Hannatu Jimoh Onize from Okene Local Government Area of Kogi State is a final year student of Electrical, Electronics Engineering at the Federal University of Technology, Minna. In this interview, the CEO of HannisHive explains why she believes in problem solving.
Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur?
You have to find a loophole and use that to create a business no matter your profession. As an aspiring engineer, I am being trained to look for problems and solve them. In my community, there are scarcely mobile catering services and the few you could see are not so affordable. I found this as a problem and am fixing it.
What is your brand name?
Basically, it is about HannisHive and we have two sections so far. HannisHive is about jeweler and cosmetics while HannisHive Kitchen is the catering section. So HannisHive is the mother name but we aspire to go into tailoring, and an academy precisely secondary school. There will be a different HannisHive.
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When did you start this business?
I started the business in June 2018 but it was formally registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in March 2019, and we have been expanding since then.
How did you raise funds to start your business?
As a regular Nigerian student, I was broke and I was looking for how to raise funds without having to bother my family while in school. I started with about N2,000 and I found out that my little needs were being met. So I felt that my goal was too short and I began expanding the scope to a real business with long term goals. The encouragement helped me more and I began to plough back my profit into the business. Presently, the business is worth hundreds of thousands.
How many employees do you have at the moment?
For now, I do not have any employees because the COVID-19 pandemic affected us, we are not exempted. Before then, I had three staff members that were handling the social media marketing and other tasks. At present, since I am also on a long break from school, I manage the business myself. We hope as the business improves, we will get more hands.
What are your challenges doing this business?
Firstly, I need to expand my network of customers and that, we are doing now through referrals. I also need to secure more physical office space because no matter what there is a need for a physical space even if we choose to operate online.
Are you aware of the various interventions from the government for small businesses?
I am aware and have tried some earlier. However, in my search for funds, I am trying to be careful to verify that only genuine funding sources like those reported are sought after.
What is your advice to youths on starting a business?
My advice to the youths is that mummy and daddy may not always be there for you. Even if they are there, the rate of unemployment is increasing and we should stop waiting for white collar jobs.
You should be able to start a business as an option that if does not work another would work. Then by starting a business, you are creating more jobs and that is a great move for the country. Also as a student, when you do business, it helps while you are in school and it helps you in the future.