We recently interviewed Nkonye Obanya-Oyewusi. Nkonye is a real inspiration to women aspiring to be web developers. A great web developer, She is the founder of Web development Company, Obanya. We asked Nkonye to share her start up story with us and she kindly obliged. We hope her story inspires you.
I actually founded O’Banya when the UK fell into a recession known as the ‘dotcom crash’. Everyone in the UK then was doing some sort of selling over the internet and very few companies were using the internet for powerful software applications. This was also the period for the rise of web-based applications and web-based software in the UK. I registered the company and started getting a lot of work on freelance sites. My clientele grew from there. Obanya is my maiden name, my way of honouring the man who encouraged and keeps on encouraging me to be where I am today, Prof. Pai Obanya.
The beginning was very daunting, because there were so many established businesses about and getting that first client was a very uphill task with all the competition. What could O’Banya offer that no other company could? What was unique about O’Banya? What profits will we make our clients? All I knew was Computers, i had to learn about business and customer service extremely quickly.
I found that the best way to get started as an unknown was by using freelance sites such as oDesk and Elance to get work, These sites puts developers in touch with similar start-ups and companies looking to outsource their development work with developers. I also contacted ethnic minority businesses, as in the UK at the time there was a surprising lack of web presence among such businesses. The third avenue for business came from a rather unexpected source, other developers themselves. A lot of web designers need developers and vice-versa, so a lot of small partnerships have been formed.
My clientèle grew fairly quickly. Some of my clients were relieved to have someone not offering the high prices that the established houses were offering. I had to work extremely hard to prove myself. I made a few mistakes along the way, which I had to learn form very quickly!! I also had to add debt-collecting skills to my skill sets, as some clients found very clever and imaginative ways not to pay their bills.
In 2009, I was contacted by SpearVentures Ltd via one of the many freelancer sites I was registered on. The client needed me to do a couple of small jobs to repair their web site, as the developer responsible for the site had taken off and the site was not online. The client was so pleased with my work, they got me to do their website, content management system and online forms applications. As the business relationship grew, SpearVentures partnered with O’Banya to bid on UK Public Sector projects.
Since then, O’Banya has continued to grow steadily.
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