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Meet Saheed, Who Left A Lucrative Job To Build Two Startup Companies

Afrishopen logoEdufeds

 Afrishopen and Edufeds are the next big things in Africa!

How bold can a young African be to quit his high paying job to jump into the sea of uncertainty of building from scratch, not one but two innovative startups. He believes the African youth has so much to contribute to the continent and has to create the opportunities for others. His company, Afrishopen, has been built to offer consumers the Alibaba, eBay and Amazon experiences. Edufeds which is his other venture is digitizing African education with clients already in several African countries. As visionary as he is, he hopes to create thousands of jobs and and has solutions for over 170 million Africans.

Saheed Agbona is a software engineer and a mega entrepreneur in the making. #TSH caught up with him and he shared some insights on his business.

Can you give a brief profile of yourself and your business?

I’m Saheed Agbona, a certified software engineer and an entrepreneur. I was born in Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State, Nigeria. I have a Diploma and BSc in Computer Science and Software Engineering.

I am a creative and innovative young African, who believes in using technology to solve problems and create more jobs. I founded Shaamasoft Solutions Ltd to build world class innovative solutions for Africa. We build customized software, web and mobile applications to power businesses and organizations. We currently have clients in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and USA. ShaamaSoft Solutions gave birth to ‘Edufeds’ and ‘Afrishopen.’

What do your two startups bring to the market?

Edufeds.com is a cloud based school management and e-learning system, which provides a digital educational system for schools and institutions in Africa.

Afrishopen.com brings business-to-business (B2B) trading marketplace to power businesses across borders in Africa.

What features makes Edufeds a superior platform to others and who are your target users?

Edufeds is an all-in-one cloud based solution for educational institutions from basic schools to tertiary institutions for their teaching, learning and management activities. Some of the features include:

  • School Management System
  • E-learning System
  • Admin, Teacher, Student & Parent Portals
  • Online Examination
  • Internal Messaging
  • Online Admission
  • Transport Management
  • Hostel Management and a host of other services.

What problems in the educational systems all over the world makes your concept a necessity and how is the market accepting it?

The ways we teach and learn are changing. Internet and technology are taking over the world. The 21st century student learns faster with technology. We integrate every aspect of education into ICT.

Education is the key to the door of modernization when technology is meaningfully incorporated into our educational systems and that’s why Edufeds is here to rescue African education in this modern age.

  • Our solutions empower the student to learn on-the-go anywhere, anytime.
  • Teachers can turn mobile phones into class rooms and teach anytime, anywhere.
  • Parents can track children or wards’ activities at school from their mobile devices.
  • School administrators can manage and run school activities from their mobile devices, anytime, anywhere, anyplace.

Edufeds.com is the future of African education using technology.

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There are quite a number of e-commerce platforms on which people transact businesses, how is Afrishopen changing the game and making the experience better?

Yes, we have lots of e-commerce platforms in the system. But none of them still solves the problem with e-commerce trading. Afrishopen is first of its kind Business to Business (B2B) e-commerce trading marketplace in Africa that helps buyers engage with sellers in Africa and across border to transact businesses in a secured manner.

Afrishopen gives you the Alibaba, Amazon and eBay experiences. Afrishopen is the best African B2B sourcing platform for genuine Suppliers, Buyers, Sellers, Businesses and Organizations. The next big thing in African E-commerce System is Afrishopen.com.

What is the competence of the team behind your companies?

Our team is comprised of experienced and competent professionals with technical and business backgrounds.

I came from a technical background, a certified Software Engineer with 8 years’ experience in software development, and my co-founder Mr. Bob, has 15 years’ experience in Business Management and Consultancy. And the rest of our team members are experienced developers, sales and marketing, management and finance persons who have same vision to build the best innovative solutions for Africa.

We plan to hire more competent and professional young Africans as we expand.

How was Edufeds started and did it give reason to start your next company months down the line?

It started with one of our solutions for school management (Shaamasoft E-School) to help schools and institutions manage their systems effectively.

After 6 months of ShaamaSoft E-school, we received a lot of feedback from our clients requesting more features which included e-teaching and e-learning systems. After 8 months of building and upgrading, we came up with the best school management, e-learning and teaching systems, all under one roof of ‘EDUFEDS’ for all schools and institutions. We now have happy clients using ‘EDUFEDS’ in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

If you have a school or an institution, and thinking of the future and digitization of your institution, think ‘EDUFEDS.’ It is the only educational system that generates more revenue and makes management, learning and teaching much easier.

Help us understand how your first company was funded and are you working towards external investments?

I started the first company with my personal salary savings from my previous high paying government job, where I resigned to build my company. And the startups are being funded from internal revenues generated from the first company where we provide services such as web design, software development, mobile application development, database programming, corporate branding, networking and IT consultancy.

Now, we have paying clients on edufeds.com which we re-invest back into it, to upgrade and expand our services and supports to give our clients awesome and reliable experiences. We are currently working to raise external funds as we need to expand our solutions to other countries and regions.

