Omonike Fowowe belongs to the rare breed of young entrepreneurs who can turn stones to diamonds. The light skinned 27 year old damsel is the founder cum president of Express Multi Concept Resources (EMR) Group Ltd which was founded and established in 2011.
In this interview, the young entrepreneur talks about her passion for running businesses, venturing into real estate, women empowerment among other issues.
Can you share with us how you started out in business?
EMR started from Blackberry messenger (BBM), marketing, social media marketing and direct marketing for friends and loved ones. From that point we delved into running it as a business which eventually led to the birth of EMR Marketing.
Then we decided to grow bigger and we decided to look for a bigger space in Lekki phase 1, we came to Lekki and we couldn’t get what we were looking for and I decided to create what we wanted by creating a niche for myself.
We started by having a building with our office downstairs and we discovered that the people needed luxury affordable spaces in smaller quantities, not having to take a full duplex because they couldn’t afford it.
For young and upwardly mobile that reside on the mainland but work on the island, the challenge of being able to afford apartments on the island as a result of the cost became a problem. Therefore our company decided to bridge the gap by offering luxury affordable apartments and office spaces for young entrepreneurs. So far we are on our 9th building with a minimum of seven tenants in each of the buildings. EMR properties was created in 2016. I never discovered my strengths in interior decoration until I ventured into real estate.
The second arm of our real estate business is called Theos Luxury Apartments. We were inspired to launch Theos luxury in May 2017 because we felt the need to create buildings that will enable clients have value for their money just like our luxury spaces in Lekki phase 1
What are the challenges of running your business?
The number one challenge is that of managing people. One thing one has to accept is that you cannot please everybody. Managing our clients is a major challenge, but we strive to give them at least 70 percent of what they want. Secondly, managing of artisans is another challenge. At times, they exhibit lackadaisical attitude towards work. Over time, I have learnt to manage them well because they make the magic happen. Being a woman in this male dominated industry is not a challenge for me, because I have learnt to work like a man, even as a woman in this competitive industry.
What will be your advice to women who desire to go into business?
Women are quick to judge their men when they are not doing something with their lives, either running a business or being employed. The moment you know what it takes to make money, you will appreciate money, when someone gives it to you. Truth is that as a woman, you are an asset to your society and to your family. It’s sad when you are trying to give a woman a job and she asks you: ‘How much do you want to pay me? ‘And you tell her its #25,000’. It’s appalling when she rejects the job because she has several boyfriends who can cater for her needs. I do whatever I can to support women. We even go as far as giving them discounts in order to support them. It is important for you to be empowered as a woman. You cannot give what you don’t have.
What drives you?
My drive is to be successful. My drive is by the time I am 30, I want to be able to travel the whole world and still have my business running. My drive is for EMR to be an industry leader in all the sectors we do business in. You are a success as a woman when the home-front and your career/business is successful and thriving. You have to be a 360 degrees woman , this means everything that pertains to you is thriving.
How does your mum inspire you?
She singlehandedly raised three children. My mum was a force to reckon with when she was still in active service. She broke barriers in her industry. Asides from my mum, there are also other inspiring women. When ROK TV was launched I thought it was hype till I fell in love with the channel. Mary Njoku is doing a good job.