Uzo Umeh is a Los Angeles based restauranteur curating gourmet Mexican food in Lagos, Nigeria. She shares her experience with Starting and running a business.
FROM HAVING AN IDEA TO STARTING YOUR BUSINESS, SHARE YOUR JOURNEY WITH US
From December 2014 to June 2015, I worked as a branding and communications lead for VFD Group at Lagos Island. Within that time I decided to go back to Los Angeles to further my career in the restaurant industry. However, as a Mexican food lover, I noticed that there was a disconnect in what was being served as Mexican food at the time in Lagos and it’s cost. That’s where the idea came from, while I was working in LA, I began building my El Padrino brand and putting into practice what I wanted to accomplish in Nigeria. In June 2017, I returned to Lagos and started curating.
WHY DO YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO? THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER BUSINESSES YOU COULD HAVE EXPLORED, WHY THIS?
I love interacting with people and witnessing the joy a good food experience brings them. Most of all, I love bringing people together and food helps me do that.
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU KNOW BEYOND ALL DOUBT THAT THIS IS GOING TO WORK?
I haven’t gotten to that point yet, and I am not sure if I will. However, I am grateful that people enjoy my food and I keep working hard so that more people can.
HOW DID YOU RAISE THE CAPITAL TO START YOUR BUSINESS, ESPECIALLY WITH THE HIGH COST OF RUNNING BUSINESSES IN NIGERIA?
A couple mentors helped me with some money to get off the ground and since we are running a somewhat lean model by being a mobile pop up, it was easier to get them on board.
HOW SOON DID YOU START MAKING PROFITS?
Because we locally source our ingredients and have very little fixed costs, we were able to maximize our margins from the start.
BRILLIANT IDEAS DON’T ALWAYS MEAN GREAT SALES, HOW HAS IT BEEN MARKETING YOUR SERVICES?
It has been fun, we are new in the space and we are very adventurous with our online and offline marketing. There is a conventional way of selling high-quality food without an actual restaurant; we are making our own rules as we go.
AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE HIRING STAFF AND BUILDING YOUR TEAM?
I have been lucky! Though it was not an easy start – especially when you are looking for high-quality staff for what is not typically considered high-quality work. The harder part of our job is getting reliable dispatch, other than that I have two assistants with me that I am incredibly grateful for and look to build with.
YOUR GREATEST SKILL/STRENGTHS THAT HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY BEEN OF HELP IN STARTING AND RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
I listen often, filter through the noise frequently and just keep making moves.
DID YOU HAVE TO GET A FORMAL TRAINING OR QUALIFICATION TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS?
I have a 10-year restaurant background including general management, and I am a certified ServSafe Manager in California which pertains to proper food handling practices.
YOU HAVE BEEN RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS FOR SOME TIME NOW, WHAT DO YOU KNOW NOW THAT YOU WISHED YOU HAD KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED?
I wish I honed the phrase, “Prepare for the best, expect the worst,” a bit more in the beginning.
ANY LIFE EXPERIENCE THAT HAS PARTICULARLY PREPARED YOU DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY FOR WHAT YOU DO NOW?
I cannot pinpoint one in particular but I believe that every leadership opportunity and restaurant I have worked at prepared me for what I do now.
CHANGE CAN BRING OUT A PART OF US WE NEVER KNEW EXISTED, WHAT NEW THINGS HAVE YOU DISCOVERED ABOUT YOURSELF IN THE COURSE OF STARTING AND RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
I didn’t think I would be able to handle accounting but when you are paying salaries and not just waiting for a paycheck, you have to watch numbers carefully.
THE GREATEST BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED AND BY WHO?
One of my mentors, Nonso Okpala told me once that the most important thing in business is to stay in business.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS ESPECIALLY IN NIGERIA?
Don’t be afraid to be yourself – in its entirety. Wear what you want, talk how you please (with respect of course), try when you want. There are no rules, find your Beyoncé and be the woman, your god intended.
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Every military barrack in Nigeria has one thing in common; a mammy market. A mammy market is a place close to the barracks, where soldiers’ interact and buy their day-to-day needs.
However, many do not know that mammy market was named after a woman, Mammy Ochefu, the wife of the late military governor of the defunct East-Central state, Col. Anthony Aboki Ochefu.
Mammy started the sale of enyi (a local non-alcoholic beverage similar to Kunun Zaki) in 1955 in Enugu barracks just to support her husband in taking care of the family.
