One of the biggest challenges women entrepreneurs face in today’s increasingly crowded digital landscape is how to be distinctive, memorable, and stand out from the crowd. Founding Director iBez, iBez Nigeria, Ommo Clark has become the case study example of tech entrepreneurship. She is genuinely a real game-changer in that she looks to make a real difference in people’s everyday lives by looking at challenges and turning them into solutions and new business opportunities. DANIEL ESSIET reports.
In Nigeria, there is no shortage of talented female entrepreneurs. Women such as Ommo Clark, software designer and Founding Director iBez, Nigeria, have been inspiring and leading change in the communication business. She has become the case study example of tech entrepreneurship. She is one talented Nigerians who has made breakthroughs, pushed boundaries and held positions of power in the world of technology.
Her company,iBez, a technology company develops software applications and online platforms specifically tailored to people and businesses in emerging and underserved markets and also provides software development consulting services. Ommo Clark is a qualified IT Consultant with many years of experience working for a string of well-known investment banks and software companies both in the UK and Nigeria. Ommo is an alumnae of London Guildhall University UK with BA (Hons) Business Admin, and from Brunel University UK with MSc Information Systems. She also worked briefly in International Development. She was engaged as an Application Support Consultant with Real Asset Management UK (a Software House) for a number of years before joining the Investment Bank, Lehman Brothers UK; here she worked in the Mortgage Capital Division as a Team Leader tasked with leading the web development and support teams in online mortgage origination, products development and application support services.
She left Lehman Brothers after four years to work with Icelandic Investment Bank, Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander based in the UK as an IT Project Manager and led the software development team in developing various banking applications before returning to Nigeria where she worked with Soft Solutions Ltd, Nigeria as Head of Project Delivery and Support, and an International Development firm as Chief Operating Officer. One of the first things that struck her in her first few months back in Nigeria was that there were many every day challenges Nigerians were facing that could be easily solved using technology solutions.
She said: “ I saw many gaps in the Nigerian software development industry that needed to be filled and also many everyday challenges people were going through that can be resolved using technology solutions.” Having gained enormous critical and analytical skill sets she was determined to come up with an elite solution to a problem or innovate something. She started with very little capital. She had to work with her little personal resources and it really affected the speed at which she was developing projects around and grow. She did, however, have a vision and innovative ideas that helped to thrust the company into the forefront of the computer industry. As a technology entrepreneur, she believes technology provides a solution to every business, social challenge or need. After doing some research, she came up with internet based solutions. Today, the business has reached six digits in turnover. She said: “ We know we have the capacity to do and achieve a lot more. It has been a long hard road.” She has been in business full-time for about three years and in the software development industry for about 15 years. Ommo has taken her company to the pinnacle of success with her excellent leadership and sheer hard work. iBez is also on the verge of launching a number of web-based applications namely – Handy Jacks, which is a web portal for finding certified and vetted tradespeople (artisans) on demand; Lets-Share, which is a web portal for advertising and finding spare bedrooms to rent in a house or flat share; My Office Manager, which is a cloud based office management application specifically designed for entrepreneurs, micro and small businesses to manage their back office operations; Lagos Rocks, which is an e-commerce site to buy sterling silver jewellery and Essentially Lingerie, which is an e-commerce site to buy lingerie.
What is helping her is selling software technologies most people use every day. Today, her products allow small players with big ideas to confront big businesses. She faced several challenges at the early stage but she overcame all one by one with hard work, determination, patience and never-give up attitude. She related: “When I started off I had absolutely no idea about how to run or manage a business. I thought that because I am technically skilled and experienced at what I did the work and money would just flow in but they did not. I had to learn how to structure a business properly and develop some marketing and sales skills. I am still not an expert but I try. You have to understand that there is a difference between entrepreneurship and running a business.“When she started ,she was working mostly alone, often overseeing all the aspects of the business. These included having telephone conversations with clients, negotiating on projects and budgets, time management, technical development, finance, marketing, preparing contract agreements, etc. But she has built a small team of software enthusiasts, geeks, strategists, analysts, designers, developers and project managers, all focused on building exceptional software applications. She is very proud of her accomplishments. “I started with nothing – just a dream and an idea and today I have a business that is on its way to changing the world. Just last week, I was invited to participate in a Global Women Entrepreneurship Institute (GWEI) in Atlanta, USA organised by Georgia Institute of Technology. It is amazing to have been one of16 women entrepreneurial leaders from five African countries – Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and Zambia selected to attend this Entrepreneurship Leadership development Programme that was designed to showcase talented African women entrepreneurs in Africa, encourage collaboration with Atlanta based businesses, forge trusted relationships and put them on the global map.”
In ten years time, she wants to have a chain of technology / e-commerce platforms and products that help people and businesses in emerging and underserved communities overcome everyday challenges and improve livelihoods.
Source: The Nation Online NG