Oxbridge Alumnus featured in Saturday’s Punch

Muyiwa Omosa is one of our alumnus doing well for himself, having taken the plunge into the murky waters of entrepreneurship in Nigeria and he is a success story.

Muyiwa Omosa

He is featured here in the Saturday Punch of 6th on a visit to the college on the 22nd Businesses pass through difficult phases. Twenty-seven-year-old Muyiwa Omosa is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the e-Naissance Group Limited, a mobile phone application firm. He tells Peter Okeugo the story of the young company:

How did you set up your business?

It was tough at the beginning. For every successful entrepreneur, there is always a difficult phase; I had to grow up quickly. Bringing my idea to life made it seem like a hard job. For a 23-year-old then, I had thought all I needed to do was to develop the product and everything would just fall into place. It didn’t occur to me that systems and strategies had to be put in place for it to actually become successful. I have been through a lot over the years. I had to go back to the foundation to unlearn some things in order to understand the things I know now. I went through a lot of experiences to shape my character and values. It was a tough phase for me but it made me who I am today; it is still ongoing.

What was the greatest challenge you encountered as a starter?

The biggest challenge for me was having a vision with no plans on how to get there. I had the vision but that was not enough. I needed to set goals and work on them. I attended Daystar Leadership Academy where I was equipped with the fundamentals of business. The biggest learning point for me is that in life, everything begins and ends with a purpose. What gave me the focus and changed my whole outlook about life was having a purpose. I think that is the most important thing anyone can discover because it makes life’s decisions easy; reduces distractions, gives one a reason to live and to love what one does.

What exactly is Me-Naissance Group into?

Me-Naissance Group is a technology company set up with the aim of bridging the technological gap between Africa and the rest of the world and to solve business problems with the help of technology. We design, develope and release a lifestyle application that Nigerians and Africans can relate with and utilise on the go anywhere in the world. It is called TMG App.

What is the TMG App all about?

The TMG App is an all-in-one lifestyle mobile application that helps users to save time accessing and sharing information on the go. With millions of Nigerians using their mobile phones as their primary means of accessing the Internet, a lot of time gets expended browsing multiple websites for information. The TMG App solves that problem by aggregating all the information they would need into one easy-to-use, optimised platform and making it more convenient for them to access and share online services such as movie time from every cinema in Nigeria; sports updates, local news headlines; to watch the latest music videos and lots more on the go. It helps to save users considerable time browsing multiple websites and downloading various applications. It filters all the relevant content one needs. It is already optimised for smartphone so one does not need to zoom in and out; it is just one click away.

What informed the idea of creating the app?

I had just finished my post-graduate degree programme and was just resting in London after over a decade of constant education. I bought the iPhone 3GS at that time and fell in love with it. I was constantly downloading apps and it seemed like I could not do anything without it. One day, I got a call from my parents to come back to Lagos and get a job. I thought my dream of being an investment banker was about to come alive but I remembered my iPhone with the applications and how useless it would be if I moved back. A few days later, I got an idea to create an app for myself since I won’t have apps when I moved back. It started as a ‘selfish’ idea but after doing some research, I realised millions of Nigerians were looking for a solution to this problem as well. That was the birth of the app and the company.

How did it develop?

I spent a few months doing research and holding meetings with leaders of companies. I came back to Lagos for a few weeks to find out what people actually needed access to on their phones. It took about nine months to develop the BlackBerry app and it was officially released in the last week of September 2010. It had over 2000 downloads in the first week. At that time, that was a major feat for me.

Has there been an upgraded version of the app since 2010?

It took over three years to release the upgraded version of the app. The best thing to happen since the first version of TMG App was released is that it can also be used by Nigerians and other people.

Who are your target customers?

The app appeals to a variety of people because we have a range of services that we offer, but our audience is split into two categories. First, to any Nigerian with a smartphone, we believe we can offer at least one service that will help to add value to their daily routine. Secondly, we appeal to students in secondary schools and the universities.

How is the app expected to compete with Internet browsers?

My vision for the app is to essentially replace the web browser for Nigerians on the go. In order to achieve that dream, we would be actively involved in filtering a lot of contents online as well as partnering a lot of brands to bring their services on board so that users can shop, book flights and get the best deals online straight from the app and many more services like that.

Did you study a technology-related course in school?

I studied Computing and Economics for my Bachelor’s degree; Money, Banking and Finance for my Postgraduate. I was definitely preparing to become an investment banker but I guess God had other plans.

Do you consider yourself successful at your age?

People think that being successful is a matter of having the most material possessions. They feel the most successful person is usually the one with the biggest house, money and flashy cars; but that is a lie. My definition of success is discovering your purpose in life and achieving it. If you were born to be the president of your country and you ended up being a banker with billions in your account, you are going to be regarded as a failure because you have failed to reach the pinnacle of your potential. Success is a relative word but I think my definition gives it the right foundation to build on.

What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur?

You have to discover your God-given purpose and potential. I believe everyone was born with unique abilities for specific reasons to solve certain problems. The more people identify the problems they were born to solve, the better our world will be. With a purpose comes a vision; with the vision come goals; with the goals come plans and the plans make your journey orderly, focused and stress-free. The moment you discover your area of influence and purpose, your life wouldn’t remain the same.

How should government help poor young entrepreneurs?

I think like every other sector in the economy, structures and incentives need to be in place to encourage the growth of emerging industries. The first thing I would propose is a review of the curriculum in our schools. I think we are 20 years behind; there are a lot of intelligent Nigerians who have a passion for something but don’t have the right materials or information to harness their talents. I believe with the restructuring of the education system this will be the foundation we can build on for the future of the industries. They have to help entrepreneurs who would be providing solutions to not only national but global problems.

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