How did a Nigerian Harvard grad turn a million-dollar business loss into a prosperous venture for his home country? Through hard work, determination, and the art of pivoting.
Sam Ojei — a Business Analytics alumnus of Harvard Business School — is the founder of Workcity, which is considered a major co-working space in Lagos, Nigeria.
Ojei’s entrepreneurial journey dates back to high school where he adopted photography as his introduction to the business world. From there, he founded Bioscope — a social enterprise that manages the recruitment of students to Canada to pursue different courses.
After seeing his business take off, Ojei felt he was Africa’s next big business mogul and went off to start his next big venture — an e-commerce company called Niiyo Nigeria.
Face2Face Africa shares that things were panning out well for Ojei until 2015 hit. The Nigerian entrepreneur lost close to $1 million in revenue made from his business and all his progress went down the drain.
“I lost everything into investing in something new because then I just wanted to do everything,” he told Founders Africa.
Despite the major loss, Ojei’s story didn’t end there. He persevered and began picking up the pieces to get his business ventures back on track.
According to Face2Face Africa, Ojei pooled together resources from friends and family to opt for a co-working space which gave him the means to restart his business.
He reportedly recruited students to study in Canada and from there he hired 10 sales agents. After his first month back in business, Ojei earned enough to recoup his investment and pay an extra month to rent the space out.
“All these were due to hard work,” he said to Founders Africa. “I had no friends then, just myself alone, home to office and back, I get home around 9-10 pm and I’m back in the office the next morning by 8-9 am.”
Ojei was eventually able to save enough money up to get his own office space back and today owns the leading premium co-working space in Africa.
According to Ojei, “building Workcity is more like me giving back like I’m producing my experience, that’s what Workcity is all about.”
According to the company’s website, Workcity is “a community that brings startups and entrepreneurs together to collaborate, inspire innovation and harness various skills that are geared towards economic growth and community development. It is a space full of fun, energy and where people achieve more.”
The purpose behind Ojei’s business now is to build something positive for young people and his community that emphasizes collaboration and innovation.
For more information about Workcity, visit its website.