Maya Oluwafemi is the CEO and founder of Solva Global Limited; a Fast Moveable Consumer Goods (FMCG) company operating in four West African countries. Believe it or not, she was inspired by a road trip from Lagos to Accra! On the way, she stopped for breaks in Cotonou and Lomé. She took those breaks as an opportunity to explore the local markets which revealed the gap in the quantities and qualities of goods available and sold there. She then incorporated Solva Global Trading Company and began to sell some goods from Lagos to Cotonou, earning a good profit.
How did she start?
Maya started as a Chemical Engineer. She’s always been fascinated by logic & critical thinking, hence why she was drawn to studying the subject. She is not only inspiring as a successful female entrepreneur, but also as a woman in STEM! Engineering? Running a business? Well, you can only expect that she has a brilliant mind having obtained a BSc in Chemical Engineering (University of Lagos) and a Masters in Entrepreneurial Management (Enterprise Development Centre – Lagos Business School). Maya also participated in the Cherie Blair Foundation’s Mentoring Women in Business programme. She’s someone who’s constantly learning to improve as an entrepreneur.
Her professional life started as an industrial trainee at Mobil Producing Nigeria (a multinational oil and gas company) which taught her the basics of oil well engineering & maintenance. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, she worked at Unilever Nigeria Plc.
What about Solva?
Solva trades in non-perishable FMCGs e.g. pencils, batteries, rechargeable torchlights, toothbrushes, razors & shower caps, etc. These products are bought in bulk and sold to retailers (across West Africa) in smaller quantities.
Business & Personal Successes
So far, under Maya’s five-year reign, Solva has partnered with brands including Unilever, Lontor, Dana Plastics, Boulos Enterprises. Her team has grown from two to nine employees. Maya and her team successfully expanded Solva from Nigeria to Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic!
Maya has gained prominence in the business world and this has led her to host several conferences on a range of topics such as personal finance and the impact of tech innovation on Africans.
When I asked her about one of her biggest successes, she shared this with me. “In the course of working tirelessly to expand the business in more West African countries, I was approached by The Guardian Nigeria for a feature interview. Until then, I hadn’t really looked at my business journey as an inspiring story. It was quite fulfilling to realize that all my hard work had culminated into a narrative that can we inspire and motivate other women.” Read here: Maya Oluwafemi article.
Maya, Solva & Shecluded
Maya knows never to be scared nor ashamed to ask for help, which is why she came to Shecluded. In her own words, “Shecluded supported my business with funding in the early days about 4 years ago. Accessing funds from Shecluded is quick and easy so, yes, I’d highly recommend Shecluded to aspiring women entrepreneurs.”
Advice from Maya to Female Entrepreneurs
- Have a well written business plan and refer to it often.
- Seize opportunities quickly.
- Don’t be afraid to apply to financial institutions for finance.
Hope you were inspired by the Maya & Solva Global Ltd. Story. If you’d like to share your company’s success story and how Shecluded helped you on the way, please email [email protected]