Chinomso Iyinbor is a really inspiring young woman with huge aspirations who has already got some major achievements under her belt. And I can personally testify to her persistence and tenacity: I first met her a few years ago when she asked me about the possibility of licensing my one day course for women, RenewYou. I replied that we didn’t licence any of our courses. However, she is very, very persuasive and it wasn’t long before I found myself working with Chinomso to take some women’s personal development training out to Africa! Look out for RenewYou in Ghana very soon – what an exciting project! I think you’re going to find her story inspirational. Chinomso is the CEO of Enrich Consulting
Jane: Chinomso, thank you so much for taking part in this interview. I know how busy you are with your many projects and your beautiful baby son. First question, where did you grow up, and was there anything about your childhood to give an early clue to your entrepreneurial spirit? (That’s 2 questions in one!)
Chinomso: Thank you very much Jane. Well, I grew up in a couple of cities dotted around the various regions of Nigeria, West Africa. My parents reside in Aba, Abia State (South Eastern Region). I went to college (Federal Government Girls’ College Gboko) in a city called Gboko in Benue State, Nigeria (North Central Region). I did my Bachelors (BSc) at Abia State University, Uturu, Abia State (South Eastern Region).
I served my country, (in a scheme called National Youth Service Corps; NYSC) in the city of Warri, Delta State (South Southern Region), where I worked with the popular African bank (ECOBANK Nigeria) as a Youth Corp Member. Before I was deployed for the Youth Service Scheme, I travelled to Lagos State (South Western Region) for greener pastures…(ha-ha) where I worked for a Manufacturing Company as a distributor of their milk-based drink for Edo and Delta States (South Southern Region). After finishing the Youth Service Programme, I travelled to Aberdeen for my Masters (MSC) and up on till now I am still growing…Ha-ha
I grew up from a humble background with my very hardworking late Father (Mr Monday Jitte) and Mother (Mrs Ihuaku Jitte). My late father was a Printer and my mother is a Teacher (Civil Servant) in a Government School. In most cases, teachers are not paid regularly. This got my mother into other extra businesses to make ends meet. I saw my parents work really hard to send us to the best schools; I saw my parents deny themselves of good things of life to give me the best education. I come from a family of five (5); 4 boys and 1girl (me), as such I decided to assist my parents by thinking of what I can do to assist them and to show them I was grateful and thankful for all their effort.
I got into buying and selling, to help raise some money to finish up my Bachelor’s degree and to give my parents some breathing space to attend to my younger brothers’ educational needs. I personally don’t want to be a burden to anyone, or be in a situation where I will be given all the time, so I decided to go out there to “catch fish” for myself. I knew that there was no other way to do it, except through hard work, focus, sincerity, trustworthiness and reliability.
Jane: Who or what was the biggest influence on the young Chinomso? You were a very enterprising young girl. Do you come from a very entrepreneurial family?
Chinomso: Not really Jane. My biggest influence was the environment that I grew up. I saw so much poverty in my environment, it was like a battle and a challenge, but I did not allow my environment to affect me negatively or change my line of thoughts of dreaming big. I went to the best schools and I understood my parents’ strategy, so I was content. I told myself I can be different; I have got an advantage; I can change things even with the least of resources; I can inspire other women and girls in the environment by taking my education seriously and being very content with whatever my parents could afford; I can bring change to my environment.
I decided to write down all the negative things girls/women where doing as a result poverty in a tabular form and made up my mind to do the opposite. I started studying, researching and trading. I did not want to be a friend to poverty; hence I had to find ways of improving living condition. However, today the story is not the same with respect to my achievements, and we are still improving everyday. With determination and a “can do” attitude, I know I will be able to do more. My environment made me an entrepreneur by force and I love it.
Jane: You are passionate about women’s development and it is part of your new enterprises. What do you think is the biggest challenge faced by young African women today?
Chinomso: Yes, Jane, you are correct. I am very passionate about women’s development because I know the benefits. Women’s development can help to develop abilities in self evaluation, greater awareness of a person’s unique contribution, developing a positive forward-looking approach, deeper understanding of a person’s performance and much more. The biggest challenge faced by young African women, is peer pressure and lack of confidence.
Jane: What is the main aim of your enterprising work in Africa? What are your dreams for your business?
Chinomso: My main aim is to promote learning and development as the tool that will increase visibility for everyone. I want to be able to improve people’s educational awareness and participation opportunities. This will in turn help to eradicate poverty, stimulate creativity and provide the basic tools and services that will enable Africans to work effectively. One of my dreams for my business is for it to be a one stop solution arena that will be able to impact learning and development in Africa.
Jane: Chinomso, I know your husband’s work takes him abroad often. You have a young son yet seem to manage the work life balance well. What works for you in getting the home/work balance right?
Chinomso: That’s true Jane, with my son it is very challenging. I am just passion driven, I don’t see what I do as a big work simply because is what I enjoy doing. I have something written down that always keep me going which says: “20 years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do”. It motivates me. Then my husband supports me more than 100%. I believe that enthusiasm and great energy are essential requirements on your way to success.
Jane: Do you have a long term career plan? Where do you see yourself in the future?
Chinomso: I want to be recognised as a woman who made a positive difference in the lives of women and the world at large. I know it requires me to work very hard. I am willing to put forth the necessary effort and energy. I approach everything I do with a positive attitude, loads of enthusiasm and a desire to make a difference. I also acknowledge the fact that I will have to continue to learn new skills and develop as I progress. “I don’t want to die unsung”
Jane: Who is your role model? Who inspires and motivates you?
Chinomso: My role model is my husband (Jude), I am super motivated by my darling husband and inspired by my Mum (Ihuaku Jitte)
Jane: You are resident much of the time north of the border in sunny Aberdeen. How did that happen, and what do you find is the biggest difference between your two homes? Apart from the weather, of course!
Chinomso: I reside in Aberdeen with my family. I came to Aberdeen to do my Masters degree in Applied Geospatial Technology. During the course of my studies, I met my husband (Jude) in Aberdeen and we got married. Now we have a son (Darren). The biggest difference is culture, but I have adjusted already.
Jane: You have great aims and aspirations for your business and I have no doubts at all that you’ll achieve them. What advice would you give to any young woman who wants to start a business today?
Chinomso: My advice to any young woman will be to dream really big. However, while dreaming big, back it up with hard work, enthusiasm and loads of energy, confidence, believe and common sense. Don’t be discouraged in pursuing your dreams, draw a mental picture of your big dream and work towards it. Avoid dream killers and move with like-minded people. Research on your areas of interest and identify people that have passed through similar routes to draw inspiration. Find out about their strength and weakness, and then re-strategise your best way to improve on their weakness. SWOT analysis is highly recommended.
Jane: If you could have one superpower, or one amazing invention to help with your business life what would you choose?
Chinomso: Hmmm…good question, the one amazing invention would be technological tools that will make doing business in Africa a lot easier. I will definitely need a superpower that can tackle corruption and bring transparent leadership to Africa.
Jane: Chinomso, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I am so looking forward to our joint initiatives for African women! Thank you for ‘pushing’ me!
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Posted on October 31st, 2012 by Jane