Emma Obanye began her journey as an entrepreneur when she sold her first business BuddyBounce to Crowdmix in 2016, after raising £400,000 to build it. Since then, Emma has grown businesses Mindful Team and The Retrospective Game. Emma is now Head of Delivery of OneTech at Capital Enterprise.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur and start your own business?
The female role models in my life normalised business and showed me that entrepreneurship was something I could do. My Mum had a side hustle fabric business and a catering one at one point too. My older sister talked to me loads about business and gave me books to read. My Aunt taught me about computers (in fact she was the one that got me into tech) and I loved problem solving so tech was the path I took.
As I ventured into the world of work I very quickly grew dissatisfied with the glass ceilings in the corporate world, lack of freedom, mental stimulation and so entrepreneurship seemed like the most natural next step and I absolutely love it.
What has been the highlight of your journey?
There are so many things, but I think the biggest thing I’ve achieved is the acceleration of my personal development. I’ve learnt so much as you’re constantly solving challenges in so many different areas and disciplines. Many times the most difficult challenges you face require some form of transformation within yourself.
Were there any systematic challenges you faced in starting your venture?
The lack of diversity in the investment world was one we faced. The primary audience of my startup Buddybounce were young females. Most of the investors we met in the early day’s were middle aged men who didn’t understand our product or the audience.
It was no surprise to Giulia and I that our lead investor ended up being a female focussed fund and half of our cap table female.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs facing similar barriers to those you faced?
Persevere, things are changing. There is a movement of change happening in the ecosystem. Research, education, new diverse funds and more awareness to name a few.
Be sure to educate investors on your market and provide deep insights. Make use of the activities and services that exist to support entrepreneurs like you. Join a supportive community and surround yourself with like minded entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship can feel like a lonely place… but it really doesn’t have to be.
How have you had to adapt to the current Covid-Climate?
We’ve had to convert all of our face to face events, activities and meetings to virtual ones.
We were also fortunate as an organisation to be able to provide our entrepreneurs with a range of support to get them through this period through virtual events & workshops and accountability groups.
As a team we made this transition very quickly. Personally I’ve been working from home at least in part over the last 5 years so it wasn’t too difficult in that respect.
If you could change one thing by tomorrow, what would it be?
Oh my, just one thing? I’d need at least a week to give you a deep answer, but as I don’t have that I’ll make the assumption that this question is in relation to my entrepreneurial journey. On that basis I’d prob say when it started…I’d make it 5 years earlier in my life.
Thank you so much to Emma Obanye for agreeing to be a part of NACUE’s Profile Blog Series
Interviewed by Abigail Howard for NACUE