Although, her husband initially declined as soldiers’ wives were known to stay at home and take care of the family, but when mammy told her husband it was to support him, he grudgingly accepted.
When Mammy started her business, people started complaining about flies, so, she stopped the business for a week. However, her customers who liked the drink, put pressure on her so much that a Lieutenant Colonel ordered a kiosk to be built for her.
Sadly, her family was posted out of Enugu to Abeokuta but Mammy continued the business wherever her family was posted to, while she added snacks that would interest the soldiers’.
Interestingly, whenever her family was transferred to another state, she would hand over the business to women who were interested in it but asked that the name of the business be retained.
Mammy registered her business as “Mammy Market” in 1971. By the time her husband retired, the business had grown into a supermarket and a transport business.
In an interview with Tribune, Mammy Ochefu explained that military officers like General Ibrahim Babangida, Ikya, Ejiga, Ataua Dickson, including President Muhammadu Buhari patronized her business.
Richard Agetu with his partner, was inspired to establish Richsi Nigeria Limited, a start-up agro business focused on processing and packaging of a special brand of fish known as ‘Ejazuki’ in the Nigeria’s capital Abuja and its environs.
This business was born out of his quest to
address the issues of post-harvest losses and Nigeria’s product rejection at
the international borders.
These triggered his entry into the country’s aquaculture industry to provide lasting solutions to the challenges, forcing him in 2016 to establish Richsi with his partner.
Richard, a fishery graduate, along with his partner, established the fish business with an initial start-up capital of N300, 000.
He and his partner do not own a fish farm but buys fresh pieces of fish from farmers within Abuja and its environs for onward processing and packaging. The fish is then exported to many parts of the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States.
“I worked with farmers and realised that post- harvest losses and rejections of our produce within the international borders were the major issues farmers faced. To address this challenge, we established Richsi Nigeria Limited to employ best practices in processing and packaging of fish that can compete with others internationally,” Richard said.
According to him, the business has grown in terms of output, reach, number of farmers in the off-take chain and the number of jobs being created within the value chain.
“Our business has grown in terms of consumer reach. The number of farmers we buy directly from has also increased, and we have been able to create direct and indirect jobs to more people and partnership opportunities are being opened to us from various parts of the country and the world,” the University of Ibadan graduate said.
Richard told Start-Up Digest that the business has received funding from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, enabling it to scale up production.
The business currently receives direct overseas orders from many of the world through its online platform.
Richard noted that the packaging materials used are sourced locally and designed and produced by him and his partner.
“We design and produce the packaging materials ourselves from scratch, here in Abuja. As a green enterprise, we use eco-friendly and re-cyclyable materials to produce the packaging,” he said.
Answering questions on what the government can do to ensure that youths find agriculture attractive, Richard said that the government must ensure continuity of agricultural policies and ensure that the sector become mechanised.
He noted that youths will only find agric attractive when there is innovation and the government are able to follow through policies and programmes in the sector irrespective of change in government.
Speaking on the challenges faced since starting his business, Richard stated that restricted access to technical data and high cost of credit remains the biggest problem confronting the business.
“The bureaucracy involved in getting industry data from most ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) is very tasking and discouraging. This often leaves new agricultural entrants like me information-stranded,” he said.
“Numerous bottlenecks in accessing government incentives such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)and the Bank of Industry (BoI) loans discourage SMEs from approaching these bodies,” Richard added.
He urged the government to make industry data available and easily accessible, while stressing the importance of data to investment decisions and planning.
He also called on the government to make access to government funding easier for start-ups with exceptional business ideas.
Answering questions on advice to other entrepreneurs, he said, “To other entrepreneurs, the set time to think and act globally is now.”
Aliko Dangote the President and Chief Executive of Dangote Industries Limited has been adjudged for the seventh year in a row, the richest man in Africa with a net worth that Forbes pegged at $12.2bn for 2017. That was an increase of $100m from a year earlier.
Dangote is looking beyond cement – his most valuable asset – and has been investing in a fertiliser production company and a large oil refinery. Dangote Fertiliser is expected to start operations in the second quarter of this year,” Forbes stated.
Dangote was recently the only African selected among Bloomberg’s world 50 best persons in the year 2017.
