Meet Basheer Shonuga. Co-founder of Djenne and our October 2020 Pre-Accelerator attendee.
Thinking of connecting with Basheer? He’s currently in the process of validating his business model. “We’d love to get any feedback or thoughts from the community, from any vantage point or expertise.”
“Before Temi Adedayo and I founded our startup, a ‘professional’ highlight would be my involvement with Liter of Light Nigeria and its newly formed UK arm. With this social enterprise, we teach local residents how to build their own solar-powered products from streetlights to mobile phone chargers using recycled materials.
Most recently, I was responsible for building out our technologies. Alongside a delightful team, we ran a two-week programme where we installed 35 solar street lights in Lagos, Nigeria.
With each community project, I’ve loved welcoming new members into my extended family. If you’re interested in finding out more, do watch this video of what we did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKOsRD8JYzY”
Q1: Let’s dive into this interview from a slightly different angle – you’ve been juggling both a full-time job and your current start-up. It’s a reality for many other founders in our community too.
How have you been coping with that?
Basheer: For me, the experience has been a ride; ensuring that you perform strongly at work, manage personal commitments and focus on building a startup does require dedication and good time management. However, thankfully it’s been manageable.
It’d be unfair if I did not give Temi (my co-founder) a shout out here. When things do get tough, we have each other to be held accountable to in terms of task completion.
I would advise devoting particular afternoons to focussing on your startup and to have someone to be held accountable to for given tasks. This approach has worked for me and keeps me somewhat on the straight and narrow.
Q1: Could you introduce your startup, Djenne, to us?
Basheer: Djenne is a marketplace for customised trainers, apparel and accessories.
We’ve realised that almost all of us want to express our distinctiveness and many people have hidden creative super-talents – so we decided to provide the opportunity for people to show themselves off in a way the mainstream world can’t.
We’re building a platform that links creators of customised items to consumers like you and me. Today, we’re talking about having a rework of your favourite trainer in a new colour-way –– that only you have –– or the Arsenal shirt you wished just had a dash of pink. It’s all about being personal, unique and you.
Q3: What parts of the Pre-Accelerator did you find most helpful for the development of Djenne?
Basheer: Firstly, the community of founders has been brilliant. I’ve enjoyed bouncing ideas and thoughts with peers who have startups of a similar nature and being able to learn from them.
I also really appreciate the engagement from organisers on the different ‘submissions’ we make after each session. Many times, we’re encouraged to continue on a good route or see things in a slightly different way.
Q4: What would you tell someone who is considering joining our programme?
Basheer: Join, now.
Apart from the exposure to various tools which will be useful for your startup, SeedReady holds a host of sessions which seeks to challenge your current approaches as well as broaden your perspective. This could be what better positions your startup for success.