After winning the UEC2020 organized by the Ugwumba Center for Leadership Development in Africa, Ruth Ede, CEO of Scratop shares her success story with ACEworld Publishers.
In this interview with Amaobi Uche, Ruth shed more light on her journey as an entrepreneur and what steps she's put in place to ensure the growth of her business.
1. Tell us, what made you choose to become an entrepreneur?
Ans, Entrepreneurship for me came from a need. The need to create a bold business for a better planet that's why my enterprise is a social enterprise that solves a major problem in society.
2. What societal problem does your enterprise aim at solving?
Ans. Municipal dumping of biowastes like kitchen waste, animal waste, plant waste (yam peels, cassava peels and chaff, corn chaff) etc, orange peels and other food waste. We are using them as our raw materials for the Production of Organic fertilizer. So, as we begin production people can monetize their waste with us to earn extra cash.
3. Entrepreneurs are considered creatives giving that they have a whirlpool of ideas daily. Now how did you know that this was the one?
Ans. I didn't know all by myself. I got it after praying. So, the credit goes to God.
4. Did you at one point or another have doubts? And how did you deal with that?
Ans. Yes sure. I did not have doubt about the business but funding was looking impossible. Discouragements were there too from people who were supposed to help. I started working alone. You really can't push people. Your success will push them. And I'm happy this win is raising dust.
5. Did you eventually build a team? And how?
Ans. Yes. Scratop is a team made up undergraduates, the team was formed for the Hult prize 2020. And we made it to the Nairobi Regional finals but didn't get to the accelerator. The social enterprise is agro inclined, so the team is made up majorly of Agricultural people. An Agricultural Engineering student, An Agricultural Extension and management officer, an agricultural education student, a biochemistry student and A computer science student. We have mentors who are graduates and lecturers from our University Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike. So, due to how we began there was no formal legal structure binding the team. We were just a group of creatives, pushing for change and impact. So it was easy to have less activity from team members after some rejection emails and failures but as Team leader and the one who brought the raw idea that was built into what we have now, I took the enterprise as a responsibility and kept trying.
6. What plans do you have on growing the business, talk marketing approach?
Ans. First off is that I'm putting legal bindings in place and I am presently registering the business as a Limited liability company. Next is getting other structures in place to begin production and sales. Our product is for farmers and so far we have gotten customers from 5 states in the country who want to be either customers or suppliers.
7. Can you say that since winning the price, it has been all juicy? And if you could, is there something you would change?
Ans. Not in the least. The social media presence and other attention are lovely. But to whom much is given much is expected. And success has lots of friends and foes. Also, I believe we can only get better if we want to and anything that will last needs consistency and diligence. Starting up is always the hardest part but once we begin, with God's help and our diligence. Though the beginning was small, the greater end will greatly increase.
8. Is there something else you'd like to share with young men and women considering entrepreneurship?
Ans. Yes. Entrepreneurship is a jealous bride that always demand for your attention. Getting startup funding is possible if you don't quit at some point. Keep trying, praying and getting better. That's the path to success.
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