and several others. Proville however in Nigeria as a freelance platform has the first mover advantage as we have taken the lead in educating and sensitizing the public on the viability of freelance platforms like ours as it aligns with the Future of Smart Work across Africa. We also collaborate with the vision of International notable societies such as Royal Society of Arts (UK) towards advancing flexible working options in Nigeria and Africa.
How are you able to manage being a cofounder of 59 One Kiosk Africa Limited?
Success comes with more responsibilities and little time for self if not well managed. Time management plays a vital role here and luckily the team are very effective and organised. Also we are in project mode with launch date set for June 2019
What does 59 One Kiosk Africa Limited do?
One Kiosk Africa; onekioskafrica.com was birthed to introduce a develop model to eCommerce in Nigeria and across Africa. We are an eCommerce business with a different business model that ensures that goods and services are delivered within 59 minutes to the customers while creating employment along the e-commerce value chain. Our solutions has the potentials to create 100,000 jobs by December 2019 given our set projections.
Most of these companies are online, how important is one’s business being online in the present world?
First of all, I always love to say that any business that cannot leverage on technology one way or the other is not ready for a sustained business over the next five (5) years. Technology has to do with the net and as such every business need to align accordingly. Brick and Mortar stores would still be essential but less active compared to online channels within the next 5 years.
What problems have you encountered as an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs first major challenge is finding a product market fit for their idea. This takes quite a lot of our time and once found we then move on to the problem of scaling the business. There is also that challenge of having a work life balance as everything at the beginning seems to rover around you.
This challenges can however be shortened by talking to your target market during design, development and beta stages of your solutions. Building partnerships, collaborations and opportunities for investments and lastly delegating power or would I rather say empowering your team to work effectively with or without you
What do you want to tell young entrepreneurs that are just starting?
Talk to your sample market audience, do not be afraid that your idea would be stolen, I believe in the school of thought that there is nothing new under the sun. Implementation and execution makes the difference. Get mentors, do not be discouraged when you get a No, a yes is just around the corner and never give up on yourself. The world needs your idea and solution to materialise, give returns and make social impacts
Do you advise students to try their ideas or start ups in school or wait till after graduation?
Well, I would suggest they can start building capacity early enough and thus they can test their ideas while in school as long as they are able to manage their time well. Most renown business were birthed when their founders were within the university age bracket or in college. So it’s a very good time to start building capacity and test the viability of your idea or solution
Do you advise people to drop out to pursue their dream?
I would usually not support dropping out of school to pursue your dream, however my counsel would depends on various factors. A lot in changing within the educational sector and how people learn and grow, I try not to emphasize too much of academics but education (which for me the later is continuous as we keep learning and growing). Ideas or dreams as you called it has a way of clouding your mind, it literally feels as though all your life depends on it and nothing else counts.
This feeling is what every entrepreneur goes through and that’s why you see people drop out or resign from their jobs to start that idea. This feeling must, however, be very well managed and decisions are taken objectively with the right foundation laid (Knowledge and Capacity). This question is a very broad topic that cannot be discussed in full here, those interested can reach out to book a session with me.
Do you think entrepreneurs needs mentors?
The answer to this question is quite similar to asking if a tyres need air? If you want to go far, you must have people you can inspire you and support you out of their wealth of experience. Having a mentor is not rocket science, it’s a deliberate art.
Any special skill entrepreneurs needs to be successful
Tenacity is one skill that I would suggest for all entrepreneurs, it produces patience and commitment against all odds to succeed. The entrepreneurial journey is not a straight road, anyone that tells you its a straight road either has not gone through it or is lying. There are however principles that guide success and once applied with tenacity the result shows itself.
How can young people who will love to ask you questions be able to contact you?
Treasury bill is a popular term in business, but many do not know about how to invest in treasury bill. Many people have a lot of money that they are currently not using, yet they have never heard about treasury bill. A lot of people who have a little money that they are not using do not know this because they lack access to the information about these investment opportunities. While investing in other people business is a good idea. It is to be noted that a lot of businesses fail in Nigeria after three years.
Many businesses started from borrowing from friends and family members. It is believed that Aliko Dangote started his business by borrowing from his grandfather. But do you know that borrowing without collateral is the riskiest form of business you can do? Most times when you borrow money from others you do not think of adding to the initial capital because you see it as a favour. But when you borrow from banks, you know that you have to pay huge amount of money to the financial institution where you are borrowing from.
While many people are not after getting interest from the money they borrow or lend others, they want their money to be useful to the economy. And so in a bid to provide this information to Nigerians who have a little money they have staying idle in their banks, we present the option of treasury bill to the average Nigerian.
But do you know that borrowing without collateral is the riskiest form of business you can do? Most times when you borrow money from others you do not think of adding to the initial capital because you see it as a favour.
But when you borrow from banks, you know that you have to pay huge amount of money to the financial institution where you are borrowing from. While many people are not after getting interest from the money they borrow or lend others, they want their money to be useful to the economy. And so in a bid to provide this information to Nigerians who have a little money they have staying idle in their banks, we present the option of treasury bill to the average Nigerian.
