The initiator of ‘’Ibadan Vendors Network’’ recently visited the Ibadankiniso media office where she took us into a conversation into her personal experiences and what informed the Ibadan Vendors Network. Enjoy
IBADANKINISO: Can we meet you?
BANKY: I’m Christiana Adetola, I live in Ibadan and am from Ibadan, Oyo state. I’m the CEO of Bankyloolas Cuisine. Bankyloola is a company which was coined from two names, Banky from Bankole, Loola from Olajumoke, Cuisine is French word called kitchen. So, in full words, it’s Bankole Olajumoke’s Kitchen. Basically, In BankyLoola’s Cuisine, we are bartenders and Grills men. The grilling comprises shawarma, chicken, turkey e.t.c. we make cocktails also, and small chops.
IBADANKINISO: What is your Educational Background?
BANKY: I started my education at Cote d’ivoire Abidjan Ivory Coast. My family relocated to Nigeria when I was in grade five due to the civil war in Ivory Coast. When we came to Nigeria, I was enrolled into All Saints Church School, From there, I went to United Missionary Comprehensive College ( UMCC), Molete, Ibadan. I had my first degree in Microbiology from the University of Ibadan. And am presently back to the University of Ibadan studying Industrial chemistry for my second degree
IBADANKINISO: Would you say your course of study informed your choice of business?
BANKY: What I studied in school is related to what I’m doing but I won’t say you I learnt everything from school. There is an aspect of microbiology that is called FOOD MICROBIOLOGY; it deals with food quality control. We make sure what we are giving to the public is healthy and its fit to be consumed, that deals with our grill aspect, for the cocktail aspect, you cannot drink an alcohol without a microbiologist seeing into it because fermentation is the basic and that is the work of a microbiologist. So, to answer your question, I would say yes that my course of study to some extent influenced my choice of business but it was not the only factor that propelled me into it. All my life, I have always wanted to be on my own, to be self-reliant and independent. These desires propelled together with my course of study. In the nearest future, I intend going deep into wine production. My long term goal is to produce made in Nigeria wine. There is more to Banky loola than just cocktail.
IBADANKINISO: What ignited the spark in you to start a business?
BANKY: Well, I will say ASUU gave birth to the spark. I witnessed two ASUU strikes while n school and I would say it was the boredom and joblessness during those strikes that pushed me to think out of the box. The first Asuu strike gave birth to Banky loola’s cuisine, while, the second ASUU strike, gave birth to Banky loola”s store. During the first ASUU strike, I could not stay idle, so, I decided to start packing foods for corporate organizations, I usually do a complete three course meal and I sell it for a thousand naira. I was not making much from it due to low patronage. One day when I was coming back as usual, one of my aunt’s tenants saw me and she told me what am doing is nice, but she advised me to do something different. She connected me to someone for training in small chops. After 2 days with the man who was training me, I got a contract at Abeokuta for 200 guests. It was not easy I rolled all night by myself. As for the cocktail, I did not learn from anybody, I built myself up through reading and surfing the internet. Social media has done so much for us than we can ever imagine, it has made the world smaller, It has connected so many people, you can be in one part of the world and see what another person is doing in another part. With Social media, I started checking Instagram I met IC JOINT AND COCKTAILS in Lagos, I noticed she is doing something different, I called her to learn from her but she said am doing well. However, she gave me books to read. Through these books, I developed myself by attending seminars and workshops. From that moment, I kept dreaming big and taking small steps
IBADANKINISO: How did you come about the idea of Ibadan Vendors Network?
BANKY: Ibadan Vendors Network is an initiative of Christiana Adetola, CEO of Bankyloola’s Cuisine. The idea came up early in the morning on my birthday. It occurred to me that whenever I go for an event, am always the only one from Ibadan, most food entrepreneurs come from Lagos. It’s always got me thinking; maybe we don’t have vendors in Ibadan. So, I decided to call the few friends and colleagues I know to let us come together and do something. Initially, my plan was to get a few entrepreneurs but before I know it, a lot of people wanted to join and that was how the dream started getting bigger and visible. Ibadan Vendors Network is mainly to make Vendors come together and invest in their self. I will say it’s my little way of giving back to the world.
IBADANKINISO: Is it going to be a regular event or is there any plan to form an association of sort?
BANKY: The truth of the matter is that people like to enjoin their freedom. Bringing people into association may somehow infringe on what people desire in their business. Also, it’s a network which means from time to time, entrepreneurs in Ibadan will continue to meet and network for business and perhaps pleasures
IBADANKINISO: How has the economic recession affected your business?
BANKY: For me, there is no recession. There is no recession because this is the best time to explore your ability. Though times are hard but I strongly believe that hard times bring forth great people and great people bring forth great businesses.
IBADANKINISO: Is there an avenue for training would – be entrepreneurs in Banky Loola’s Cuisine?
BANKY: Yes there is, we trained a number of people this year, but, have put a hold to it for now because training is more than what we think, it’s not just about the money. I need to do a course called ‘’training the trainer’’ and I need to get a conducive environment for my trainees.
IBADANKINISO: What piece of advice will you give to the female undergraduates who want to become an entrepreneur?
BANKY: I can say it confidently that aside my boyfriend who came in after I started, I never borrowed money from anybody to start my business. Basically, it has been a turnover. I don’t look at the profit. Whatever I get, I put it back into my business. For the young ladies, I will say “don’t make yourself a liability, instead be an asset because if you choose to be a liability you won’t be a sought after. Do not give excuses, there is no barrier you cannot conquer, nothing is impossible, keep pushing, place a value on yourself and the sky shall be your limit”.
IBADANKINISO: We appreciate your visit.
BANKY: It’s my pleasure.