Anyone hoping to start a business should look for a clear gap in the market – Fayo Williams

Anyone hoping to start a business should look for a clear gap in the market - Fayo Williams
Fayo Williams

Fayo Williams is an active player within the MSME and Startup Ecosystems in Nigeria, Africa and beyond. She is the Managing Consultant of Simply Exponential Consult Ltd. (owners of Exponential Hub) and the Executive Director of Rely Supply Limited a Health and Safety Company.She is an International Labour Organization (ILO) Certified “Start-and-Improve-Your-Business” (SIYB) Master Trainer with a background in Health & Safety, GEMS3 trained
Women Economic Empowerment/Access to Finance facilitator and German Dual
Vocational Training (DVT) Trainer Certificate holder (in Office Administration), she
has served as Chairperson, Lagos Working Committee, Association of Nigerian
Women Business Networks (ANWBN) in a Centre for Private Enterprise (CIPE)-
funded project on Increasing Access to Finance among Micro and Small Female

Can we meet you?
I am Fayo Williams and I work with MSMEs and Startups. I am fellow of the International Management Consultants Board (FIMCB®) and I have trained and mentored SMEs and Startups in various sectors. I have mentored several start-ups including a group of young ladies, some of who were students of the University of Lagos, to defeat other start-ups which came from all over Nigeria to win the Angel Hack Social Impact Award 2018 and was also a Coach in the Afrilabs African Union – African Governance Architecture (AGA) Virtual Acceleration Program for selected participants of the Youth Innovation Challenge in Democracy and Governance in Africa, where my two mentees were among the top 5 awardees. I am a Certified Vocational Education Trainer with skills in developing
Competence-based curricula, a World Bank-trained business development service
the provider (BDSP) and participated in the World Bank Growth & Employment (GEM) project

What inspired your entrepreneurial journey
The challenges of unemployment, underemployment, and employability have been of great concern and interest to me. For many years, I have looked around in my community and raised questions on why many of our youths are not engaged in the myriad of vocations required in a growing economy such as Nigeria’s.

My efforts to tackle these challenges on a smaller scale, have led me on a journey over the last 16 years to provide capacity building, helping to identify sources of finance, and mentoring start-ups to develop scalable business models while solving African problems.

Kindly share a high moment for you as an entrepreneur
Being appreciated by a class of people living with disabilities trained under an LSETF – UNDP Employability Programme in shoemaking on my birthday in 2019 really was a high point for me.

How have you been coping with the challenges of being a female entrepreneur in your space?

I have coped with business challenges by putting in place the necessary building blocks such as personal development, digitalization of processes, hiring good talent, and ensuring that we pay attention to Financial Management

The focus of this year’s International Women’s Day is to get the world talking about ‘Why equal opportunities aren’t enough.” What do you have to contribute to this?
The yawning gap between opportunities offered to men as compared to what women get has been recognized as humongous at virtually all levels across the world, even in developed countries, for countless years. This is why, in my opinion, “equal opportunities” alone are not enough. We need to go to the root of the problem, which is socio-cultural, we need to come up with strategies for a greater level of inclusion, such as quotas and dedicated all-female programs; we need to change mindsets and get more women to sit at the table at the highest levels of government to make these changes.

What do you hope to see improve in the MSME ecosystem in the next 5 years in Nigeria?
I hope to see SME-friendly initiatives from more regulatory agencies, e.g., the full suite of CAC services available online, more encouraging government policies, increased access to finance, and a visible handshake between academia and industry, which will ultimately produce more jobs through backward integration.

Your final words to everyone reading this and hoping to start something like this
There are so many professions, opportunities, and niches that were non-existent years ago but are available now. Anyone hoping to start a business should look for a clear gap in the market, conduct adequate research, put together a proper business plan, and then come up with a minimum viable product that can be scaled or pivoted as the market demands.


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