Olatorera Oniru is the CEO of Dressmeoutlet.com. In this interview with Business Africa Online, she shared her passion for Entrepreneurship, advice and how entrepreneurial women can work together and compete less. Excerpts:
BAO: Tell us about Dressmeoutlet.com? What do you do exactly?
Olatorera: Dressmeoutlet.com retails fashion and beauty products with over 60% of products on Dressmeoutlet.com manufactured within Africa. Products on Dressmeoutlet.com are high-quality and mostly handmade with love yet very affordable. Dressmeoutlet.com ships globally and dispatches all orders within 24 hours. We have a great team of over 30 employees and together, we ensure that our customers find, receive and love every product they purchase from Dressmeoutlet.com.
BAO: What distinct your brand from other competing retailers?
Olatorera: Dressmeoutlet.com is very strongly customer-centric and this is evident in the quality of products and brands we select to retail. Also evident is the very affordable prices attached to each product. And additionally evident is how rapidly we dispatch and the level of customer service we provide. Our goal is to remain the leading online retailer of fashion and beauty from Africa to the world.
BAO: What sustainable strategies have helped you navigate the challenging business environment?
Olatorera: Hiring the very best people and leveraging technology and innovation to reduce costs and maximize results.
BAO: What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in Nigeria?
Olatorera: Most important key would be working together and competing less. There are lots of trending movements along those lines such as the Women Supporting Women movement. It is imperative we all work together, join forces and create greater success stories. It’s also very important that we work on creating opportunities for others, mentor others and empower others. Others can be your children, your friends, your colleagues and anyone who looks up to you.
BAO: What do you like about being an entrepreneur? What inspires you?
Olatorera: I love being an entrepreneur. I love the passion and freewill to create, to innovate to make things better or greater. I love working with other people, developing partnerships and achieving desired results. I fathom entrepreneurship as living a happy life while making the world a better place. Entrepreneurship can be challenging but challenges are all part of achieving anything worthwhile. If entrepreneurship doesn’t make you happy then, it probably isn’t worthwhile.
BAO: How do you relax?
Olatorera: Family time. I love my family and every minute with them means the world to me. I also enjoy social outings every now and then. Great occasions to chat, dance and network are usually a yes for me, time permitting.
BAO: What specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur?
Olatorera: Let your entrepreneurial quest come passionately from within you. As an entrepreneur, you want to be happy pushing your dreams thus make sure it’s your passion and not an imitation of another man’s passion. Once you are certain of what you want to do entrepreneurially, push your dreams. Don’t let anything stop you from doing anything great for the world. Go for it, excel at it and live your greatest life possible.
Olatorera Oniru’s Bio:
Olatorera Oniru is an assiduous entrepreneur passionate about all things Africa. As CEO of Dressmeoutlet.com, she is currently leading initiatives to realize a pinnacle in Africa’s history whereby we would rely less on importation and innovate more with natural resources and citizenry capabilities. A member of The National Scholars Honor Society USA, Olatorera flourished her career working for two Fortune Top 5 companies namely Bank of America Merrill Lynch and General Electric. She also worked for one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, Lars Magnus Ericsson, as a global senior consultant and later as Head of Sales Governance. During the course of her employed years, she traveled to over 50 cities in over 10 countries in 4 continents. Olatorera is one of the world’s youngest and most sought-after public speakers on topics related to leadership, entrepreneurship and technology driving Africa’s growth.
As a leading champion of the Made in Africa Movement, she has been recognized by Commonwealth Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship, Nigerian Innovation Awards, Forbes Most Promising Africans, Africa.com’s Top 5 Youngest Entrepreneurs and African Achievers Awards. Her track record of success has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post and several other leading publications. In 2016, she was invited to speak at AfricaCom, NigeriaCom, World Retail Congress, TMT Finance, Seamless Africa, African Development Forum, Women in Business South Africa and several other leading events. Olatorera has a scholarship-based Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree from the prestigious Emory University USA and Executive Management Certificates from Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden and International Institute for Management Development, Switzerland.
Olatorera Oniru’s passion includes: Innovation, Poverty Alleviation, National Development, Good Governance, Happy People.
African Visionary Fund (AVFund) Appoints New co-CEO, Atti Worku
African Visionary Fund (AVFund) New co-CEO, Atti Worku (Source: African Visionary Fund Website)
About a year ago, African Visionary Fund launched with a bold mission to tackle the inequities and power imbalances in global philanthropy by driving unrestricted resources to African visionaries. At the heart of all they do their values of equity and solidarity, which compel them to center African voices at every level of the organization. They are thrilled to announce the Fund’s new Africa-based co-CEO, Atti Worku!
