Ifeoma Uddoh is the founder of Shecluded.com, a fintech credit company focused on the success of women-led businesses in Africa. Shecluded started with the goal of providing loans and growth advisory services to women-led businesses. Shecluded was one of the selected companies for the UK Nigeria Tech. Hub in 2020.
Ifeoma’s expertise lies in funding women, analytics, technology startups, and products. She has a master’s degree in management science and operations research from the University of Lancaster, UK. She has experience working with PricewaterhouseCoopers, iROKOtv, Wilkinson UK and Compex Africa.
Shecluded – Entrepreneurship Journey
I used to be the COO of a technology seed funding company and one of my roles was reviewing pitch decks sent in for investment and while I was doing this job, I realised that we didn’t get applications from women. I did an informal survey asking other incubators and angel investors in the space and found out similar responses. It got my attention. it wasn’t like all the ideas we got made sense but more men were taking their chance so how do women get funding for their business. After a period of research, I knew that I was going to dedicate my life to creating funds and opportunities for women.
As I got older, I wanted to build a business not just for making a profit but to change lives. Women for me represent the doorway to a generation unreached. An empowered woman can change the course of a generation. My mum was a widow at 27, on her own she created the first of many good things in my family. If she wasn’t empowered, I would be a nanny in the home of a relative and because of her choices I am here empowered and the pattern goes forward for my daughters.
I lost my Dad at 9 years old so I was literally a product of grace and the amazing people that shaped me into this woman that I am, so I like to push myself to give back and as I get older I am conscious that the time is now. Then I love Jesus. I love thinking through and solving problems.
Milestones and challenges
One of my biggest milestones was starting my company, Shecluded, I never thought I could do it. I was at a good place in my career and had this burden to step out and do this. So I still look back and say “Oh, Ifeoma you took a chance! high five”.
A key challenge for me is what Melida Gates calls “time poverty”. That is juggling my role as a business owner and a family is a handful most times and I see it’s common with women. When it comes to our work, funding! With more funds, we can do more.
Lessons learnt as an entrepreneur
My major lesson as an entrepreneur is that if you don’t want to work full time don’t become an entrepreneur. Like I force my head to shut down from work and be present when I am playing my other roles. Entrepreneurship has also been a tool for personal development for me to identify my strengths and weaknesses and learn to optimize them.
Entrepreneurial journey after emerging as one of the winners of a UK-Nigeria Tech Hub in December 2019
It helped give us validation of our mission and helped me get a bigger picture of what is possible for us. I loved the access I got and some of them have become good mentors so I am forever grateful.
Advice to women on financial independence
There is so much on financial literacy like saving, investing, e.t.c and from a gender point of view, I usually want to give a response from my insight as a gender lens investor.
Finance is a major part of your quality of life and that subconscious notion to leave it as a responsibility for someone else to handle when he comes sounds good but you are smart! Always remember you are a constant in your life. Love yourself enough to plan for your quality of life and the best of your financial stability is that you can now have the ability to pull someone else up!
From the work we do in our wealth management arm at Shecluded, the best financial advice I have for women is – have a growth mindset. If you have earned 100k as a receptionist for 3 years get angry and do something to change it. The same effort you put into changing your style to look updated, put that in your financial life. Many women need to increase their income to even be ready for the basic wealth roadmap. Invest in financial education and do what you have learnt.
Selfcare and relaxation activities
Self-care for me is lying down on a hotel bed alone (LOL, I am a mum, what do you expect!) I also enjoy travelling.
Intention for the Year 2021
Quick economic and health recovery for the world.
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 offshoot 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.