While the names of notable Nigerians were dropped from the billionaires’ list, Globacom Chairman, Mike Adenuga, with a net worth of $5.8bn, was adjudged the fifth richest man in Africa and Folorunsho Alakija, also a Nigerian, whose estimated $1.6bn fortune is in oil exploration, was adjudged as the 15th richest person on the continent.
Number two on the list of Africa’s richest people is diamond mining heir, Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa, with a net worth of $7.7bn, up $700m from last year. Oppenheimer is one of eight South Africans on the list, making it the country with the most billionaires in Africa. Nigeria has three.
In 2016, South Africa and Egypt tied with six billionaires each. Boosting the South African ranks in the latest ranking is a newcomer, Michiel Le Roux, the founder and former chairman of Johannesburg-listed Capitec Bank Holdings, whose stock has climbed more than 50 per cent in the past year, making him worth $1.2bn.
South African mining tycoon, Desmond Sacco, chairman of the Assore Group, returns to the list following a stock price surge of some 60 per cent in the past 12 months. Sacco last appeared as a billionaire on the Africa’s richest list in 2012 with a $1.4bn fortune.
Zimbabwe gets its first billionaire in 2017 as telecom magnate, Strive Masiyiwa, who chairs the Econet Group, got on the list. Shares of Zimbabwe-listed mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe have surged in value over the past year; Masiyiwa owns more than half of that company. He also has a majority stake in fibre optic firm, Liquid Telecom, which raised $700m in a bond offering in July 2017. Forbes estimates Masiyiwa’s net worth at $1.7bn.
Two of the 23 listed African billionaires are women, unchanged from 2016. Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former President, Jose Santos, is worth an estimated $2.7bn, down from $3.2bn in 2016, according to Forbes. Her net worth dropped in part due to a lower value for Banco BCI,as its book value plunged in 2016 amid a tough year for the oil- producing country.
It's been a good year. If you're reading this, take a few seconds to ponder how 2017 has been for you. Did you achieve your goals or did you give up midway?
Now that the sober reflection is over, let's move over to something more fun. I know you probably clicked on this post because of the caption. You're probably wondering what can someone possibly learn from 'Osheeeeyyy Baddest' LOL I personally think there is always something to learn from everyone, we just need to shut down that judgmental part of our brain. Here are five lessons from bobrisky, we can imbibe for the coming year.
Consistency is key, no matter what you're doing. When bobrisky first started with his drama, we almost couldn't stand him but as time went on, we started getting used to him (or her). We even check up on him just for comic relief or find out the next crazy thing he's up to. No matter what you're doing, business, career, job..be consistent. It pays.
RISE ABOVE CRITICS
Earlier this year, when Bobrisky started with his bleaching and constant hailing of mystery 'Bae', Nigerians hurled slander and all kinds of evil words at him. But Bob didn't let any of this get to him. Instead he bleached more, started wearing wigs, premium snapchat, even got himself a house! Point being, rise above critics, so long as you believe in yourself, It doesn't matter what people think.
PEOPLE CAN'T AND SHOULDN'T DICTATE FOR YOU
'People' will always have something to say. They'll always have an idea of how you should live your life. If you live your life or run your business or build your career trying to please 'people', chances are you won't go very far.
JUST KEEP PUSHING
We can yab bobrisky all we want, call him names, pray that God will send thunder with six packs to fire him, It hasn't stopped him from pushing. Chances are we'll hear a lot more about bobrisky in 2018. If he won't stop pushing why should YOU?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!Read More
Our motivation for compiling the list of exceptional young people in Enugu state we feel should be applauded for the year 2017, can be easily summarized in this cute short story.
A story is told of a king, who went to his garden one morning, only to find everything withered and ‘dying’. He asked the OAK tree that stood near the gate what the trouble was. The oak said it was tired of life and was determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine tree (whistling pine). The pine complained that it could not bear grapes like the grape vine. The grapevine was determined to dry up because it could not stand erect and produce fruits as large as peaches. The geranium plant was fretting because it was not tall and didn’t have a nice fragrance like the lilac plant. But coming to a violet plant, the king found its ‘face’ as bright and happy as ever, and asked, “What is your secret? You don’t seem to be in the least discouraged. The violet said: “No, I’m not. I know I’m small, yet I thought if you wanted an oak or pine or a peach tree, you would have planted one. Since I knew you wanted violet, I’m determined to be the best violet I can be.