Atti brings a wealth of experience in the nonprofit world, is a strong advocate for local founders, and is dedicated to righting the historic funding inequity that can hold them back. Prior to joining the Fund, Atti founded and led Seeds of Africa for over 10 years. Seeds is an Ethiopian grassroots organization dedicated to developing the educational foundation for the next generation of African leaders. Under her leadership, Seeds grew from an after-school program serving 15 kids to becoming a full-time multi-dimensional school educating 250 students from pre-K to middle school, and working with over 150 of their mothers providing small business entrepreneurship micro-loans and resources. In just over a decade Seeds has impacted the lives of over 2,000 people, transforming the trajectories of students, teachers, mothers, and their families and creating a future brimming with possibilities beyond a poverty trap.
“My mission is to advocate for African visionaries to be recognized by funders as experts, equal partners and critical drivers of systems change. I’m excited to learn from incredible African leaders with big dreams and even bigger global potential.” -Atti Worku, AVFund co-CEO
The African Visionary Fund is built on the firm belief that proximity matters. Seeded by a group of foundations and philanthropists who wanted to not only take action on equity but also be intentional about shifting the power over resources to African visionaries, shared leadership has been part of the Fund’s DNA from the beginning.
“Co-leadership is mission critical. We cannot build new models for equity-centered philanthropy without living those values within our own institution.” -Katie Bunten-Wamaru, AVFund co-CEO
The AVFund’s organizational journey started with collective and shared leadership in mind as our Founding Working Group worked with our leadership to inform and design all aspects of our organization and funding model. This majority-African, majority-doer group considered a number of different leadership structures for the Fund but gravitated towards co-leadership because it prioritizes proximity and equity, centers the experience of African visionaries, and ultimately helps us shift power.
Our Founding Working Group proved that we can co-create new models of philanthropy centered on collective leadership that shift power and center equity – our co-leadership model is the natural, values-aligned extension of that founding idea.
Atti’s lived experience as an African founder has given her firsthand experience of the realities and complexities that local innovators face, making her a great partner in executing the Fund’s mission.
“This role is very personal to me. I see myself in the ambitious and innovative entrepreneurs we engage with at the AVFund. I hope to learn from them, and partner with them to redesign funding systems that give African visionaries an equitable chance of success.” -Atti Worku, AVFund co-CEO
The barriers for African visionaries have been well documented with data showing that less than 5.2% of US foundation giving specific to Africa goes to African-led organizations. And in Atti’s experience, sometimes philanthropy’s oversight of African founders translates into a heavy emotional toll, an internal struggle she also had to deal with in her experience fundraising for her organization. She is committed to helping other African visionaries by being “the voice that reassures and validates them in the face of injustices.”
“Raising philanthropic dollars can be a long trauma for African social entrepreneurs and other leaders of color. On one hand, you’re doing innovative, high-impact work, but on the other, you are constantly being asked to prove yourself on a level far beyond your peers, doing so, and somehow still falling short. Aggregate data on racial inequity in philanthropy already speaks volumes, but systemic injustice is deeply personal. It took me years to realize that I wasn’t the problem,” Atti shared.
At the core, the AVFund seeks to create a bridge between global philanthropy and innovative African social changemakers and to do that, it’s critical to have proximity to both our visionary partners and our funding partners. Shared leadership makes this possible.
“There is an inherent tension in the work of the AVFund – we call it the ‘play the game, change the game’ balance. We want to support African social changemakers to play the game to access more sustainable funding now, while also challenging the status quo in ways that build a more equitable philanthropic ecosystem in the long run,” Katie explained. “There will always be a need to balance this tension – having a co-leadership model helps us balance both sides of our work and not lose sight of either goal.”
Having been on both sides of the table, Atti believes a further added benefit of co-leadership lies in the fact that representation matters. “I have been a micro-funder through Seeds and have seen the value of someone like you believing in your vision and empowering it,” she shared.
“At AVFund, we celebrate and choose co-leadership because we recognize the importance of diversity for strong, grounded and authentic leadership.” -Melizsa Mugyenyi, Advisory Board Member.
Atti joins the Fund at a crucial season of our organizational journey as we look to deepen our impact across the continent – we are more than a third of the way towards reaching our goal to raise US$10 million which will enable us to provide 35 nonprofits across Africa with unrestricted, multiyear grants by 2023.
In the near-term, the Fund is also on track to commit atleast another $US1 million later this year and partner with more African social innovators. Atti is particularly excited to work with those at the forefront of leading-edge innovations whose potential for impact is inhibited by lack of resources and buy-in from funders.
