All Times Conversation
An entrepreneur and girl’s rights advocate, Ayodeji Bello, in a thrilling interview with ALL TIMES CONVERSATION, explained the connection between her business and her Non-governmental organization as she revealed the motivation behind both.
My businesses help me put smiles on people’s faces with a fee while my NGO helps me achieve that for free.Ayo Bello
Conversation: Can we meet you?
My name is Ayodeji Bello, I am the first child of 4, I am a 25 year old gender equality crusader from Ogun state. I have experience in leadership, youth engagement, public speaking, policy formulation & implementation, business & project management, grass root engagements and advocacy.
Conversation.: What was the motivation to starting your entrepreneurial and nonprofit initiatives?
I am passionate about social change. I love to solve problems so I thought to go further by bring my ideas to reality. Coming from a humbling background with little financial support, I knew I needed to make money but I just didn’t want to make money anyhow, I needed to make money doing what I enjoy which is advocacy, project management, events and business. I love to see a proposed event become reality, it gives me so much joy this made me start Karah events and Logistics company and also, Initiative for Girls’ Health and Rights Development.
Conversation: What was the turning point on your entrepreneurial journey?
The turning point of my entrepreneurial journey was when I made my first 100,000. It made me believe more in myself, It skyrocketed my confidence from 10 – 1,000. Then when I began to employ people and pay them, the financial opportunities I have given people through my businesses, My joy knows no bound.
I have always known that every idea I am turning into a reality must have a life of its own. My businesses are strictly different from my NGO, in fact they are managed separately. My businesses help me put smiles on people’s faces with a fee while my NGO helps me achieve that for free.
Conversation: .How have you been able to navigate your businesses and several other nonprofit organizations?
The word Karah means Joy is Hebrew as My names also means Joy in Yoruba. The idea behind my business is to have fun while making others happy. My brand strategy is simply affordability. I ensure that expectations meet target. I planned festivals, fashion shows, Album launch, Conferences and high level formal meetings and feedbacks have been encouraging. My friendliness and experiences so far has been an added advantage. Each time I feel discouraged, I remember my reasons for starting and I feel re energized.
Conversation: Your Company ( Karah events and logistics company ) is known for providing an all round events management and logistics services for wide clientele, what are your brand strategies for achieving and sustaining your corporate visions?
We look forward to being the most sought after event planning organization in Nigeria and abroad. I look forward to partnering with international businesses and agencies to handle their annual events. I look forward to establishing Karah events Academy- KEA where I can train young people who are interested in event planning for a token or free.
Conversation: What are the company’s expansionary goals?
It’s been a tough journey surviving especially as young lady. One of my many secrets is never to bite more than I can chew, If we cannot handle it, we will tell you we cannot instead of disappointing you. In such a woke world, Karah event management still hold moral values such as honesty, punctuality, sensitivity and respect in high esteem. Beyond being professional, we personalize your event. We share in your joy and bond with you to make your event a success.
Conversation: In a very competitive sector of event management and logistics, what is the secret behind Karah events and logistics company’s sustained influence in the industry?
One major challenge I had and still have is funding and I am sure that is the challenge of numerous businesses out there. I also have challenges with people who try to out-smart me because I am young. After events, you have to beg some people to pay up the balance which is very unfair. The government can promote enabling environment for businesses by just doing all they have promised. More access to power, good roads and support schemes for business owners. I know there are couple of empowerment schemes out there but the government should make it accessible to a good number of beneficiaries considering our population.
Conversation: What challenges do you encounter running your business and how do you think government can help create an enabling business climate for SMEs in Nigeria?
At a very tender age, I was mutilated by my grandmother, instead of brooding over the implications it has brought my way, I decided to lend my voice to save millions of others.
I envisage a world where women have access to information to make informed choices about their sexual health and not deprived because of harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation and Breast Ironing. I discovered many young girls do not have enough access to comprehensive sexual education so I thought to bridge that gap through Initiative for Girls’ Health and Rights Development- IGHRD.
Conversation: What moved you to establish The Initiative Girls Health and Rights Development- IGHRD and what has been the impact?
In the last more than 4 years to creating Initiative for Girls Health and Rights Development, I have reached more than 8,000 people at the grass root and this is because during community dialogues and grass root sensitization projects, I use the “Do no harm” principle. I do not go about criticizing perpetrators, I make them see reason along with me and leverage on their community leaders to champion the campaign. I have also partnered with chiefs and traditional rulers in rural communities. The Ooni of Ife has been one of our major pillars of support for grass root advocacy in Ile- ife, Osun state, The state with the highest prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (NDHS 2013).
Conversation: What is your Dream Nigeria?
My dream Nigeria is a country where youths are seen and heard. Where women and girls have access to contraceptives and information to help them make informed choices about sexual health. A Nigeria with leaders passionate and concerned about the people. A Nigeria where power truly lies with the people.
Conversation: What is your advice for other young people out there striving to make it without the platform or opportunities?
Every young person out there should find what they love doing and do it. I am a living example of from nothing to something although I am still a work in progress but I am not where I used to be anymore. Only Jesus gives true riches and adds no sorrow. We can live a good life without soiling our hands with crimes.
Keep pushing and just one day breakthrough will come. Ensure you are meeting the needs of others while making money and the sky will be your beginning. You are enough, do not underestimate your little experiences, package it and fly with it. Do not chicken out of challenges, face them and grow.
Conversation: What are your daily work routines and how do you manage stress?
I really do not have routines, how I plan my day depends on my location and plan for that day but on most days, I wake up at 5 am, pray, Listen to one or two messages by my Prophet, Bishop David Oyedepo, Shower, check my mails to see if there is any I have to respond to, surf the internet for news, Have breakfast, attend a speaking engagement/ meeting or organize one with my volunteers or mentees, Go about delivery of my products… As for stress, If I had events for a week, I will spend the next week resting. I have learnt to take days off, eat good food and spend quality time with loved ones.
Conversation: Thank you.
You are welcome.