Founder Profile: Sam Ojei

Sam Ojei is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. He’s the Founder of Workcity; the largest co-working space in Nigeria.

He’s a Business Analytics alumnus of Harvard Business School and Daystar Leadership Academy where he studied leadership and entrepreneurship.

How He Started

In 2015, after he lost everything which amounted to about N200 million in revenue, Sam started looking for N5,000 – N10,000 just to survive.

What led to the situation of him losing his entire fund was because he was into student recruitment; he facilitated admissions for people that want to study in Canada that time. When this was going smoothly, he decided to venture into another project, so he launched an e-commerce company called Niiyo Nigeria. He founded the company like 2014, 2015, and then everything went down the drain.

After that, he went to Dubai to start a new company. To cut the long story short, he lost everything into investing in something new because he just wanted to do everything. He then came back to Nigeria because he couldn’t even afford to eat.

After getting back to Nigeria, he reached out to his younger sister schooling in Canada to assist him with funds, so she sent him $200 which amounted to about N70,000 then in 2017. He couldn’t use this to get a proper office, so he searched online for co-working spaces, then he got one at Parkview, Ikoyi, where he paid for a seat, then gave the community manager a postdated cheque for a second seat, which was for his colleague, because he needed someone to work with.

At the time he drew the postdated cheque, there were no funds in the bank account.

The community manager reluctantly accepted the cheque. So, after paying outrightly for a seat for N35,000, he was left with N35,000. It was at this point he knew he had to make things work out.

He then fell back into what he was doing before which was Student Recruitment for students that want to go for Undergraduate and Master’s programs abroad.

In the 1st month, he hit his investment (seat investment), then he paid for the 2nd month. At that time, he was focused solely on his business, no friends then, just home to office and back.

While he was still at the co-working space, he employed a lady who was there too. So, after, he and the lady moved from that place to get their own proper office. The first proper office was at Ilupeju Town planning. Summarily, they now have over 15 branches within 2017 to 2020, just 3 years.

To Sam, building WorkCity is more like him giving back. He feels WorkCity is all about him producing his experience. “For someone to give me 2 co-working spaces, and believe in me by accepting a postdated cheque, I now think it’s time for me also to do something similar for young people, to build something for their lives”, Sam says.

His Recommended Books and Resources

Read His Full Story Here: From Losing 150 Million Naira of Revenue to Building The Largest Co-Working Space in Nigeria

His Word of Advice to New and Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Don’t ever study from someone that has never gone through the journey you want to embark on, if you do that, that’s a big mistake. Study from someone who has weathered the storm, he’s going to help you cut out those mistakes and tell you what and what not to do.

You can connect with Sam on Linkedin.

Learn more about WorkCity on their website.

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