Oluwadamilare Oladotun is a young fledgling entrepreneur who was among the 2016 Tony Elumelu Foundation winners, but unfortunately, he couldn’t access his seed capital from the foundation.
Below are my interview with Oluwadamilare Oladotun.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Oluwadamilare Oladotun. I am the Founder of Vendor Agribusiness Systems. A graduate of Soil Science from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
Tell us about your very first business venture
The very first business I tried to do was in 2011 at the University.
It was supposed to be a student’s job portal. It failed on arrival because I didn’t have a team to work with and the person that worked on the portal didn’t meet my specifications. It was a friend so I couldn’t fight him.
What was it like, going into business the first time?
I needed to get people to trust and that I need people that I correct or control in away. Not people I’ll find difficult to correct.
It looked as if doing business will take several years of learning but I just decided to keep on learning.
And the most disappointing time?
I don’t know if one particular time is most disappointing. But I know I have had disappointments. Mostly when I trust people close to me with my business.
Yes. Another very disappointing time was when I couldn’t access my seed capital from the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
How much have you grown from where you started?
Well, I am focused on agriculture right now because I got tired of smallholder farmers experience in Nigeria.
We have moved from a single farm to working with several farmers. Helping them improve productivity and gaining access to market.
It must have been very challenging in starting the first time. Tell us some of the challenges you met.
You would have been able to gather from my early responses that working with the right team has been very challenging.
People want to get money for nothing. So you always need to be on your toes to ensure you get the best from everyone which can be very challenging especially when you are just starting.
What is the most outstanding moment in your life as an entrepreneur?
Wow. I think I’m not good with rating moments. I have had several outstanding moments. One was when I was called by the Tony Elumelu Foundation in 2016 that I was one of the winners. Same as when I was selected for FATE Foundation Aspiring Entrepreneurs Program in 2019. Amongst several others.
What was going through your mind when going into your business? What burning issues did you hope to address?
About this. It was a mix of annoyance and empathy. I just hated the fact that I see farmers suffer and their foods getting wasted because there were no structures to prevent the waste or get the produce sold optimally.
So we decided to work with rural farmers by first educating them on improved practices and then getting them market access.
Do you think our young people have done enough to live up to their full entrepreneurial potentials?
Our young people are trying their best. But there’s a value problem in Nigeria. The nation value system is eroded and it’s obvious in the mentality and disposition of our your people. Everyone wants instant gratification. They want to start a business and make all the money instantly. That’s why you see young entrepreneurs jump into every business available.
In fairness to the few making things happen, they are doing great and doing us proud.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs in Nigeria?
I am also a young entrepreneur. A fledgling one at that. So the advice will also apply to me and my friends out there.
Entrepreneurship is a decision we made. It requires all. I see as a no retreat, no surrender mission. So that means you should carefully strategize. Don’t, in a bid to be rich quick, jump into a venture that you will not be able to recover from. Let your brain work on the clock. Remember while you are building your business time is going, meaning if you intend to quit at some point, the age might not be on your side to push your career to where you would have wanted it to reach. So be clear from the beginning.
What are your vision and mission?
Our vision is to be the leading agribusiness firm in Nigeria providing bespoke agricultural services to ensure food security.
Our mission is to take rural farmers out of poverty one at a time by providing them with access to state of the art practices, and market Linkages.
Vendor Agro’s Social media handles
Facebook: Vendor Agro
Twitter is @daretinto
What are your products and where can people find them?
We supply high- quality products such as:
Turmeric, Ginger, Chili, Plantain, Rice, and Cassava.
You can place your order through our email or Whatsapp.