This is the list of young people in Enugu state who determined to be the best of themselves in 2017. Eligibility for appearance on this list is three pronged; social media, creativity and consistency.
Olive Tree Hair Clinic:
The umbrella name for the first natural hair clinic in Enugu state and owned by the 23 year old Chinyere Okoro. The olive tree hair clinic is geared towards hair consulting, bespoke bridal hair and styling. Speaking at the business dinner of the wedding showcase 2017, Chinyere explained how she started her business in her father’s garage at home because as a fresh graduate she didn’t want to remain dependent on her mother for financial support. For a young woman, Chinyere showed wisdom and creativity in introduction, advertisement and in the running her business. She helps women ‘slay’ their natural hair in an effortless manner and almost puts to shame the ideology; ‘It is near impossible to be a successful start up in Enugu state’.
Abafor Chima Chuka has successfully flagged off an e-commerce website and the first food delivery and app in the coal city. Ogwugo.com is an online market hub for quality products for both manufacturers and consumers. The ogwugo.com app not only allows you to select your favourite meal from specified restaurants within the city, it delivers your order in forty-five minutes. On the app also, you can shop and have it delivered to you - drinks, male and female shoes, clothes, electronics and refill gas cylinders. Ogwugo.com is south East's number one online market and we have Abafor Chima to thank for that.
For those who had no idea who Kennedy was, it came as a pleasant surprise when he was announced the winner of THE NEXT TITAN show, season 4. To his family and friends, such recognition was long overdue. THE NEXT TITAN is a 10 week Entrepreneurial Reality TV show designed to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians. The TV Reality Show which is in its fourth season gives an opportunity to young talented Nigerians who have great, innovative and unbeatable business ideas, to compete against one another in real-life entrepreneurial challenges in a bid to ultimately win Five Million Naira and a Brand New Car to start their new business or to support their existing business. As you can already guess, Kennedy emerged the winner. From Future Awards ‘Young Person of the Year’ nominee to The Next Titan season 4 winner, he recently revealed he’s gunning for Forbes under 30 list via a post on Instagram. Good looking out to him.
Once upon a time, people thought women who are gym addicts to be muscular and unattractive. They were so wrong
Chinenye Ulaegbu is the sexy CEO of Dioda fitness. A fitness coach and actress, she encourages women to live a healthy lifestyle and have a banging body too. Through the course of the year, she held several fitness classes and weight loss challenges. The transformation process was visible online and she got quite the attention. The first wealth is health and Chinenye is at the fore front of this movement, changing bodies and lives. She also launched her fitness wear line, which is the first indigenous fitness wear brand in the south east.
You probably know him as Mister Brainbox. He co-owns with his two business partners, Blueafric Media, a 360 media company and parent company to Blueprintafric, Christian is an exceptional student entrepreneur. He never boarded the bus carrying people who are ‘waiting to finish school’ before they can start pursing their dreams. His company blueprintafric, hit a lot of notable milestones this year. They were media partners to Lagos fashion and design week, fashion focus talks Enugu chapter, Nexus kitchen cook out with BBN star Uriel Oputa, the Africa international film festival (AFRIFF 2017), the wedding showcase (TWS2017) etc. As a brand maker and manager, Christian headed the online campaign plans of major brands such as Mycity ride, Akwata.com, Lilburn health and fitness centre, Ogwugo.com and Ola Ndi Igbo 2017. His nickname ‘brain box’ stands to represent his creative nature.
Dj Xtacee: And then there was X. . .
A lot of factors adding up makes Xtacee stand out. Can we start with his talent? His skill as a deejay is superb. His grind is ‘brotherly’. He has worked with every recording artiste coming out of 042 in the past decade. In 2017, he gave his fans a feel of X with ‘Jump off with Dj Xtacee, a street banger featuring Zoro and Ivan Edd (OMG), true love featuring K-Large, hit list mix vol 5 (summer vibes), X session with Slow dog etc. Dj Xtacee is the most consistent disc jockey brand in South East Nigeria.
a.k.a the south east media girl. Jasmine is fearless when it comes to carving a niche for herself in the south east media space. CEO of South East Trends and Nazmine Media, her blog supports, promotes and investigates everything south east while her events and PR company handles events. She was the brand ambassador for Mycity ride, a mobile app that connects drivers with passengers in Enugu state. Her events company (Nazmine Media) successfully planned and executed an event for the former governor of Cross Rivers state, Donald Duke, and biggest event of the year in Enugu state, Phyno Fest.
