How this entrepreneur lost nearly $1 million and now owns the largest co-working space in Nigeria

Abu Mubarik Mar 4, 2021 at 11:00am

March 04, 2021 at 11:00 am | Success Story

Abu Mubarik

Abu Mubarik

March 04, 2021 at 11:00 am | Success Story

Sam Ojei is the founder of Workcity, the largest co-working space in Nigeria. Photo: Facebook/Sam Ojei

Sam Ojei is a Business Analytics alumnus of Harvard Business School and Daystar Leadership Academy where he studied leadership and entrepreneurship. The Nigerian is the founder of Workcity, the largest co-working space in Nigeria with branches in some 23 locations in Africa.

Ojei started his entrepreneurial journey back in high school. He took to photography to kick start his journey into the entrepreneurial world. He then founded Bioscope, a social enterprise to facilitate the recruitment of students to Canada to pursue different courses. Ojei saw his business booming, so much so that he felt like he was the “Schwarzenegger” of Africa who wanted to take on the world because he had money.

He ventured into another business — an e-commerce company called Niiyo Nigeria. Then the unimaginable happened in 2015. Everything he had labored for went down the drain. Ojei lost close to $1 million he had made from his business.

“I lost everything into investing in something new because then. I just wanted to do everything,” he told Founders Africa. Ojei was down but not out. He picked up the pieces and started all over again. As demoralizing as losing everything was, he showed courage and perseverance.

Ojei managed to mobilize some resources from his friends and other relatives. He couldn’t rent a proper office and so opted for a co-working space and restarted his business of recruiting students to study in Canada. In no time, he managed to hire 10 sales agents.

In the first month, he hit his investment, that is, the money he used to rent the workspace and had enough to pay for an extra month. “All these were due to hard work,” he said. “I had no friends then, just myself alone, home to office and back, I get home around 9-10 pm and I’m back in the office the next morning by 8-9 am.”

Through hard work and determination, Ojei was able to save enough to get his own office space and opted out of working in a co-working environment. Today, he is the owner of Workcity, the leading premium co-working space in Africa.

On its website, Workcity describes itself as “community that brings startups and entrepreneurs together to collaborate, inspire innovation and harness various skills that are geared towards economic growth and community development. It’s a space full of fun, energy and where people achieve more.”

Ojei said building Workcity is like giving back his experience working in co-working space when his business went through a bit of a rough patch. “I now think it’s time for me also to do something similar for young people, to build something for their lives. In this community, we have people that are serious and focused, because it is built for collaboration and innovation, that’s what this place was built for,” he told Founders Africa.

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