Thursday, November 10, 2016

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Ayodeji Mebope , CEO, No Left Over Nigeria plc
Ayodeji Mebope runs a catering outfit (called) No Left Over Nigeria PLC which she started with an initial capital of N1,000 by selling moin-moin (bean cake). She was trained as a confidential secretary, and worked in Corona Primary School for about nine years and on her resignation from Corona, she had the intention of starting a playgroup and not a catering outfit. To actualize this, she enrolled in a six-month Montessori programme. But at the end of the period, she lost interest in pursuing the ambition.

To get herself busy, she started cooking for her sister-in-law, who was an extremely busy career woman. One day, her sister-in-law visited her house and joined Ayodeji and her family as they were having moin-moin, as a meal. She enjoyed it so much that she insisted that moin-moin must be included in her menu in which Ayodeji charged N1,000 for. And from there, family members, friends and colleagues began to place orders.

In three months of selling to a few family and friends, her turnover was running into N30, 000 - N40, 000. She decided to take the business more seriously and at that point realised that the best way to achieve success in business is to have a high turnover. The first question that came to her mind was where can she go to make her product available in the wider market? She went to the school she previously worked to hawk moin-moin for sale and that opened her up to a larger market.

Even with the income from the sales of moin moin at Corona, she could not really account for the sales, expenses and profit. She had no proper financial account and believed she needed to build her capacity. Coincidentally, she came across an advert on the newspaper saying that a United organisation was coming into Nigeria to invest in women entrepreneurs with little or no business. That was the Goldman Sachs 10,000 women program in collaboration with the Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan-African University. An essay was required from interested applicants about their businesses and growth potentials. Ayodeji participated in the essay and was shortlisted and awarded a scholarship. She simply wrote what she was doing - selling and hawking moin-moin in front of a school. The 5-months program opened her eyes to the fact that she needed to put her finances together, and properly structure her business to ensure her sales and expenditure are clearly spelt.

After the program, she was determined to run the business truly like a business. She opened a bank account for the company and started setting up business structures. The company had moved from one single product company (Moin-Moin) to a full catering outfit, where catering for 1,000 people. 

Consequently, Ayodeji  Megbope  was invited to New York to address the Annual General Meeting of Goldman Sachs with satellite links to other viewing centres of the bank around the world. She was also invited by President Bill Clinton to his annual Clinton Global Initiative. She was also on a panel at the Turkish Prime Minister’s Global Summit on Entrepreneurship through the invitation of the Turkish Government in Istanbul, Turkey  and the panel featured other entrepreneurs from different parts of the world. In addition, she delivers motivational speeches on her success story at events across the Nigeria.

The most important message she has is never to be afraid to start small and never to be afraid to start with any amount. She will like to encourage the young entrepreneurs to have a good business plan because it helps with proper planning and projection. Also, she advised that the financial records must be properly kept.  In her words “That would help the business to know when to make the next move, when to expand and how to expand”.

Read more at SME Toolkit Nigeria

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