EkoConnect.net

Business Life is BakingWithEfe.com

I’m Efe Erhabor-Chaniwa and I fell in love with food at an early age, and realized that the joy derived from making people happy through food is simply phenomenal! I’m a passionate and dynamic baking and food enthusiast who aims to bring charisma, style and indeed empowerment to the Nigerian food scene.

My background can be described as one that upheld the strong whip of discipline as my father was a military man with a strong sense of decorum. Having studied Law in the Ambrose Alli University, I began my travails of self-discovery touring the UK, Western Europe and Southern Africa. I am the co-founder of Couvrez Organic Skincare, a natural beauty skincare line focused on beautifying the woman of colour using natural and organic ingredients thereby attaining a holistic form of beauty.

We also head the Couvrez Glow Women Training Workshops which is focused on training and empowering women on cottage industry skills aimed at motivating women on having “hand skills” that can foster entrepreneurship and indeed bring about a growth in employment

I started bakingwithefe.com as baking has been an integral part of my life and so decided to celebrate and document this passion by bringing others along for the journey.

What was your inspiration?

I would say my inspiration is the fact that there is currently a huge gap in the current state of unemployment in Nigeria today, and so this has led me on a quest as I’d like to put it, to seek out hand skills creating an avenue for the development of small to medium businesses that our youth (with strong focus on the women) can do and achieve with a minimal business capital start up.

What is your Target audience?

Target audience will be the youth and those a tard older so we are looking at the demographics of people between the ages of 24 – 45

How long has the business been in existence?

Our platform bakingwithefe.com is all about discovering the intricacies of baking and entrepreneurship in Nigeria. We started a few months ago but so far we have been overwhelmed by the interest sparked and indeed the lack of information the market has to offer which more or less piqued our interest to continue.

Challenges faced at inception/early period?

People here are guarded in behaviour when it comes to business. The notion of not sharing and keeping it close to your chest is prevalent here. This is not such a bad thing but when you look and see the sheer number of people who could potentially benefit from this, it is indeed overwhelming. This is why we are offering free tutorials with the hope that it could challenge, motivate and empower someone out there not only to take that first step towards achieving their goal but the ricocheting effect is the fact that he/she would in turn employ others and re-start the trend. Every little helps in lifting the strands of poverty from the society.

What brought about the growth of your business (USP)?

  • customer relations/service
  • marketing

Did you seek bank funding? If not, Why not?

Not at the moment as we are focused on just being there for people, answering questions, offering recipes, motivating and guiding them on sourcing out resources, material and ingredients within their immediate locality,  offering free educational tutorials online etc.

There would come a time very soon where we would need bank funding and like to be under corporates CSR Projects where we can offer free training workshops for people to foster empowerment and growth in our country, taking it one person at a time and one day at a time we believe this will lead to a stronger Nigeria as it has become imperative that hand and vocational skills are readily available at all levels to bridge the gap between poverty and purpose. Our vision is driven by the model adopted in Switzerland. Vocational Education and Training  (VET).

This system churns out skilled workers who are the backbone of the country’s thriving economy making them by far one of the strongest economies in the world as they had sort out a more practical way to alleviate global economic issues as well as avoiding the dangers of the impact on the financial economy in having youths made redundant prematurely due to lack of availability of jobs

What form of IT do you use in your business?  

  • Basic computing hardware
  • social media
  • online marketing platforms

Do you have a corporate account separate from your personal account?

Yes, of course

b) Do you sometimes mix monies from both accounts?

No, not at all

What were your mistakes and what would you have done differently?

Not starting sooner I suppose. Sometimes when you have the zeal to do something and you discuss with people who don’t “Get You” this can be a challenge as it could lead not only to creating a fear and sluggish spirit in you but to the overall break-down in commencing or taking that first step into achieving that which you want to achieve. So we have to be quite wary of who we share our dreams with as that person indeed has the power to make or mar that dream.

The operating word is keep on moving, the critics just become a lingering sound in the ear that you really should wave away like an annoying pesky insect and carry on in doing that which  you want to achieve

How long can your business survive without you being there physically (key-man risk)?

This has become a problem for a lot of us here as your staff may not sometimes see your vision as you see it, so even if you train them on specific standard operating procedures you might still find lapses in some areas. However, it is important to put together a strong middle management team in your business teaching and training them on how to carry out the same tasks, and at the same time, create a system detailing each step of the process.

Succession planning is basically making sure you have a contingency plan if you or one of your key people is not available on short notice!

With your experience, what advice do you have for young people who would like to start-up business?

Momentum is what drives entrepreneurs, and letting an idea go stale or be pushed to the back burner could subconsciously de-prioritize the project, which in most cases, means it will never see the light of day.

This isn’t to say you should hop on an idea as soon as you think of one that seems great (sometimes it’s good to sleep on an idea for a day or two to see if it still sounds good to you), but you should stay excited and focused.

So at the risk of sounding extremely cliché we must NEVER GIVE UP, CONTINUE INCHING AND EDGING FORWARD as the impossible has been achieved with conceptualizing the one idea. In the words of Obama…YES WE CAN!

chioma@ekoconnect.net

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