She is special for using her social media to drive change as seen in her campaign, #FixSoutheastRoads She was also part of the ‘Talk with Vanessa’ campus tour where she taught ‘using social media to drive change’ to undergraduates. She is termed ‘south east media girl for always showing unalloyed support for the south east.
‘Igbo to the world’ is what Quincy “Onye Egwu” represents. A hustler from 042 is fast making his way up the ladder in the Nigerian music industry.
Quincy has been creative and consistent in 2017. Asides his banging hit singles like ‘Oga Landlord’, he featured artists like Phyno (Jombo) and Illbliss (Intoto) this year. Good looking out to him!
Just like her name implies, Tamara is the sweet makeup artist that built a successful brand for herself this year. No one is truly ugly this days, all you simply need is a good makeover. With just a touch of her magic brush, sweet Tamara can turn an everyday girl into a Disney princess.
She has worked with Nollywood actresses such as Rachael Okonkwo (Nkoli Nwa Nsuka) and Cha Cha Eke Faani. She was also one of the makeup artists for the wedding showcase model shoot.
Popularly known as Lekwas, Chimezie is a humanitarian and child rights advocate.
He works with the African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) Nigeria and applies information technology to improve how we make reports of child abuse and neglect; to create awareness about the rights of the child in Enugu State specifically and Nigeria in general. As a passionate child rights advocate, Lekwas believes in equipping girls with information to make them know their rights, be confident and withstand abuse. He also teaches young boys and equips them with information to help make them loving and not tools for domestic violence.
Plans are well underway to bring to the south east,(Enugu State) for the very first time inventors and innovators to showcase their products. This initiative is powered by a non-governmental organisation; The South Saharan Social Development Organisation.
The NGO via the programme manager, Barr Onyinye Nwachukwu disclosed that the fair would promote scientific and technological innovations and inventions in the region. Over 25 original inventions and innovations from people either from the Southeast or resident there, shortlisted from over 100 applications and entries would showcase their indigenous technological inventions.
According to Nwachukwu, the event is part of the organisation’s response to recession and to promote enterprise and entrepreneurship especially among youths.
The programme also aims to halt the disregard for innovation in the country which has been the trend since independence despite the abundance of scientists and technologists.
“Thus, it will encourage innovation and further boost entrepreneurship in Nigeria in general,’’ she said.
Nwachukwu said that the programme, which is tagged: “Showcasing the Can-Do Igbo Spirit: Innovations and Inventions from the Southeast’’, is under the organisation’s Ola Ndi Igbo (Jewels of the East) programme.
She noted that the programme would attract over 1,000 visitors from within and outside of Nigeria including people from the private sector, investors, government officials, the diplomatic community and the general public.
“This event is having the support of Life Lager Beer, the Ford Foundation, MTN, Ellington Company, Fidelity Bank, Radio Nigeria, NOTAP and many others.
Date: 18th December 2017
Venue: Oaklands Amusement Park Ogui Link Road Enugu
In addition to N1 million grand prize and other consolation prizes, the shortlisted inventors would receive training on patenting, financial management, how to run a business, marketing and branding of the technological innovative product.
Amazing bridal/ Ushers got it all.
Contact us via phone call: 08037437591
Ola Ndi Igbo is the biennial event that honors and celebrates individuals of Igbo descent who have distinguished themselves in their profession and therefore deserve to be recognized. Ola Ndi Igbo 2017 however promises to showcase inventors and innovators who are from the South East of Nigeria or who are not from the South East but are resident in the South East.
Ola Ndi Igbo 2017 is particularly unique and much more exciting with the ‘Inventors and Innovators Fair and Prize’ which will have 20 selected inventors and innovators from all over the South East display their inventions and innovations, with prizes and business support given to the best 3 inventions or innovations.
The ‘Inventors and Innovators Fair’ will take place on the 18th of December 2017 at Oaklands Hotel and Amusement Park Enugu.
Time: 10am to 4pm
Award Night: 6pm to 10pm; red carpet starts by 5pm
For more information; please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call email@example.com or call on +234 17 495 1400, +234 909 247 0587, or visit our website www.olandiigbo.netto reserve your exhibition stand now.Read More
Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu (born 22 March, 1963) is a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation.
Recently he took to his social media accounts to write an open letter to the next generation and here it is:
and then in the comments....