Kikelomo Ewekeye, a graduate of Biochemistry from the Lagos State University is the Chief Executive Officer of Davaby Chops and mocktails. In this interview by TAYO GESINDE she speaks about her life as an entrepreneur.
What motivated you to go into this line of business?
My love for events ignited my passion in this business. I actually started with mocktails but later added fingerfoods when I saw the need in that regard. My being creative and the willingness to explore and try out different things also played major roles. Actually, I can say my course of study at the university is not directly related to the business I am currently doing. But as stated earlier, my veering into this line of business is a combination of many factors, of which the love for event is major. For some reasons, I had to stop the contract job I had then. I had to find a creative way of generating income while also doing what I have passion for. I was still looking for the so-called white collar job initially when I started this business but along the way I discovered that running my own business is more preferable for me.
When and how did it all start?
I started about seven years ago when I lost the contract job I had then due to some reasons. I already had interest in events and also had attended one of my cousins’ event she was anchoring where she also catered for mocktails and loved everything about it. I just thought about it and concluded to start off with mocktails and along the line there were demands for small chops.
There are people who think that businesses like the one you are doing are for the uneducated, what is your take on this?
That view is really incorrect. The truth of the matter is that being educated brings to bear on everything one does. It actually gives me an edge/leverage. My educational background has indeed been an advantage for me as it makes me a better businesswoman. My communication, presentation and marketing skills have majorly been enhanced. I believe education is very important, no matter what one is engaged in
Many young people don’t want to do an apprenticeship, how do you source for staff?
Getting apprentices is a bit challenging; most young people are not patient or committed to learn the ropes. They prefer working and being paid. They are not ready to learn, they just want to work on ad hoc or need basis so that with time they can be able to establish their own businesses.
How do you combine your business with the home front?
It has really not been easy, but it all has to do with managing your time effectively. I try as much as possible to balance all these different roles. I work with staff on need basis and also get help if and when necessary. Also my husband and children have been very supportive. They understand and know what the work entails. They always help out.
What are the challenges you face as an entrepreneur?
Major challenges are power supply, delivery companies not keeping to time and getting dedicated people to work with us. There is no regular or constant power supply so at times we have to run on generator to keep the fresh chops frozen. Sometimes the delivery companies disappoint by not keeping to time and our small chops order are time bound. Some don’t deliver on Sunday, etc.
What advice do you have for young people?
They should first believe in themselves, identify what they really love to do or do what they care about, have a vision, learn from those ahead of them, take action by starting with what they have, challenge themselves, and remain focused.