How has it been running relatively two young businesses, don’t you suffer divided attention, resource constraints and eventually lead to collapse of these brilliant companies?

It has not been easy but I built each product and startup on a solid foundation that they can sustain with or without my presence and can stand as a company. I build competent team around each startup. Each startup has expertise handling them.

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No divided attention, because I didn’t build the products at the same time. The most important thing, is building the product and have competent and reliable team managing it.

Currently, we have a support, sales, marketing and technical team for Edufeds. I started Afrishopen after some months of Edufeds’ deployment and there have being great responses from clients.

Is mentorship playing any significant role in the running of your businesses?

Yes, 80% of my friends are elderly and successful businessmen who are old enough to be my father or at least 10 years older than me. They have impacted so much in my business and technical world with their advice and word of wisdom. I always surround myself with people who believe in my vision and support my dreams, currently all my board members are my mentors.

What are some of the lessons you have learnt so far running your own business?

To run a successful business or product, persistence plays a vital role. Understand the market, the problem and the solution. It’s difficult running a business from a tech background, but trust me, you can make a good CEO having a tech background.

Are there life or previous job experiences you are applying to your businesses to make them successful brands?

Having previously worked with software companies, government institutions and in the educational sector, these have helped me in running my business and startups.

What advice will you share as someone who runs two young businesses to those who want to do same?

You can setup 10 businesses; but make sure you understand roadmap, market, problem and solutions of each business or startup you setup. Planning and discipline play vital roles.

Enumerate some difficulties you face running Edufeds.com and Afrishopen.com? How are you overcoming them?

A business without a challenge is not a business. We faced challenges in finances, human resources, etc. but we always overcome them. That’s what makes it a business.

What keeps you going in spite of the challenges of being a techpreneur?

Passion, purpose, dream. I live my purpose in life. I was born to be a change maker. To create solutions that solves problems using technology. I live techpreneur, I eat entrepreneurship, I drink coding.

Are there mistakes you have made and what lessons can you share with us?

If you have never made a mistake, you have never tried something new….

To build something new in the African ecosystem, be ready to make mistakes and fail. But persistence is important. My first company failed 2 times. It was the third time I made it. I learnt a lot of lessons when it fell the first and second times. Edufeds and Afrishopen are not my first products or start-ups. I have built a lot of software, web and mobile apps in recent years that failed. That’s what makes these stronger because of the lessons I have learnt from my previous failures.

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What is your philosophy in business?

Prayer, hard work, persistence, experience, collaborate, risk, consistence, team work and staying humble.

Five (5) years from now, what do you envision for your businesses?

A leading Digital Education System Provider & leading platform in Africa B2B Online trading e-commerce system and to create over 2,000 jobs for African youths.

Briefly, why should any investor put money into any of your companies?

Investing in Edufeds.com or Afrishopen.com is the best investment any investor can put their money in. Both products are viable which have solutions to solve problems of over 170 million Africans.

We have a promising and viable product which has been tested and trusted with some happy clients across Africa.

Investing in Edufeds or Afrishopen is risk-free for any investor, because it’s a ready market product and a market need.

The next big things in Africa are ‘EDUFEDS’ and ‘AFRISHOPEN.’

Will you say you are getting fulfillment being a techpreneur and how?

Yes, I understand and live my purpose in life. I was born to create solutions to problems using technology. I enjoy coding and love business.

What is your final dose of inspiration to the many Africans out there who want to excel in entrepreneurship? And a message to your clients.

To our lovely clients we promise to always give you awesome experience and support, stay with us and we’ll take you places.

For aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • Start locally, think globally
  • Start small, think big
  • You are the dreamer and visionary; no one can understand your vision except you.
  • Don’t wait to get big money or investor to start your business, start now with what you have and those who believe in your dreams will join you.
  • No one can carry your dream and vision for you. It’s your cross so you have to carry it.
  • Understand the problem, the market and the solution.
  • Spend less and invest more.
  • No amount of money is too small to start a business.
  • Focus on creating viable solutions and money will follow.
  • Think of future and not today.
  • Don’t chase after money, when you have solutions for the market, money will be chasing you.
  • Africa is the future, buy your ticket early to get you to the future.

Africa is full of opportunities, because so much problems need to be solve: economically, politically, environmentally, etc. using technology.

STAY BLESSED, HOPE TO SEE MORE TECHPRENEURS IN AFRICA.

Thank you, Saheed!

We so much appreciate the time shared with Mr. Saheed Agbona. He is an inspiration to many of us. Visit his platforms to experience the best his businesses have to offer.

Shaamasoft Solutions Ltd
Shaamasoft Blog
Afrishopen
Edufeds

If you want to share your experience as a startup founder on TSH to Africa, send a brief detail of your business to mystartup@thespiritedhub.com


Did you find this interview inspiring? Kindly leave us your comment.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Omaaks

    at

    I would like to appreciate your work. You have done wonderful job… I having also planning a startup but still working on this.

