Ore-Oluwa Ekanem Solana, also known as Bedazzle, is a Strategic Planner. She owns and run a business and also consults on business development and strategy for aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups and MSMEs
She had a lot to say when she was asked how she started. “My current career path borders around strategic planning and business development and I’d say this career path chose me.
“Years ago, I was fresh out of school with a degree in Pharmacology and a passion for events planning and fashion designing. I had picked up my interest in fashion long before going to university and learnt to cut and sew from a seamstress; my interest in events management, on the other hand, sprung up while planning my department’s customary week long events/activities when I was in 300 Level.
“At that point I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur. While awaiting NYSC posting, I took classes in both events management and fashion designing and afterwards started my business. As the years went by, my business interests evolved. I had to leave events management to focus solely on fashion (more like fashion took over); fashion further evolved from us making ready-to-wear African outfits to full blown, custom-made/personalized outfits embellished with rhinestones.
“My company further evolved in its fifth year when we launched 4 other projects cut across various other industries (asides fashion). One of these projects exposed me to a lot of aspiring and start-up entrepreneurs; and helping them solve business problems with the knowledge and experiences I had acquired (as explained above) launched me into my present career path.
“I strongly believe that as I get better at this, I’ll be open to more and more career paths in my entrepreneurial sojourn. I’m at the point in my Entrepreneurial life where I am no longer afraid of launching any business idea. Failure isn’t new to me. I’ve learned that it’s just part of the process.”
She admitted that she faces challenges in her business and has even come to accept the inevitability of it. “Access to adequate (and complete) information is one major challenge that confronts mine; especially with new policies springing up on a daily basis. There are really no detailed websites where one can read up on most of these policies as there is no uniformity/standardization and junior level officials of parastatals have little or no clue.
“Another challenge I had to deal with (and thankfully have overcome) is understanding that the Nigerian market is dynamic. Our way of “doing things” is very interesting. Understanding what this entails and leveraging on the information acquired gives a company competitive advantage.
“Also, I had to read a lot to acquire knowledge. “Acquiring Business management skills before starting a business and brushing up on them regularly can’t be overemphasized. The knowledge I acquired from all the books I read prior to starting my business helped me till my second year; afterwards, I had to seek more knowledge from time to time as the business evolved.”
Her greatest inspiration is God. “Getting to know Him personally gives me the confidence that “impossible” doesn’t exist. Therefore I am empowered to strive for more and more …… and more.
“I also draw inspiration from autobiographies and works of seasoned entrepreneurs home and abroad: Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and our very own Sam Adeyemi, Ibukun Awosika, Folorunsho Alakija and Bukky George. The fact that they succeeded against all odds and are still waxing strong gives me a great deal of hope and encouragement.”
The strategic planner mention speaking engagements at UN programs as the projects that boosted her confidence. “I have spoken at 4 United Nations youth programs in Lagos, 3 of them on entrepreneurship at the World Youth Skills day and the 4th one was on science at a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) event to celebrate the world’s day for women and girls in science.
These events made me realize I had something to share with the world; something to help the aspiring Nigerian entrepreneur. I also currently run one-on-one advisory sessions for aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups and micro and small businesses. I brainstorm on their ideas with them and help them cave a clear path for their business. The feedback I get still amazes me.”
Looking forward, “I’m working hard to get my company to the level where we can partner with investors from major markets outside the country looking to get into the Nigerian Market. I am also looking to consult for the strategy and business development teams of start-ups and SMEs. Investing (time and funds) in scalable start-up ideas is also on my list.”
Oreoluwa thinks the need for youth empowerment cannot be over emphasized. “The youths are the bedrock of any nation however we do not need to wait for anyone to empower us if they choose not to. The power is in our hands; age is very much on our side and there’s so much we are capable of achieving if we just believe (in ourselves).
“To get/be empowered, the Nigerian youth MUST embark on a journey of self-discovery and ‘self-believe’; Know who you are, be true to yourself, don’t leave your future in another person’s hands and strive to achieve more than what status-quo has to offer. Get an education!!!! READ!!!!
“As Nigerian Youths, we need to desire/hunger for more. I am of the opinion that every youth needs to acquire at least one hands-on technical skill and seek business management knowledge if they choose to follow the entrepreneurship career path. The world’s top economies are made, supported and managed by entrepreneurs. We also need to do better in selecting who our role models/mentors are. All that glitters isn’t gold. No one ever got rich overnight…….unless they won the lottery.”
Reach out to her via www.oresolana.com