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From Lagos to the White House, AYODEJI MEGBOPE’s gift truly made a way for her

From Lagos to the White House, AYODEJI MEGBOPE’s gift truly made a way for her

AYODEJI MEGBOPE is the Founder, MD/CEO of NO LEFT-OVERS NIG LTD. A full-scale catering outfit which started with a takeoff capital of N1,000 in 2007, with the sale of local bean cakes known as “moin-moin”, but has grown the business into what today has an annual turn-over that runs into millions of naira.

Ayo was one of the first women worldwide to benefit from the 10,000 Women Initiative sponsored by Goldman Sachs, a programme set up to empower 10,000 underserved women worldwide with formal business skills and education.

Today, she is an ambassador of the 10,000 Women Initiative; she has graced numerous local and international platforms and has become an inspiration to many.

She was a speaker at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York with world leaders in attendance and has also addressed the Annual General Meeting of Goldman Sachs in New York both in 2009.

In December 2011, Ayo was invited by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey for the Second Global Summit on entrepreneurship to speak on the panel session titled: Global Entrepreneurship Revolution.

In April 2013, she was one of the three women nominated to represent Nigeria in the Fortune7U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Programme.

In March 2014, Ayo was invited to speak at the White House in celebration of International Women’s Day. In June 2016, Ayo was invited as a panelist at the United States of Women Conference Summit where she spoke alongside Warren Buffet on her journey as an entrepreneur.

She is a graduate of Enterprise for Development Centre (EDC) and the Manchester Business School.

Share your childhood memories with us and influence till date

Family was everything for me growing up. My parents were very involved and they gave us the best they could afford. My 4 siblings and I were very sheltered. We had strong family values, love, kindness, timeliness, faith and that has shaped me to a large extent.

When and why did you start No Left Overs?

The plan wasn’t to start a business. In 2007, I was tearfully burdened about what to cook with the N1,000 my husband gave me for food. I decided to cook Moin-moin (local bean cake). That same day, my sister-in-law visited, tasted the Moin-moin I made, liked it and eventually gave me N1000 to make for her and because others tasted it and liked it, I began the business of Moin-moin production which later evolved into the business No Left Overs.

Read also: Tackling Exclusion, Gender Bias Against Women In Tech -Techuncode, She Code Africa

From when you started till date, what has changed? What are you grateful for?

I’m most grateful that I now know who I am. I’m no longer confused about my identity. I used to think there was nothing good about me. I’m grateful that I now have a clear sense of purpose and my life is an inspiration to others.

Are you amazed that such a move will bring all the blessings it has done for you till date?

I cannot get over it. I’m more amazed that God continues to open fresh doors of opportunities even in the midst of several challenges. I’m grateful for the strength not to just keep going but to keep thriving.

Tell us about being chosen to benefit from the 10,000 women initiative by Goldman Sachs

After starting my business, I realised I could not go far without acquiring business skills. I started praying about this, and God brought the information of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative to me. They had their pilot edition in Nigeria in conjunction with the Enterprise for Development Centre. The programme which earned me a certificate in Entrepreneurial Management was for 6 months. The programme opened me to a new world of opportunities and I’m so grateful to God for the grace to take advantage of the different opportunities that have come my way.

Meeting Michelle Obama sealed it for me. It affirmed to me that anything is possible

Let us into your experience speaking at the White House in 2014 and your invitation in 2016

The 2014 opportunity came in celebration if International Women’s Day and the White House was focusing on women and access to finance. I had just been refused a loan to expand my business. I was invited to share my journey as an entrepreneur and the difficulties I had experienced in accessing funds for growth.

2016 was to talk about my journey as an entrepreneur at the United State of Women’s Conference.

Tell us about meeting Michelle Obama

That was a super surreal experience! Meeting Michelle Obama sealed it for me. It affirmed for me that anything is possible. I felt the warmth of her embrace when she hugged me firmly. I was truly encouraged and highly inspired, fired up and became even more optimistic about life and business.

How was your Davos 2019 experience?

It was the World Economic Forum and again, on the ticket to Goldman Sachs, I was invited to share on how my business had been impacted by the 10,000 Women Initiative.

Share with us on being the President of ABWCI and impact so far

ABWCI is a virtual global chamber of commerce for women. Its membership comprises the most prominent women entrepreneurs, women organisations, educational institutions, and companies investing in women. We focus on understanding the need of upcoming women leaders, addressing them and creating an ecosystem where women have access to opportunities for economic growth amongst others. Here in Nigeria, we have had a few engagements geared towards achieving the goals above.

What advice do you have for owners of businesses who are at the verge of giving up?

Do a thorough review of your business. Have you put best practices in place, understood your business, know which area or areas you’re struggling with? Seek help, seek counsel, don’t be quick to give up but if it’s still not working, and if you see a need to do something new, by all means, go ahead but be sure you are equipped for your next move.

Share your latest development with us

No Left Overs Atlanta is a partnership that is starting off as a catering business in America. We intend this to evolve into a food chain that will be spread all over the US and beyond.

Concluding words

Don’t give up, believe in God, believe it yourself