Ngozy’s story: beauty and business
Ngozy Ezeka-Atta is boosting beauty and wellness in Lagos, Nigeria. Our Road to Finance programme has supported her to do it.
Ngozy Ezeka-Atta is the Founder of Jagabeauty in Lagos, Nigeria. Her business is helping women look and feel beautiful. Our Road to Finance programme supported her to access finance and grow her company.
“My name is Ngozy Ezeka-Atta and I am the Founder of Jagabeauty, a beauty and wellness company based in Lagos, Nigeria. We offer clinically tested skincare products and aesthetic services, such as spa treatments. ‘Jaga jaga’ is Nigerian lingo for ‘scattered’, or something that is in disarray. That’s what Jagabeauty does: we transform people from being ‘jaga jaga’ to beautiful.
I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur when I was young. I was keen not to be confined to a nine to five job, or to be stuck in an office all day, and I definitively wanted to do something that would allow me to travel. I also love beauty and art, and my family is very artistic. So, working in the beauty industry made sense. I first became a makeup artist before venturing into the world of skincare.
For me, Road to Finance was eye opening and life changing.
Before I became involved with the Road to Finance programme, I really struggled to access funding. In Nigeria, it’s particularly hard if you’re a woman in business. The banks offer loans, but interest rates are incredibly high. For me, Road to Finance was eye opening and life changing.
My favourite part of the training was the physical classes because I was able to meet other female entrepreneurs and network with them. During the training we were put into groups and given case studies. These were different businesses that had been transformed by access to funding. One example was a lady who managed to expand her coffee business and this really inspired me to expand my own business.
Now that I’m running a successful business, I really believe in myself. I know that I can do anything as long as I set my mind to it.
The training gave me the knowledge and confidence to secure funding. Shortly after the course, I took out a loan from a financial institution, which allowed me to purchase the equipment I needed to start the aesthetics side of the business. I’ve now paid back the loan which is great. I’m also in the process of applying for a grant and hope to receive that cash soon. It will allow for further developments, and hopefully more clients. Before the programme my products were all manufactured and sold from home. Now I can afford a premise and we’ve got a clinic for the aesthetic treatments. So the business has been transformed.
Now that I’m running a successful business, I really believe in myself. I know that I can do anything as long as I set my mind to it. At first, I found balancing family life and business incredibly challenging. But I’m now an inspiration to my children and my husband is proud of me. Importantly, I can also give back to my community and I recently helped two young women start their own business.
My advice to women? If you’ve got an idea run with it. Don’t wait until it’s perfect. Work hard and believe in yourself.
Unfortunately, I do think female entrepreneurs have a hard time starting a business and accessing funding. There’s a huge disparity between the way men and women are compensated. Indeed, in some homes, it’s still the norm for women to submit their earnings to their husband. Women need all the support they can get in accessing finance, especially here in Africa and in Nigeria.
My advice to women? If you’ve got an idea run with it. Don’t wait until it’s perfect. Work hard and believe in yourself. There are opportunities out there.”