I Love Classic Stuff – Katsina ex-Gov Shema’s Son
Meet Yamani, Entrepreneur, Fashion designer, Katsina ex-Gov Shema’s First Son
Cullen from Leadership.ng
Yamani Ibrahim Shema’s dream of bridging the gap between young entrepreneurs in the north and investors is gradually coming to fruition. A young man himself, he speaks with Fatima Shua’ib about the challenges he has had to deal with in this interview and shares also, his visions and aspirations.
The journey so far
I went through a phase in life when all I did was try to see how I could get opportunities to leverage on. Then I discovered that it was not that easy and the reason is because in the north, there is a lot of limitation when it comes to platforms that young entrepreneurs can take advantage of to grow businesses. When I found that out, I told myself that someone has to put their foot down and make sure such a platform is available. A platform where young entrepreneurs can start networking and meeting each other to create a business environment where they support and promote one another.
Tell us about your family
My dad is from Katsina State while my mum is from Zaria in Kaduna State. My dad is a lawyer by profession and my mum is a housewife/business woman. I have three loving brothers and a sister. I come from a very supportive and caring family. I am a young and serial entrepreneur. I am the C.E.O of Black Group. I schooled in Buckingham University, London and studied international relations.
Take us through Black Group as a company
Black Group was formed around 2012 but it was fully operational in 2013. Before Black Group, I ran a company called Encore Innovations, it was my first company. With Encore, I got and executed some contracts with various government agencies; that was how I got the funds to start Black Group. Black Group was built on a foundation of being a consulting, branding, strategy and media firm on the one hand but it is also technology oriented on another. Then at some point, I realised the need to expand the scope of Black Group to include a medium where entrepreneurs can get together.
Would you say it has been worthwhile?
To be honest, nothing good comes easy, and I know it is going to be more tasking as time goes on because there are some challenges in terms of what we do and the environment that we are in. Sometimes you experience things like not having enough money. I mean, you want to go to the next level but the amount of money you have limits you especially because of high interest rates that we have in banks and other financial institutions. As an entrepreneur, you do not see yourself going to get a loan with high interest rate, it is quite intense and alarming.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am trying to create a platform where entrepreneurs can meet investors and exchange business ideas. And where investors get a chance to encounter entrepreneurs that they see have the potential they feel they want to invest in. The reason I created that platform is to breach the gap between entrepreneurs and investors. At the end of the platform I am working on a due diligence system which would help tell good entrepreneurs from bad ones. We also implement things like business structuring ideas so that when you are on the platform, you not only get the chance to sell your business, but you get the chance to be guided through what you should actually be doing. That is another platform we are building.
Then there is yet another one called Blink365 which is for photographers. What my team and I noticed during our research is that, a lot of people go to public and private events, weddings and because we are in a digital world, don’t really care for printed copies of their photographs , everyone wants digital copies because of the social media craze. So we built Blink365 as a platform that will proffer a solution to people who go to these kinds of events to easily pay a reasonable price to buy their soft copy pictures off these photographers.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the near future?
I hope that, by the grace of God, in the near future, Black Group would house at least, 5,000 entrepreneurs and have a minimum of 30 to 40 successful business implementations. I hope to also see that we would have grown to become an enterprise that young entrepreneurs can be proud of.
What is fashion and style to you?
For me, when it comes down to fashion, I love classic stuff. I love modern fashion as well but the main thing boils down to simplicity because I am not a person who likes everything loud. Things should be simple, clean, classy and a bit of black.
What are your last words for the youths?
Youths should not give up no matter what happens. As they strive and try to get to where they need to go, they should not be discouraged. There would be bad encounters and failure on the way, but that should not be a reason to quit, it is all part of what it takes to become an entrepreneur, it is the natural phenomenon we go through as entrepreneurs. It is possible to start a couple of businesses and nothing works but that should not be the end of the world, rather, it should just let you know that you need to be ready to face more of such circumstances as you move forward. All these guides you and you must learn from them and move on. In essence, the youths should just do what they can do best and the sky will be their starting point someday. Nobody should make you feel like you cannot make it or cannot fulfill your dreams, always do the right thing.