Let’s meet Freda Anyanwu who is a business and project management executive leading strategist and design thinking in emerging markets. Freda has vast experience in entrepreneurship, business, project management and public speaking.
She started her career as the Lead Creative Director of Kaycee’s Events and went further to work with the Edo State Skills Development Agency in several roles. Until she left the agency, Freda led the Entrepreneurship Development unit to drive economic growth in the state by providing support to over 20,000 small businesses.
She is the founder of EBH Africa, Africa’s foremost digital business hub that focuses on providing a one-stop place for African entrepreneurs to access resources for business growth such as community, courses, information and funding to build sustainable businesses. Let’s read up on her story!
Tell us about Yourself
My name is Freda Anyanwu and I am an entrepreneur, business strategist, 2022 Mandela Washington Fellow and founder of EBH Africa. I am also a multiple award-winning entrepreneur. I am passionate about entrepreneurship and economic growth in Africa.
What does your business do and how it started?
EBH Africa is a tech-enabled company focused on providing a comprehensive platform where African entrepreneurs can easily access the right knowledge and resources to grow a sustainable business. Our digital business hub provides entrepreneurs with a one-stop place access for capacity building, community, and support services, and access to the market and fund readiness.
How do you solve your customer’s challenge?
In the last three (3) years EBH Africa has provided a safe space that supports the growth and sustainability of businesses in Africa. Statistics show that 80% of businesses fail within the first five years due to lack of skills, industry-based knowledge, lack of funding, mentorship and advisory and this is why our focus is to ensure that the businesses on our platform have access to adequate support and innovative knowledge to excel in business.
Who are your ideal customers?
EBH Africa welcomes entrepreneurs from different industries and stages but to ensure we build more sustainable businesses in Africa, we support businesses in the idea and early stages i.e. businesses between 1-6 years.
Can you describe/outline your typical day?
This is an interesting question! My typical day starts with me waking up as early as 5.30 am and I pray and meditate for 45mins after that, I read through my email to find any pending tasks. I get ready and head to the office and while I am there, I am caught up in meetings, work, and conversations with my team and then I follow up on relevant activities I have outlined for the day. At the end of the workday, I am reconnecting with my family and friends and then because I take work home, I go through that before praying and going to bed.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Very interesting! To be honest as a woman, there is a tendency to work double to achieve certain successes. I have been able to create a space where I am not neglecting my family in the process of being an entrepreneur and I feel very blessed to say that my family is my biggest support system because entrepreneurship can be overwhelming and sometimes when they see this, they find a way to contribute to providing me with ease. It could be listening to me, cheering me and generally being understanding that I may not be available at all times due to my work. They help by reducing the pressure of managing both sides.
What motivates you?
Every day I am motivated by the number of businesses that are in the EBH Africa network. I see them grow from having no knowledge about entrepreneurship into building a business they are proud of and that for me is amazing. The way they yearn for opportunities and how they maximize them is what keeps me going knowing there is so much more to be done.
What is your greatest fear?
Not fulfilling my purpose gives me anxiety. I wake up every day knowing that I have been blessed with another opportunity to live life in my purpose. So I live every day to ascertain satisfaction knowing that day is a gift.
How do you define success?
Success for me is when I see evidence of how my work positively impacts others. One time I received a message from a business owner who said EBH Africa changed her life. She was planning to shut down her business and then she joined the community, got access to resources that built her confidence and helped her restructure her business for growth and success. This is just one of many amazing stories and that is what I see as being successful. Being able to create the pathway for others to thrive is success to me.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
It might sound funny but the fact that I can come up with new ideas and execute them with an amazing team is one of my favourite aspects of my entrepreneurship journey.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Hmmmm… I definitely would be more daring and audacious. I would chase my goals like no one is watching regardless of the industry or field I choose to be in.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
My top three skills will be
1. Self-awareness: This is a critical skill because being an entrepreneur will expose you to so many growth areas and most times being self-aware prepares you ahead of time.
2. Communication: This is very important, as an entrepreneur communication is done every day at every given time.
3. Leadership: Your ability to lead in situations regardless of the outcome will make you stand out. Leadership is key when working with teams, customers, partners etc.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Firstly, my parents have inspired me greatly. As I grow older I appreciate the so many principles instilled in me while growing up and I am forever inspired by their determination against all odds. Secondly, my mentor Mrs Ukinebo Dare. She constantly shows me that it is possible to be a woman in career, and business and achieve great success.
What advice would you give to people who want to become entrepreneurs?
My one advice will be to enjoy your process. Building something great is a process and sometimes we are carried away by the success of others but enjoying your process allows you to see beyond timelines and focus solely on your growth and progress.
What business-related book has inspired you the most? (or, What is your favourite book?)
Built to Last by Jim Collins is a very insightful book that has exposed me to a lot of knowledge. I will recommend this book to entrepreneurs looking to build their capacity and build long-lasting businesses.
If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?
This is a very interesting topic because I have been asked a lot of times about writing a book and judging from my so many experiences around life, career, business etc. I think a better name will be IN-visible.
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