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Monday, 28 April 2014

Oluyomi Ojo, Co - Founder Printivo on How He Started His Entrepreneurial Journey With ₦3000

Meet Oluyomi Ojo, Co-Founder Printivo, a business that is helping Nigerian SMEs handle printing needs without having to leave the comfort of their homes. Printivo offers easy to use design tools, fast delivery and quality prints. Read excerpts from his interview with Whoot Africa.

How did you get started in Business and what did it take you to get to where you are today?
I started my entrepreneurial journey in handmade greeting cards with N3, 000 from my mum in 2001, shortly after secondary school. Handmade cards were very valuable in those days, I was selling on various university campus, It was during those days I met Deji, now a co-founder at Printivo . We met in UNILAG and we did amazing things together, we later lost touch after I gained admission into LAUTECH Ogbomosho only for us to meet again in 2010 on a Campus Navigator. One thing I've always done is to plough back profit into the business and I think it’s a key factor in getting us here.

What were you doing before Printivo started and why did you decide to start Printivo?
From the little handmade cards business started with N3000, I moved into t-shirt prints (when GSM’s SMS function killed the demand for handmade cards), I later went into graphic design and then printing, eventually set up Urban-baze a studio that grew into an ad agency, all during my universities days.

With need for business printing growing daily, we saw a way to make it easy for SMEs who need short and quick services that most printing press can’t offer, after discussing my idea with trusted associates, we decided to make this great platform happen together, next day Deji went into action, while Ibukun gathered the necessary information from several printing hubs. Lo and behold! Printivo started and grew beyond what we could imagine to become what it is today.

Did you know you were going to be an Entrepreneur all along, or did it happen by chance?
For me, I think I’ve always been an entrepreneur, I passed through university running various businesses (all within design and printing though), it was the only thing I love, in my 4th year, I took a free 6 month unpaid internship in an advertising agency, ASUU strike helped me extend my 6 months internship into one year and it changed the way I saw myself and my business, it changed my life forever. It’s been a different story from that time. I have never been in a paid employment.

What do you love most about your business and your life as an Entrepreneur?
The fact that you are filling a need alone is a source of joy, happy customers and the joy of seeing people employed because you and your co-founders decided to take that leap of faith. These joys money cannot buy.

What do you think are the most important personal skills someone must have to be successful in business?
The love for what you do. Every other skill money can buy but this, money cannot buy. You can learn anything except the love and passion for what you do

What are the obstacles you encountered in your business journey in Nigeria and how did you overcome them?
Great talent is not cheap in any economy; this for us was a challenge. Then we stopped looking for “ready-made” skills, we started looking for passion and trainable ones too. It fixed a lot of problems for us. Today, we may not have the most skilled people in the world but we have the people that won't go home until the customers are happy. We have people who will pass the night at the press without being persuaded to.

Who was the most influential person or mentor in your life?
My mum, she told me I could do It when no saw anything in me. Her N3,000 started the journey. Didn't see this place back then!

What do you think about college education? Should kids go to college now or get into business if they feel it’s a better choice? Considering some of the world’s greatest never had college education, your thoughts?
It’s 2014 and I strongly believe we can now go to school without actually going through the gates of a college. I also believe formal education does not stop your drive for entrepreneurship; most successful entrepreneurs formulated their ideas using their fellow undergraduates as their first customers, talk about Mark Zuckerberg, Aaron Levie, and Steve Jobs. My university days played a key role in my journey. However, young entrepreneurs should follow their hearts as there’s no standard model for making greatness happen.

What would be the most important piece of advice you could give to young entrepreneurs and why?
Just get on the road and make your hands on the job. Entrepreneurship is like a football pitch, spectators and commentators don’t score goals, only the players do. So get on the pitch!!!

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