  2. sena

    at

    Am inspired

    • Kingsley Gbeho

      Kingsley Gbeho

      at

      Thank you Sena, do your best inspire your world.

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FOUNDERS

Rahmon Ojukotola: StartCredits Hopes to Save Nigerians Billions of Naira

High interest rates on loans are a barrier to growth and economic prosperity, which is why StartCredits has developed an innovative way for Nigerians to borrow quick online loans without collateral on its loan market comparison platform.

It is the aim of this fin-tech startup to help Nigerians access finance and save money by comparing loan providers. Rahmon, the Director of StartCredits is strategically growing this company to be the preferred loan market for a number of online borrowers.

Rahmon Ojukotola currently sits on the advisory board to the Florida schools group and previously worked at the Bank of England and UBS. Our startup founder, is also a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Royal Economic Society.

With these credentials, he surely has what it takes to lead the competitive loan market. Let’s find out what Rahmon has brought into the market and his life as an entrepreneur.

 

How is StartCredits disrupting the traditional borrowing in Africa as you suggest?

StartCredits is disrupting traditional borrowing, as our product provides transparency and increases competition in the market to reduce interest rates for qualified borrowers. It also provides a new channel for Nigerians to borrow money.

From your enviable background why did you decide to leave all that to start a startup in Nigeria?

I worked in investment banking and central banking for a number of years and gained a finance MSc from the London School of Economics and chartered qualifications in accounting, investments, securities and finance. I decided to build a startup in Nigeria because there were opportunities and issues that needed tackling, and I thought I had the right skill set to do so. So I gave up a well paying job and decided to come back to try and build something that would hopefully contribute to the growth and development of Nigeria.

SEE ALSO |  Rahmon Ojukotola: StartCredits Hopes to Save Nigerians Billions of Naira

How unique are features of StartCredits?

We are the first and only business in Nigeria offering our services to all Nigerians who need loans. We have developed innovative proprietary risk models that accurately measure the borrowers probability of default. This improves our partner lenders’ ability to assess risk, and enables them to disperse more loans to qualified borrowers.

What has been the major achievement StartCredits has chalked since you commenced operation?

We have helped thousands of Nigerians to save millions of naira in interest rate so far and hope to save billions of naira in the coming years.

As much as people really need loans, Rahmon, what is your advice to stay out of debts?

My advice to Nigerians is to ensure you do not take out loans to fund lavish expenditures, loans should be used to finance good business plans. Also remember to budget for interest and other fees in any loans you do take, to stay out of debt. For more technical advice on debt management visit our website on http://startcredits.com

One of the notable features of your company is the stress on Data Science, how relevant is it?

Data science is at the heart of what we do at StartCredits. We utilise big data analytics to build innovative credits risk models, which help facilitate affordable lending to underserved qualified borrowers.

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What great challenge are you facing in running your startup?

It’s pretty much to do with the adoption of the technology. Technology in general is all about finding the best ways to do things. In certain industries it’s easier to have the incumbents accept that, whereas in finance, people have become entrenched in how they do things. It’s highly profitable, so there’s more resistance to changing a winning formula. Finance is highly resistant to change, but people are slowly starting to adapt as you’re seeing with Blockchain technology, which I think has the potential to revolutionize the finance industry. The banks are slowly coming around, but are still highly resistant to change given the nature of the business. In Nigeria, it’s mostly trying to get the people to use the technology. People are highly suspicious of new technologies, so it’s a bit of a challenge

How do you foresee this industry going into the future?

The lending market in Nigeria will be one driven primarily by digital lending in the future, as it is more efficient. I also feel we will continue the cultural tradition of thrift lending (Ajo, Esusu), as it fosters community cohesion.

Tell us which African entrepreneurs inspire you and why.

I think all African entrepreneurs that have built successful business in the face of significant challenges deserve commendation. Saying that I find Ola Orekunrin’s work saving lives with flying doctors to be truly inspiring to all Nigerians and especially young girls. She is a role model who shows them if they study and work hard they can have a significant impact on the lives of many in Nigeria.

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What financial advice can you share with fellow startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs across Africa?

My advice to entrepreneurs across Africa is to make sure that everything you’re doing is simultaneously helping you achieve your goals and make profits as well. Don’t leverage too much and try not to grow too fast. Also, make sure that what you’re doing is what people want. The whole point of doing business is addressing the needs of society. So make sure you do your extensive research, go out and meet people to listen to what they’re saying, and make sure you have the right skill set to execute your plan. Once all of that is in place, you’re good to go.

Thank you, Rahmon!

To find out more about loan rates and the company, kindly visit startcredits.com.


If you want to share your experience as a startup founder on TSH to Africa, send a brief detail of your business to mystartup@thespiritedhub.com


Did you find this interview inspiring? Kindly leave us your comment.

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