23 May 2014

Nigeria: Venturing Into Event Management Was Divine

Risk takers are very few in our society. In every aspect of human endeavour, there are risks to be confronted but the strength to battle the risks belongs to the courageous. Bosede Ojerinde is one woman that has fought many challenges in taking her event management business to a glorious height

The Managing Director of Foab Rentals and Event service, Mrs. Bosede Ojerinde, took this reporter on a jolly ride in this encounter.

Bosede recalls the journey into the world of event management, the inspiration and amount invested as start-up capital.

Hear her: "I had a dream wherein I saw myself arranging chairs. I discussed the dream with my husband who encouraged me to start.

"Before then, I had worked as an employee in National Bank between 1987 and 1989. I left in 1989 and started the business, which is now referred to as event management services. Prior to 1989, I had been involved in various financial contributions as savings. The funds realised through the process was pooled together to commence the business. As a matter of fact, I started with wooden chairs. The initial take-off fund was N950. It was not the era of plastic chairs as we have today. Back then I had about six dozen of chairs, as well as few small canopies. By 1988, the colour iron chairs were the ones in vogue but were only available to those who could afford to have them for rent. I can say I began from the scratch. I invested N950 but today the business has grown big to what I didn't imagine."

Although she reminisced on the good moments, she admitted openly that there had been challenges over the years, stressing, however, that they are surmountable. Highlighting those problems, Bosede spoke of their adverse effect on the growth of the business.

She said: "At the time I started, events and occasions were few and far between. We didn't have as much occasions as we have now. There was little or no focus on merriment in those days. Sales were poor and discouraging. It was very difficult and tough. At one point, I thought it was a big mistake quitting paid employment. But I never allowed the idea of quitting to cross my mind once I set out for this venture. I believe my foray into the business was God-ordained. I never lost fate because I knew my venturing into the business was in obedience to divine instruction. I had the conviction that it won't end up as a failure. Today, God has proved to be faithful.

"Another challenge is that the business does not give room for laziness. You have to be up and doing if you want to remain in business. When I started, I had no vehicle to transport the chairs and canopies to those places they needed them. I used to carry the chairs with my bare hands to supply the clients. It was very tough and challenging in those early days. Back in that time, the business was not for the rich but now things have changed. Besides, there is the issue of multiple taxations now being imposed by government. These days, they ask us to pay for merriment tax, local government tax and several other charges. This is taking its toll on the survival of the business and when you put it together, you realise there is nothing left to run the business efficiently.

"One big challenge in this business is the capability to meet and satisfy your clients. Often, we get calls from clients, complaining either of late delivery or poor services. But we are trying our best to satisfy them particularly during the dry season when there is a huge demand for our services. We are working to ensure that we have enough to supply them. On our part, we experience poor sales during rainy season, which accounts for the poor patronage being witnessed at this period."

Ojerinde is not one given to unnecessary adulations but admits the immense support of her husband.

She spoke glowingly about her husband and the success stories of the job.

She said: "All thanks should go to God and my husband for providing both moral and financial support. At one point, when I was at crossroads, he encouraged me by taking a loan on my behalf from his workplace. On my own, I was committing my monthly dues to investing in the business. Little by little, the business grew. And from there, I built an event centre."

In a business like this, differentiations are easily seen and appreciated. Bosede spoke about what separate her business from the crowd.

She said: "What stands us out in the business is our commitment in ensuring that the chairs and canopies are clean and in good condition before distribution. Aside from cleanliness, we don't take more than what we can supply. I cherish honesty and integrity. I don't go beyond my boundaries."

On her aspiration in the next five years and her advice for other entrepreneurs, she noted with great excitement her strong desire to see the business expand.

"In the next five years, I want to spread my tentacles to other parts of Lagos. I also look forward to having branches in Ibadan, Abuja and Port Harcourt. Don't wait until you have enough funds before venturing into any business," she concluded.

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