#LadyBoss Interview: “The Tourism Industry is not a “get-rich-quick” business, you need to have a genuine passion for it. ” Nnenna Fakoya-Smith, Founder, Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd.

Image credit: Nnenna Fakoya-Smith

Popularly known as Ajala Nene, Nnenna Fakoya-Smith is a Tourism Promoter and Tourism Business Coach. She is the founder of Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd, a tourism company that helps tourism entrepreneurs build a sustainable tourism business through online programs and digital marketing. 

In this interview with Leading Ladies Africa, Nnenna shares the inspiration behind establishing Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd and shares her top three recommendations for female entrepreneurs intending to join the tourism industry. Lean in!

Tell us about your sojourn into the tourism industry

I have been passionate about travelling and exploring different cultures since childhood. However, I was introduced to the world of tourism while doing my university final year project. My project was on “Tourism Development in Nigeria”. I was highly intrigued while doing the project that I decided to venture into the industry.

Fortunately, I worked in a tour operating company during my National Youth Corps where I learned how to package and sell tours. In 2017, I decided to launch my tourism company, Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd to contribute my quota to the development of Tourism in Nigeria and Africa. 

What does Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd do and how has it impacted Nigeria’s economy?

Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd is a Tourism Company that markets tourism-related services such as travel packages and organizes tourism-related programs such as virtual summits to promote Sustainable Tourism Development in Nigeria and Africa

In line with our commitment to fulfilling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, my company contributes towards the SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) by hosting tourism programs such as online and offline workshops, summits and online courses. The aim is to educate, train and equip Tourism Business owners to build a sustainable business which will eventually make them a sustainable income.

Image credit: Nnenna Fakoya-Smith

What tough moments have you had since establishing your business and how have these mistakes shaped you to become better?

When I was hosting the first Tourism Virtual Summit, an online conference, I had to learn how to build the website and do all the digital backend work. Two days to the summit, I had issues uploading all the pre-recorded interviews. I practically broke down because I had spent almost 6 months interviewing and recording over 40+ guests. And there were over 100+ participants waiting for the interviews.

This Lady Boss had to put her big panties on and painfully spent the next 2 sleepless nights sorting out the issue. Since then, I have practically become an expert in hosting virtual summits, as I have gone ahead to host 2 other successful ones. This experience also taught me the art of being patient and learning that ‘everything is figureoutable’.

Image credit: Nnenna Fakoya-Smith

If you could have a lunch date with one Lady Boss you admire – who would that be and what would you ask her?

It would be Michelle Obama.  I’d ask her, “How do you do all you do so gracefully? Teach me your secret formula!”

Your top 3 recommendations for female entrepreneurs who want to join the tourism industry?

  • Because the tourism industry is not a “get-rich-quick” business, you need to have a genuine passion for it. Without passion, you may not survive when things get tough.
  • Be ready to invest in yourself. Learn soft skills (e.g. networking) and hard skills (e.g. tech tools) that will help you build a sustainable tourism business.
  • Enjoy the journey. You will definitely have ups and downs while navigating the Tourism space. Make the best of every situation by learning and enjoying the process.

Your bio

Popularly known as Ajala Nene, Nnenna Fakoya-Smith is a Tourism Promoter and Tourism Business Coach. She is the founder of Nene-Uwa Hub Ltd, a tourism company that helps Tourism Entrepreneurs build a sustainable tourism business through online programs and digital marketing. 

She has been recognized as one of the “Young Tourism Personalities of the Year” (2018), was nominated for the “Rising Star of the Year (Tourism)” and “Best Tourism Innovation Through Technology (Tourism Virtual Summit)”.

One of Nnenna’s hobbies includes collecting postcards, stamps, coins and banknotes, which got her featured on Forbes Africa as one of Africa’s Aficionado Collectors. She also enjoys travelling and exploring cultures, sporting activities, singing and dancing. She is an Afrocentric enthusiast who loves to display her African roots.

 

The 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 lead@leadingladiesafrica.org, and she could possibly be featured. 

 

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