Keturah Ovio- Onoweya is the Managing founder and CEO of Qeturah Dot Com, an online marketplace for the sale of Afrocentric items. We had an interview with her few months back about what she and her team do and how CapitalSquare works for them. Get the interview here
Some weeks back, she emerged winner of the 2016 Enterprise Challenge organized by the British Council in conjunction with Virgin Atlantic Airways. We asked her about how the whole process went and she had this to say;
So, I heard about the competition via Twitter. I saw the promoted tweet and told myself I'd apply later. Two days to the deadline, a friend of mine shared the link with me saying it expires in 2 days. I quickly went on the website to see what the requirements were and its deadline in time and saw it was midnight. I waited until the evening of the deadline before I began putting together my Essay. This was not the first of similar competitions I had applied for so I had word documents of 250 and 450 words about my business/idea in my archives. I read through all of them, took out the main points I wanted from each, and then I came up with one tailored for this competition.
I sent my application in without giving it too much thought because I didn't want to be disappointed. I had just come out of a competition where I was told I didn't win the prize because they felt I was overqualified and didn't need the money and all that came with the win. To my surprise, I got a reply from the British Council saying I had advanced to the next stage which required I sent in a 2 minutes video of why I'm doing what I'm doing. At this point, I was like okay, maybe this could be real. I sent in my video after multiple failed recordings. The video I sent in was just a minute and 27 seconds which was not by choice. I was using an iPhone then whose memory was full and as such, after every minute and 30 seconds it would end the video. I had to squeeze in all I wanted to say into less than 90 seconds.
I got a reply yet again saying I had made it into the Boot camp stage. At this point, I was like okay Keturah, this thing is really happening. Upon arriving at the boot camp, we were 20 in total who were called at this stage, all brilliant young entrepreneurs out to change their communities and industries with innovative ideas. We were told that 10,000 in total applied, 3000 seemed promising, 88 made it to video stage and then there were 20. So we should all consider ourselves winners at this point.
The boot camp was very engaging and interactive! We had local entrepreneurs and industry leaders as well as representatives from the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship SA come over to equip us with business skills such as - marketing, branding, interpersonal skills, Sales, Business Accounting and Finance.
At the end of the boot camp, we were all told to Pitch for the top three spots to a room of panelist all from established organizations both in Nigeria as well as the UK and SA. We weren't told who won or who didn't. The Director, Education and Skills, British Council called me 11pm at night to inform me I emerged first place winner. She went on and on to say other things which I honestly told her I wouldn't remember by the next day because I was screaming all over the house at this point. Woke up my entire family to inform them of my wins.
The following week required I applied for my UK visa and prepare for my trip there to attend the Entrepreneurial Africa London Showcase in the UK where myself, the second first place winner, and winners of the maiden edition of this challenge were presented with opportunities to Pitch, be mentored, and network with Investors, fellow Entrepreneurs from Sub Saharan Africa who won similar competition, and Entrepreneurs based in the UK. We were given a tour of Silicon Roundabout and Key accelerators and work spaces such as Wayra, Google Campus, Runway East, WeWork, TechHub, just to mention a few.
I am still very excited and this is just the beginning.
Isn't that awesome? Congratulations Keturah! We are indeed proud of you and we wish you many more successes. You can learn more about the winners and what they won here