Achenyo Helen Asimegbe is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO of Stylemark Mall, a retailer of high-quality children’s clothing and accessories. She is also the CEO of Stylemark Pro Enterprise (Capacity Development Centre), which trains Entrepreneurs, small business owners and start-ups.
With a strong background in banking and a MBA, Helen continues to add to her learning through a number of local and international certificate training programmes, including courses at the University of Leeds, University
Helen is a partner in the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative and is currently contributing to Goal 2- Zero Hunger, by coordinating regular supply of food and other materials to orphanages and Camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Abuja.
In pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, Helen has mentored over 3,000 men & women and also encouraged them to start businesses ,of which most of them are doing excellently well.
She was selected as the Networker of the year at the EDC organized Market Access 2017 in Abuja and the most inspiring/influential entrepreneur (Worldbank Womenx CEM 14 2016).
She wss an Observer at the 20th session of The Youth Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters, New York (2017). The former banker turned mentor and business coach shares her success story in this educative interview.
I had an amazing childhood, my Dad ensured I got quality education and was selfless enough to put me in really great schools. So with that even from a tender age I was really focused, my goals where clearly defined, like I will always tell my mom, I wanted to be a banker, because she was at one time a banker, and I admired her. So even from being little, I dreaded failing exams, so I always gave my best shot in everything I do, and I kept reminding myself, that to be this ‘’banker’’ that I wanted to be ‘’good grades good grades’’.
So having a very good foundation, by attending great schools, and having people around me that I could look up to/admire really helped in giving me a clear vision of where I wanted to be and the profession I wanted for myself.
So yes, my every moment from my childhood was part of the preparation process.
I am a serial entrepreneur and the MD/CEO of Stylemark Mall, Stylemark ProEnterprise Hub/founder of SME Springboard.
I have 5 years experience in Banking, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I am a certified Entrepreneurial Manager, I am an Advocate for the UN SDGs, am currently contributing to SDGs Goal 8-Decent Work and Economic growth, I also advocate for Goal 2:Zero Hunger, I have over the past couple of months (from 2017 till now) been lending my voice by taking supply of food stuff and other items to orphanages and Camps for Internally displaced persons in Abuja/Nigeria, to show love and give support.
I devote a lot of time to self development, by taking courses both from institutions in my homeland, and overseas, such as University of Leeds, University of London & London Business School (Coursera), Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) Of the Pan Atlantic University.
I never miss an opportunity to attend networking events/conferences anytime I get the opportunity to, as it gives me a unique opportunity to meet brilliant minds like myself, such events that have made a lasting impact on me, are;SME Springboard, Youth Assembly at the United Nations,AU ECOSOCC Youth Stakeholders Summit, Conference for Emerging Entrepreneurs-U.S Consulate General Lagos, Access Bank W-Academy-Seminar for Women Entrepreneurs, Unido & HP Learning Initiative For Entrepreneurs(LIFE).
I am very passionate about helping other businesses grow, I am a Mentor to quite a number of startups in my community, and I took it a step further by creating a Facebook group called SME Springboard, which is a platform I use to connect with millennials from all over the world, and I share contents on Entrepreneurship, various opportunities,and things to inspire them.
Stylemark Mall and Stylemark Pro Enterprise
At Stylemark Mall, we retail high-quality children’s clothing and accessories. And Stylemark Pro Enterprise Hub, is a capacity development centre, which trains Entrepreneurs, small business owners and start-ups.
The products of Stylemark ProEnterprise Hub are SME Springboard, and Stylemark Ads Space
Vision to locally manufacture and export children’s clothes
Yes, I have a vision to locally manufacture and export children’s cloth, I want to launch my own clothing line, proudly made in Nigeria, to be sold locally, and to be exported to other countries in Africa. Am working on it, and am praying all my plans fall in place.
Well as an entrepreneur, there are lots of hurdles, from knowing which idea exactly to work with, and then the thought of how to start marketing, then to shortage of cash most of the time as a startup, to seeking knowledge of how to really start and run a business, then looking at customer retainership etc.
I have been through quite a lot, and it’s just normal, for every small business to face some of these challenges, the most important thing is to find ways to solve each one that springs up, and keep moving letting nothing at all stop you.
My experience as a Business mentor
Oh yes, I have been a mentor on the TEEP program from 2016 coming, my role as Mentor to startups that where peered with me, was for me to provide guidance and support, and have a genuine commitment towards making the relationship work and supporting the growth and development of the Mentee.
It’s been an awesome experience there is nothing more fulfilling like lending a helping hand to someone who probably is currently faced with something you went through at some point in life.
Other Projects and Activities
I coordinate a ‘business networking group’ on Facebook named SME SPRINGBOARD which i use as a platform to inspire as many millennials as i can globally and help them transform their ideas into profitable businesses thereby adding to their respective nations’ GDP.
I partner in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative and am currently contributing to Goal 2- Zero Hunger, by coordinating regular supply of food and other materials to orphanages and Camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Abuja.
On January 1st 2018, I selected 10 young female startups for a Startup Give Back Program I put together, as a way of giving back to society.
These ladies have gone through an extensive two weeks online training, and they have all been assigned Mentors to help guide them in their entrepreneurship journey.
I hosted a GEW event/SME Springboard (conference) in 2016 and 2017. SME Springboard is an MSME-focused event where start-ups and other entrepreneurs benefit from Capacity Building, Mentoring, Access to finance, Markets’ access and business networking.
I am a member of Toastmasters International Club-Where leaders are made.
There is no form of reward that can ever be as great as having the privilege to impact other lives, and having a platform to share your story. For me, that’s the highest form of reward and I would keep lending my voice.
Good question! I must confess a couple of times I felt like giving it all up, but you see, I still didn’t give up, its why I can share my story. I wake up every day and have to be a cheerleader to myself because I don’t have an option, I have to keep going, and then I sing it in my head that it will get better.
So lately I had to force myself to the point of admitting that I don’t even know what the word give up means!
Who and what inspire you to be better!
I have friends and family, who are my biggest motivation, I keep going because they’ve got my back, and they constantly reaffirm their support to me, and this helps me a lot in my journey.
I also have very excellent role models that I admire and learn from, Michelle Obama,Oprah Winfrey, Mo Abudu,and a lot more.
What makes you a woman of Rubies
I am, bold and beautiful, highly innovative, ambitious, consistent, confident, empathetic, and a goal getter.
No matter how badly you feel like giving up, do not throw in the Entrepreneurship White Towel
Credit: Guardian Woman