Blessing Omoregie – CEO of SEO Africa

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Blessing Omoregie – CEO of SEO Africa

"It's only right that the first repatriation interview is from one of my longest-known friends! I have known Blessing for almost 15 years. God's light has never stopped shining on her and her family. Her journey is an inspiration, yet still in it's infancy. Watch her space!" - Joy Isaac (Author of IMovedBack)

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What is your full name?

Blessing Omoregie

What is your age range?

21-30

Where were you born and raised?

London

What countries/states did you school in?

UK

Did you go to university? If so, where did you go and what did you study?

Warwick University – Politics and International Relations

In what countries are you based?

Nigeria and Ghana

What do you do to earn a living and when did you start?

I run a leadership development programme called SEO Africa.
SEO Africa is a non-profit leadership development organisation created in 2012 to select, train, mentor and provide corporate placements to high potential university students across the continent. As a wider organisation (SEO) has been supporting students and graduates for over 50 years across 4 different continents and has a global track record in successfully preparing young people to thrive in corporate environments.

What did you used to do before you did this?

I worked in Investment Banking at J.P. Morgan in London. Across Prime Brokerage and Investor Services.

What inspired you to move back home and start your business?

I came to Nigeria for a gap year in 2017 and fell in love with energy here. My business was in existence before I moved here but I deeply believe in SEO Africa’s vision and joined for that reason.

Why should anyone use your service/product?

Tertiary institutions across Africa fail to produce graduates who are able to be as impactful as is required in corporate employment. Corporates should use our programme to solve their human capital challenges at the junior level.

Tell us about your team.

I have a very young team built up of 10 people across 2 countries (Ghana + Nigeria). Everyone is very passionate about human capital and over 60% of the team are alumni of the programme.

What is something you wish you knew before moving back home to live and start a business?

I wish I understood how frustrating public sector institutions could be. Inefficiency is one thing but it can seem at times that they act in direct opposition of progress.

Would you advise other people to start businesses or invest in Africa? Please also share the drawbacks.

Absolutely. Insecurity is a huge drawback it is very difficult to have robust forward planning here so businesses with high initial capital requirements are very risky. Businesses which plug significant infrastructure gaps could typically expect to receive government assistance due to the long-dated nature of investment but that is not often the case here.

Did you experience a culture clash with homegrown Africans?

I have experienced some resentment professionally at times due to structures that place my international experience far above the local experience that colleagues have. I have a lot of opinions about how problematic this is and how it is an example of the corporate sectors failure to adequately invest in talent on a mass scale.

Are there things that you can get abroad that you miss whilst here? How do you deal with it?

I would say I am happy with my services here and what is available. However, the price point for this is the issue, things are far more expensive. Especially when it comes to clothes (Zara and PLT need to figure out speedy delivery!!!).

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other Africans looking to start-up?

Ensure that you have ring-fenced significant capital for your own personal sustainability. Your venture should not compromise your ability to maintain peace of mind in regards to your well being. Equally this helps to ensure that financial pressure does not impede your decision making process.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other Africans in the diaspora?

Find ways to connect with the Continent albeit virtually. There is so much to be gained from exploring opportunities here for both personal gain and wider social impact.

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