Ene is the Founder of Ene Naturals in Nigeria. She is one of the 22,500 Nigerian women entrepreneurs to have participated in our Road to Growth programme, which from 2019-2020 supported her to develop her capacity building skills so that she could look to the future and making her business successful for years to come. A year on, she reflects on her experiences…
“My name is Ene Adasen, I am a wife, a mum, and a certified creator of organic beauty products. I studied mass communication at the University of Lagos but always wanted to own my own business as I was born into a family of entrepreneurs.
At Ene Naturals, we make organic skin and hair care products. I was motivated to create my products because my kids and family developed skin allergies which needed specific treatments, and I realised there was a market for products like the ones they needed.
One of the major challenges of being an entrepreneur for me was capacity building. I had no idea how to invest the money I had to make my business a success long term. Another challenge for me was accessing the market.
Watch Ene discuss her Road to Growth story:
As mothers, wives, and daughters, women are often burdened with the responsibility of taking care of our children and family. This is one of the greatest challenges we have. We have to be able to manage our homes before managing our business. A lot of women decide to run their own business so they can have time for their family, but then don’t spend enough time on their business. Also, in Nigeria, it’s easier for a man to get a loan than a woman because less people take women entrepreneurs seriously.
My niece introduced me to the HerVenture app. The HerVenture app is like an MBA programme squashed into an app. I enjoyed the fact that it had tasks at the end of each module which you applied to your own business, and this changed my perspective on how to run a business. It’s an app I would recommend to everyone who has a business. After that, my main reason for applying for the full Road to Growth programme was capacity building because I knew I was going to get the right foundation to build my brand.
I enjoyed Road to Growth because I had the opportunity to meet some amazing women. The most valuable element of the programme was the mentorship because I had a fantastic mentor who took the time to build me up into who I am today. I also enjoyed learning together with peers in my study group.
Before I joined Road to Growth, my office was just space, I didn’t know how to take it to the next level. After the programme, I had clarity and was able to strategise better. The biggest impact the programme had on my business is the fact that we now have a structure. Before I was blind, but now I can clearly see where my business should be.
During the Road to Growth programme, the participants were taught to forecast how we want our business to grow in the future. This enabled my company to be proactive, resourceful, and meant we could re-strategise so we could stay afloat despite the global pandemic. We also introduced a new product and launched it. The programme ensured I was prepared and I was proud of myself.
For me, success is having a self-sustaining business that can create wealth and opportunity for other people in my community.
The wider impact of success is the psychological impact. Before the Road to Growth programme, my husband never took me seriously, but after the programme due to the changes it had on my business, he started having confidence in me and my business. When you feel successful about what you do, you have a positive outlook on life.
Women entrepreneurs make up the majority of small businesses in Nigeria. If a woman entrepreneur has low self-esteem and doesn’t know how to move her business from A to B, there is very little that woman can do to create impact on her family and society. But when you equip that woman with the necessary skills and knowledge, she multiplies this and in turn, has a positive impact on society. My future vision for myself as a business owner is for my business to be self-sufficient, and for it to be viable and strong enough to be bought out. I also want to go into more collaborations with organisations that support capacity building for women and youth.
The world should support women entrepreneurs because when you support a woman you support a nation. Women as nurturers are very resourceful. If you give us a little, we can multiply it and this is the reason no nation should take women entrepreneurs for granted.“
Road to Growth is highly scalable and adaptable. The Foundation is actively seeking funding partnerships to enable the programme to launch in, but not limited, to Rwanda, South Africa, 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!