Mrs. Omolara Adelusi is the CEO, Sheba Centre, Ikeja-Lagos. In this interview with Business Elites Africa, she spoke on her vision and urge to build a vibrant brand in Nigeria’s business space
You wear so many caps as an entrepreneur. So, what is your background like?
I am a graduate of Microbiology from the University of Benin, a member of International Association of Venue Managers, the Vice-President (Mainland) Association of Venue Owners Lagos Nigeria and an alumnus of Enterprise Development Centre, Pan African University, Lagos.
Thus, I am a certified wedding planner and a passionate entrepreneur. I also run a non-governmental organisation called Nehemiah Hope Initiative where we support vulnerable people who are victims of communal clashes and conflicts by providing them with relief materials, rehabilitation and developmental projects. Our Youth empowerment programme, currently, have beneficiaries we are training in agricultural programmes, and we have just secured employment for two of our past graduates with a private farm in Abuja. I am married with three great kids.
How did you discover your vision or what led you into this line of business/career?
I started my career working with two Information Technology firms at various periods as personal assistant to the managing director, but while on the job, I was a bit restless and I knew I was meant to do more than an 8am to 5pm job. I began to search within myself what more can I do and discovered I had a deep flair for fashion designing and entertainment.
I enjoy dressing up well and noticed people commended my style of dressing. I began to make research about the fashion industry in Nigeria and by December 2002, I resigned my job and set up a fashion outfit in February 2003 called Nektar Creations. At Nektar Creations, we specialised in uniforms, bespoke tailoring, costume production where we produced costumes for the popular Abuja and Lagos carnivals for several years. In the course of producing costumes we had to work with some advertising and event production companies and these gave me an insight into the event industry. I saw the gap in customer service delivery as regards event venue and decided to delve into the event hosting business as I have a passion for entertaining guests. Sheba Centre was therefore established in August 2011.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started in business?
I wish I understood tax policies and how to interpret financial statements.
Describe your company- name, services/ products, other information you would like to provide.
Our company Sheba Centre is a full service event hosting, planning and management company situated at the heart of Ikeja at 20, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way. Our facilities are perfect for events like weddings, birthday, trainings, examinations, conferences, exhibitions, product launch, meetings and entertainment events.
We have a 1000 seating capacity marquee with banquet chairs and tables, a 100 seating capacity conference hall, a green lush garden that doubles as a photo gallery and children playground. Our luxurious changing room and VIP lounge are fit for relaxing and photo shoots. We also have a diaper room for nursing mothers, a barbeque hut, beautiful ambience and adequate parking lot. The security and safety of our customers is our top priority, hence we have engaged the services of a well-trained and professional outfit in charge of providing security for our esteemed customers. We have good safety equipment and gadgets on sight to ensure a safe environment.
How did you get started in terms of business plan, capital sourcing, prior experience, mentorships, etc?
I started out by reading books on event planning and doing some research about the event industry in Nigeria. I then employed the services of a management consultant who helped to put my business plan together using some of my research work. I attended a women networking seminar organised by WIMBIZ, where a venture capitalist company called Grofin Nigeria came to make a presentation. We then approached Grofin Nigeria for funding which we got to fund the construction and development of Sheba Centre.
Who is your customer?
We have 3 categories of customers which include: Young upwardly-mobile intending couples who are seeking a beautiful, affordable, accessible and safe venue for the solemnisation of their wedding; the professional event planner looking for an ample space that will enhance her creativity and help bring her ideas to life; and corporate organisations who seek a venue that is accessible, have ample parking space, serene and secure to hold their various events.
Describe a client/ customer served by your company or business.
One of our main clients is the British Council, a British organisation specialising in international cultural and educational opportunities. The British Council offers IELTS Tests in various venues and cities across Nigeria and Sheba Centre is one of the main Venues for the IELTS Tests and ACCA Tests. We have hosted these exams for the past four years.
What is your value proposition?
Our value proposition as a prestigious event venue is to offer our discerning clients an excellent customer service experience while helping them to get value for their money.
What is the best business decision you’ve ever made?
To continually train and empower my staff to take reasonable decisions concerning the business.