• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Adeyemi: Providing online market place for entrepreneurs

Adeyemi: Providing online market place for entrepreneurs

Being laser-focused on making it easier for consumers globally to access African brands and provide the support and tools entrepreneurs on the continent need to scale their business was the inspiration to start a business for Aderonke Ajose-Adeyemi, founder and CEO of Losode.

Today, her online marketplace is a one-stop shop for consumers in need of African products.

“Starting with fashion, we are building the digital infrastructure to enable trade and commerce across the continent, and overcome long-standing barriers to economic development,” she says.

Adeyemi says her initial start-up capital was from her savings. “We have mainly self-funded the business to date, with minimal external investment.”

“However, we are now engaging investors to secure the funds we need to roll out our platform and bring more businesses and consumers onboard,” she notes.

Since starting in 2020, the business has grown steadily as it has constantly recorded a 20percent month-on-month growth in its number of users.

“We have seen over 20 percent month-on-month growth in our users on our platform over the last six months, and we expect this growth trend to continue as we begin to make more strategic moves to increase awareness and acquire more users,” she says.

The entrepreneur currently has 22 full-time employees.

She notes that her business plans to launch its physical presence in fifteen more African countries in the long run.

Also, the business plans to increase its product line as orders from clients continue to grow.

“We are building a global brand. We are also exploring other sectors beyond fashion where our technology can deliver real impact, smash existing trade borders and equip entrepreneurs to do big business.”

She says the COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for growth in the global e-commerce and her business has positioned itself to take advantage of the opportunity and ensure the African brands don’t miss out.

“We have invested a lot of time and energy into building a robust platform that doesn’t just look good but is also effective,” she says.

We have also taken a forensic approach to understand the user journey and create a product that serves users’ needs effectively so that we can make the customer experience as seamless and frictionless as possible.”

In evaluating the fashion industry, she says that the industry has become very competitive and that the absence of effective platforms to drive sales is hampering its growth opportunity for designers.

“We all know that the talent is there but we need more effective platforms to connect buyers and sellers in a way that works for everybody and that is what we are building,” she notes.

“From statement pieces to everyday items, fashion items are always in demand in Nigeria. It’s the supply element that is the challenge at the moment.

“Once we can find viable solutions to this, I strongly believe we will see significant growth across all levels of the industry,” she states.

Responding to questions on what makes Losode different from other market place, she says that Losode is beyond an e-commerce platform as it also serves as the growth engine for small businesses.

Read also: Adewale Badejoko: Entrepreneur tackling Nigeria’s malnutrition challenges

She explains that the platform provides powerful growth tools that make it easier for small businesses to scale and maximize both local and global opportunities.

“We aim to accelerate the growth of businesses on our platform and equip them to be agents of change in their communities.”

“Our all-female founding team has almost 40 years of combined experience across management consulting and a wide range of technology sectors, and it is this experience that we are bringing to the table to deliver a robust and effective platform that can facilitate the opportunity we believe is in front of us,” she adds.

Speaking on the challenges confronting the business, she says logistic, payments and talents remain an issue, noting that despite process made in recent years, much more still need to be done to make them effective and efficient.

She adds that there are still concerns on lack of standards, absence of address matching, cumbersome processes and adoption of technology to suit each third-party partner that has resulted in increased supplier onboarding timeliness.

Speaking on what Losode has done to internally address the issues, Adeyemi says the business is planning to develop its payment solutions to address the issue of payments.

On finding the right talents, she notes the business is now innovative and intentional about how it recruits and trains its employees.

“We have started to think smarter and look closer into models like agency supply, developing a logistics people network amongst other innovative solutions.”

In 2021, Adeyemi was awarded the Standard Chartered Women in Tech grant.

On her advice to other entrepreneurs, she says, “Be bold and courageous, work on your vision daily. Learn all you can – become a student of great entrepreneurial minds and your users, build with a resolve to never compromise on quality. When it starts to make sense to you, it will make sense to others and ‘quality’ will guarantee that space is made for you.”

“Hire the very best your money can get you today! You must never compromise here – it will save you wasting time or resources and ensure your spread like wildfire,” she advises.