I am a Law graduate from University of Abuja, Nigeria. My journey into entrepreneurship started from a very young age when I used to save up my primary school pocket money to buy little things to sell to my siblings and friends. It was all interesting to me to see how I could take a particular amount and double it within a short period of time.
When I was in secondary school, my mother registered me at a catering school in Gwarimpa, Abuja which was a subsidiary of Benson Idahosa University Benin City. It was there that I mastered the art of catering. I studied events catering, intercontinental cuisine and home making. The school also offered me the opportunity to learn beads making being a compulsory part of the training.
My Entrepreneurial experience
I started buying and selling different items while in university. I bought perfumes and jewellery when I went on vacation to Ghana or Dubai and sold to family, friends and clients outside the university who patronised me due to the proven quality of my products and affordability of the prices. While in the university, during one of the numerous ASSU strike actions, my mother enrolled me in a business school to learn more about business and entrepreneurship.
When I graduated from university, I decided to put aside my law degree and venture into entrepreneurship as a full time career instead of looking for a regular 9 to 5 job. It was a difficult decision going a different part from my friends and people who attended university with me but by the grace of God, I pulled through and succeeded in managing my businesses successfully and registering my catering outfit and my beauty store which deals with skincare, massage, spa and body works. I have also incorporated a boutique and a makeup studio. I registered the catering business with three of my friends: Chioma and Ime, hence HIC (Hajarah, Ime and Chioma). HIC functions as a catering service company as well as an interior decoration outfit.
Challenges of Entrepreneurship in Nigeria
The challenges of entrepreneurship in Nigeria is usually the capital for those that have to source for loans or sponsorship as people seldom invest in entrepreneurs due to fear of failure. Should an entrepreneur choose to obtain a facility from a bank, it usually attracts a high interest rate which often makes it impossible for the business to get off the ground. An entrepreneur has to deal with the constant stress of travelling even with the highly fluctuating foreign exchange rates and coming back with all the losses accrued, to still be pressured to serve and maintain a reasonable rate to sell the goods. The high rates of advertisement is also a major challenge as well as the inability of prospective clients to reach businesses due to the fact that Nigeria has no go-to system for clients to find people they need for a certain service. It can be really tough to maintain a balanced and structured business in Nigeria but the passion for the particular business or entrepreneurship is a major driving force to succeed and rise above the challenges.
Having come this far, my motivation lies in the passion I have for business, self-sufficiency and the desire to work in accordance with my own rules, work with my self-defined time and passion.
Advice for aspiring Entrepreneurs
I will love to advise upcoming entrepreneurs to strive hard against all odds and let the passion lead the way. You can never go wrong with passion and commitment. In business, there will be ups and downs, there will be challenges and there will be times you feel like giving up but don’t. The secret to succeeding is in going that extra mile.
Looking back I am very happy with the level of success and recognition I have acquired for myself and most especially the self-fulfilling feeling I have, knowing that I do what I love and I chose my part against all odds.
My plan for the future is to keep breaking new grounds. I’ve achieved satisfactory success with my spa, boutique and catering business but I am an entrepreneur to the core and I intend to invest in other people’s dreams. I also want to get into franchise with a couple of big names in beauty business like Clinique, L’Oreal, etc. I will also love to venture into other areas of business or partner with successful businesses in Nigeria.
Hajarah Jubril is the CEO OF Bella-Nucci Enterprise Nig. Ltd and HIC Grandeur Catering and Events Planning Institute Nig. Ltd