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Nkechi Alade: Redefining Consulting for African Startups



Nkechi Alade, Principal Business Consultant at Elvaridah, is passionate about driving business development and consultancy to empower potential and existing businesses across all levels. Her entrepreneurial spirit and belief in Africa’s transformative power inspire her to help individuals discover their true talents and monetize their passions. In this interview with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online (BAO), Nkechi speaks on how she is working closely with entrepreneurs launch and scale their businesses. She also shared more light on the upcoming Elvaridah Business Hangout. Excerpt.


Alaba: Could you briefly tell us about Elvaridah and the solutions you offer?

Nkechi: Elvaridah is a business consulting firm with a primary focus of building businesses by working closely with individuals and business owners to help them start, grow and launch business to achieve set goals and objectives. Our team is made up of smart, dedicated, and driven people who are committed to delivering great results for our clients. Our Consulting Services focus on key areas such as business growth, strategy, planning, marketing, structure, and people management. We help companies align their costs with their strategic goals and optimize all aspects of their business. 

Alaba: Can you throw more light on how Elvaridah is providing these solutions to businesses of various sizes?

Nkechi: We work closely with small to medium businesses to develop customized strategies for business expansion. This includes analyzing their current market position, identifying growth opportunities, and implementing effective business strategies. We also help with people management to build high-performing teams that can support their growth trajectory. We adapt our services to ensure maximum value and impact for each client. 

Alaba: On the 29th of June, Elvaridah will be hosting the Elvaridah Business Hangout for business owners. Tell us more about this event and the inspiration behind the theme: “Winning in Today’s Economy”.

Nkechi: The Elvaridah Business Hangout was specifically organized for entrepreneurs, recognizing the dynamic nature of the current economy. In these ever-changing times, it is crucial to discuss and explore strategies for success. We chose the theme “Winning in Today’s Economy” to highlight the need for adaptability and resilience.

The Hangout will provide entrepreneurs with actionable insights, practical knowledge, and an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals. By focusing on the “how” and the “who,” we aim to empower business owners to navigate the current economic landscape and succeed in their ventures.

Alaba: What do you intend to achieve with this event and would you like to share your speakers lineup?

Nkechi: The Elvaridah Business Hangout is more than just a one-time event – it’s about creating a community of businesses that goes beyond June 29th. Our goal is to establish a network where businesses can connect, collaborate, and support each other. Imagine having access to a pool of businesses that can provide advice, strategies, and insights whenever you need them. 

We’re excited to feature some amazing speakers at the event. Yemi Faseun, Chief Talent Officer at YF Talent Partners, is an HR expert with extensive knowledge in talent management and leadership transformation. Funto Ibuoye, Managing Director of Five28, is known for her innovative strategies that have led to remarkable success. Lastly, Ireayo Oladunjoye, MD & CEO of Endeavor Nigeria, has a proven track record of driving growth and fostering innovation. Attendees can expect to gain practical advice, actionable strategies, and valuable connections from these industry leaders. 

It’s an excellent opportunity to learn from their success stories and become inspired.


Alaba: What are your thoughts on gender inclusion in Africa’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem? How much progress have we made?

Nkechi: While progress has been made, there is still work to be done to achieve full gender equality.

It’s great to see more organizations pushing for women’s involvement in entrepreneurship. More women entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators are emerging and making significant contributions to various industries across Africa. However, there are still challenges that hinder gender inclusion, such as societal norms, limited resources, funding gaps, and cultural biases. These barriers restrict their access to networks, mentorship, capital, and growth opportunities. To measure progress, we must evaluate women’s representation in leadership roles, decision-making processes, and access to investment and support networks.

To further advance gender inclusion, we must create an enabling environment that provides equal opportunities, promotes mentorship and skills development, and addresses systemic biases. Collaboration among governments, private sector entities, academia, and civil society is crucial in creating policies, programs, and initiatives that support and empower women entrepreneurs. Celebrating and supporting the achievements of women entrepreneurs, breaking down barriers, and providing equal opportunities can foster an inclusive ecosystem that benefits society as a whole.

Alaba: Aside from the new Startup Act, what else can the government do to make the environment more friendly for businesses and startups?

Nkechi: There are many ways that governments can help create a better environment for businesses and startups to succeed, in addition to implementing the new Startup Act. One important step is to simplify regulations and reduce administrative burdens, which can make it easier for entrepreneurs to get their businesses up and running.

Governments can also help by establishing venture capital funds and other financing options that are friendly to startups. It’s also important to invest in education and training programs that focus on entrepreneurship, as well as to develop infrastructure and build strong partnerships with private sector organizations and other stakeholders. Protecting intellectual property and promoting international trade can also be helpful in supporting the growth of startups.

Alaba: Where do you see the startup ecosystem in the next 5 years?

