WiredIn (Innovation and Technology)

Tale ALIMI on Bridging the Gap between MSMEs and Finance

Tale ALIMI on Bridging the Gap between MSMEs and Finance

As co-founder and CEO of Owoafara, I am bridging the financing gap for African MSMEs.

From a very young age, information and technology have sat in a special place in my mind. This love came from constant exposure to computers from a young age. I eventually took up a career in tech, almost shoving my accounting degree into a back seat. 

I got my first job in tech during the early days of technology, working in a software company. The demand for my tech expertise would blend with the need for my degree in Accounting. And although I enjoyed my role in back-end technology, I only kept it for a short time. 

I decided to get an MBA and change my career to a position at the front end of product creation. I got a job with a Management consulting firm that focused on outsourcing technology to small businesses and knew it was where I was supposed to be.

This new role brought me into close contact with small-scale business owners. I would always get more immediate and engage some of them in conversations. I offered help with my business knowledge and dished out advice on how they could structure their business, build systems that work, and leverage human talent. And I fell in love with entrepreneurship, with the spirit of it.


Memorable Milestones

When business coaching was still new, I took steps to see that top banks began to consider MSMEs. 

Many MSMEs needed help to meet the general criteria for financial support and were therefore excluded from access. Some of these banks went on to create inclusive systems by creating departments that focused on MSMEs’ needs. 

As a result of this gap between MSMEs and finance opportunities, I took it upon myself to bridge it. I founded a firm that seeks to bridge the “access to finance” gap.


Her Spark

I am driven by something more than myself. It has always been about fulfilling a purpose. And purpose to me is empowering and improving lives. That is what drives me. 

Vision and resilience are two values that have kept my Spark alive over the years. Seeing the future of a project, a goal is crucial to me because then, I can dive in with an I-am-never-giving-up-until-it-is-done grit.


Life Lessons

One thing I have learned in my career is that relationships are essential. Building relationships and networking are opportunities I have learned to grip with tight fists. 

Prioritize skills over money because with the right skills; money will come.

When you have something you know how to do well, it takes you into the circle of the top 5% in that space.


Owenize Odia on Achieving Success in the Digital Money Space

Like most people, I have always wanted to be successful. Luckily, growing up, I had my parents to look up to for inspiration. I bagged a degree in Computer Engineering and a Master of Science in Mobile Computing from the University of Hertfordshire. I worked with Zenith Bank as Mobile Payment Lead and, currently, as the Manager of Luno Nigeria.


Personal growth is my primary force, followed by solid passion.

Women’s struggle in male-dominated spaces drives me to be better and be more. I graduated as one of the two distinction graduates in my class. The reality of being the only female student in my Masters class shook me slightly. However, since, I have let this drive me to put in work. 


Memorable Milestones

A memorable milestone in my life was launching mobile money for Zenith Bank. Another is migrating from the traditional banking system to blockchain technology and heading the biggest exchange brand in Nigeria.


On Women Empowerment

Being a woman, women’s empowerment is at the core of my choices. The truth is women are not judged fairly. The world would be a better place if organizations would employ based on merit.


Her Spark

The most important value to me is determination. Determination is the fuel to reach the peak. Women need to be confident, understand their worth, and have no fear. Eventually, success boils down to interest and passion.


Oyeyemi Aderibigbe on her Two Ingredient Recipe to Success

Only some people start with a map of where they are headed, including stopovers. 

 I consistently explored every talent, gift, and the path that life tossed my way. If I had a feeling that something was right, I pursued it.

Over the years, I have discovered how much effect purposeful living, clarity, and deep insights have on business and career success. I decided to equip people with one opportunity, one contribution at a time.

Success is not a destination; it is a journey with milestones. On the journey to success, a strong belief in vision and preparation are two ingredients that have preserved me.

My mindset stretches enough to allow me to dream of being so much more. I constantly ask myself — what is next?

My colleagues’ and friends’ blazing trails inspire me. 


Memorable Milestones

A significant milestone was debating before one of the most prominent women’s network. Competing at the Women in Management Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) annual conference was elating.

I believe that the effect of society boxing the woman is a form of mind imprisonment. The years of being told that the woman can not do, be it limits how much she can dream and, eventually, how far she can go.


Her Spark

The spark is the woman’s all-encompassing personality — natural abilities, intellectual capacity, and experiences —because it is these that spark up her life.

To find her spark, it is vital that the woman takes her destiny into her hands and exercises her liberty. An apparent social construct clamps the woman’s wings, but she needs to find her spark and fly.