By Yinka Kolawole, with agency report
FOR many entrepreneurs, their businesses started off as hobbies. In most cases, what they required was just to discover the business aspect of the hobbies. Some entrepreneurs shared their experiences on how they turned their hobbies into successful business.
“Always loved making dresses”
Bino Evanere studied Accounting at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, before she made up her mind that she really didn’t want to become an accountant. “I have always loved sewing and making dresses. I learnt sewing between 1995 and 1997, even before I went to the university. But my parents would not even hear of it. All they wanted was for me to become a pharmacist,” she said. When she couldn’t enter Pharmacy because she failed Chemistry, her parents pressed her to study Accounting, which she did. After her National Youth Service Corps, she took a job with a private firm where she worked as an accounts officer for five years. But her mind kept drifting back to sewing, her first love. She recalled: “Even when I tried to balance my books in the office as an accountant, I was always thinking fashion. I didn’t just want to make clothes, I wanted to be fulfilled.”
Evanere eventually entered for a six-month course at the Women Development Centre in Abuja, and set up shop even before she completed her training. With a small loan from her husband and a microfinance bank, Bino bought her first set of sewing machines and other tools, and also rented a small shop. With five workers on her pay roll, she made a turnover of N1.5million in the first year and N2.5million in the second year.
‘Something to keep me busy until…’
In 2006, when a frustrated Abimbola Balogun could not get a job after graduating as a petroleum marketer with Higher National Diploma (HND) from the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Warri, she decided to keep herself busy making bead necklaces pending when she would secure a good job.
Balogun started with an investment of just N400 on beads to make two necklaces, which she later sold for N5,000. She reinvested the money in the business, but the worth of her business, Bimbeads Concept, has since grown into millions of naira. In an interview with BBC, Balogun said she just wanted something to keep her busy until “the real thing came” and she found a proper job, noting that “now the beading has overshadowed the real thing”.
‘YouWin enhanced my drive’
Mrs. Ganiya Sulaimon-Olokodana took the plunge into the murky world of entrepreneurship when she emerged as one of the 1,200 beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN) initiative in 2012.
She turned her pastime into serious business after scaling the hurdles to win the N10 million YouWiN grant. From just making Zobo drinks, Olokodana has nurtured Spicedge Foods Ltd into a fast-growing foods and events management business, producing a wholly natural juice, several yoghurts flavours, Zobo drinks and bottled water. “I have been an entrepreneur since my growing up years.
What YouWiN did was to make it possible for me to have a larger platform. By the time I finished my youth service, I was still trading in Zobo drinks. Gradually, I learnt how to prepare the drink and started making it myself at home and selling. Later, those who enjoyed the drink were asking for snacks. So, I learnt baking and started doing cakes and meat pies. That was how the hobby became a full-blown business,” she stated.
Making ladies look beautiful
Tara Fela-Durotoye had a passion to see ladies stepping out looking beautiful with good facial make-up. She has since turned her passion for facial make up into a multi million naira business.
After her secondary school education, Tara took up a job with a perfume and cosmetics store as she waited for her university admission to come through. Under the mentorship of the lady owner of the store who was world-class minded and ran her business to international standard, Tara developed great skills in facial make-up artistry, an expertise she took to the university, and which was soon going to bring her great success and make her a house-hold name.
At Lagos State University, where she was studying Law, Tara wouldn’t allow her friends go for an occasion without a touch on their faces. “Seeing my ability to transform people’s faces and make them look nicer, someone said to me, ‘Why don’t you make this a business?” Tara recounted to Success Principles Online. Today, she is a household name running a business worth millions, House of Tara.
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