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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gbedion - Afe Riches Inegbedion #inthespiritofenterprise

Hey fam...

Been a minute. I have been all over the place. If you follow me on instagram @mofolusade  you would already have an idea. Besides.... Omo meeen, you need some extra gangster strength and determination to keep going in this Nigeria, can I get a witness out there! But we must not give up because tough times never last but tough people do as Robert Schuller said.

Most of the conversations I have been in lately have been around collaboration. The era of one man squads is no more the way, people must come together and build businesses that will last. This is why I was excited when I heard about this idea. Technology has opened up a lot of new opportunities and platforms for us and we need to take advantage. If you have an idea, don't keep it to yourself, look for a co-founder who has what you don't have. There are many ways to find that person and here's one real life example below;

That's one way and Afe has another way and he shares his journey with us in today's #inthespiritofenterprise post.


Tell us about yourself

My name is Afe Riches Inegbedion. I am from Edo State but I am based in Lagos. I studied Industrial Mathematics at the University of Benin, Benin City. I also have a Masters degree in Information Systems Management from the University of Greenwich, London. My philosophy is that there is always a better way to do something. You just have to think hard and observe out.

Tell us about your business

The business Gbedion came to be in February 2016 but the concept was conceived in 2012. Gbedion was founded because Nigerians are hard working and have a lot of good ideas but most of them do not have a means to fund their ideas.

Currently getting a loan from the bank is not easy. They ask for so much detail, collateral and give high interest interest rates. This makes a lot of people give up their ideas. There is also the issue of validating your ideas. Will people like it? Will they pay for it? Gbedion gives you the opportunity to see if people believe in your project enough to donate their hard earned money towards it. That is enough validation in my book. I experienced funding issues too and thought about it. Why not solve the problem instead of complaining about it and hence Gbedion came to be. 

Gbedion is a social crowdfunding platform for Africans. In simple words you can post your inspiring business plans on Gbedion and state how much you need, share to family and friends and receive donations from all of them and more. No interest , no loans. All you need to give them is a reward that is related to your proposed business.

For example you want to start a unique car wash business, you have drawn your business plan, you know how much you need and how to execute it. All you need is funding. This is where Gbedion comes in, fill the form, get an invite from Gbedion, post your business plan, offer rewards to donors (for example donate N1000 and get one free car wash), reach your stated funding amount and Gbedion will give you the donated about. All transactions will be displayed on the website for transparency.

What was your inspiration for starting this business?

I started this business because of the personal frustration I faced in bringing my business idea to life. I also have a lot of friends and relatives that have wonderful ideas that they would like to bring to life but funding is an issue. This is why I founded Gbedion, to change the situation and encourage entrepreneurs to start businesses.

How did you get funding for your business?

I got funding for my project through personal savings. Funding is still needed however, to make it grow.

What opportunities have you been able to leverage on in your business so far?

I am currently discussing with Hubbub Foundation (a crowdfunding foundation in London, Boston and Sydney). They are interested in the project. I am looking forward to getting assistance from them.

What Challenges have you faced so far and how have you been able to overcome them?

Setting up and growing our customer base has been challenging but we are moving forward.
I've faced several challenges while trying to start Gbedion. 

1) The idea: 

Many people said it won't work. There are too many scams in Nigeria and so on. I came to realize that scams exist every where not just in Nigeria. People try to scam themselves in a lot of businesses. Why should I stop for the fear of scams when it exists in every other business. Tackling it is the way forward.

2) Branching out: 

The other issue was people will steal your idea; do not tell anyone. You cannot execute a large business plan on your own, you need people but you have to share your idea so people can assist you make it happen. 

I believe an idea has no value on its own. It needs a good execution and for a business to be successful it needs a combination of a good idea and a good execution. If someone tries to steal your idea. He /she only has the idea, how it is executed will certainly be different from yours. I hope the lovely people with wonderful ideas in Africa realize this and stop being afraid to post their business plans on Gbedion for fear of their ideas being stolen.

3) Funding: 

Funny enough this was also an issue for me. Gbedion was supposed to be an app but the cost of building an app is incredibly high. Hence Gbedion was launched as a web platform instead. Which I feel is an advantage because it is easily accessible to anyone that has an internet connection and a browsing device.

How will you summarize the journey so far?
Wow the journey so far has been enjoyable, frustrating and stressful. From brain storming the idea, carrying out research, reaching out to people, raising funds, getting turned down by a lot of people that think you just want to collect money from them. Its been an eventful journey.

Given the Chance, will you do this again?
Definitely, I will do it again. There is joy in bringing your idea to life and watching it grow.

What lessons have you been able to learn from your journey so far that others should know.

  • Believe and be passionate about your idea. People will turn you down but when they begin to see how serious you are, the progress you have made and your consistency. They will begin to believe in your idea too and join you to make it happen. 
  • Validate your business idea at a low level first. It has to work on a small scale for it to also work on a large scale. Do this and you will not waste your resources.
The business itself has evolved over time. It started out in 2012 as I do not run anymore. It was a website where people could show case their work to the world for recognition. The crowdfunding idea had not come to be then.

How can people connect with you

Visit Gbedion website:
Phone No: 08171067640
Office Address: 61 Akeju Street, Off Shipeolu, Palmgrove. Lagos.

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