How YouWin Changed my Life – Modupe
Modupe Nnebedum is an actress, designer, entrepreneur and co-owner of the first mobile bakery in Nigeria. In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, she talks about her passion, winning YouWiN grant and more.
What inspired you to start the first mobile bakery in Nigeria? How is it different from others?
I co-own the first mobile bakery in Nigeria. My husband, Chukwuma Nnebedum, went all out to support me when I started my coconut oil business to the extent that it felt as if he was the visioner and I was the supporter. I mean, that was how supportive he was and that was quite inspiring. So, when it was time for him to start his bakery business, I needed to go all out for him as well because that was the way we planned it from the outset.
What has been your experience in the sector?
The bakery business was borne out of the desire to do something creatively. Be innovative, and to provide healthy bread to people. Not just the regular bread, as we realised that people eat bread a lot. We wanted something different, yet to still meet the people’s needs. The mobile bakery is delivering to you hot, healthy bread closer to the people where they are.
The experience has opened more opportunities to us as we have had to consult for people who want to start up the business. Our goal is also being met as feedbacks on the taste of our bread from customers have been satisfactory.
You are also an actress; tell us about that aspect or your life. You are also a designer, photographer and more. How did you get into all these?
Years back, I starred as Amina in a TV sitcom titled “I Need To Know”, which also gave me opportunities to other short films. I later left the industry to pursue other things. However, I guess the creative side of me brought me back to the fashion and photography world.
Let’s also talk about life as an entrepreneur
Life as an entrepreneur isn’t a child’s play. It’s a whole lot of work especially when you are in a country like ours; you just have to keep your focus on the goal. You have to be passionate, strong and convinced this is what you want to do, otherwise it’s certain you’ll fall along the line.
It’s really, really tough. One minute it’s fun and you’re enjoying yourself, the next minute, you’re faced with making decisions – decisions that will affect not just you, but people around you, the lives of those that work for you, their families etc and you just know you can’t afford to fail because lives are attached to you.
If you had to compare all the things that you do, which would you prefer?
If I have to choose, this is quite difficult, but I think I’ll go for being a PPD specialist (Purpose and Potential Discovery), and a coconut processor. I really can’t separate the two (smile) from the name. What I do is to help people uncover their innate abilities and potential, help with suitable career paths in line with your potential and help you find purpose, gain clarity etc using advanced colour psychology. Knowing your purpose or getting clarity on who you are is the best thing that can happen to someone.
For example, I’m into coconut processing. Let’s say we only eat coconut (the meat) and that’s all we do with it. It means we would never enjoy the benefits of coconut oil, coconut water, coconut chips, coconut poundo, coconut milk, coconut flour etc. And this is exactly what happens to us when we don’t know who we are (our purpose); we end up just living (existing) and never living to our full potential and be fulfilled. But when we know our purpose, we can explore all there is to us and live a fulfilled life, making the world a better place. Why I said I can’t separate being a coconut processor and a PPD specialist is because what I do with the coconut and lessons learnt from it is what I use in dealing with people. The shell of the coconut is hard (people can be so difficult to deal with), extracting coconut oil takes patience, determination, consistency, passion, integrity etc, especially when you do business in Nigeria and all these are applicable when dealing with people as well.
When was the turning point in your life and career?
The turning point in my life was when I read the book “Acres of Diamond”. Summary of what I got from it is that what we go all around looking for is actually so close to us; it’s always within our reach. This gave me a different perspective to life and this was how I started my research on coconut in 2003.
While the turning point in my career was when I got the Youwin grant.
How would you assess female entrepreneurs today?
Female entrepreneurs of today are at an advantage. You just need to know what you’re doing, be informed and be prepared to make the best out of it. There’s a whole lot of trainings, grants, scholarships, loans, capacity building sessions, networking events for women-owned businesses these days.
Let’s talk about your role models and mentors
Role models and mentors are great to have; they help speed up one’s success journey and open your eyes to things that are there but you don’t even see or know due to their wealth of experience. Those that have touched my life and are still influencing me in no particular order are Sam Adeyemi, T.D Jakes, Becky Oyibo, Joyce Meyers, Ibukun Awosika, Banke Kuku Segun Sopitan, Mofolusade Sonaike, to mention a few.
Let’s also talk about the things that motivate and inspire you
Well, how you plant a seed and it grows without you being able to explain what literally makes it grow is inspiring. Which means what I do or don’t do doesn’t just affect me but other people around me as well; so I can’t afford to live life anyhow. My life counts, so whatever I do, I must always give it my best, impacting lives positively and the fact that we can achieve anything we genuinely set our mind to achieve.
What is your definition of style? What won’t you do in the name of fashion?
Style, to me, is simply an expression of your identity. I would not do anything that goes against my identity; who I am, anything that doesn’t express me, what I stand for, all in the name of fashion.
Who is the greatest influence in your life?
God is my number one influencer; the teachings from the Bible cut across every sphere of life and this, for me, is phenomenal. Asides this, Sam Adeyemi, his books, his teachings, sure do have a great influence on me.
What advice do you have for young Nigerian entrepreneurs?
To the young Nigerian entrepreneurs, the journey isn’t easy; don’t expect to make money over night. There’s always a price to pay and nothing great comes easy, stay focused on your dreams and go all out to achieve it. Above all, put God first in all you do.
Where do you hope to see your business in the next few years?
In the next five years, I see my business among the first three coconut processors in Nigeria, delivering innovative, quality, affordable and eco-friendly coconut products for food, beauty and general well-being all aimed at promoting healthy living and lifestyle. While on the other hand, my work as a PPD specialist would have helped thousands of people (especially women) gain clarity of purpose and fulfilment.