meet Vivian the serial entrepreneur - the spark youth empowerment platforms in nigeria

Meet Vivian – The Serial Entrepreneur

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Vivian Ifeoma Ekwegh, also known as Veev, is a beauty therapist and real estate consultant. Talking about what she does, she asserted that she couldn’t in a sentence.

meet Vivian the serial entrepreneur - the spark youth empowerment platforms in nigeria

“I’m an entrepreneur. I help people of all races and colours look good and confident in their own skin and I achieve this with my beauty care brand, Orgánica. I also help high net-worth individuals get great investment deals in real estate. In other words, I’m a real estate consultant too.”

“Vivian knew as far back as 2009 that she wanted to be her own boss. “After I graduated from the University in 2014, I moved to the city of Lagos for my NYSC the following year. Lagos always called out to me somehow. My initial plan was to get a good paying job, save up some form of capital, then kick start my photography business (this is something I’ve always wanted to do).”

“Sadly, things didn’t work out as planned. I applied for several start up grants and loans (Bank of Industry, Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program, EDC’s Road to Growth loan, etc.) and I was turned down. TEEP turned down my application three times. At some point, I almost quit.”

“Shortly before my service year was up, I started doing a research on organic skin care products. From the knowledge I got, I started making my own body care products at the time. A lot of folks loved the way my skin was glowing and they wanted to know the products I applied on my skin. I thought to myself: I could be making these for others too for a token. And that was how Orgánica was born!”

“A few months after my service year in 2016, I got a job with a real estate advertising firm. After working there for a couple of months, I realized that my dreams were a lot stronger. I resigned and started out fully on my career as a self-taught beauty therapist. Even after my resignation, a lot of people already knew me to be a realtor and most of the clients that I maintained a good rapport with asked me to assist them to market their properties (even after they knew I was no longer working there). The commissions were attractive and who was I to say no?”

meet Vivian the serial entrepreneur - the spark youth empowerment platforms in nigeria

She admitted to the challenges she has encountered. “When I came to Lagos, I had a hard time adjusting because I have lived in the east for as long as I can remember. During my service year, I battled a lot of times with tribalism. To be honest, a lot of people hate my guts. I could be blunt and honest to a fault and that didn’t go down well with everyone. My experiences so far have made me make very keen decisions in establishing productive relationships. I guess that was part of the growth process.”

“On the other hand, I am still learning to deal with the issues that spring from sexism every day. It’s tough to be a beautiful female entrepreneur in our society. A lot of people don’t understand the difference between business and lechery. It’s difficult to find a patron/financier who doesn’t want to sleep with you.”

“Nothing goes for nothing, they say. Factors like these keep our economy from growing.  A growing business does not really need a loan. A loan is to a growing business what weed is to a farmer. Eventually, repaying the loan will choke your business and leave you frustrated. Hence, since a lot of financiers know this, they’ll tell you head on, “If I can’t get to sleep with you, you’re not getting a dime from me!” And trust me, they believe they don’t need your profits.”

Vivian had a lot to say concerning how she draws inspiration. “I love when women come together to build or support other women in business. So much happens when we support each other. I know a lot of female entrepreneurs but no one gets my adrenaline pumping like Chioma and Kika of Good Hair Limited. They’ve worked very hard to build their businesses. I’m intrigued at how they’ve managed to stay together longer than some boy bands I know. Every time I go on Instagram and I find them on my timeline, I’m inspired.”

meet Vivian the serial entrepreneur - the spark youth empowerment platforms in nigeria

“Another person who inspires me is Toke Makinwa. She has gone very far in her career. In fact, she has attained heights that many haven’t even started dreaming about. I still remember the first time I started watching her Vlogs in 2013. To me, she was just a woman that liked to help other women by advising them on how to get their lives together. Right now, she’s so much more. I have been following her on Instagram since 2014 and I have watched her evolve into a star. That inspires me to be more, and to do more.”

“A lot of women need to stand up for themselves and do something phenomenal. We need to be a voice and a force like Chimamanda Adichie, especially in these times where most women depend on men for almost everything. Am I a feminist? Maybe, yes. Feminism has been defined wrongly in so many ways. Like why do I have to be treated with less of everything that I deserve because I am a woman? That’s absolutely wrong!”

Starting her thrift business increased her belief in herself. “Earlier this year, I started a small thrift group of business and salary earning women called “Women in Business Talk” on WhatsApp. The idea was to support growing businesses with financial backups especially for women who are terrible savers. Every month, someone on the group receives a total sum of 100k from everyone who’s a member of the group. Some businesses need just this much to get started.”

Moving on, the serial entrepreneur is working on business partnerships. “It’s tough to run a global business on your own. I need people who are goal-oriented and vision-driven, people who want to be very successful, people who want to impact lives positively as much or even more than myself.”

meet Vivian the serial entrepreneur - the spark youth empowerment platforms in nigeria

“If the Federal Government of Nigeria refuses to empower you, why not empower yourself?” Vivian questions. “I’ve learned in a hard way not to expect anything from anybody. That way, there’ll be lesser disappointments and zero depression. Take a look at the population of the unemployed youths.”

“Most of them spend all their days on social media but they cannot create a simple CV for the job they’re applying for. There are so many resources lying fallow on the internet waiting to be used. A few days ago, I dropped a post online seeking for the position of an executive personal assistant on LinkedIn.”

“I left my email there and all I got were applications from the Nigerian youths who couldn’t take two minutes of their time to decode that it wasn’t a job opening. Some of them could not even draft a simple cover letter. I kind of agreed with the president when he called the Nigerian youths lazy. The majority are actually lazy. And the majority is the greater.”

“The only way Nigerian youths can be empowered is when they read and educate themselves on the things they want to become and achieve.”

Connect with her via

Instagram: @therealveev

Twitter: @therealveev

 

 

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The Spark is a youth empowerment platform in Nigeria that projects the average Nigerian youth doing something, anything positive. Our mission is to reach out to as many youths, “EMPOWER and ENGAGE!!!


3 thoughts on “Meet Vivian – The Serial Entrepreneur

  1. Sophie B

    Well i could not agree more especially withe last part and the sponsors who do not know how to draw the line…
    Great one Veev
    Is nice to know you.

  2. Bella

    Wow. This was worth the read. You might not remember me but you were my senior in secondary school. You have attained alot of growth I admire Vivian. Cheers!

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