While many people are not after getting interest from money they borrow or lend others, they want their money to be useful to the economy. And so in a bid to provide this information to Nigerians who have a little money they have staying idle in their banks, we present the option of treasury bill to the average Nigerian.
Facts About Treasury Bills You Do Not Know
Treasury bill is a short term zero risk investment that extends for a maximum of a year. Treasury Bills are short-term debt instruments issued by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide short term funding for the government. You can borrow government the money for 91 days, 182 days and 364 days. Treasury Bills are sold through a bi-weekly auction conducted by the CBN on Wednesday’s.
Official dealers can help one to invest in treasury bill. The easiest and safest official dealers are banks. Most times when you use your bank as your official dealer, the money you want to invest in treasury bills are usually deducted from your bank account that you have with them. Interest from the investment is added to your bank account.
The minimum amount you can invest in treasury bill is a hundred thousand naira only (₦100, 000). This might seem small. You can also invest your millions too. To determine the bid rate, you must be able to borrow government at least five million naira (₦5, 000, 000).
The bid rate is also called STOP RATE . It is the likely interest rate that you want to receive for the principal that you investing in treasury bill. Only those that want to invest high can determine bid rate themselves. The CBN selects the bids that fall below the accepted marginal rates.
For more information about treasury bill please visit your bank. You can also read more on nairametrics.com.
Chidi Nwaogu is a Nigerian from Imo state. He is a twin and the CEO of Publiseer, a digital publishing platform for African Creatives. He has co-founded, grown and sold two Internet companies with his brother Chika Nwaogu. Chidi Nwaogu is proud to be a Nigerian.
Can We Meet You?
I’m Chidi Nwaogu, a Nigerian serial Internet entrepreneur, computer programmer, Westerwelle Fellow 2019, SensX Fellow 2017, recipient of OD Young Person of the Month Honour (for November 2018), winner of Startup World Cup Nigeria Regional Competition 2019, first place winner of OD Impact Challenge 2018/2019, and a shortlisted candidate for Yunus&Youth Global Fellowship Program for Social Entrepreneurs 2019.
I started my entrepreneurial journey when I was 16 with the creation of 9ja Boi Interactive, a video game development company. Today, I’m Co-founder and CEO of Publiseer, a digital publishing platform for African Creatives, described by Konbini, as “one of the largest digital publishers in Africa” and identified by IFC as one of the startups “that could speed up innovation in Africa.” Publiseer was listed in ModernGhana’s “List Of 10 African Innovations For January 2019”.
My startups have been featured on several national and international media publications, like Africa Business Review, TechCrunch, TechZulu, IT News Africa, Konbini, PC Tech Magazine, IT Web Africa, Ventures Africa, Ventureburn, Music in Africa, Actualitté, CIO East Africa, Pulse, Technext, Tech In Africa, Techmoran, Disrupt Africa, and Techpoint, for their strides in the tech ecosystem.
Since I was 19, I’ve co-founded, grown and sold two Internet companies, including LAGbook, a social network that garnered over 1-million registered users within three years. As a programmer, I’ve been learning to code since I was 13. Today, I’m proficient in five programming languages, with JS and PHP taking the lead.
I’m a West-African Representative of FasterCapital, a startup incubator based in UAE. I began public speaking as a keynote speaker at IT Leaders West Africa Summit 2012, where I gave a 30-minute lecture on the role of social media and mobile in developing nations. Today, I speak at several summits, conferences, and seminars around the world.
Did you ever start any company at the university? Yes, I started LAGbook while studying at the University of Lagos.
Can you tell us about your former company Ladies And Gentlemen book popularly referred to as LAGbook?
At the age of 19, I co-founded, built, and organically grew LAGbook (otherwise known as Ladies And Gentlemen book) with my twin brother. LAGbook grew from zero to over one million registered members in less than three years. It was initially created for students of the University of Lagos but later expanded to the youth demographic (18 – 30 years) in Africa.
The social network was acquired by the Canadian technology company, Gulf Pearl Ltd. for $10,000 in January 2013. LAGbook was featured on TechCrunch for garnering 30,000 new members in less than six months, and on African Business Review for signing an eight-week advertising deal with the multinational company, BlackBerry.
Can you tell what is special about LAGbook? LAGbook was a social discovery network that wanted to help you meet new people every day, and not limit you to the people already in your life.
Can you tell us about PRAYHoUSe?
After LAGbook, I co-founded PRAYHoUSe with my twin brother, an online Christian prayerdirectory of more than 10,000 prayers from the Scripture. I organically grew PRAYHoUSe fromzero to over 200,000 users in less than six months. In March 2014, PRAYHoUSe was acquiredby American non-profit organization, Ten Doves Charity, for $37,500.
PRAYHoUSe another company you founded attracted over 200,000 users in less than six months, what made it be so popular?
PRAYHoUSe was helping Christians who wanted to pray but didn’t have the right words to say, to pray according to the Word of God so that He may listen. It grew virally because people finally had something that could help them pray every day, touching various aspects of their life, without being lost of words.
