Interview With Jesse Yusufu, CEO and Founder, Yakata.com.ng

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The online business directory space is already dominated by OLX and Jiji. Hence, it is would have been a leap of faith for Jesse Yusufu, the CEO and founder of Yakata, to venture into such uncharted waters. In this exclusive interview, Yusufu, tells us how he has remained undeterred and much more. Excerpts.

Can You Tell Us About Yourself?

My name is Jesse Yusufu. And I am the Founder of Yakata.com.ng – the most secured online classifieds website in Nigeria. I am passionate about technology and social entrepreneurship.

Tell Us About Yakata?
Yakata is a colloquialism in Pidgin English which means “complete” or “final”. Therefore, Yakata is the final place where you can sell or buy anything, anywhere, anytime. Our main focus is to empower everyone in Nigeria to independently connect with buyers across the country. We intend to bring trust into the Nigeria online marketplace. Yakata is a 100% Nigerian company and it is my belief that the startup will soon become a household name among Nigerians within the shortest possible time. 

What Motivated You To Establish Yakata?
The problem with online marketplace today is the issue of trust.  I have been studying the social behaviour of most Nigerians for a very long time and discovered that trust and security are what is lacking in most of the online classified ads sites in Nigeria. I needed to solve this problem and that was what birthed Yakata.

How Were You Able To Secure Funds?
Just like any business in Nigeria, starting a business is not easy especially looking at where Yakata is going. I used my savings to start Yakata and to keep it running up till this stage. And I will continue to bootstrap until we secure substantial investments. Also to minimise our overheads and other expenses, I am using my talent as an online marketer and a graphic designer to do most of our online campaigns while leading the company. I also outsource some other things to people as the need arises. All these help us minimise our running costs and keeps us moving.

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How Will You Describe The Experience So Far?
The experience so far for me is an adventure. What gives me joy is creating a platform where everybody in Nigeria can sell or buy with rest of mind. Since our launch, we have been receiving positive feedbacks from Nigerians.

What Are The Challenges of Your Business?
There is no business that doesn’t have challenges. There are so many challenges that are peculiar to Nigerian business such as poor infrastructure, poor internet connections and unfavourable government policies. Because our business is heavily dependent on the internet, we encourage the government to create policies that will improve the internet connection in Nigeria and increase mobile penetration.

How Did You Overcome The Fear of Starting up Something For Yourself?
Well in life, is either you succeed or fail. And failure is not a defeat but another chance for you to try again and do it differently. It is this conviction in life that makes me start anything in life. I am not afraid of starting anything. When I wanted to start, there were some people who said it’s going to be difficult for me because of competitors. I told them, they will never start anything in life if all they are thinking is  – other people are doing what they want to start. Even if you have 1000 businesses doing what you want to start – my advice is to start it, no matter what and improve with time.

Advice For Young Nigerians Who Want To Set up A Business?
I will say entrepreneurship is a journey and an adventure at the same time. There is joy in being your own boss and seeing your business impact the lives of people. I will say entrepreneurship is what will boost our economy. I will employ anyone who wants to start any business to be focused, passionate and consistent in whatever they want to start.