Barakat Adebayo
Home African CEOs Interviews How Barakat Adebayo, a Martial Arts Champ, Became a Diehard Entrepreneur
Interviews - Startup - February 16, 2021

How Barakat Adebayo, a Martial Arts Champ, Became a Diehard Entrepreneur

Growing up, Barakat Adebayo, was not an average Nigerian girl. She was a rare breed. What she considered fun as a child was watching Jackie Chan movies and practicing the actor’s moves with her brother. Little did she know that she was preparing for what was to come.

While studying Clinical Psychology at the university, Barakat’s thought, as with many young students taking the course, was to end up working in a laboratory, as against her innermost desire to be as invincible as her childhood hero, Chan. She wanted something more and far from the basics, though not quite sure of what that was.

Soon after university, her father became terminally ill and the only thing that could distract her from the mental stress that came with taking care of an ailing father was fitness activities. She became a habitual early morning jogger and a fitness enthusiast until she found love with Kick-boxing, and later Kung Fu.

Throughout her days in martial arts, Barakat only lost her first fight, a technical loss at that. She continued to win in every inter-state competition, till she was tired of fighting. 

Once again, she wanted more. And this eventually led her into entrepreneurship. She founded her company, Assuage Spa and Wellness, a brand that has become a go-to place for everything body therapy – from the regular pampering massage to medical-massage; located in Lagos, Nigeria.

In this interview with Business Elites Africa, she tells us how the lessons of perseverance, personal discipline, and consistency she learned in sports helped her transform her business, especially when things went really bad.

Walk us through your journey into entrepreneurship. How did you start?

Mine is a story of someone who turned a passion into a business. I was a martial artist for years, I was representing state and the country and then along the line, you get to help your teammates with their injuries. When I started my business professionally, my initial focus was on people with partial paralysis. I didn’t start with the pampering aspect of Spa that Assuage does today. We started helping people who had heart issues that resulted in physical disability. After the heart problem has been treated, we helped them with their physical rehabilitation. So that’s really what I was into, until I incorporated the pampering aspect of Spa.

Before going professional with this, what form of training did you have?

Apart from studying clinical physiology, with subsequent clinical experience with  Eko Hospital, I also trained at the National Institute for Sport (NIS) – that’s where they train Nigerian sports coaches and managers. So apart from being a therapist, I’m also a certified sports coach…

EDITOR’S NOTE: Read the full interview here. It’s on page 50 of our latest edition, ’25 Entrepreneurs & Brands to watch in 2021′ or watch her live chat with us below.

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