“African visionaries aren’t often given the resources they need to validate the new concepts they have which really makes innovation very difficult. A lack of unrestricted funding for the disruptive ideas coming out of Africa limits potential and slows development. I’m ready to help change that in every way we can!” -Atti Worku, AVFund co-CEO
Rolake Rosiji, ex-Country Manager M-KOPA Solar Appointed As The New CEO Of Jobberman Nigeria
Rolake Rosiji, CEO at Jobberman (Source: ROAM)
Jobberman, the single largest job placement platform in sub-Saharan Africa, has announced the appointment of Rolake Rosiji as the new CEO. Rolake takes over from Hilda Kragha, now Managing Director of ROAM Africa Jobs, and will continue the work of establishing Jobberman as the primary platform for job searching, talent acquisition and transforming workplace productivity across Nigeria.
Jobberman’s technology-driven platform, which uses tools such as application tracking, data science for skills and personality assessment, connects over 1 million job seekers to employers. With over a decade of experience in the recruitment industry, the company has built a reputation of trust and strong partnerships with the country’s most coveted employers; matching talented candidates with jobs according to their skillset.
Rolake joins Jobberman with a decade of global experience in strategic leadership and operational excellence. Most recently, she led the technology and sales operations for credit financed smartphones and solar power sets as Country Manager of M-KOPA Nigeria; a connected asset financing company that makes financing for everyday essentials accessible to everyone. Prior to that, she was Head of Strategy & Business Development for Arla Foods Africa, where she developed distribution and joint venture partnerships across West Africa to rapidly scale up sales and worked in Corporate Strategy roles in Denmark and the USA. Her proven track record of business expansion projects, digital and technical transformation and executing strategic partnerships will be key to her implementation for growth and development of the brand.
Commenting on her new role as CEO, Rolake Rosiji said “This is a very exciting chapter in my career and I am delighted to be joining such a passionate and innovative team. Jobberman has built a brand of excellence by using technology to revolutionise the recruitment sector. I look forward to steering the company vision to build a market of greater technology adoption, democratic access and transparency that will tackle dominant challenges, notably youth unemployment and underemployment. It is a privilege for me to be at the helm of this dynamic team as we set out to empower job seekers with key skills and improve workplace productivity for employers in Nigeria.”
Hilda Kragha, Managing Director of ROAM Africa Jobs added “I am delighted that Rolake has taken on this position. Rolake’s expertise, understanding of different markets and high performance is what makes her the perfect person to anchor the next phase for Jobberman. I look forward to working with her to take Jobberman to even greater heights.”
Rolake took on her role as CEO on February 1st 2021. Her focus will be to broaden the impact beyond the white-collar space and continue to work closely with Jobberman’s impact partners in tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria.
AVCA Board appoints Abi Mustapha-Maduakor as CEO
AVCA CEO, Abi Mustapha-Maduakor (Source: AVCA)
AVCA: The Board of Directors of the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) is delighted to announce the appointment of Abi Mustapha-Maduakor as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Ms Mustapha-Maduakor joins AVCA from MedAccess, a subsidiary of CDC Group, where she was Head of Business Operations and Finance, overseeing financial and risk management, strategy implementation, and organisational development.
During her tenure as AVCA’s Chief Operating Officer from 2016 to 2019, Abi played an integral role in driving the Association’s strategy, prioritising knowledge exchange and digitisation. Under her leadership, the Association strengthened focus on data and pioneering research, professional development support for private equity stakeholders, and strategic regional partnerships, all of which grew the membership to around 150 investors collectively managing US$1.5trn in assets.
The appointment follows an extensive global search led by the Board.
Abi will take up the position on 1 February 2021, and there will be a transition period with interim CEO, Dara Owoyemi, until her departure.
‘Tokunboh Ishmael, Chair of the Board, said: “After a rigorous process, it was clear to the selection committee that Abi is the right leader for this chapter in AVCA’s life. Her knowledge of the African investment landscape, advocacy, business strategy and risk management will be instrumental in her role leading the Association through its next phase and transformation, as investors and portfolio companies navigate various social, economic, political and institutional challenges. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Dara Owoyemi for her immense support and guidance as we searched for a permanent CEO.”
Abi brings several years of finance and banking experience to the role. Previously, she was Special Adviser on private sector development to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment in Nigeria. She also held leadership positions at Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and EY.
Commenting on her appointment, Ms Mustapha-Maduakor said: “It is an honour to be appointed as CEO during this time of tremendous change in the global economy. As the Association’s new leader, my priority will be to build on the success of the past 20 years and transform AVCA into a conduit for diverse and varied sources of private investment in Africa. I look forward to working with the Board and team to deliver first-class member services, putting digital transformation, smart data and collaboration at the heart of our work.”A