"You see, my advice for my colleagues in this industry is to expect to face challenges in anything they do. And I know that with time, one will overcome those challenges. All you need is just for you to have faith and focus on where you are going, and with that, God will support you to accomplish your dream."
#COINKWARA ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH_APRIL
One of the cardinal developmental parts of the CoinKwara Programme is to pick our ‘Entrepreneur of the Month’ and hold an exclusive interview with him or her. This interview gives opportunity to the particular entrepreneur being chosen to evaluate him or herself and assess the growth of his company. We also believe that this kind of interview will educate and motivate fellow entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.
In April, our Entrepreneur of the Month was Mr. Oluwasegun Ayanda. Mr. Oluwasegun is the owner of Shigo Leather Shoe which produces palm sandal, sandal, shoe, bag (made with ankara/ aso-oke/leather) and belt. His company is located at: Opposite Gaa-Akanbi Central Mosque, Gaa-Akanbi, Ilorin. You can also reach his company on 09039431728 or 09095801710.
TELL US YOUR NAME, WHAT YOU PRODUCE AND YOUR COMPANY ADDRESS
My name is Oluwasegun Ayanda. The name of my company is Shigo Leather Shoe situated at opposite Gaa-Akanbi Central Mosque, Gaa- Akanbi, Ilorin. My phone numbers are 09039431728 and 09095801710.
ARE YOU MARRIED AND DO YOU HAVE ANY CHILD?
By the grace of God, I’m married with two children. A boy and a girl, and I have the faith that these children will inherit this work and this company by the grace of God.
BRIEFLY TELL US ABOUT YOU PRODUCT. WHAT TYPE OF THINGS DO YOU PRODUCE?
I make foot wears. Firstly, palm. We have palm sandal and normal palm. Palm sandal is the one with rope at the back.
We make shoes also. We just did one that was used for wedding. If you recall the bag you saw outside, it is an ‘Ankara big bag’ that we are making for someone who wants to use it in a wedding ceremony.
We make bag and shoes that match each other to complement peoples fashion sense using materials such as aso-oke or Ankara as you wish.
We make belt also. For instance, I make this one that I’m wearing. Our belts are durable, some people use it for more than 4 years depending on how well you maintain it. We have two types of belt, namely ‘Wide belt and tiny belt’. This one that I am holding is the ‘tiny belt’ and it is usually worn on trousers by office people. The wide belt is usually worn on jeans trouser. Well, people have their choices. We also produce different colours, white, brown, blue, etc. There is no one we can’t do for you. It’s based on your choice.
WHEN DID YOU START THIS WORK?
This question you asked me is one that can require a long period of time to inform you in detail if you are not in a hurry. To cut it short, the person that taught me this work is no longer in Nigeria. My parent made me learn this work. I combined it together with schooling though I didn’t take it serious but today I thank God that I’ve built a house. Well, I started this work in Ilorin 10 years ago and I believe that I will still achieve more with this work.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO START THIS WORK?
The factors that led me to this work are many. Some years ago, people used to say that this shoemaking industry is for handicapped persons. Parents would just send their child to shoemakers with the feeling that ‘let him just be sitting with him and be watching’.
But personally, I know that there is no way someone will be wearing beautiful cloth and will not need to wear beautiful footwear to complete his or her dressing. So I felt that the future of this work was bright.
WHAT IS THE SECRET BEHIND THE NAME, ‘SHIGO LEATHER’?
The Shigo you hear was coined from my name ‘Oluwasegun’ just like forming a nickname from my real name. I then completed it with ‘Shigo Leather Shoe’.
DO YOU HAVE A COMPANY LOGO
Yes I have. Check it out on this sandal. (He showed us his logo on the sandal).
SOME PEOLPLE BELIEVE THEY CAN’T START A COMPANY WITH LITTLE CAPITAL. HOW MUCH DID YOU START WITH?
Thank you. When I started this footwear company, the economy was actually not like as it is now as naira had better value compare to now. I started with ten thousand naira only (N10, 000), which was what I used to buy materials at Ita-Amodu in Ilorin here. I started that way and when God’s help came I became someone who travels to buy materials from Lagos.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR OTHER ENTREPRENEURS OR EVEN OTHER COBBLERS LIKE YOU?
Thank you so much. By the grace of God, you and your organization will continue to grow higher. You see, my advice for my colleagues in this industry is to expect to face challenges in anything they do. And I know that with time, one will overcome those challenges. All you need is just for you to have faith and focus on where you are going, and with that, God will support you to accomplish your dream.
When I started this work I had no apprentice but now I have ten (10) apprentices including a female graduate. Some of my apprentice had graduated and they now have their own company too. My advice for my colleagues is to know that, no matter how hard things are, it will get better. And my advice for unemployed graduates, who think that entrepreneurship is not good, is that, entrepreneurship is good and not getting involved in anything this time is like ‘making jest of yourself’. Even if you are selling pure-water (sachet water), all you need is to package yourself well, and there is God can bless you through it. That is my Advice.
THANK YOU MR AYANDA. YOU WERE A PARTICIPANT IN OUR LAST BUSINESS STRATEGY SESSION (BSS). WHAT DO YOU SEE ABOUT THE BSS?
You see, the advices you gave us during that programme were excellent advices for all entrepreneurs. Many of our people do not know that there are differences between an entrepreneur and a business person. There are big differences. The difference I know is that entrepreneurs have a brighter future compare to a business man.
The programme really boosted my morale, and I know that if I package my company and products well, I will achieve more in this entrepreneurship. My apprentice that came with me to the programme explained to me that she gained a lot, especially as a female graduate who is learning how to make footwear, bag and belt. I remember what she told me the first time she approached me that she wanted to learn shoemaking. She told me that it is the people already in the shoemaking industry that did not know the value of the industry. She happened to have said the truth and the (BSS) programme reminded me of those words.
HOW CAN THE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT ENTREPRENEURS IN SHOEMAKING INDUSTRY AND OTHER ENTREPRENEURS TO BE ABLE TO COMPETE WITH FOREIGN FOOTWEAR INDUSTRIES?
First of all, our products need to be patronized by the people and government can help us advocate for that. If the Kwara State government can do that, this state will become a role model for other states.
Secondly, Government can give us financial support as this is very important to us in purchasing materials to use in this industry. These two supports will be greatly appreciated.
BASED ON WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM GOVERNMENT, ARE YOU AWARE THAT THE KWARA STATE MSME BUREAU IS THERE TO ASSIST YOU?
The truth is that we used to hear about it from afar but it has not reached our industry, but surely we will inform CoinKwara when it gets to us. They say, “Seeing is believing”, and we have not seen it. When we see it, we won’t hide the news from you.
This Interview was conducted in Yoruba Language and transcribed by Hanafi Olanrewaju Rabiu (Co-founder, Coin Consults and Coinkwara Programme Director)
COIN CONSULTS’ TEAM
Hanafi Olanrewaju Rabiu
Akata Olanrewaju Arafat