Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
An outside perspective can help an entrepreneur solve a tricky problem. Sometimes, that perspective can even help grow an entirely new idea. Such was the case for me, a young Nigerian businesswoman committed to using innovative ideas to tackle social issues in my home country. I formed my first business, “Ever Glow” dish wash liquid, after observing that about 65 percent of Nigeria’s population uses bar soap to hand wash their dishes — despite the economical and hygienic advantages of liquid soap. I saw an opportunity to fill an unmet need in my country by creating a superior liquid dish soap that is non-toxic, plant-derived and biodegradable. However, I lacked the technical expertise to get my business off the ground until I sought guidance and discovered the business-mentoring network MicroMentor.org, where I connected with Gary Mastro, a former vice president of brand and product marketing at United Parcel Service. Mastro’s extensive experience with sales, marketing, and global logistics was a great fit for my business needs, and we were able to tackle a number of significant challenges together—from implementing a major rebranding to making crucial labeling, pricing, packaging, and distribution decisions. In fewer than six months, Gary helped me gain a competitive advantage in Nigeria. I experienced a 40 percent growth rate, which far exceeded my initial goals, and I was able to hire six new employees. two years later, venture capitalists and bar soap manufacturers began pursuing the for-profit EverGlow with an eye toward acquiring it and entering the liquid soap market, this led to the sale of my first business. “I always had been interested in helping farmers before I became involved in dish soap. My connection with Gary made me understand the importance of mentorship for success. http://nextbillion.net/blogpost.aspx?blogid=6545
Cynthia’s First Business https://youtu.be/iAd9_ctE1Jo?list=PLEWYDE6Ehtrk0BaZH40FezQzlsquwlP-5
Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?
Through connections provided by the US Department of Agriculture, I networked with my first partners at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Ibadan who now are a source of technical knowledge and cassava input supplier. My advisors include Eric Henderson (CEO XCBG International Development Group), Val Ozie (Energy specialist) and T. Deborah Wright Igiehon (President for Nigerian Affairs & Nigerian Country Manager, XCBG International Development Group) recently connected me with Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND Foundation) who are committed to supporting businesses and projects with huge social impact, economic empowerment and job creation for Nigerians. They have a long term goal of scaling and growing these businesses/project to sustain the impact it brings to the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.