Helen Asimegbe: An inspiring journey to success
Helen Asimegbe, 32, Nigeria
My name is Achenyo Helen Asimegbe and I’m a serial entrepreneur. I’m from Kogi State and I’m married with two daughters. I am the CEO of Stylemark Mall, a retailer of high-quality children’s clothing and accessories, and also Stylemark Pro Enterprise (Capacity Development Center), which trains entrepreneurs, small business owners and startups.
I currently serve as a business mentor for the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Foundation and the Cherie Blaire Foundation for Women in Business. I am also a Toastmasters International Club member.
I hold a master’s degree in Business Administration. I have a certificate in Entrepreneurial Management and I continue to add to my learning through a great number of local and international certificate training programs, including courses from the University of Leeds, Coursera by University of London and London Business School.
Among many other trainings, I have been selected a number of times to participate in conferences centered on entrepreneurship and development goals, such as Conference for Emerging Entrepreneurs organized by U.S Consulate General Lagos.
I have a strong background in banking and have worked with two commercial banks in Nigeria.
I absolutely love to travel with my family and spend some quality time. Shopping is one of her luxury-necessity faves.
I have a strong passion for my businesses, inspiring people and helping them believe in themselves and not give up hope.
Transitioning from banking to business, I must say, wasn’t the easiest thing for me. It was really tough at the beginning, because both professions are somewhat different. In taking a bold step to starting a business, I had to look within. I took time to figure out what I was passionate about, I knew it would have to be something that can keep me up late at night and I could still smile and enjoy what I’m doing.
I didn’t want to just start any kind of trade because I wanted to do buying and selling. I had to identify that one thing that I could really do and derive joy from. My first business is Stylemark Mall, which was founded April 2015 and we deal in children’s clothing and all other accessories.
When I started, first of all, I began by marketing to my friends and relatives and then I began to talk to a few parents from my kids’ school. Most of the time, I would stock up goods in the boot of my car and move around doing deliveries trying to hopefully get new customers. I took it a step further and upped my social media game. I was on Whatsapp, BBM, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to do my adverts. I was extremely devoted despite how small my business was. I would create adverts with words and post them on social media, together with pictures for people to see. It’s been quite an interesting journey.
Even with the ups and downs we face as small business owners, I kept striving, putting in all my best effort. From selling in my boot, to clients in Abuja for starters, I gradually began to reach out in marketing to other people outside Abuja.
So far, we’ve made it to one of Nigeria’s largest online shopping mall, Konga.
Before I began this business, I knew for sure that days would come when situations may make me want to give up, but I also was certain that if it’s a thing I am passionate about then the business will survive.
I am someone who does not give up on anything I set my mind to. I wake up and motivate myself a lot to try and try. I am a very hardworking person, able to stay strong and focused. Never looking back to see how big some problems or challenges were has greatly helped me in building a strong brand.
My skills include communication and negotiation skills, marketing, sales and customer service skills, problem-solving skills, leadership skills and planning and networking skills.
I have been an employee at one time in my life and I was saddled with lots of responsibilities and tasks with deadlines to meet. Working for someone for years, there was a lot I learnt in that time, which eventually added lots of skills and great qualities to me.
In the course of running my business, I began to discover how really creative I am, and with that, I can actually achieve a lot being my own boss. I wake up having so many ideas on what exactly I can add or do to make my business stand out.
I recently realized that I also have a great passion to inspire people by helping them achieve their dreams and turning their ideas into profitable ventures. So I decided to set up my second line of business, which is Stylemark ProEnterprise. A lot of people have been impacted and have started business by the training sessions we organized, which they took part and most of the time for free.
I went a step further and decided to host a GEW event in Abuja where I launched one of the products of Stylemark ProEnterprise called “SME SpringBoard,’’ a platform designed to assist MSMEs realize their growth potential and have access to market, finance and capacity building.
Mentoring is what I ended up doing as I progressed in my journey of running my own business.
I am proud to be currently contributing to the 8th sustainable development goal, “Decent Work and Economic Growth.”
I have mentored a lot of women and encouraged them to start businesses, of which most of them are doing excellently well. They have a strong will and are determined to succeed.
I am excited about the Youth Assembly. Most important is the fact that am going to interact with dynamic and amazing youths who are doing phenomenal things.