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Four Extraordinary Nigerians With Inspiring Ventures

By Chidera Muoka 01 October 2017   |   5:00 pm

What is life without a little bit of history to inspire a culture? Brands, movements, and personalities are really nothing without their background stories. For the brand Chivas, their history is everything. Traced back to a grocery store at 13 King Street, Aberdeen, in 1801, James and John Chivas started their quest to world domination through a blend of the perfect whiskey and meeting the demands of their luxury clientele from Queen Victoria to Frank Sinatra.

In building their brand, they were very keen on the philosophy of shared success as well as having an eye for astute business opportunities. This meant that as they continued to develop into household names worldwide, they gave back to their local community. It is still in this same spirit, 200 years after that the Chivas Venture platform operates, supporting the stories of entrepreneurs one country at a time. Every year, the sum of 1 million dollars is used to support positive change in the hope for a better future.

Last year the Venture platform had Adam Braun, Sonal Shah, Alexandre Ricard and Halle Berry as judges and was hosted by Josh Gad. Coming in second place was RecyclePoints, an initiative by Chioma Ukonu was awarded the sum of $200,000. This year still embodies the spirit of shared success and the search for revolutionary business minds and in doing so the brand has employed the service of Afua Osei, co-founder of She Leads Africa, Oluyomi Ojo, co-founder of Printivo, Shola Ladoja, founder of Simply Green Juices as judges in light of their recent status as industry leaders, as well as their alignment with the Chivas Regal campaign, Extraordinary Nigerians. Also joining the movement is Temilade Osinfade, Founder T.T Dalk as brand influencer and partner.

Oluyomi Ojo

Oluyomi

In July 2013, Ojo was buzzing with the idea of Printivo which was set to revolutionise publishing in the way we knew it and was almost deterred by the words of a friend who told him, “Dude, are you crazy, print is dying, the future is digital…” Those words in this age and time blow the light bulb in your head as soon as it popped up but not for Ojo because, in January 2014, Printvo was founded alongside Ayodeji Adeogun and Ibukun Oloyede.

The aim according to Ojo is to “Make printing suck less for Nigerian SMEs, Corporations and the general public.”

What qualities make an extraordinary business owner to you?
It begins with a vision to build something way bigger than you against all odds. Extraordinary entrepreneurs build innovate and change how the rest of us behave over time. They break boundaries and create new products and services that over time become part of our lives.

A few businesses have sprung up imitating your brand, what’s your advice on remaining unique with the challenge of competitors?
Focus on the customer and keep innovating. It all comes back to making your customers happy. There will always be competition. If you have a business and no one is trying to compete. Perhaps what you building is not worth it then. Printivo constantly competes with itself.

How does your business ethos align with that of the Chivas Venture brand?
Impact on small businesses and the drive to encourage entrepreneurship. We are constantly building solutions that help small business owners and entrepreneurs represent their businesses well. We are the business that helps other businesses build better brands.

Afua Osei

Afua

A vision birthed over drinks at Intercontinental Hotel between former colleagues now turned partners, Afua Osei and Yasmin Belo-Osagie, She Leads Africa is a social enterprise with a focus on women empowerment and entrepreneurship development.

Through their website, they offer a number of informational and inspiration articles as well as guides for young women who want to develop their business or career skills. They also have flagship events like the She Hive, a four-day boot camp aimed at helping young women build the careers they need as well as the SLAY Festival, a one-day festival that celebrates innovation and entrepreneurs.

Shola Ladoja

Shola

The whole planet is going green but Ladoja is doing it in a way we can all appreciate, through food. His establishment Simply Green has created a different perception for the new generation on the benefits of agriculture as well as inspiring most to eat organically. From the signature cold-pressed juices with the funky names like Pick Me Up, Cleanse Intense, Refresh and Get Nake to the minimalist packed fresh veggies. Ladoja is becoming a household name for all the right reasons.

What qualities make an extraordinary business owner to you?
Total dedication to whatever you get into. Patience is also very important.

What elements of this sector did your prioritise to inspire your line of business as well as make it sustainable in Nigeria’s?
I saw there was a gap in the market – value addition to fruits and vegetables which I decided to explore. Most of our farmers in Nigeria don’t think about value addition which means they are not making the maximum profit they can make with their product. When you have a model like that or Simply Green where we want to get the products all the way to the customer cutting out most middle men. We can guarantee our products get the consumers in the best and freshest conditions.

How does your business ethos align with that of the Chivas Venture brand?
Chivas Venture is constantly looking for that entrepreneur who wants to make a social change which in turn benefits everyone and I personally want to make a change in the agricultural sector by empowering farmers and keeping people healthy by growing only the highest quality vegetables.

Temilade Tolulope

Temilade

Taking on the responsibility of creating exclusive footwear, accessories, and leather products for the stylish man and woman through his brand T.T Dalk, Tolulope has tirelessly done within his power to evolve his brand since its inception in 2008.

He highlights the challenges of building his brand in the first five years of its inception which he describes as, “Very challenging because I had to deal with having the right staff to work with in terms of production and retail, getting people to accept a Nigerian shoe brand even at an affordable amount, with the managerial aspect of the business and lastly distribution.”

As a brand influencer, Tolulope has partnered with Chivas Regal to design limited edition footwear for the people who purchase the Chivas Extra bottle.

Who is an extraordinary Nigerian to you?
My perspective about who an extraordinary Nigerian is he/she must have a quality of a good leader, be smart and hardworking, see problems as opportunities, choose to make a difference, be self-disciplined and most of all prayerful.

Which brands and personalities do you see coming up to embody the term extraordinary Nigerian?
I admire a lot of Nigerian brands and will select a few: Jason of Iroko TV, 5K Shop, David Wedge, Tolu of NACK, God is Good Motors, Bella Naija, Gene Bendi, SLOT, Mike Adenuga of GLO, Aliko Dangote, Ruff and Tumble, Ben Bruce of Silverbird Group, Grenadines, Ouch, Mavin Records, Femi Otedola of Forte Oil, Jobberman, Konga, Cakes and Cream, Garment Care, Linda Ikeji.

What advice will you give someone hoping to emulate your success?
Put God first, be consistent, be persistent, be self-disciplined, be yourself, understand your target market, think bigger, business is not for everyone.


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