"BOLE PLACE"_COINKWARA ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH_MARCH, 2018

     
Why would a young lady engineer switch from engineering to becoming an owner of a specialized restaurant? Does it bother you, too?Let’s hear Amirah Hassan, the Electrical Engineer turned Restaurantpreneur

Amirah Hassan (in the middle) with her staff

COINKWARA ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH_MARCH, 2018

Yes, people have different reasons for sudden change in career path. For some, it’s passion, for some it’s a necessity, and for some, it’s what God wants. The reasons are inexhaustible.  


WHO IS AMIRAH HASSAN?
Amirah Hassan is an Engineer, CEO, and Restaurantpreneur. She graduated from the University of Ilorin, with a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. She is an entrepreneur that prepares and sells special good foods through her startup, Bole Place.   
What’s the Big Deal about Bole Place?
Who Amirah EPP? Lol!
Bole Place has some signature meals you can’t find anywhere. You bet? Let me list them and you can correct me (at the comment space) if I’m wrong.
“Bole and Fish; Bole and Pan Grilled Chicken; Bole and various other sides which include assorted sauce, Asun, Kebab and Pepper soup.
The start up also serves, Ewa Agoyin (special beans), Village Pasta, and her signature sauced Rice.  And finally, Mock-tails and Milkshake."


You want to have a taste? Bole Place is located at No 100, Fate road, after Kwara mall (Shoprite) beside Fresh hotel, Ilorin, Kwara State. You can contact Bole Place on "contactboleplace@gmail.com" or 09065069239.

WHAT IS BOLE?

Bole originated from the south of Nigeria where Boli (roasted plantain) and sauce is called Bole.



HOW DID ENGR. AMIRAH BECOME CEO (CHEF) AMIRAH?

“It took me months of thinking and depression before I chose to be a businesswoman.  The path meant for you, you will feel it in your guts and when you do, don't let go. You might have to make compromises because life happens.  Never let go, always find your way back HOME!”
During my service year I fell in love with a popular Port-Harcourt delicacy called "Bole and fish", it is a delicious combination of roasted plantain with pepper sauce and Fish.
I am quite an observance, hence I noticed a large number of Bole Vendors Located in almost every area of the state (I mean multiple vendors camped closely to each other selling the same product). I took time out to observe the sales turnover of the vendors around my PPA (Place of Primary Assignment) at Moscow road, my residential area, Akpajo and D-line for a period of 3 months. I observed that the product was in high demand. I decided to learn, improve, and modify the taste and packaging of this meal to be replicated in all states in Nigeria starting from my hometown, Ilorin and possibly be exported to other countries.


STARTUP CAPITAL (HOW MUCH DID YOU START WITH?)

Well, I started the business with N300,000 (Three hundred thousand Naira) which I got through savings of my NYSC allowance and an Investor. N300,000 seems like a lot of money but for establishing a standard restaurant, it couldn’t do much. However, I also knew then that there is beauty in starting small.
I started with a uniquely designed grill and my neighbour’s plastic table used as serving table. After paying rent and buying the necessary cooking equipment, I reserved about 80,000 naira for salary and running cost until the business was making sales enough to cater for itself (this is something a lot of young entrepreneurs don't factor into their capital, it is very necessary).

HOW HAS YOUR ENTREPRENEURSHIP JOURNEY BEEN SO FAR?

Honestly, it hasn't exactly been a joy-ride; in fact it still isn't a joy-ride. We are not where we want to be (but Alhamdulillah); we aren't close to where we are going but I know we will get there, even beyond my imaginations; with God on my side of-course.
From a grill and a borrowed plastic table we now have a large size outdoor canopy, unique sit-in garden benches, 3 proper work tables, a kitchen, a larger space, cozy ambience and a larger customer base all within the span of a year.


WHAT’S THE DEFINITION OF A SUCCESSFUL RESTAURANTPRENEUR TO YOU?

Success is a state of mind, the satisfaction you feel when you have achieved your set goals which may include making a lot of money, passing an exam you prepared for, having a large customer base, finishing an online application, being as religious or close to God as you want. It is really just the pleasure and happiness you feel, the contentment you feel when you get to or exceed your set finish line (there's really never a finish line until death though).
I haven't achieved success in my business yet, it’s pretty still far ahead, I will probably feel contented when Bole place is in the same league as McDonald's, Starbucks, Subway, Burger King and other top internationally recognized fast food restaurants. Wouldn't it be nice to rep Nigeria all over the world? I pray I live long enough to achieve this type of success.

Amirah (in blue) with her staff

AMIRAH’S ADVICE TO OTHER ENTREPRENEURS/ ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS

Be motivated always; seek advice and listen to corrections; keep learning by reading always; be good to people; rely on God!
I think staying motivated is a full time job. The human mind/emotion needs continuous nurturing. You have a responsibility to yourself to achieve the right mindset, you have to motivate yourself every single day. [One time, I used to listen to "I was here by Beyonce” every morning. It helped me remember my life-goals].
Be there for yourself; fade out your insecurities; be honest to yourself and recognize your character flaws (work on yourself, to be a better person).
You are not an Island, listen to corrections from the people that care about your well-being and always have a second thought before acting.
Read motivational books and learn more about your business Industry. If you can make yourself believe you can do it, you'll be unstoppable.
Last and most importantly, be good to other people even when they don't deserve it, believe me it does wonders to your state of mind. This is how I stay focused and motivated. You have to fix your mind to be able to solve life and business challenges properly. And most importantly you need God.


OPINION ON COINKWARA PROGRAMME
I'm happy to know that there is a group of people that concern themselves with the task of making the rough entrepreneurship path a bit easier for us(entrepreneurs).
CoinKwara is dedicated to educating, encouraging and guiding entrepreneurs in building businesses which in  essence means that they are helping to pave way for  a better Nigeria economy. I appreciate CoinKwara for choosing to make our success the centre of their accomplishment.
Coinkwara Team with Bole Place CEO and Staff.
(From left) Rabiu(Programme Director), Habeeb and Ganiyat (at the right)



SURE YOU ARE BENEFITING FROM THE PRO-SME GOVERNMENT POLICIES?


Well, not until recently I hadn't encountered the challenges posed by the Government on Entrepreneurs especially from the corrupt taxation system to levies and fees imposed on us. 

We are not sensitized about the dues to pay in starting  business, believe me I googled it, did my research but nothing came up online. So how do they expect us to know these things? Then they'll come and fine us for offenses we didn't even know existed. Advertisement is extremely expensive from APCON fee to State advertisement fees too. It's bad enough that we have to pay all these unforeseen bills; then we get harassed by officials like we are committing a crime choosing to do a business. 

In fact, we are the backbone of the Nigerian economy, we provide the day to day needs of the people within our respective communities, a little appreciation from government would be necessary. We don't need a thank you, just more business friendly policies and taxation systems. Proper sensitisation and subsidised advertisement rates for growing businesses. We'll also like to have a body or organisation responsible for taking our complaints and upholding our rights when we are being charged unfairly or bullied by government officials.

SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM AMIRAH HASSAN
One other thing in business, profit is very important but your customer is your priority, be good to them and they will be loyal to you.

Please visit our outlet (Fate road, after Shoprite, right beside Fresh Hotel), for tasty meals.  You could also ask for me or leave your contact, I would really love to hear your feedback, thank you.



COINKWARA ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH TEAM

This Entrepreneur of the Month’s interview is compiled and edited by Hanafi Olanrewaju Rabiu and Mustapha Muhammed Jamiu

With the support of:
Abdulganiyu Ganiyat
Salaudeen Habeeb Abdullahi




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