With the demise of many large e-commerce businesses in Africa, the future of e-commerce looks bleak. However, that narrative is soon to change as an African entrepreneur, Adewumi Adesina has developed a solution, a startup called One Kiosk Africa that addresses the logistic challenge which has seen many e-commerce business meet an early grave.
Adewumi Adeshina believes One Kiosk Africa’s operational model is the future of e-commerce in Africa and the answer to Africa’s peculiar logistics infrastructure challenge.
In this exclusive interview, Mr. Adesina takes us through his entrepreneurial story and what he is doing at One Kiosk Africa.
Kindly tell us about yourself and the business you do
My name is Adeshina Adewumi. I have over 7 years of experience in business and entrepreneurship under my belt. Currently, I am the CEO/Co-founder of One Kiosk Africa, where I focus on inspiring the team towards achieving a sustainable e-commerce model for Africa.
I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Bowen University and post graduate diploma in Entrepreneurship from the Lagos Business School (Enterprise Development Center). I am driven by my commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and as such One Kiosk Africa is an e-commerce model set to disrupt the retail chain and create jobs for the African youths.
As it’s expected for every online marketplace, One Kiosk is mapping and integrating stores within specific Geo-location to users who need what they sell around them.
What is your academic background? Which Schools have you attended and what professional courses if any have done?
I graduated with a first class from Bowen University after studying Accounting as a major and I belong to various professional bodies such as the Association of Accounting Technicians, Nigerian Institute of Management, Royal Society of Arts UK, and Institute of Management Consultants among other institutes.
What’s the story behind your entrepreneurial career? Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur?
My entrepreneurial background started far back during my primary school formation when I used to assist my mum in cash collection and store management of her business. My love for business was re-fired during my undergraduate days as I helped my mum increase her airtime vending sales across my school making a N500,000 monthly revenue for her from airtime vending. I soon took up other business engagements while in school and proofed successful at all I did especially the retail aspect.
Even after taking up a paid employment upon graduation, I knew that entrepreneurship was my path and so in 2016 I resigned to start my first business. As an entrepreneur, I am able to impact more people directly and indirectly through the offerings of my solution and also contribute toward job creation for the youths in Africa. This is what inspires the work I do.
Building an e-commerce business such as One Kiosk Africa can be quite daunting especially given the challenges of logistics management in the African business environment. What then informed your decision to venture into the e-commerce industry?
My decision to play within the e-commerce space was informed by my experience and also deep research into what model would work for Africa.
At One Kiosk, we pride ourselves as one of the few that introduced hyperlocal connection of users to stores in Africa. This model removes the burden of logistics associated to the unsustainable e-commerce models that have been rolled out in time past. Our model is sustainable and capable of creating 1 million jobs for Africa over the next 5 years, having this in mind fuels our passion.
What were the challenges you faced when you started out in business?
As typical of any entrepreneur, starting a business especially in Nigeria that would scale is not for the fainthearted. Luckily, I have experienced previous failed business and learnt one or two lessons to fail fast and forward.
So would say that access to finance to scale and getting the right tech team together was an initial challenge but glad that this phase is currently aligning for us right now with various Investors engagements in the pipeline and a Pre-seed round closure soon.
Can we say that derived the entrepreneurship success streak from your family? Any business success story in your family before now?
I think that is correct. As stated earlier, I have always assisted my mum with her business while growing up and this really shaped up my perspective greatly. My dad equally after retiring trained us through school with funds from his Sachet water and Bread bakery factory in Port Harcourt so I think it was passed on. However I think following the part of business is a personal choice.
What was the reaction of your family and friends towards your decision to be an entrepreneur?
Before now, it has been a great tussle. You know how our family especially parents are used to us taking up a 9 to 5 job and then using business as an extra income rather than a full time job. I would however say that over time they have come to appreciate and see the big picture.
I would say that the same way you sell our business to customers, employees and potential investors is the way you need to sell the vision of any business to our family and friends. Only then can they support you and as you make head way, people begin to trust and commit more to your hands.
Has their position changed now that you are obvious a success story?
Certainly, but this thing takes time. Business has its ups and down and those cycles must be well managed.
What can you say are the things that have contributed to your success in business?
Consistency pays out, I am a Choleric by nature and really hard for me to give up until I get results. I think this personality trait has really helped me in getting back on my feet and achieving results.
What has your business achieved so far? Any awards or recognition for your innovation?
One Kiosk Africa has received several recognition both at home and abroad. Given the uniqueness of our model, we have led the call on global platforms like the Nigeria Com 2019 to discuss how communities can be empowered through E-commerce.
We would equally be speaking at the Disruptive Africa 2019 slated for later this month. We were also shortlisted among the Top 5 African startups for the Africa Com 2019 Ahub Pitch in South Africa. Final voting is currently ongoing and people could vote for One Kiosk using this link- https://lnkd.in/dta4Tsv
We have been shortlisted for various awards too many to mention, however I must give credit to the Pitch Nigeria program we participated in January 2019 which was powered by Sterling Bank. This has really opened up new waves for us with various partnership engagements still ongoing with the bank
What’s the big picture? Where do you see your business in 10 years?
In 5 years, that’s by 2024, we expect to have grown to over 3.5 million users and created over 1 million direct and indirect jobs through our platform value chain. The platform should also be accounting for about 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt) where we would be operating by year 2024.
This is in line with the research report by NASPERS that projects E-commerce would account for 10% of Africa’s economic GDP by year 2025.
Who is your mentor and how has he/she inspired you to success?
I have quite a lot of mentors, some who I engage with directly and some who inspire me on a regular basis through their books. I currently have three mentors and they all play various roles in helping me stay balanced both business wise and emotionally.
Entrepreneurs succeed because they learn every day. What books do you read and what business courses have you taken so far on your entrepreneurial journey?
Learning for me is an everyday affair and continuous learning takes deliberate efforts. That is why I dedicate 30 minutes daily to reading a book and also create out time to align courses to take for the year to improve on myself. Some of the books I love to read include How to win friends and Influence People, Richest man in Babylon, Lean Startups and lots of leadership books by John C Maxwell.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing startups in Nigeria and Africa especially those in the e-commerce industry?
We have three major areas. First is capacity development, the next is access to finance and lastly is innovation. The first and last has received a lot of attention in Africa but access to finance still has a long hurdle to go especially in funding for early stage entrepreneurs.
Unlike the developed economy that has a limit threshold funding allocated for early stage entrepreneurs, we lack same in Africa. Most of the investors would only come when you have successfully scaled which should not be the case.
In your opinion, how best can these challenges be tackled?
We need to accelerate the impact of capacity development in Africa with easy access to finance for entrepreneurs. Just imagine the scale of impact that the $5,000 seed capital provided by the Tony Elumelu Foundation alongside the capacity development provided to the selected entrepreneurs.
We need more of this kind of platforms and angel investors in Africa. It’s a culture that would take time to build but we need to start now. Today is the future we spoke about yesterday. We should be mindful that tomorrow is here already.
What advice do you have for young Africans still contemplating about embracing entrepreneurship?
First identify a problem, ask and evaluate how big it is in terms of value and be consistent in seeing it through. Anytime you want to give up, just remind yourself why you started in the first place.