Solape is my friend. She used to work with Meristem the giant wealth management firm owned by my long time egbon Wole Abegunde
She used to help me get sponsorship from Wole and when Wole was dodging my calls I will call Solape and get my money.
So one day, I called as usual and she said,’ ohh I’m no longer at Meristem. I say wow. Where are you, I asked bewildered.
She said I am building a fintech platform for women. We will be supporting women especially those in agriculture.
I said, well done and I dropped the phone. By this time I was in the middle of trying to build beetle my own fintech thing that was focused on philanthropy.
That one died a natural death. So I respect myself go siddon.
One year after, she gets one of my broadcasts and reaches out. I say how are you and how is your fintech for women in Agriculture thinking she will say, we have packed up like you with beetles.
She says I’m off to Kenya we are about opening that market. We now have about 4,000 subscribers in one year and are targeting 20,000 by next year.
I drop the phone in shame. How can she do it? With a background in marketing with expertise in Financial Brands, she has succeeded where I have failed.
So I swallow my pride and call her, tell me more about Hervest . She smiles and starts
Hervest is a targeted engagement using fintech as a vehicle. It’s a woman empowerment play that targets women in Agriculture in a bid to funneling much-needed capital towards their business.
The aim is to not only financially empower the women but to also deliver on a vision of having women play very key roles in the economy.
It’s no wonder that strong platforms like Standard Chartered and USAID have come in with a $ 150, 000 grant.
I say thank you. Totally humbled and dropped the phone. This was it. She had a good job, a strong career pedigree having done it all.
She was at SO&U and was the brain behind the Mai Atafo and Nike Okundaye marketing campaign at Meristem which unfolded on CNN and other brands.
So I stood up and decided to go see her, curiosity getting the best of me.
Her office is smart in the middle of the Tech Hub that is Yaba. On her street, Hughes Avenue there are more than six tech hubs spurning young geniuses who are doing things.
Her office is neat and busy. Young people huddled over their laptops and building a new Nigeria. I get excited. This is what we are talking about.
She smiles as I work in. Looking very beautiful asked what I would drink I say talk to me leave drink.
With a staff strength of 10 with an average age of 22. She herself is in her early 30s, they have built a customer base of over 4,000 subscribers 90% being women in just 12 months.
Her growth rate comparing very favorable with the huge retail platforms of major banks.
They use her platform to save and invest which puts Hervest in a position to immediately arbitrage.
Today they have over 500 women Farmers working out of Maiduguri and Jos.
As she speaks, I marvel at her clarity. Her brilliance and clarity shows as she spurns out very pragmatic projections on the immediate future of Hervest.
She is in Kenya and is being supported by Flutterwave in a strong bid of achieving the 20,000 subscriber goal.
She is projecting a N5b turnover in 2 years and push by 500% value beneficiaries who access their loans.
I believe her, I know she can do it, I watch as her Head of Human Resources, a 27year old second-degree first class holder in organizational psychology and people lead walks in to exchange some banter on the upcoming strategy session, I give up.
This is the new Nigeria. These are young people saying we will do it. Nothing is limiting their vision. No debilitating shallow factors have restricted our generation.
At this point, I beg to be invited to the strategy session taking place at The Nest one of the Tech hubs up the street.
Soji who doesn’t look one day older than 23 is leading the talk today. He is from Checkdc ran by by sub 30 Chisom Okechukwu takes the team on a brand strategy session zeroing in on perceptive audience, I smile.
I am happy, I am relieved cos I have been vindicated. There is still hope.
The Fintech space is valued at an estimated $543m and with an estimated fund pool of $9b the space is growing at such a rate that will soon eclipse traditional banking.
Solape wants a major piece of this pie hence her pre-seed Capital raise of an initial $1m which my firm Hamilton and George is advising on.
As I walk towards my car, I suddenly feel old but I am a very happy old man as I sense that these young people will rebuild this country.
Hervest is in the market to raise $1m in retail funding. Call Ayo on 08182344599 or joseph on 09095325791 and ask how you can be part of this