Nkechi: Looking ahead to the next five years, the startup ecosystem is poised for tremendous growth and influence. While it’s difficult to predict exactly how things will unfold, there are several factors that will shape the landscape. With ongoing economic prosperity and advancements in technology, there are plenty of opportunities to take intentional and strategic steps toward driving development and making a global impact. 

By promoting innovation, supporting entrepreneurship education, and creating an environment that’s conducive to startups, we can expect to see more collaboration, the emergence of game-changing technologies, and the scaling of innovative ventures. The startup ecosystem has the potential to fuel economic growth, create jobs, and tackle some of society’s biggest challenges, making it a crucial player in shaping the future of industries and economies.

Alaba: How would you describe your leadership style, and what books do you read?

Nkechi: As a leader, I believe that it’s important to adjust my leadership style based on the needs of different individuals and teams. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to effective leadership. For my management team, I focus on giving guidance, delegating tasks, and creating an environment of trust and collaboration. With junior staff, I strive to be a leader who listens, supports their growth, and encourages them to unleash their potential. I think having the right people around me is key to bringing out the best in my leadership abilities. 

When it comes to books, I’m a fan of exploring different genres. Right now, I’m really enjoying “Disruptive Thinking” by TD Jakes. It’s a great read that offers valuable insights on perseverance, resilience, and mindset. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for inspiration and practical advice on achieving success. 

Alaba: What’s your advice to every startup CEO, especially in Africa?

Nkechi: Be open to learning, growing, and exploring new ideas. Even if you’re already an expert in your industry and have a solid plan for your startup, there’s always room for improvement and new insights. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, seek out mentors and experts who can guide you along the way, and make use of the many resources available to support your journey. By adopting a mindset of continuous learning and curiosity, you’ll be well on your way to success.

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Theo Baloyi on building a sneaker brand for Africans



Theo Baloyi, Founder of Bathu (Image: Supplied).

This entrepreneur created a 100% African shoe brand to wage war on Nike and Adidas. His name is Theo Baloyi, and he is a South African entrepreneur. Judging the market shares of the shoe giants too high in Africa, he decided to leave an important position at PWC in Dubai to launch Bathu Sneakers. 

After months of feasibility studies, and being rejected by 13 different shoe factories – Theo Baloyi’s perseverance pays off and the Mesh Edition Sneaker is born. Bathu, which means shoes in townships across South Africa, is a sneaker brand launched in 2015, in a local township (Alexandra), whose colors and patterns are inspired by Africa. Bathu bought its first delivery vehicle and opened its first physical store in Newtown Junction Mall in Johannesburg, South Africa. 


Part of Theo Baloyi’s pillars for Bathu from the start was to create 100 meaningful jobs. In 2020 this was achieved. The brand has been a dazzling success, with more than thirty stores now in South Africa, and numerous distinctions.  It has now grown exponentially over the years, with 32 stores nationwide and a staff complement of over 300 employees, who are predominantly youth. 

The Bathu story is more than just a story of sneakers. It’s a story of owning your destiny, staying true to who you are, persevering, following your dreams and doing something you are passionate about. It’s a story of walking your journey. The brand is more than just a sneaker business but a beacon of hope that each person has valid and attainable dreams regardless of background and unfavourable personal circumstances.

The Bathu tagline, “Walk your Journey”, is centered around its mission statement of reigniting hope and creating sustainable employment. We believe everyone is on a journey; ours is to equip, ignite and enable that journey.

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Ideas Origin Media: Unearthing Innovation and Transforming Brands With Disruptive Creativity



Ideas Origin Media CEO, Israel Obatunde (Image: Supplied).

Ideas Origin Media is a creative powerhouse disrupting the advertising industry since its inception in 2022. Led by the creative juggernaut, Israel Obatunde, the Originals as they are popularly called, are making strong waves in providing solutions for people and businesses who need unique strategies and creative innovation that can help their brands break through clutter in their industries.

In today’s competitive business landscape, brands are constantly seeking inventive ways to engage their target audience without breaking the bank. Against this backdrop, creative agencies with unique strategies are bending the rules and changing the game. One agency that stands out from the lot is Ideas Origin Media, a trailblazer reshaping brand narratives and consumer connections.

Driven by a profound comprehension of consumer dynamics, Ideas Origin Media’s strategic framework rests upon meticulously gathered insights. At its core, the agency champions originality, data-driven creativity, and innovative storytelling, catalyzing brand visibility and resonance in an interconnected world.

Israel Obatunde, the visionary CEO of Ideas Origin Media, believes the agency’s operational ethos is emphasizing a culture of risk-taking and collaboration. By prioritizing client-centric strategies and ongoing skill development, the agency ensures tailored and impactful creative solutions that transcend traditional advertising norms.


