Hello, people of Ibadan. You are welcome to the first edition of Made in Ibadan for the year 2017. Our guest today is Mrs. Oyenike Adeleke of Ibadan Entrepreneurs Network. In our chat with her, she talks about the Ibadan Entrepreneurs Network started its success stories, the business scene in Ibadan and how the Ibadan tech scene can help grow the Ibadan business scene. Read, Learn and enjoy the chat.
How did the Ibadan Entrepreneurs Network Start
Ibadan Entrepreneurs Network started as part of my a desire to see entrepreneurs thrive in Ibadan. I am an entrepreneur myself and I looked at the challenges I face in running my business. I was able to tell myself that I needed someone to help me overcome these challenges. That is why I started to the network, in order to help people in Ibadan to do business the right way. In Ibadan, there are no mentors, nobody for entrepreneurs to pattern their businesses after, unlike what we have in Lagos or Abuja or other big cities. So We formed a network where we collaborate where we network and where we generally help each other to do our businesses the right way.
As an Entrepreneur yourself and then as the convener of the Ibadan Entrepreneurs Network, What are the things you have noticed about the business scene in Ibadan?
The first thing I have noticed about the Ibadan Entrepreneurship scene is that a lot of people are doing business in Ibadan based on how they think a business should run, not what they read about running a business in a book or what someone told them about running a business or something they learnt at a seminar or training. A lot of people go like “I know how to make shoes, so let me start making shoes for sale.” I think doing business is more than that, we need to learn the standard way to start a business, how to run a business, how to make a business consistent. A lot of times when people start a business, it is out of a passion for that business, there is no drive for continuity, there is no knowledge or training or how to make that business sustainable. Running a business is way more than because you have the skill to produce a product or if you have a lot of time on your hands relies on the business person having the right amount of training the right amount of passion anddrive, so that he/she doesn’t give up on the businesses during its dark days.
A lot of people when they talk about Ibadan, always talk about the laid-back attitude of its business people, especially as compared to places like Lagos or Port Harcourt or Abuja. Do you think Ibadan can actually be like Lagos in terms of doing business?
First of all, I believe in Ibadan. I tell people that I was born and bred in Ibadan. For Ibadan to become like Lagos, we need to put a lot of effort into it, and I want to appreciate the effort that You (Ibadan Insider) and us are putting in into creating conversations about Ibadan. Now everybody is realizing that Ibadan has to thrive and everybody is trying to put the effort in. To your question, Ibadan can become Lagos, but there is something that we need to do for Ibadan Entrepreneurs. We need to give them a reorientation. A lot of ideas and beliefs about Ibadan need to be unlearned. When you enter a business and people are telling you that “this business is slow or unsustainable.” You get the feeling that they already feel defeated and stuck. We, however, need to let people know that businesses can thrive in Ibadan. The question is why do businesses thrive in Lagos, that is what we are bringing on board here. One of the ways by which businesses can thrive in Ibadan as it does in Lagos is when entrepreneurs in Ibadan get exposed, Ibadan business people need to get exposed, get on the internet, read know more. Another thing about Lagos businesses is that they have got this mentorship thing going on.You talk to businesses in Lagos and you hear things like “I went for this training and that training and so on” Ibadan businesses on the other hand, when they enter a business, they think they are the all in all in that business. Lagosians are not satisfied, they want more. That is what we need to bring over here. You get to some shops in Ibadan at 8: 00am and they are not open yet, if you are in Lagos, go to Alaba market by 6:00 am and you can find anything you want. It is not about Lagos either, I can assure you that people are making money in Ibadan. The thing, however, is if you look at those businesses thriving in Ibadan and those who are not, you will notice differences. differences in drive, in passion in everything. I tell people “that you are a graduate does not mean you can successfully run a business. You have to receive the right amount of training and orientation for you to be able to do that”
Don’t you think rather than wanting to be a business environment at par with Lagos, Ibadan should strive to develop its own unique identity instead?
Ibadan has an identity, they call us the city of the brown roofs. I love it. I love telling people that I am from Ibadan, I don’t shy away from it. I am proud to say that I live in Ibadan and I do business in Ibadan. I am not saying go and copy Lagos, I am just saying that there are some things we in Ibadan need to learn from businesses in Lagos so that businesses in Ibadan can also thrive. What I am advocating is this, let us stay with our current identity because I think it is very unique. There are things that you will see here in Ibadan that you will not see in Lagos or anywhere else. Those are our unique selling points. However, we still need to learn the drive and aggression that Lagos people have. people want to do business with people in Lagos because they aggressively put a lot of finesse in their way of doing business. So I am saying let us in Ibadan adopt that way of doing business too. let us turn those things that look like weaknesses to strengths and I think the business environment in Ibadan will improve.
As an entrepreneur who has had some dealings with the Ibadan Technology scene, how do you think the Ibadan tech scene can contribute to the growth of business in Ibadan?
The truth is admittedly it is difficult to explain technology to the average workaday businessperson in a city like Ibadan. For example, it is difficult to explain Google to the women selling pepper at the Oje market or to tell a woman selling locust beans at the Agbeni Market to go on Instagram. However, I believe that is why we have platforms like yours (The Ibadan Store) and others like that to bridge the gap. At the moment, most of the business people in Ibadan are not familiar with the sort of technology that can help them do their business in a better way, but We cannot shy away from the fact that everything is going to go online in the long term. For example, the two events we (at the Ibadan Entrepreneurs Network) have organized, we did not print a single flier, but close to ten thousand people heard about the event. How did it happen? We took it online. The online business model is catching on and people are starting to realize its benefits, so digital media agencies and tech companies should try and organize training for business people so that they can come to realize the value of technology for their business. Furthermore, as I said before things are different in terms of business and technology in Ibadan from what it was last year or two years ago. So I believe we will witness a lot of development in technology and the business scene in 2017
So it has been a year now since the Ibadan Entrepreneurs Network has been founded What are the success stories that the Ibadan Entrepreneurs Network has recorded?
So far we have held two business networking events. The first was held at Carlton Gate Hotel and it was titled “Showcasing Educating Entertaining and Celebrating Entrepreneurs”. We brought in Entrepreneurs to educate them and to train them. At that event, we brought in a number of people from Heritage Bank, from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, from the Corporate Affairs Commission, from Dawn Commission. We brought the entrepreneurs to showcase them to the world and for them to network on things. At that event, a lot of entrepreneurs got contacts, one of them, for example, got a contract from a hotel to start branding their soaps, another, a makeup artist got a contract from a bridal house to make up their brides. So things like that made them realize that it is not about selling, it is also about meeting the correct people who can do business with them. Our second event was held at Agodi Gardens during the Ibadan Countdown Festival in December 2016 and it was also a well-attended programme as well. We have a WhatsApp group where we share ideas and we try to advise each other on the best practices for our respective businesses. so far it has been an awesome experience so far.
Thank You very much for taking time to have this chat with us, it has really been amazing having you with us today
It is my pleasure and I am really looking forward to collaborating with you on more initiatives going forward.
Ibadan Entrepreneurs Network are on all Facebook as Ibadan Entrepreneurs and they are on Twitter and Instagram as @ibpreneurs. You can also check out their official website or call for a chat on 08028834848