Olapeju Umah is such a go getter, How does a trained Engineer find herself becoming a mile12marketwoman and a lady boss? Hurry up to read why she went into this line of business and how it is solving socio-economic problems in today’s economy.
Can you briefly describe yourself and your business?
I am Olapeju Umah, a wife, mother, trained engineer, God lover and the founder of mile12marketwoman. Mile12marketwoman was conceptualized to help busy people shop for affordable food stuffs. Our clients send us their groceries shopping list and we source for them.
What is it like being a female entrepreneur, and why did you chose to be one?
Being a female entrepreneur is satisfying for me. The satisfaction comes from knowing that I am meeting people’s needs and helping them achieve more by taking the market stress off them. My being an entrepreneur today was not planned. Like a lot of others, I had my plans to work in multinational companies after my studies as an engineer. Upon employment, I resigned only after working for a full month. This was because I needed to give full attention to my family which I had started while in school. My babies came back to back and so it seemed impossible to leave a 2yr old and 1yr old in a crèche all day. This was my major reason to become an entrepreneur but I wouldn’t have it any other way now.
What new innovation have you introduced to your business?
We have taken the market online. People don’t need to be physically present to shop anymore.
What will you say is responsible for your success so far?
My success so far can be traced to my sole dependency on God, a wonderful support at home (husband and children), the weird passion I have for the market, and bringing my own spice into my business.
In your opinion, would you say that there are any unique challenges that female entrepreneurs face?
Opportunities are increasing sporadically for female entrepreneurs daily. There are grants, mentoring programmes, and a whole lot of other business tools readily available for today’s female entrepreneur. We have our pioneer female entrepreneurs like Mrs. Ibukun Awosika urging us on and showing us that our dreams are valid and achievable. Challenges are not unique to females alone. We just have to rise above them.
What values and principles have helped you so far?
Integrity, discipline, reliability, accountability, diligence.
Why did you decide to go into this particular line of business?
In the year 2014, my family moved to the ajah axis of Lagos and the first shock that hit me was the exorbitant cost of food items! So, since I have always done bulk shopping from mile12 for my home when we were living on the mainland, I defied the distance barrier and continued my mile12 shopping once a month. I then noticed that neighbors would tell me to shop for them whenever I am going. I did this for years until I realized this problem was unique to a lot of people living on that axis. That is how the company Mile12marketwoman was birthed.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and what’s kept you going?
Our major challenge has been to satisfy every customer’s needs at every shopping outing. It could be daunting but we have been able to improve, coming up with tailor made solutions to suit each client. The love for what we do, dedication and perseverance on days when it’s not all praises from clients are what has kept us going.
What’s your five-year plan for your business?
In the next 5 years, I see mile12marketwoman being a household name especially on the lekki/ajah axis. In 5 years, we plan to have served 5,000 homes.
What do upcoming female entrepreneurs need to do to be successful in this path?
In this my line of business, you must have a passion. You must love going to the market even on days when you are on your lowest.
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.