Central to its organizational ethics is the acronym CANVAS: Creativity, Ambition, Novelty, Versatility, Accountability, and Support. Elizabeth Adesina, the Business Director, underscores these values as guiding principles, driving the agency’s mission to effect meaningful change in the industry. Shedding more light on this, she added that Adaptability and flexibility form the bedrock of Ideas Origin Media’s competitive edge. 

Recognizing and swiftly addressing operational inefficiencies such as bureaucracy and accountability gaps, the agency has fostered a culture of transparency and nimbleness within the agency, ensuring prompt, top-tier deliverables. 

To remain relevant amidst evolving consumer trends and technological disruptions, Ideas Origin Media prioritizes continual evolution. And by harnessing cutting-edge technologies, embracing industry trends, and championing originality, the agency sustains its innovative edge. 

The agency’s Creative Director, Segun Ayinla highlights the agency’s commitment to crafting culturally resonant campaigns that connect with diverse audiences. He elaborated further that by leveraging Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, Ideas Origin Media delivers authentic narratives that captivate and inspire.

With a portfolio boasting impactful campaigns like the 2024 DStv-AFCON and Jack Daniel’s Jack and The Beat campaign where the brand partnered with Hilda Baci, Ideas Origin Media continues to consistently push creative boundaries and deliver unparalleled brand experiences. Its recent expansion into the United Kingdom also signifies a bold stride towards global competitiveness, underlining the agency’s commitment to excellence and innovation. 

The CEO, Israel Obatunde has re-affirmed the agency’s ambitious growth trajectory, with plans for further expansion across Africa and beyond. Built to stand the test of time, each campaign undertaken by Ideas Origin Media is not just noteworthy but a glowing testimonial to the agency’s unwavering dedication to transformative creativity and unparalleled impact. 

As Ideas Origin Media charts new territories and cultivates strategic alliances, its journey unfolds with promise and potential, poised to redefine the contours of brand communication in Africa and beyond.

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WaxPrint Media and AfricaNXT Unlocking Growth for African Founders at NY Tech Week



WaxPrint Media partnered with AfricaNXT to present #dmaAfrica (Download My App), an interactive platform for African founders to foster meaningful connections with potential customers and investors. The program was held at Linkedin Social Impact HQ at the Empire State Building in Manhattan, NYC.

Each of the 5 startup founders engaged groups in 2 rounds of flash focus group sessions where attendees downloaded the apps or engaged the website for onboarding and provided feedback in real time. Following the focus groups, the founders pitched their early stage startups to a panel of investors/experts which included:

The featured founders represented diverse startups focused on tourism, sustainability, networking, and cultural experiences:

  • Isaac Otoo, founder of MigranX, the cultural copilot connecting immigrants and international students with authentic cultural experiences
  • Cavaughn J. Noel, MBA founder of daap, “Connect better”
  • Ibukunoluwa Adebayo, co-founder of, an All-in-One App focused on Utility bills payment and Solar Sales, Maintenance and Management
  • Marwh Nabil, co-founder of Easy Meets, a marketplace that simplifies planning hangouts & trips for groups or individuals and provides businesses with valuable information about potential customers.
  • Yoma Onosemuode, founder of Travelbay, the best way to plan, curate, book and experience travel across Africa.

“I have worked with African tech startups and founders over the past 10 years and have a deep understanding of their needs to achieve growth. A viable product and a community of loyal ambassadors can determine their capacity to scale and we sought to create that bridge for these founders with a focus on Africa during NY Tech Week,” shared Muhammida El Muhajir, #dmaAfrica co-host and Director of Strategy at WaxPrint Media, a boutique digital/communications agency with clients in over 22 countries.

#dmaAfrica co-hosts: WaxPrint Media Director of Strategy , Muhammida El Muhajir and Ngozi Odita, founder of AfricaNXT

NY Tech Week is an “unconference”,  an unbranded week of events sponsored by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) a Silicon Valley based venture capital firm and  hosted by various members of the tech community all under the umbrella of “Tech Week.” NY Tech Week was an opportunity to showcase what makes the New York tech community special, meet people from across venture and startups, and learn from the best founders and companies.


“The #dmaAfrica  event was an extension of our mission at AfricaNXT where we serve a global community eager to connect to Africa through diverse programming, immersive experiences, high-level conversations, and game-changing connections. We were thrilled to collaborate with Linkedin to support us in making an impact for these innovations from the African tech community in NYC,” added Ngozi Odita,  founder of AfricaNXT one of Nigeria’s leading innovation conferences.

The program closed with panelists iterating on each startup and answering the question “Will you download my app?”.

“Participating in #dmaAfrica was one of the best event experiences I have had as a founder. It was unlike any other and allowed me to intimately exchange with users and investors, share my story and see how they experience my web app. It forced me to go deeper and rethink how I communicate my vision and product,” said Yoma Onosemuode, the founder of Travelbay.

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