Ayodeji Oluyemi Megbope is the C.E.O of No left over’s Nigeria Limited- A full scale catering outfit which started with a take-off capital of just One Thousand Naira (N1,000.00), but today has an annual turnover that runs into millions of naira. She was fortunate to be among the women to benefit from a worldwide initiative to set up 10,000 women and empower them with business skills and education. Ayodeji Megbope started her journey into entrepreneurship after nine years of her career in Corona School, Ikoyi as a Confidential Secretary. She left Corona with the intention to start up a school because she had passion for kids. To actualize her passion, she enrolled in a six months Montessori program. But at the end of the period she felt no excitement for the school anymore because setting up a school was so capital intensive. She saw that her passion for kids alone was not enough to see her through. She discussed the matter with her husband who encouraged her to drop the idea for a better one.
On a certain day her sister in law visited their home, and Ayo served her moin moin (bean cake) she had made. When she finished eating, she commented positively about the meal. She said it was simply irresistible and that she could form a commercial venture with good and effective management. Ayo thought deeply about this then started the moin moin business with an investment of just One Thousand Naira (approximately three dollars). It occurred to her to go back to Corona School where she worked before, after all that was where she knew people. She started selling at the school gate and she was consistent in it.
After four months of selling at the school gate, Ayo got her first big break and she was making money from the business. Some of her colleagues told her the job was too dirty for her, but she was focused. She continued with her business, making more sales on the business and was really committed to her job. On one of her trading days, she met a parent who owned an oil servicing company. The parent informed her that she needed a caterer who could provide daily lunches for her staff of about 70. Ayo accepted her offer and took the contract. Compared to what
she was currently doing, that of course was a great offer. Her need to plan better for her business arose as sales were increasing. With her customer base increasing, her product line also increased from the sale of just moin moin to the sales of other foods. Her business decided to aggressively grow its product portfolio, and she purchased a delivery van that helped her in deliveries and home services. She grew beyond her competitors and she was above other competitive threats that existed in the market. Ayo has been invited to New York for an address during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Goldman Sachs. She was also on a panel at the Turkish Prime Minister’s Global Summit on Entrepreneurship. The business had exposed her to great opportunities such as meetings with Mrs Michelle Obama (The First lady of the United States of America) and with former President Bill Clinton.
Lessons to be learnt from her.
Humility: She was humble enough to go back to the School where she worked previously. This must have been really humbling because her colleagues would have expected that after resigning from the school, she would have advanced professionally instead of selling moin moin at the gate.
Consistency: She didn’t mind that some of her colleagues laughed at her, she kept going back to the School and didn’t give up until her big break came.
She was open to opportunities: She knew when it was time for expansion and she took advantage of it.
Never look down on humble beginnings: Who would have thought that a bean cake business could take one round the world and give them the opportunity to meet with the world’s most influential people.
She did not wait for a large capital before starting out: She started with #1,000 and today it has grown into a multi-million naira business with branches in Lagos and Abuja.
We hope Ayo’s story has awoken something inside you. It shows that there are no excuses to entrepreneurship. You can definitely achieve success, all you need to do is START UP with your idea.
Thank you for reading.