“When a door is shut on you, look for a window. There are always other options so don’t give up.” – #LLA Interview With the Ujama Apkata and Kikelomo Fola-Ogunniya, Co-founders, Jand2Gidi

Ujama Apkata and Kikelomo Fola-Ogunniya, Co-founders, Jand2Gidi

Leading Ladies Africa: How did you begin your career? 

Ujama Akpata: With an educational background in Chemical Engineering, I began my career in the oil and gas industry. I worked for 5 years as a process engineer before pivoting into logistics which was started from a need my partner and I had of bringing the UK high streets to our doorstep in 2013.

 

Leading Ladies Africa: What led you both to become female entrepreneurs? 

Ujama Akpata: We both worked at an oil-servicing company in Oniru and spent our lunch-breaks struggling to find one relative or another to help with our shopping from the UK highstreets we had grown accustomed to. In the process of solving the problem for ourselves, we discovered there was a market for customers who needed items from the UK delivered to their doorstep with small weights that the average freight forwarder would refuse to carry as they did not find it economical. We built a business around this need and have since expanded our services to cover more countries.

 

Leading Ladies Africa: Who does what best? (Tell us how you complement each other’s unique strengths in relation to how you stay motivated?

 Kikelomo Fola-Ogunniya: Ama is an engineer by profession so she is better with finances which I’m really weak at. As a lawyer, I handle our corporate writing as well as marketing roles. Both our skills complement each other and we are committed to the vision we share at Jand2Gidi. This keeps us motivated.

Ujama Akpata, Co-Founder, Jand2Gidi

Leading Ladies Africa: What principles do you live by?

Ujama Akpata:  If you are going to do something, do it well and be consistent. Keep reinventing yourself and your business, adjust with the times.

 

Leading Ladies Africa: Has there ever been a time you wanted to quit? If yes , how did you manage the experience?

Ujama Akpata: Quitting has never been an option but there are days that we get discouraged and in those times,we remember why we started and the people who look up to us and have invested so much in us that we do not want to disappoint.

 

Leading Ladies Africa: Has there ever been a time you wanted to quit? If yes , how did you manage the experience?

 Kikelomo Fola-Ogunniya:  Challenges will come but a ‘smooth sea never makes a skilled sailor’. Instead of quitting we take learnings, make adjustments and grow through the process.  

Ujama Apkata and Kikelomo Fola-Ogunniya, Co-founders, Jand2Gidi

Leading Ladies Africa: Tell us about a time you failed. What have you learned from failure? 

Ujama Akpata: An experience of failure would have to be at a pitching event a few years ago where our pitch was pulled apart and we were given negative feedback. That day broke us and we felt discouraged but it taught us:

  • Not all opportunities are for you.
  • Not every investor will see your vision or even be suitable for your business
  • After every criticism,take all the feedback in and work on making changes where necessary
  • Always get feedback from trusted outsiders on your pitch deck as they will see things you don’t
  • When a door is shut on you, look for a window, there are always other options so don’t give up.

 

Leading Ladies Africa: Who are your role models and why?

 Kikelomo Fola-Ogunniya: My mum has always been my role model. She is my mum but most importantly my friend and she has taught me about fashion and style, my faith, doing business ethically and all-round etiquette. At a very young age as an undergrad I started a small business selling clothes and hair accessories. I believe my mum laid the right foundation for my entrepreneurial spirit and she ensured that I received training on how to lead a wholesome life.

 

Leading Ladies Africa: What do you do to improve yourself, skills and achieve your personal development goals? 

Ujama Akpata: To sharpen my skills, I sign up and complete online courses on udemy and coursera in the area of interest. I also enjoy networking with like-minded people and professionals in the industry to learn from their experiences.

Kikelomo Fola-Ogunniya, Co-founder, Jand2Gidi

Leading Ladies Africa: What’s your advice to other female entrepreneurs, especially those in transportation and logistics?

Kikelomo Fola-Ogunniya: You too can do this!

  • Ensure that your business has a workable structure internally and externally.
  • Understand why you’re in this sector and make your mark on it.
  • Create boundaries and have a pleasant working environment.
  • Be firm but approachable.
  • Sell your services and be professional.
  • Do what you can and outsource the rest.

 

 

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment

Read these next

SIGN UP FOR OURNEWSLETTER

Sign up for the Leading Ladies Africa Newsletter and get the latest info on what you need to thrive in your life, business or career.

What are you interested in?