Oluchi took part in our Road to Growth programme from 2019-2020.
After the training, I was very clear on how to go about getting the funding I needed for my business.
Oluchi is the Founder of Muna and Luchi in Nigeria. She is one of the nearly 1,700 Nigerian women entrepreneurs to have participated in our Road to Growth programme, which from 2019-2020 supported her to access funding for her business, meaning it could keep growing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. A year on, she reflects on her experiences…
My name is Oluchi Madubuike. In 2015 after having my daughter, I lost my mum, and that particular event triggered a whole new season of self-discovery for me. I wanted to do more and be a problem solver. That was how the dream of becoming an entrepreneur started.
I offer products and services that make natural haircare easy for caregivers and parents of children with African textured hair. My biggest inspiration is my daughter, whose hair I started caring for as soon as she was born. I started sharing my experience through blogging, and saw that people were interested in the way I took care of my daughter’s hair, and that there was a market for products which support natural haircare. In 2017 I took the plunge and registered Muna and Luchi as a business.
One of the major challenges I faced when I began my business was a lack of knowledge about how to operate it. I have never had formal business education training. I struggled with a lot of things.
What I think makes it generally harder for women to grow their businesses than for men is women’s lack of belief in ourselves and our potential, and also not being able to communicate our dreams and aspirations, so the people around us are able to support us.
The benefits of using the HerVenture app are many. I had quick and easy access to accounting tips at the palm of my hand, easy tips on the type of records to keep for the day-to-day running of my small business, and succinct lessons that made it easy to understand complex accounting processes.
I heard about the Road to Growth programme through a friend who had participated in the programme previously. She talked about how beneficial it was to her and her business and felt it was something I should take advantage of. Coincidentally, that particular year, one of the goals I had set myself was to receive formal business training. I felt it was a wonderful opportunity to key in and apply for the programme.
I have also tried to access funding in the past and failed many times. The programme offered financial literacy and investment readiness training, which was attractive because it was one of the key things I wanted to learn how to do. It was a major challenge that I wanted to address while attending the programme.
The programme was enlightening, intense, fulfilling and in-depth. The part I enjoyed the most was the peer-to-peer support and the coaching. The peer-to-peer support provided an avenue for me to network with people who were in business like me. We shared challenges and triumphs and it was very encouraging to see other people going through the same process and learn from them. The coaching we had was what pushed me to actualise the essence of the programme and apply it to my business.
It was good to meet and study with other female entrepreneurs and build my network. When you study with other people, you find that what you are going through is not particular to you.
One of the things I have learned and applied to my business was how to access funding. After the training, I was very clear on how to go about getting the funding I needed for my business.
COVID-19 affected my business, but it was so great that I had done the Road to Growth programme because it ensured I was prepared for what was coming. The programme taught me how to raise the funds I needed to create a product that people needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having a successful business means being empowered to be a solution provider in my community on every scale, and gaining fulfilment from solving that problem.
The best thing that has happened to me from the Road to Growth programme is that it supported me to destroy the fear that I couldn’t access funding.
The impacts of success in my business are unquantifiable in the long term. As we’ve grown, we’ve hired more staff and as my business grows, it opens more employment opportunities for people around me.
I also benefitted from the ripple effect of women supporting women even after the programme. Another woman entrepreneur, who had been empowered through the Road to Growth programme previously, taught me how to make hair care products for free. She did not require payment but instead asked me to pay it forward by teaching other women how to make hair care products.
The future I see for myself and my business Muna & Luchi hair care services is to be able to provide the child hair care solutions we sell to a wider audience beyond the borders of Nigeria and Africa.
Find out more about Road to Growth in Nigeria
Road to Growth is one of the Foundation’s three flagship programmes. It is highly scalable and adaptable. The Foundation is actively seeking funding partnerships to enable the programme to launch in, but not limited, to Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique, with each iteration carefully adapted for a local context. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss potential partnerships!
Discover more women entrepreneurs' stories:
Shereen’s story: making education accessible for all
Shereen Hassim is on a mission to make education affordable and accessible. Our Road to Growth programme supported her to do it.
Dudu’s story: supporting tomorrow’s leaders
Dudu Makhari gained finance and marketing skills through our Road to Growth programme. Now, she's sharing her experience.
Carlotta’s Story: supporting children’s development
Carlotta John's daycare centre was born from a passion for children's development. The Road to Growth programme enabled her to secure funds & grow her business.