Ugonna Nwaeze, 29, runs the popular online grocery store, Nkataa.com. Armed with a degree in Electrical Engineering as well as an MBA from the University of Loughborough, United Kingdom, Ugonna has returned to Nigeria to fulfil his lifelong dream of running a successful service based business.
How did you get the idea for nkataa.com?
When I moved back to Nigeria, I wanted to enjoy the same online shopping service that was available in the UK. Nkataa which means Basket in my native Igbo language, provides the kind of service at an affordable cost.
Do you feel threatened by the likes of Jumia and Konga?
My conviction in life generally has always been to focus on my dreams and not the competition. I absolutely admire their success of Jumia and Konga and commend them on how well they have performed in the Nigerian market over the years. Although Nkataa offers a different bouquet of products and services, we would want to be like them soon.
What is your staff strength?
I work with about 37 people on the Nkataa team – 20 full time, 7 part time and 10 contract staff.
Have you had any challenges with getting skilled employees?
Not really. This business only requires really skilled workers in certain areas i.e. marketing, web design etc. I did my research well before getting the people I needed for those areas, so it wasn’t a problem at all. The other employees we needed didn’t necessarily need to be skilled; they just needed to be smart and be able to think outside the box. We regularly offer staff training programs in the relevant areas.
What are some of your best selling products? How are you able to source for and preserve fresh produce? Do you have everything on your site in stock?
The traffic on product purchases varies from time to time. But the most frequent will be our fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meat/poultry and of course Indomie noodles. Some other food cupboard items are also quite popular.
A lot of people say that the Nigerian entrepreneurial scene is booming. Is it really that rosy?
It is certainly not as rosy as it may seem on the outside. More and more people are becoming courageous these days, so yes it’s booming. It requires a certain level of courage and readiness to try out various methods that may fail or work out. There are a whole lot of challenges in starting and keeping a business going but if you stay hopeful, motivated and prayerful, everything should be able to fall in place and turn out rosy after sometime.
What keeps you motivated?
The fact that I haven’t reached my goal/target/dreams yet, keeps me motivated every day.
How do you unwind?
I play football every day. I also play the piano and this helps when things are very stressful.
What are some of the goals you hope to achieve within the year?
Just like every other entrepreneur in my field, I want to maximize sales and increase market share. I also plan on an expansion project.
Are there any upcoming promos or vouchers for Zimuzo.com readers?
Yes, there will be lots of promos on our site this year. Actually we have started one already. It is called the “Deal of the day”. It is basically a bundle consisting of 2 or 3 products for sale at an amazingly discounted price. There will also be more promos coming up on the site and vouchers for grabs also.
If you check our website every day, follow us on instagram / twitter or add us on Blackberry messenger you’ll see a new deal every day. However Zimuzo readers will each get a N1000 voucher, while offer lasts.*
*Minimum purchase of N3000 required to activate voucher.