Oluwadoyinsola Opebi, as she is fondly called, is one of the young and vibrant, Nigerian female entrepreneurs – who are creating niches for themselves in the SME sector of the economy.
When our Editor-In-Chief, Emmanuel Oladipo buzzed into her for a chit-chat, the petite lady talks about how she discovered her business line, support from family, challenges of entrepreneurs and the expansion of her business.
What’s Up? What have you been doing lately?
Work and business.
Which course did you study during your Degree Education and in which school?
I studied English Language from the University of Ilorin.
How would you describe the experience throughout your study at UniILORIN?
I would say it was challenging. There was a time I almost gave up, and decided to write JAMB again.
Why did you have to think about that? What was happening then?
First of all, when I wrote JAMB in 2008 I chose Sociology. After I gained admission into UniILORIN, at the screening exercise, I was told I wasn’t qualified to study Sociology because I didn’t write Biology in JAMB. So I had to wait for the movement list to find out where I had been moved to.
I resumed in September, but didn’t get a new department and course until December. I started exams in January.
Wow… I think that JAMB usually stipulate course requirements for each course, and some times for individual institutions (where specific).
Yeah they do.
And did you ensure that you followed the requirement for the study of Sociology then before applying to UniILORIN?
I guess I didn’t notice that.
That was a kind of experience you will never forget. Right?
Well, yes, I won’t. Plus, back then you had options. It’s either you do a subject or another.
You studied English Language but now I’m seeing you talking more about Waara NG.
Loolz. Joblessness and getting sacked got me thinking. Plus I’d always wanted to be a voice.
Since you started the business how is the turn out like?
It’s been challenging and interesting. It’s been demanding too.
As a female entrepreneur, what have you discovered as the bane of Start Ups in Nigeria?
As an entrepreneur, first there is a question of how do I start? Capital is also another issue. Plus, there’s a question of what business do I want to do? The list of business idea is inexhaustible.
There are several questions to ask yourself as an entrepreneur. Of what importance is your business? What need are you meeting? Who are your consumers?
One other major challenge is the unwillingness of people to help grow your business. They would rather follow celebrities that don’t even know they exist than a start up, whose business is dependent on his reach.
How do you think that government can help Start Ups in view of the challenges you are facing in your business line?
The only way the government can help Start Ups is to provide loans. Discourage and reduce importation to its barest minimum.
I think all entrepreneurs experience that sentiment from members of the public. Little support.
Yes they do. There is little or no support especially from family members. You know, in this part of the world an average parent expects his or her child to graduate from school and get a white collar job. Any child that goes against that norm is seen as unserious and rebellious. So they try to give the child a million and one reasons on why the business would not work: why the child has to get a job.
My parents, I can say, have been my support systems from day 1. I remember when I came home after 100 levels then, he called me and we had a very long conversation. At the end of the conversation, he gave me an ultimatum. He told me to go and think, and come back to tell him what business I want to do, I mean that was 100 level.
So from day one my parents have been supportive, if you check my Facebook posts on Waara, you would notice they share, comment and like. As for the man, well there is none at the moment.
Do you plan to establish a group of company later?
Yes by the grace of God, but it’s a step at a time.
What should we be expecting from you other than Waraa NG?
C_Dar shoes is a subsidiary of Waara. Plus this year, we are looking to expand; we are open to serious business owners who are willing to take their businesses to the next level.
Hopefully, by Gods grace, we are looking to host a trade fair for local manufacturers: the average people on the streets of Oshodi and Mushin, who know nothing about branding, marketing, or advertising. We want to create awareness; we want to increase sales for these people.
What is the advice that you will like to give young ladies out there?
Hmmm. I would advice all ladies to find purpose, and it’s not difficult. Find out what you are good at, give it a try. It doesn’t have to work the first time. That doesn’t mean you should give up. If it fails, it just means you should try another approach.
Establish yourself, be known for something, add value, invest in people, it would always come back. Boys can wait. Make something out of yourself and the best of them would come running. Above all, God is supreme, put him first. I know that sounds cliché, but he makes all the difference. ALL.
What is your advice to government regarding the SME sector?
The government should provide platform for SMEs. They need all the exposure they can get; they need all the financial assistance they can get. They should also patronise SMEs. To friends and family, support that young man, woman, boy or girl. They need you to grow.
Yes it would take time for them to grow, blow and stabilise, trust me they already have reasons to quit that business; don’t be a part of it. Encourage them, share their posts, like it, and patronize them. Most importantly, please PAY PAY PAY for services they render. PAY for the things you bought from them, DON’T OWE them. That money is all they’ve got, and it’s not even enough.
It’s been nice speaking with you Doyin. Do you mind if I say that you look cute there?
Loolz. Thank you, it’s been nice talking to you too.
Alright thanks. Catch you another time.
You are welcome.