Did you sell PRAYHoUSe and LAGbook at the same time? LAGbook was acquired in January 2013 and PRAYHoUSe was acquired in March 2014.
Did you sell PRAYHoUSe and LAGbook at the same time? LAGbook was acquired in January 2013 and PRAYHoUSe was acquired in March 2014
Did you regret selling the company? No, we don’t
Do you think you could have sold it for a higher price?
You can always sell something at a higher price if you come across someone who is willing to pay higher. So, yes, we think that we could have sold it for a higher price, but we are still okay with what we sold them for
After selling your first company, why did you sell the other company?
We are serial entrepreneurs. We create startups. It’s a way of lifestyle. We create, we grow them to profitability and then we sell it, and start another one
What mistakes did you not make when selling the first company that you did not make when selling the second company?
We sold PRAYHoUSe to someonw who wanted to keep it the way it was and continue growing it, while the person we sold LAGbook didn’t want to continue with it as it was. He had other plans for it, which didn’t really make us happy. But that’s life. We can’t be always happy with people’s decisions
Do you think you could have still managed the company if you did not sell those companies? Yes, of course
Did those companies you started have anything in common with what you studied at school? Not at all. We studied Physics
What did you wish you were taught in school that you had to learn after school? Entrepreneurship.
What do you think is entrepreneurship? Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle. It’s a way of life. It’s the urge to create something amazing out of absolutely nothing. Entrepreneurship the urge to solve a problem, rather than complain about it.
Any special attribute or skill makes an entrepreneur succeed? Humility
You started Publiseer in 2017 have you reached all the landmarks you wanted to reach in 2019? We have reached milestones we didn’t plan for. We are happy with where we are, and we’re working hard to get even further. There’s always room for improvement and advancement.
How easy was starting Publiseer after selling your previous companies? It wasn’t easy. It took a lot of planning and sleepless nights
Can you tell us about Publiseer?
Publiseer is a digital publisher that helps African writers and musicians from low-income communities to distribute and monetize their creative works across over 400 digital stores in 100 countries, with just a single click and at no charge.
How many staff members do you have? Six.
How easy is managing the staff amount you have at Publiseer compared to your other startups? It’s easy as other startups because we always make sure we work with people we trust and believe in.
What do you think your staff members think about you? They see me as a friend, rather than a boss.
How much do you appreciate criticism? Criticism is the source of growth. I take constructive criticism with a welcome embrace and grow from it.
Where do you currently operate Publiseer? Lagos, Accra, Cape Town, Nairobi.
Do you make enough profit from the services you render at Publiseer? Publiseer became profitable after eight months from inception
What has entrepreneurship given you that a normal office job could not give you? The freedom to take initiatives and risks, fail and learn from it. Failure is success when you learn from it
What problem is Publiseer solving?
Many budding authors and musicians in Africa live on a dollar per day, just as in any third world nation, and thus cannot afford to publish, promote, protect and monetize their creative works by paying for it. Thus these breath-taking works remain undiscovered for years and the gifts of these talented Creatives are put to waste. Some of these Creatives often have their works stolen or plagiarized without any due settlement.
Publiseer let independent African writers and musicians from low-income communities, to publish, protect, promote and monetize their creative works on 400+ partner stores in 100 countries, at no charge, with a single click. Our partner stores include Amazon, Google Play, Apple store, Barnes & Noble, Spotify, Kobo and Deezer. These Creatives can monitor their performance across all stores using our centralized dashboard.
How do you monetize your solution? When a unit of any work (book, audiobook, song and music video) is sold, Publiseer shares in the revenue generated.
Have you ever regretted being an entrepreneur? Never.
Do you think doing business in Nigeria is better for Publiseer than doing business outside Nigeria? Nigeria has a lot of problems, and this is good for an entrepreneur because it means there is a lot of problems to solve
Have you ever had a funding problem after selling your startups? No
Have you ever been ashamed of your Nigerian heritage? Never. That’s why I go by the name Chidi and not my English name. I want everybody to know I’m Nigerian
Have you ever been ashamed of your Nigerian heritage?
Never. That’s why I go by the name Chidi and not my English name. I want everybody to know I’m Nigerian
Have you ever had a reason to compromise your stance on something? No.
What makes you attractive to your prospective clients or customers? I’m ready to do things over and over again until I get it right.
What makes you attractive to prospective investors? I’m open to learning.
Have you ever been given an award? Yes. I mentioned those at the beginning of this interview
Do you think Nigerians appreciate your products? I know they do
Do you think students should be encouraged to be entrepreneurs? Yes, especially in a country like Nigeria where unemployment is so high. Entrepreneurs also create jobs. So it’s a win-win situation
How can students get funds to start their businesses? There are a lot of grants out there. One of which is the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme with a business grant of $5,000
How can student entrepreneurs avoid running at a loss? They should focus on making money from your solution from the very first day
Any advise for student entrepreneurs?
Figure out what you are good at that many people aren’t. Once you’ve figured it out, do it, and never do it for free. Get people to pay for it
Do you think student entrepreneurs need mentorship? Of course, they do.
How can people contact you? Via LinkedIn or any of my social media account.